The life of man (and woman) in the state of nature, according to English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes is, among other things, “nasty, brutish and short” — and that pretty well sums up the way women dress in Australia’s Northern Territory, if the opinion of a visiting American Marine Captain is anything to go by.

After a night out in Darwin, the suggestively-named capital, Capt John Campbell wrote to The Northern Territory News complaining that the city’s women wore too little to attract “nice men”. “It’s about having standards, ladies,” he wrote.

“What are standards? Well, it can begin by dressing in a manner that leaves something to the imagination, to say the least.”


“Ladies have been conned into thinking that just because you have it means you should flaunt it.”


“Come on ladies, don’t send us mixed messages. That’s what you do every time you dress with less than nothing on.”

“He’s got some guts to say that,” said a nightclub dancer consulted by the NT News — and she wasn’t paying the captain a compliment. Nor were many of the 206 comments posted on However a quick scroll through indicated that the yeas had it over the nays.

Said Anna:

Absolutely! Behind him 100%. Why show skin then shut down guys who approach you- you’re clearly sending mixed messages, and let’s be honest. You look better with clothes on anyway. But then really…it’s hardly appropriate for a Yank to tell us Aussie girls need to put on clothes…have you not seen US girls lately?

Good work, captain, though perhaps your fashion commentary could only be delivered publicly by someone leaving town straight after. In the evolutionary struggle, it is not the aesthetically fittest who survive.

Thanks to Denise Pintado for this tip.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet