A letter from a US Marine captain criticizing Australian women's clothing, or lack thereof, has prompted angry rebukes from Aussie men and women.
The trouble began when the marine, named Capt. John Campbell, went on a night out in Darwin, Northern Territory. During this night out, he was shocked at the skimpy clothing being worn by Australian females. Unable to contain his outrage, he wrote a letter to the local newspaper, the Northern Territory News.
"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."
The letter has provoked nation-wide outrage in a country where a comfortable climate, not to mention a laid-back attitude, permits many to wear as little as they want.
The Northern Territory News reported that it had been flooded with negative responses to the article. They interviewed one girl, a 19-year-old Darwin dancer named Lana Sandic, who said, 'Most Territory girls would say 'Put it where the sun doesn't shine'."
Other responses were even less charitable:
"Another bloody American trying to educate the world," a Nightcliff resident said. "Mate, look at your women in the US - Rosanne (Barr) to Britney (Spears). At least we have a bar to raise."
Another reader wrote: "Leave your opinions in the USA. PS: You didn't vote for Bush by chance?"
As the spat threatened to become an international incident, the US consulate responded that they could not find a serving US Marine with that name in Australia, and Northern Territory News confirmed they had been unable to contact the Marine since the letter had been received, thus furthering the mystery.
Keen to have the final word on the issue, however, the Northern Territory News posted a link to an online gallery called "Beautiful Territory" that shows off some of the more skimpy Aussie fashions. What do you think?