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Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Saucy Cow's Guide To Men - That Are Not Irish

Moving to a new county is always scary. Especially for a young woman braving this new adventure all by her lonesome. If you're naive and have lived a fairly sheltered life, (or in simpler terms, if you're Irish) you may expect to fall in love with some mysterious foreigner and bring him home to relish the two weeks for which you will be the talk of the parish. Of course, many of you may have difficulty trying to establish a relationship with someone who is not Irish. Because I am so well travelled - that's right, I have been to Wales - I decided to impart some of my very very helpful advice upon you all.  

As regular readers will well know, I suffer from crippling insecurity and social anxiety issues with the opposite sex. The only thing this ever really proves good for, is as an endless source of blogging material, but I digress. These mental problems were helped in no small way by my attendance at an Irish Catholic all-girls school for the duration of the six poignant years of my adolescence. This was the kind of place where our only exposure to a male figure was our school priest, the crowd of boys in the christian brother's school down the road, and the character of Pádraig from An Trial. None of these provided useful reference points, particularly the boys from the CBS. We mixed with them rarely, usually when we were sent to learn Engineering at their school for a week, and they in return came over to us to learn Home Ec in an effort to keep those damn Parish liberals happy. These visits were kept strictly controlled by our teachers, for fear they prove detrimental to our precious teenage pregnancy rates. We mixed long enough, though, to learn that they were even more clueless when it came to sex than we were, which led us girls then to mistakenly assume we were some kind of sultry vixens who could reduce a group of pubescent boys to a quivering mess. 

Irish people are never brilliant at being sexy anyway, and it's strongly believed Colin Farrell was a prototype created by the Irish Catholic Church to falsely convince the western world that we fornicate regularly. We have a hard enough time (wahey!) trying to philander between ourselves, never mind adding the stress of one person not being Irish. It is for that reason I have compiled this helpful guide for any ladies heading out there into the wild wild shores of the UK, or someplace even further afield, if you're feeling chancy.

The Saucy Cow's Guide To The Difference Between
 Irish & International Men

1.  Accents
I cannot stress the importance of this one enough. Your first week in your new country, you may make the same tragic error I did. 'Oh my god, oh my god!' you will innocently think, 'It's finally happened! I have turned gorgeous!
No, you have not. If anything, you have gotten less gorgeous. Now in your new foreign surroundings you will probably look pale and Irish and uninteresting. However, interest in you from boys will go up approximately 3,000%. This is because for some inexplicable reason, men absolutely love the Irish accent. I mean, they really love it. I feel it is compensation from God for the whole economy thing. Do not rejoice.
If a boy takes you home, you don't want it to be because he wants to sit you on his bed and make you say 'thirty three and a third' over and over again into the early hours of the morning. This is something you never have to deal with at home, with Irish men, because we all can't stand the sound of each other.
No matter how flattered you are, it's best not to engage in the 'Oh my god, I love your accent!' zone. Not as easy as it sounds. From 20 years of being perfectly resistible, I found it quite the power trip to finally be able to assert that at least one part of me was attractive. Resist the temptation, ladies. It clouds their judgement and you will be the anecdote they tell people about how an accent can make you fancy anyone... 
When talking to foreign boys, be wary. If, when you say something, his eyes widen and he leans forward and says 'are you....Irish?!' take immediate decisive action.
Furrow your brow in confusion, look disgusted and reply ''
He'll feel so awkward he won't bring it up again.

2. Communicating
Texting: one of the few technological advances Irish people embraced with open arms in the nineties. Contacting someone without actually having to face them? Yes, please! Ladies, we all know how well versed we are in the texts from our native males.

Him: Wel.
You: Hi :)
Him: Ne news?
You: Nah, you?
Him: Nah. 

We like our strong, semi-silent men who are economical with their vowels. Foreign men vary in certain ways. There is one major difference, beside actually making conversation, that is:

Him: Ok well, I'll talk to ya later?
You: Sure, cya then :)
Him: Ttul :) XXX

^Gaaaaaaaaasp?! There must me some massive archeological error which has missed the huge connection between Irish people and pirates. Pirates are the only other race of people whom actively react to an 'X' in a way similar to us. You've heard of horror stories of cultures where petting someone's turkey means your married to them, or something like that. This is kind of the case with Irish people. Leaving an 'x' means you must be morbidly serious with each other. We don't throw them in willy nilly like the Brits. This was a cause of massive confusion for me in my earlier days when I sat and stressed about how I had unwittingly entered myself into a recognised relationship, and how was I going to tell my parents. Turns out they send them to each other all the time, even the men. I know! I KNOW!

So perhaps it might be simpler to communicate in person! Perhaps indeed. Be prepared to keep a glossary of phrases with you at all times to avoid extremely awkward social situations. More awkward, than changing your relationship status just cos someone sent you an 'x'. A 'shift' to them is a period of work done in exchange for wages. All you sluts better be prepared for people to cast aspersions about you Irish being absolutely mad for a bit of work, and is the economic situation really that bad over here?
Also, be careful with how you address a group of people. To them, walking into a room of girls and saying ''well lads?'' is roughly the same as saying ''HELLO ALL YOU BIG UGLY MEN!''.
And don't even get me started on how long you'll be waiting for him to 'grab something out of the press there, will ya?' Try to have patience if he comes back with newspaper clippings.

3. Socialising
A 'date' is not only a dried fruit which your nan used to sometimes put in Christmas cakes. It's a social occasion when a man takes you out of the house, to a place, where you both talk for a while and get to know each other. This has been known to happen even before you shift. Mad!!! If he asks you to go on one, do not be alarmed. Simply proceed with caution and just take notes of all the madness you can regale Ciara with when you finally get the time to Skype each other.

Out and about: This is not Ireland anymore. If you meet some talent out, you will both not eventually run into each other in the post office. You do not already know everyone in the town. Therefore, when he asks you for your phone number, don't respond with a suspicious '...why?' This wins you zero points in the 'Ideal Date!' category. He is not going to report you to immigration.

4. Clothing
You know what, there aren't enough hours in the day or adjectives in the world for me to even begin to truly scratch the surface here. One tip: Do not empathise with the fact that his clothes dryer seems to have shrunk all his jeans to drainpipes, or accuse him of stealing your skinnies. Also, don't be jealous that they look better on him. You get used to it.

5. Don't laugh when he tells you he has a GHD
He's not actually joking.

6. They're going to try and talk to you.
I saved this one for the end because I didn't want to alarm you too much, or put you off going. I know you're used to the tried and tested method of getting really drunk and staring at each other until you shift at home. Things are different now. The boys over here try to build a foundation, talk to you, get to know you, often even sober. In nightclubs, they use chat up lines and other such arrangements of words.
At first, of course, I assumed they were all psychopathic Welsh killers, examples of which my mother had presented in a collection of newspaper clippings in the 6 months prior to my departure as a warning. Turns out they're just normal people. Go figure.

The Saucy Cow

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What I Did On My Holidays - Part Three

I was lying on a sun lounger, boobs and body lazily covered in a bikini which I had drunkenly thrown on with reckless abandon. We’re talking head thrown back, mouth hanging open, limbs akimbo gesturing heavenwards, beseeching some gracious God to just kill me now and save me from my desperate misery. Last night had been a very good night. In a gesture of herculean proportions I managed to drag my pulsating head up under the weight of my very large ‘don’t look at me’ sunglasses and squinted over my shoulder to look at my friends lying beside me. I was delighted to see that in an intimation of solidarity, we had all decided to look extra shit today. It was a scorching beach in Mallorca, but looking at the state of the six of us, you would have believed you were on Omaha Beach at the start of Saving Private Ryan.

 I felt the sun lounger beside me vibrating. Blondie was flapping her arms as hard and fast as she could in an attempt to drag herself into a sitting position. There was some grunting. We all politely, but very slowly and painfully, looked away. We had all been vomiting at random all morning. I believed I was all vomited out but the sight of what was about to come from Blondie’s face may have inspired a fresh bout.
 ‘Pffaffle mmmboat!!!’
None of us moved. Blondie had the tone of someone requesting something and I didn't particularly feel like sitting there holding her hair back, so I chose instead to believe it was just some extremely unusual vomiting noises.
‘Guys. Pfaaaddle Boat!’
 I turned to look at her. She was vomit free and....smiling? She found her voice.
Oh no. Blondie had been raving all week about how we absolutely had to rent out one of the hilarious novel paddle boats on the beach and go for a spin. Blondie had also requested we rent things like rollerblades and quad bikes so when faced with this relatively normal activity, we’d all enthusiastically agreed yesterday. But today, suffering from my drink affliction, the prospect was right between ‘scratching my eyes out with a spoon’ and ‘eating horse shit’ on my Things I Want To Do Today list. It was now our second last day and pretty much our last chance. Unable to protest, the 5 of us shot Blondie a variety of looks which varied from ‘Please Die’ to ‘Are you clinically insane?’. Undeterred, Blondie launched into her Tourism Spain mode and used the Guilt Offensive on us. Did we want to just spend our whole holiday just lying on the beach and drinking? Didn’t we want to do anything else fun? Wouldn’t it make some great pictures? Exhaling sharply through my nostrils I raised my head and glared venimously at the Swan shaped paddle boat bobbing innocously on the shore line. ‘It’ll be fun!’ Blondie beamed, sensing my defences being lowered. Somehow, I doubted it.

Suddenly, there I was. Four of us bobbing in a paddle boat; three of us frowning sourly, one of us in euphoric excitement at the prospect of the miscellanious adventures we were about to have on the high seas.
She took our silent, glaring faces as an ‘ABSOLUTELY!’ and so we set off. Most of us were not doing our fair share of the paddling, I’ll say that much. I had no intention of spending today laboriously breaking my heart paddling around the beach like a Viking slave. Most of the rest of the girls were on the same page as me, with the obvious exception of Blondie, who appeared to be paddling so hard, she ran the risk of sailing us back to Ireland herself. And what harm, I thought? Why not let her have her fun. She appears to be enjoying herself. For a moment, in my emotionally vulnerable condition, I actually leant back and smiled admirably at my best friend, doting at her childlike excitement of the basic physics of a paddle boat.... Until a large formidable object caught my eye. I followed Blondie’s hysteric paddling direction and eyeline and saw The Island. How could I have been so stupid? By the expression on their faces, the penny had finally dropped with Blondie’s other two victims, aswell. We were quickly speeding towards an ‘island’, if you’d call it that, about two miles off the beach in Magaluf.
She turned to grin at us, a psychopathic mix of guilt and delight.

 I’m sure most of you have heard about that women on the news who fell creepily in love with the Eiffel Tower and kept a picture of it beside her bed? I’m sure most of you scoffed and thought such a disturbing fixation with an inanimate object was extremely improbable to happen again. As did I, my friends, as did I. That is, until of course, Blondie became completely infatuated with this ‘Island’ off the beach.
She’d seen it in the pictures on holiday websites....
 ‘Ooh, look how pretty that island looks...’
On the plane, as we lowered over Mallorca she’d smashed me into the side of the plane in an attempt to get closer to the window ‘TO SEE THE ISLAND, SAUCY!’
 In our taxi she’d commandeered the window seat herself, and provided us with chirped updates every minute or so on weather or not she ‘thinks she could see the island!’
When we arrived to our beautiful, amazing apartment, she’d frogmarched straight through all the rooms and onto the balcony, to confirm that ‘yes, it’s ok guys, we can see the island from here.’
The term ‘island’ is extremely generous for this miserable floating mound of earth.

 Back on the boat, we’d realised our fate:
‘Blondie, ARE YOU FOR REAL?’
 ‘I’m not getting onto that thing...’
But she wasn’t listening. She had taken control of the boat like a Somalian Pirate and wasn’t turning back for anyone. The rest of us were weak and impoverished from our binge drinking and simply didn’t have the strength to paddle against her. I glared at our captor and weighed up weather or not the strength of nearly 5 years of friendship was enough to gain forgiveness for pushing her off the boat.... We were still close-ish to the beach though, I looked into the water and weighed up my chances of survival if I made a break for it, rather than accompany Blondie on her quest for The Island.... I looked at the water again, and again. Then looked around me. More water. Then looked back at the rapidly shrinking coast line. Oh my god. Oh my god.
 ‘I’m afraid of water.....I’m afraid of water? GUYS, I AM AFRAID OF WATER!’
 In my hungover stupor I had unwittingly crawled onto the boat, completely forgetting how petrified I am of the sea and all it's inhabitants. Taken over completely by blind panic and desperation, I began to shuffle awkwardly around the boat, trying vainly to find some sort of water free escape route. ‘WOULD YOU STOP ROCKING THE BOAT, PLEASE?’
I hovered awkwardly on the boat as we all glared at each other, extra vicious glares reserved for Blondie in particular. Tempers were flaring and I could see this happy-go-lucky boat trip quickly turning into an episode of Lost.
 ‘Look Saucy, just sit down. You’ll be fine. You’ll be staying in the boat the whole time!’ Po tried to reassure me.
‘Well, and you’ll be on the Island...’ Captain Crazy interjected. It was official, we’d lost Blondie. She was turning way too Tom Cruise in Castaway. I sat down, sulking. We were all starving and dehydrated at this point too.
 ‘Guys, you all agreed to come with me. You could at least help me paddle? The sooner we get to the Island, the sooner we get home...’
‘I agreed to go for a lovely spin around the beach, I never agreed to come with you on your fucking famine ship...’
Mini-spats broke out. We were developing cabin fever. Other holiday goers who were having an absolute whale of a time on their paddle boats began to stare as we started acting out our own version of the Lord of The Flies.

 We finally arrived at the Island. Ecstatic, we began to turn the boat... Blondie was having absolutely none of it.
‘Aw come on! We’ve come this far... we should just get onto the island for a second :D’
‘Blondie, the island is quite clearly surrounded by a deadly slope of lethal jagged rocks...’
‘Nooo it’s fine, if we just paddle up onto the rocks, we could...’ At this very moment a paddle boat of boys who clearly had a Coxman as deranged as our own were also trying to mount the rocks. One boy naively stepped off the boat onto the rocks to try and drag onto the island, took one step, slipped underneath the boat and cracked his skull on the rocks. All you could hear on our boat was the sound of waves lapping and silent fury. Even Blondie’s faith in the Island started to wane. Just at that moment, the group of boys who had just dragged their semi-concussed friend up out of the water turned to us and offered us some clearly much needed assistance. We stopped attacking each other for a moment, faced with the higher priority of cute boys in shorts. There was much shameless hair flicking and giggling as they dragged us onto the island. Giving us her smuggest grin, Blondie hopped off the boat. We were greeted by desolate landscape, creepy black lizards and a mysterious electrical buzzing noise. After an argument - the brevity of which was determined by our sheer exhaustion to argue with Blondie - it was decided we would scale the stupid island and stand at the top to ‘see the view’. I’m not even going to credit getting to the top of the island with a description. Let’s just call it anti-climax of the millennium and skip to the getting back down bit. This took 15 minutes for everyone, 30 for me because I never got the memo to ‘bring shoes’ as I had innocently believed we were just going for a boat trip. As the others ran ahead I was left lagging behind and sobbing silently to myself and gingerly tiptoeing through brambles and high grass as I imagined the cheap tabloid headlines back home after my imminent death: ‘HOLIDAY GIRL KILLED BY ROGUE LIZARD WHO HID IN BIKINI.’ When I finally got back to where we parked our boat, which I now hated more than any boat in the world, I found my three so called friends sitting there bobbing two metres out from the island. What’s this about? Are they leaving without me or something? Had the three of them been voted off the island? Am I the only survivor left?
‘Come on Saucy!’ they yelled joyously, ‘Hop in!!’
 Hop in? Hop in?! I stared at them incredulously. ‘Guys, you need to paddle back here and collect me.’ ‘Saucy don’t be ridiculous, just swim out to us and we’ll pull you in.’
 ‘....I can’t’
 ‘What do you mean, you can’t?’
 ‘...I’m scared of water.’
They all stared bemused at the four feet of water which they’d asked me to cross.
 ‘Saucy, it’s like a kiddies pool....’ This, on top of the hangover, on top of the lizards and the rocks and the sea, well. It was too much.
I was creating quite the scene. Many many paddle boats which were bobbing nearby started to stare. The people on these paddle boats were 80% male, of course, and of that 80%, they were 100% gorgeous. And now I had their complete and undivided attention. The girls sensed this too and decided not to provoke The Crazy further and began to paddle back to the island. Problem. There were no longer any beautiful young men to drag to boat up onto the razor sharp rocks, and without them our beloved S.S Useless simply couldn’t do it by itself. We all realised this at the same time. The girls looked at me with dread. I was slowly crumbling into an emotional wreck. Maybe I could just get the girls to drop me out a friendly volleyball and some crackers later and I would just stay on this island forever. Maybe Blondie wasn’t wrong, this island wasn’t so bad...
‘Saucy, you’ve got to step onto the rocks.’
‘Saucy, we can’t get any closer...’
 This went on for many minutes, culminating in me crawling pathetically onto the killer rocks and sitting there hunched, like Gollum in a bikini. I sat there and prayed that if I did slip, I’d kill myself on the rocks before the water got me. Drowning really would have made this the worst hangover in history. I glanced back at the hunky men in boats. What were the odds they would all appreciate this as some sort of art installation piece? What followed was a hilarious kind of sea saw. The tide would drag the boat close to the rocks, where I’d have only a few seconds to get my self together and jump onto the boat. The pressure would inevitably prove too much and the girls would be swept back again by the tide. Every time the girls were swept back out they would start screaming encouragement in anticipation of the moment the tide would sweep them back to me again. It quickly transpired then, to my audience, what exactly was going on. This peaked their interest in goings on. The girls were swept out again.
 ‘COME ON SAUCY, JUST JUMP JUST JUMP, READY READY....’ The tide swept them in again. The sight of all of them floating towards me, arms outstretched proved too much, and probably more from mental exertion than anything else, I exploded into giggles. I’d have just recovered when they’d be brought towards me again, and I’d explode into laughter once more. The performance anxiety was getting too much. Soon surely someone would get the coast guard. Suddenly from behind me, I saw something wiggle. One of those sinister bastard lizards was creeping down the rocks towards me. Motivation, my dear friends, like no other. It's amazing how quickly a fear of the ocean can vanish when faced with such a slimy beast. I sat there hunched staring at him, in the most awkward and for me, terrifying mexican stand off in history. Alright, he may have been 5 centimetres long but it was the sinister stare in his eyes. He stared at me, deadpan, and took one bold almost taunting step towards me. With a glorious leap I threw myself onto the paddle boat, and there I lay on the floor for the entire journey, refusing to look up until we were safely, finally, on dry land.

 You’d be surprised just how much a hungover person can dislike water.

The Saucy Cow