Category Archives: Random

The Fooleries of Fairview

When anyone asks how long I’ve lived in Dublin, I automatically respond, “six years”. I forget it’s actually ten.

I’ve lived mostly on the Northside of Dublin except in third year of college, when I lived in Crumlin, which let’s face it, may as well be the Northside.

A couple of weeks ago, Johanne collected me from the City Centre to drive me to her place for a chilled out evening. En route to her apartment in Clontarf we passed through Fairview. Fairview might not be the most pleasant place in Dublin, but I retain a fondness for it, having lived there for two years during my college years. I liked Fairview for the fact I could walk into town in twenty minutes. The rent was relatively cheaper than City Centre. As a student it suited me.

Despite the fact Best-Friend and I routinely swore/swear not to live together, we have shared (and continue to share) flats and apartments. Fairview was one such location for our shared home. Our first place in Fairview was miniscule; there wasn’t room to swing a kitten. Despite this, I have great memories of Best-Friend and I sitting up until the wee hours, chatting and watching music channels. We were happy in our hovel. During my car journey with Johanne, as her car took a de tour down memory lane, I experienced a flashback that reminded me of the splendorous flat in Fairview.

The story centres on a bar of chocolate. For some reason any time Best-Friend and I live together there is always an abundance of chocolate. Best-Friend tended to buy large bars of Lindt when he returned from his travels. It was a good relationship we had; he bought chocolate and I ate it.

One evening we happened to meet one another at the door to the flat. I returned from my evening shift at the cinema. He had just finished college. I went straight to my room to throw my coat and excess clothing on the floor in my usual haphazard manner. I entered the living room to find an irked Best-Friend.

“Why did you eat the chocolate? I was going to give that to Johanne.”

His sharpness caught me off guard. “I didn’t eat the chocolate.” Or did I? I thought. With two steps I was half way across the tiny living room, next to the table where he stood.

“Look at the corners of the chocolate,” he said, pointing to the large bar of Lindt.

The chocolate bar sat in the centre of the table, presented in a fashion that made it ready for the filming of an advertisement. However, the scene was not picture perfect. The foil at two corners of the bar was torn. Small chunks were removed. Crumbs were scattered around the crime scene.

I examined the scene. “So …,” I said, “you think if I were to eat your chocolate, I would chew on the corners of your bar and hope you didn’t notice?”

Best-Friend did not respond. He knew I was going somewhere.

“And if I were to chew on the corners of your bar, do you think I would leave small shits on the table too?”

“Shit? What are you talking about? There’s no shit! ” He was most dismissive of me.

“Look!” I pointed to the small black dots that happened not to be chocolate. “That is mouse shit. We have a mouse. That is unless you think I went to an elaborate plan to dupe you out of the corners of your chocolate and sprinkled mouse shit on the table.”

“Oh right. Sorry.”

Advertisements

De-Galvinising

Paul Galvin first came on my radar last year when there was speculation he would take Sean Munsanje’s position on Xposé. Until then, I had never heard of him. I ran his name through Google to see what I could find. Certain sites discussed the controversy of his behaviour on the GAA pitch; his unfavourable tendencies towards aggressive antics. I Google Imaged the Bejaysus out of him and learned he was not only handsome, but also a sharp dresser. This compounded his allure.

The rumour that Galvin would replace Munsanje on Xposé grew legs when the GAA star took a sabbatical from his teaching job. Media pundits reckoned Munsanje was dropped when TV3’s research revealed he held little appeal towards the show’s dominantly female audience. Xposé fans lustfully looked towards a tall, dark (and supposedly straight) fashionisto to replace him. Hardly surprising. Since Galvin’s step into the media limelight last year, he has featured on the Late Late Show and been the subject of a documentary on RTE, cleverly entitled “Galvinised”. His appearance on the Late Late can only to have been to promote himself and upcoming documentary. I unintentionally tuned into Galvin’s interview on the Late Late to witness his enigmatic façade slowly rinse away.

During the interview, Late Late host Ryan Tubridy went on the offensive, ticking off a list of items he wanted to address – Galvin’s personal mantras, bad boy image on the pitch and his interest/obsession with fashion. Galvin’s slouched manner irked me. His answers to questions initially rambled and were monotone. The Late Late aired VT of Galvin’s upcoming documentary, portraying him strutting around New York, his supposed bolt hold, in a pair of too tight skinny jeans and low-cut grey hoodie. The final blow to his attraction came when Galvin revealed he owned seventy pairs of shoes and had spent weeks planning his outfit for his television appearance.

Galvin’s interview on the Late Late completely eradicated any attraction I once had towards him. Needless to say, I didn’t bother watching his documentary for eye candy. For me the biggest turn off was the sheer effort he puts into his clothing. The snippet of “Galvinised” featured a man who clearly holds himself in high regard. I like a well-dressed man as much as the next lady or gay, but I would never for a moment want a potential suitor’s appreciation for clothing to outrank me. As a gay, I am qualified in saying this, but Galvin’s interview did nothing but make him look like a woofter. Any woman in his bed would hope he were thinking of her and not about his ensemble for the next day, as he admits he regularly does.

Perhaps, Galvin’s side step from relative nowhere into fashion has been successful insofar that he is now on my radar. It probably does not bode well that my focus is on whether he has gone beyond the clearly marked boundaries of Metrosexuality to Poncedom, as I very much think he has done. Admittedly, he is a good looking guy with decent taste in threads, but I take comfort in knowing he has a day job to return to.

Gullibility is …

My inability to lie developed in my late teens. It came around the time I just got sick of the bullshit popularity in school, longed for college and promised to always say what I thought. To me, honesty is one of the best qualities in a person. A liar is someone who cannot account for their truths.

In appreciating honesty, I often expect truth and in doing so, I am incredibly gullible. Now and again, friends feed me false information, which I rarely question. Later, when I think it through clearly, I realise it is horse shit.

About three years ago, in one of my many jobs, I decided to take a basic ECDL course to demonstrate my proficiency in Microsoft. Each week, I attended a class or two with view to completing an exam. Needless to say, the exams were simple and I passed all modules. One day after work, over tea and scones in Bewley’s, I told Brian that I was doing basic ECDL.

“Is it not boring?” Brian enquired, lifting the tea cup to his mouth.

“Nah, there is good craic in the class. And I get a certificate at the end of it.”

“Do you know that ECDL was invented by the same people who created the Special Olympics?”

“No, it wasn’t.” I scrunched my face, digesting this odd, titbit of information.

Brian nodded energetically. “Think about it. It makes sense.”

The conversation quickly moved on. I thought no more on his claim.

One week later, I sat in the training room behind an antiquated PC. The ECDL tutor and ten other students awaited the tea trolley. We usually chatted for ten minutes or so before starting a class. A knock on the door, followed by the comforting clink of tea cups, signified the arrival of refreshments. We jumped to our feet and gathered around the customary offering of fancy biscuits. Only when biscuits were placed next to full, steaming cups, did we return to our seats. The subject matter of our conversations was always inoffensive. We chatted about current affairs, weather or television, injecting a good dose of humour when possible. As per usual, I was the chattiest.

I piped up once my dunked biscuit was swallowed. “Is it true the ECDL was invented by the Special Olympics?” I directed my question at the tutor.

“Excuse me?” said the tutor. I noted an element of surprise in her voice.

I repeated my question.

She stuttered momentarily. “I don’t think so,” she said. She looked around the room at the other faces in the class.

“A mate of mine told me ECDL was invented by Special Olympics. If you think about it, it makes sense. I mean it was probably created to encourage disabled persons into the workplace by promoting their IT literacy.”

“I never heard that before.” The tutor’s eyes were wide. “Are you sure your friend isn’t feeding you misinformation?”

“No, he’s not like that. I’ll try a Google search and see what I get.”

I ran “Special Olympics ECDL” through Google and received irrelevant matches. “I got no matches,” I announced to the class.

Another student Deirdre joined the chat. “Stephen, I think your friend might be taking the piss.”

“He’s not like that,” I assured. “Why would he do that?”

The tutor picked up the ECDL manual. Tea break was over. “I’ll ask in the office, but I honestly don’t think your friend’s claim is right.” She commenced the class.

While she gave us instructions on how to set up our computers for the upcoming class, I picked up my phone and texted Brian.

“Brian, I am in my ECDL course at the moment. Where did you hear about it being invented by the Special Olympics?”

Brian replied within minutes. “It was a joke.”

“OMG I just told my entire ECDL course it was invented by the Special Olympics people.”

“You muppet! I cannot stop laughing.”

I sat back in my chair taken aback by the fact I had absorbed Brian’s misinformation on the creation of ECDL. It was clearly ridiculous. Not only had I not questioned whether it was truthful, I obviously thought on it enough to embellish it for my “encourage disabled persons into the workplace” spiel. An all too rare embarrassment came down over me. I blushed. I kept my realisation to myself and prayed the tutor would not follow up on my query with her colleagues later that day.

Lanvin for H&M

Emer reckons I shouldn’t buy any more jackets. “You could sell jackets at this stage,” she repeatedly says. So I shall heed her words and not buy a jacket. Instead, I shall buy a coat. Let it never be said I don’t take advice.

Last month, I was all set to splurge on my lovely All Saints coat until I missed my flight from London to Dublin. The cost of a replacement flight and booking a suitcase could have bought two thirds of my coat. As a punishment for my insane stupidity – at confusing departure time from London with arrival time in Dublin – I decided not to buy the lovely coat. You can wait for it you fool, I angrily told myself.

In the mean time, I learned Lanvin collaborated with H&M on a range of clothing, which is due to arrive in store 23rd November. I browsed the range and was rather smitten with a trench-coat (as modelled below). This style is very much all the rage at the moment, but it is certain the trench-coat will be in and out of fashion for coming decades. A good investment if you ask me.


Hey Mumble, Mumble Italiano

Two Fridays ago, I felt the need for a good night out; a few drinks, laughs and a dance. A few texts later, it transpired my friends, Shane and Brian, intended doing the same. I agreed to join them later that night. To offset the calorie value of a night on the beer, I decided to hit the gym before joining my friends. One must watch those sneaky beer-calories, y’know.

Following a brisk workout, I marched home to shower and change. Brian and Shane, already in town, instructed me to join them at my leisure. I showered, shaved and rifled through my wardrobe. I had few clean clothes. I threw on a shirt – too tight for my liking – that I had acquired in a sale for €7. I pulled on my jeans, tucking in the shirt, and fastened my ensemble with a brown studded belt. I ran for the door in untied brown shoes, intending to tie my laces in the lift.

Hogan’s was busy, filled with its usual mish mash of well dressed and funky characters. Shane and Brian were, as usual, in good form. We chatted, howling with laughter regularly. Two “swiftys” later, I crossed the road to the Dragon, to boogie until the wee hours.

Shane and I performed our usual ritual of flamboyant dance moves on a sparsely occupied dance floor. Brian watched and giggled. Now and again, I left the company of Shane and Brian to scope out the talent on offer. While standing on my own near the dance floor, a guy approached from my right and tapped my shoulder. He was average looking. His wrinkled shirt, which he had nicely paired with bad shoes, hung loose over his jeans.

“Hi,” I said in expectation.

“Hi,” he replied loudly, to compensate for the loud music. He moved in front of me, obviously determined to have a deep and meaningful. Despite his close proximity, he continued to shout. He bellowed “where are you from?”

“Ireland,” I replied shyly.

“Ireland?” he responded with obvious surprise. “You look Italian. Your clothes and dark hair make you look Italian.”

“Oh right.”

He attempted to quash my obvious confusion with a compliment. “It’s a good thing.”

I side stepped to the left. Fighting the urge to sprint, I maintained eye contact and smiled. “Grazie mille,” I called as I moved away from him.

I shared the details of this interaction with Shane and Brian. “Why would he think I’m Italian?” I asked.

“It’s the hair,” answered Shane.

Within an hour of my awkward deflection, another man approached me. This fellow was much younger than the last guy. He was tall and gangly, demonstrating a slight stoop as he leaned in to talk. He seemed inebriated. He blasted words into my ear as we made tedious conversation.

“Your English is really good.” He leaned back, smiling, in expectation of some appreciation for his kind words.

“I told you I’m Irish,” I said in an unfriendly tone. “I’m from Dublin.”

“I know, but I don’t believe you.”

We continued to talk for a minute more, before I used a well-practised dismissal. I touched his forearm and smiled warmly. “It was nice talking to you. Have a good evening.”

“Same to you.” He turned and rejoined his friends in the corner.

I remained near the dance floor. What the fuck? I asked myself. Am I giving off some Italiano vibe or wha? I ventured to the bathroom to make sure I hadn’t subconsciously painted the Italian flag to my face. I checked myself in the mirror. My hair, which I had earlier spent seconds spiking, sagged and appeared slicked back. This particular hair product has a habit of making my hair look darker. The ill-fitting, tight shirt, tucked into my jeans compounded my Italian appearance. I shrugged. Meh, what of it? I thought. I returned to my standing place near the dance floor.

Within minutes, another potential suitor, a man in his early thirties, greeted me. I checked him out. His cheeks were flushed and rosy. His hair had no particular style. I knew he was in the club alone. He resembled someone separated from his friends, during a night out in the “Big Shhmoke”, who happened to stumble upon a gay bar. I looked down at his feet, expecting to find wellies.

“Hello,” I said in return of  his greeting.

He leaned in. He shaped his mouth into an “O”, as he over-pronounced his words, loudly, and slowly, in that unmistakeable manner only used by English speakers when addressing foreigners. “Where are you from?” I sighed and thought for a second.

“I am-a frrrrom Rrrroma” I cried enthusiastically in my best Italian accent, ensuring I used stereotyped hand gestures.

“Really?” he asked with raised eye brows.

I rounded my answer with a higher pitch. “Yesss-a.”

“Why are you in Dublin?”

“I am-a ‘ere for learrrrning my English-a.”

“Your English is very good.”

If I genuinely were foreign, I would definitely be insulted by this condescending fucker. I smiled proudly. “Grazie,” I said. “I learn-a my English-a in schooool-a forrrr five-a yearrrs-a”. I held five fingers in front of his face.

“It’s really very good. How long have you been in Dublin for? Are you in college?”

“I ‘ave-a been in Dublino forrrr two months-a. I am-a working ‘ere.”

“Do you work in a restaurant?”

“Yesss-a!” I exclaimed loudly, to stifle a laugh. “I work-a in-a restaurrrrant-a.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

I nodded. “Yesss-a, I ‘ave-a an Boyfrrrriend at home-a in Rrrroma.”

“Do you? And do you like Irish men?”

I held myself for a moment to give the impression of a pensive stance. I flicked my hand in front of me with an extended finger. “I like-a Irish men not-a-so-much-a.”

My new friend looked curious. He came closer. “Why is that?”

With my arms stretched both sides of me, as if delivering an operatic finalé,  I proclaimed “they drrrink-a toooo-much-a”.

My companion, with no good bye or parting words, turned and left my side.

Stumbled Upon

The following Google searches bring a lot of traffic to my blog. Random, or wha?

“Massimo Dutti jacket”

“Snozzcumbers”

“Ray Foley”

“Yoville”

Black Jeans

For the last few months I’ve admired many pairs of black jeans. I’m cautious. I’ve not worn black jeans since I was fourteen. Considering, it took me two or three years to overcome my issues with – and fit into – skinny jeans, it’s no surprise I am slow on the uptake. While browsing in BTs last weekend I stumbled across black Nudie slim-fit jeans. I tried them on. I and the shop assistant liked. They shall be my next wardrobe-investment.

EmBrace Campaign

On Saturday night, around two in morning in Four Flame Lane, I ducked and weaved through the crowd to gain access to the bar. While I waited for wanker-barman, a girl propped on a stool to my right caught my attention. She stared.

“Hi,” I said, acknowledging her gaze.

“You’re braces are so sexy,” she replied. I asked myself if this was an excuse to engage me in a conversation.

“Really? They are so bloody sore,” I replied in a depressive tone. I pulled down my lower lip to show her my lower-brace. “I got this bad boy last week. I can’t even chew at the moment”.

“It will be worth it in the end.”

“I keep telling myself this.” I forced a smile.

“I got mine taken off last month. Getting braces was the best thing I ever did. You won’t regret it”

“Show me!”

She smiled, pried her lips apart and flashed her recently acquired assets, turning her head from left to right.

“They’re really beautiful,” I complimented.

“Thanks,” she said, this time with a genuine smile.

“Have a great night!”

With a second smile, she turned and rejoined the conversation of her group.

It is no surprise Girl at the Bar noticed my braces as sharply as she did. Since embarking on my magical, wonderful trip down Orthodontistry Avenue, I see countless adult-brace-wearers every week. My “brace-dar” is more accurate than my gaydar. Even with atrocious eye-sight, I can spot an adult-brace-wearer at fifty feet. On an evening when I felt low, the exchange with Girl at the Bar perked me up, so much so I want to start the EmBrace Campaign. My EmBrace campaign is to encourage adult-brace-wearers to do just as the girl in Four Flame Lane did; give a little compliment to lift sagging spirits. I am going to do just this: When I spot an adult with braces – and it won’t be out of place for me to talk to them – I am going to ask about their treatment, how it is going and remind them that all this pain will be worth it in the end. A little encouragement is needed; while orthodontistry is a long and painful route, it is guaranteed to eventually leave you smiling.

Another Slip Up

Yesterday afternoon, I planned to luncheon with a friend in Dún Laoghaire. I readied speedily and left the apartment for Grand Canal DART Station. The weather was miserable. I reminded myself it was only two days ago Dad and I picnicked on the banks of the Dodder with coffee, sandwiches and King Crisps. Autumn certainly knew how to make an entrance.

I was spared any substantial showers, tolerating a light drizzle, until the Heavens opened and emptied its reservoirs. My mack provided little protection from the fierce downpour. Why even bother to get dressed up? I asked myself as rain ran from my sopping hair, down my face and into my mouth. The weather left a bad taste in my mouth in the form of my hair gel, which by then I could taste. I quickened my pace.

I arrived and commenced my ascension of the steps of Grand Canal Station, looking upwards, longingly, towards the shelter of the entrance. Halfway through my incline, I did what I do best; I slipped and fell. The surface of the wet, tiled steps provided insufficient grip – to my already well worn brown shoes – causing my left foot to slide without a hint of friction. I fell forward, extending my arms before me, to catch myself. “Ugh, shit.” I roared aloud. My palms and sleeves of my jacket splashed into a sizeable puddle on the next step. I was momentarily startled.

I picked myself up from the steps., wiping my wet hands on my jacket, noting stiffness in my left arm. “Awwww, bollocks.” I twisted and moved my arm to assess if there was any damage. Only then did it dawn on me to check for an audience. I turned and looked downwards; no one followed me on the slippery staircase. I scanned the greater, surrounding area, feeling relief there wasn’t a soul to be seen. My arm might have been sore, but my pride – for once! – remained intact.

I ran into the train station.

Wet Dream

Years ago, in a cosy corner of some pub in Ballsbridge, a colleague, over toasted sandwiches, revealed she wet the bed twice during her twenties. I can’t recall how it came up, but she described how she slept soundly, happening to dream of going to the toilet. She suddenly awoke to a wet bed. I found this hilarious. I had never heard the likes before. I laughed so hard I made a bit of a scene in the pub. Understandably, my colleague was unimpressed.

On Monday night, I slept very heavily, following a hectic weekend. I was in a deep sleep. I recall my downstairs muscles moving. I woke up and sat up in bed. What was that? I asked myself. I recalled the sensation. The muscular contraction I experienced was my sphincter. Oh dear Lord, I thought, as I realised what may have happened. I felt the bed around me. It was dry.

I had come very close to wetting the bed. Sitting in the darkness of my bedroom at 01.30, I recalled my colleague from the pub. My bed might have been dry, but I was drenched with guilt.

Karma is a bitch.