Tag Archives: drunk

Stuff we do be sayin in Ireland

Us Irish definitely have the gift of the gab. Here’s what we do be sayin…

I met a friend for a night out over the Christmas. She looked me up and down before stating: “Look at you all trendy! With your black shoes.”

The other night in the pub, a cute (but drunk) guy bounded over to me. “Do you have a boyfriend?” he bellowed. Why waste time on small talk?

An old friend is always hilariously mixing up phrases. Recently, she told me that she thinks her neighbour cheats on his wife. She added, “He has a rotating eye.”

Another girl I know has a similar problem. With expressions, not randy neighbours. She was giving out about something and complained: “Now, that’s below the biscuit!”

One of the girls lamented that she still doesn’t feel like a grown-up because she hasn’t settled down or bought a house or had a child. I piped up, “I’m the exact same!” She retorted, “At least you’re divorced!”

And here are a few oft-heard sentences…

Pass the butter. Will ya have tea? Any goss? Are ye right there folks, please! The country’s fucked! Ah sure, it’ll be grand. Not a bother!

By the way, “how’re ya?” is a greeting, not a question. We don’t really want to know.

And surely we’re the country with the most synonyms for the word “drunk”. We get hammered, polluted, plastered, pissed, langered, ossified, baloobas, twisted, fluthered, paralytic, unconscious, slaughtered. Should we be worried? Ah sure, feck it! Will we have another? And one for the road…

Advertisements

From black and white to technicolour

Good fucken fuqballs, I’m writing at 5am again! I blame Jeannette Walls’ gripping account of her exciting, albeit difficult, childhood in The Glass Castle. Only moments earlier, I had to hold the book away for a good five minutes as I sobbed.

Walls’ honest depiction of life as the resilient daughter of an irresponsible but irresistible drunkard, and a refreshingly free-spirited but inexcusably selfish artist, is as heart-warming as it is heart-breaking.

This captivating memoir teaches us that we mustn’t view things, or people, in black and white. Jeannette paints her unique story, mixing muted shades of sepia and charcoal with delightful streaks of vibrant colour.

Everybody is doing the best they can with what they’ve got. We are all simply trying to survive. Even the most despicable of villains have another (better, softer, more vulnerable) side. Lord Voldemort lived a loveless childhood and suffered a pathological fear of death. The Joker was grieving the loss of his wife and unborn child. In 102 Dalmations, Cruella de Vil dedicates her life to saving animals. And Simon Cowell still goes to bed with his blankie. (Poetic license here, folks. Work with me.)

So, the next time you want to curse (or plot the untimely demise of) your unreasonable boss or critical co-worker, take a deep breath. Recognise that they wouldn’t be behaving this way if they were content with their lot.

On his days off, that bad-tempered librarian volunteers to help children with special needs. The self-centred ladies’ man cries himself to sleep each night. The rude motorist who cut in front of you this morning was preoccupied with meeting his new-born son for the first time. The irritable shop keeper doesn’t hate you. She hates her job. Or her husband. Or herself. The town drunk you cross the road to avoid tried to clean himself up several times before he lost his wife, his kids, and his battle with this unrelenting illness.

Insert gratuitous Leo pic here.

I’m not advocating that you accept bad behaviour. I just want to promote compassion and understanding. Everyone has their story, their baggage, their reasons. Everybody longs for happiness. For love. Everyone breathes the same breath of life and dreams of a better future.

Somewhere between the stormy blacks and calm whites of judgement and acceptance appears an uncontrollable rainbow of regret and determination, sorrow and hope, anger and forgiveness. Because that is what it is to be human.

Images: http://www.thew2o.net/; http://favim.com/image/125933/;

http://kairaa.tumblr.com/

On the floor

The last time I ventured to the pub was about three months ago with my then boyfriend in the Donegal Gaeltacht, where the most outrageous thing anyone did was speak English. The last time I got drunk was about six months ago with an old college friend, when we had Thai food with our wine and spent the following day blaming the takeaway for the annihilation of our insides (as you do). And I can’t even remember the last time I set foot inside a club. Does watching self-proclaimed guidos fist pump on Jersey Shore count?

And you know how when you haven’t done something in a while, you wonder if you could even remember how to do it? It’s part lack of energy after a recent flu; part rawness after a recent break-up; part fear- I think I’ve put on weight, I don’t have anything nice to wear, I don’t remember how to small-talk; part sense- memories of extreme exhaustion after a 7am finish, a night spent hugging the toilet bowl (it was a night on the tiles all right!), hangovers so bad you rue the day alcohol was discovered. Damn you, rotten fruit! And part downright laziness at the thought of having to choose an outfit, do the hair and makeup, and stand around in heels all night. Effort. I think I’ve developed a mental block.

But after three weekends in a row of calling over to my mam’s for chips and a two-hour sentence of The X Factor, where the most daring thing I did was drink tea after 11pm, I think it’s time I worked on my social life.

I’m told I need to get out there (code for showcase my talents- I have a large chest- in order to date around). But do I really want to find a man in a swirling sea (maybe I shouldn’t have had that last Cuba Libre) of checked shirts and shark-like smiles? It’s dangerous choosing a partner when you’re both sporting beer goggles (Why do they call them beer goggles anyway? Goggles help you see. They should be called beer shades. Because they blot out the light. But I digress. I do that when I try to avoid an issue.)

On the one hand, I’m not bothered with all the pretending that goes on on a night out… fake tan, false eyelashes, concealer… pretending that everything’s funny, pretending that this club doesn’t suck rear end, pretending that you can walk in those heels and that your feet aren’t burning… Plus, I don’t want to get so drunk that I lose the following day (or my mammy’s chips).

On the other hand, I miss dancing to the latest Rihanna number, making an effort with my appearance and being told it’s paid off by a random hottie (even if he is hauled outside by the bouncers three minutes later for being too drunk) and cackling at dirty jokes with a gaggle of mates.

I don’t have to drink too much (famous last words). My eyelashes and tan (or lack thereof- I didn’t have a sun holiday this year, okay?) will be real. And I might wear flats. Who’s with me?

Images: http://myspace-fusion.com/graphics/photography/index.php?page=6; http://willberwillberforce5333.wordpress.com/tag/willber-willberforce/page/159/; http://bahalwan.de/gallery/fashion/MicheleWaldmeyer/

Featured Image: http://2812photography.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/dance-floor/

That first date: It’s like a job interview, only fun!

First dates are nerve-racking exercises. You’re meeting up with someone you hardly know (or may not have even met yet) with the purpose of deciding whether the two of you may be suited as a couple. Talk about pressure! Questions and concerns swirl around your frazzled head: What if I don’t fancy this person? What if I make a fool of myself? They might not like my style. They could be an axe murderer.

I’ve often wished that I’d never agreed to go on a date in the first place. I’d prefer to curl up with a book in the safety of my own home and live vicariously through fictional heroines playing out their lustful encounters. But you’ve already promised to meet this possible stalker/love of your life. Here are some tips for surviving that anxiety-inducing first date.

1) Do it

This tip may be stating the obvious but some people get cold feet and cancel, or even worse, stand up their dates at the last minute. It’s not the title of a best-selling book for nothing so “feel the fear and do it anyway”. What we stress about is rarely as bad as we’d forecast. You may even enjoy yourself, meet someone new and interesting, and possibly fall in love. You’ll wonder why you worried your little head in the first place.

2) Have a metaphorical ejector seat ready

If you’re really unsure of your date’s character or whether or not you’ll die of boredom/fear, have a back-up plan arranged before you go for that drink. Make sure someone knows where you’re going and always rendezvous in a public place. We’ve all watched enough CSI, Cold Case, and Criminal Minds to entertain the possibility of rape and/or murder. If the date is going pear-shaped, send a sneaky text to a sibling or best friend, and when they call you, gasp in appropriate amounts of horror and concern. Then, give your unsuspecting date your “sincere” apologies for having to rush to the hospital/vet/police station.

I went on a date with a German guy a few years back. We strolled through the Englischer Garten on a balmy Friday evening. How romantic, I thought. This shows that he’s different. And different he was. He spent the whole time pontificating about God, sociology and literature, and how he doesn’t drink alcohol or believe in true love. The guy didn’t even like sunshine for crying out loud, instead preferring to spend his summers sweating over encyclopedias in Munich’s library. It was time for the ejector seat text. Five minutes later, I hopped on the U-Bahn, smiling with relief as I sped off to an imaginary flooding in my student digs.

3) Ask questions

Most people love talking about themselves. So, feed into this by asking lots of questions. It’ll also give you a chance to take a few deep breaths and settle your nerves as you allow them to waffle on. And how else are you going to find out if you share the same passion for The Cure and scuba diving? Show an interest in the person and in their job and hobbies. But if your eyes are glazing over and you’re swimming in and out of consciousness as they drone on and on about bondholders or fly fishing, change the subject. There’s no point in feigning interest in a subject that makes you want to rip your eyelashes out. Maybe you’re just not suited as a couple but your date won’t realise this if you make like a nodding dog throughout the whole conversation.

Don’t make the mistake of acting like the next Vincent Browne. Too many questions may make your date feel like they’re being interrogated. Recently, I had a date with a shy younger man. I felt the need to fill the awkward silences by asking question after question after question. I knew I was doing it but I just couldn’t help myself. I never saw the terrified crater again.

4) Be open

Tell your date you’re nervous. It’s more than likely that he/she is too and this will help break the ice, and show the person that you’re only human. If you want to go home after just one drink, tell your date this. There’s no point in dragging out the night for the sake of being polite. You’ll only spend more money, drink more than you’d planned, and lead on the person you’re squirming beside.

5) Don’t get drunk

This is very tempting and easy to do on a first date. You’re shaking with the nerves and there’s nothing you’d like to do more than down five pints of cider. But with this mass consumption of alchohol come the not so helpful beer goggles. This strategy will leave you in the exact same predicament as you were in before the date. Do you actually like/fancy the person or did the booze make you do it? If you want to get to know a person without the booze-fogged spectacles, or you can’t trust yourself not to do shots with this almost stranger, how about going for coffee instead?

6) You can’t hurry love

Don’t expect to feel that lightning bolt of lust and romance straight away. It takes time to get to know a person. Enjoy the process. Also, don’t jump into bed with each other. There’s something magical about that in-between stage so why not bask in it? Employ the delayed gratification approach. Court each other and go on dates. Some schools of thought insist that men are like hunters who love the chase. And if a woman gives it up too easily, they’ll lose interest. This may be the case for some men but if they’re any way more advanced than their primal ancestors, this shouldn’t be a problem. I know of couples who are still together and madly in love years after their “one-night stand”. However, it’s nice to have something to look forward to. And it’s not a bad idea to decide if you can stand the person before you have a one-night stand.

7) Don’t oversell a version of yourself that doesn’t actually exist

Yes, put on your war paint/lucky knickers/favourite shirt/Lynx aftershave. You’re dressing to impress after all. But don’t play games or present an image of the person you think your date wants to be with. This will only lead to disappointment, resentment, and a hell of a lot of work to keep up the façade. If the thought of wearing stilettos and a tight dress brings you out in a rash, don’t force yourself into them on a first date. You’ll only be uncomfortable for the night and you’ll be pretending to be someone you’re not.

8. Break the ice

Do something different. A fun activity will zap the nerves. Even if you don’t fancy each other, at least you’ll enjoy yourselves. Go ice skating, laugh it up at a comedy club, try go-karting, go to a gig. I’d vote against going to the cinema on a first date. You won’t get to chat and you probably won’t be able to concentrate on the film anyway because you’ll be too busy debating whether or not to throw the arm around.

9) White lies and honesty

White lies were invented to get us out of cringeworthy situations without hurting the other’s feelings. There’s nothing wrong with making up an excuse to make life easier for both parties. Once, I went on a date with a guy I’d gotten to know over the internet. The moment I walked into the bar, I knew he wasn’t for me. We had absolutely nothing in common, and the thought of kissing him made me throw up a little in my mouth (true story). So when, after two glasses of Guinness, he asked if I wanted another drink “for the road”, I told him I was a light weight and simply couldn’t handle another. When he tried to take my hand as we walked out of the pub, I busied myself with putting on gloves, a hat, a scarf, and buttoning up my coat. He offered to drive me home. I told him I was meeting a friend. When he still wasn’t getting the hint after all those subtle attempts to let him down easy, I told him I wasn’t over my ex and therefore, was not ready for a new relationship. Then, I ran. This didn’t stop him from begging for reasons by text and by email. “Do I look different from my pictures?”, “What did I do wrong?”, “Did I waste your time?” Actually, maybe lying wasn’t such a good idea after all. If all the lying isn’t getting you anywhere (like in the case above), tell the truth. Honesty rarely lets you down. So, I told him we just had nothing in common. And I haven’t heard from him since. Check out this short film about being completely honest on a first date. 

10) Keep your options open

Don’t settle for the first half-decent person who shows an interest in you. Just because you’ve gone on one date, doesn’t mean you’ve lost your single status. Think of yourself as a soon-to-be bride sampling lots of wedding cakes before deciding on “the one” for her wedding day. How can you find out which is most suitable/tastiest if you don’t try out a number of them? This can be a fun process. So, get out there and enjoy whittling down your options.

11) Enjoy!

Finally, enjoy the date. You’re lucky enough to be in demand. Think of all the bored folk sat at home with only their remote controls for company. The nerves will soon dissipate. Just get out there and have fun.

New Year’s: new year, new you, new hangover

New Year’s is supposed to be a time of celebration, new beginnings, and good intentions. It’s when we all sit down and ponder the past 365 days; the highs, the lows, and what we’ve achieved (or not). Many of us write a list of new year’s resolutions, certain that this year will be our year. We will do that triathlon, lose two and a half stone, learn Chinese, persevere with those didgeridoo lessons, cook more, eat healthily, start belly dancing classes, study more, stop skipping classes, yadda yadda yadda.

If, however, you don’t have that special someone to smooch when the clock strikes midnight, you know in your heart and soul that you’ll never stop visiting Abrakebabra once you’ve had more than five pints, you’ve spent the last couple of weeks indulging in rich food, alcohol and cigarettes, and you’re peeling yourself out of bed at 2pm on the first day of the new year, with booze leaking from every pore, you may argue that there’s little to feel enthusiastic about.

First of all, let’s deal with New Year’s Eve. This glittering, expensive event masquerades itself as “The Night of Most Promise”. To avoid disappointment, it should be renamed “The Biggest Let Down of the Year”. If you accept this, anything remotely fun that happens will be a welcome shock. People plan for this event ages in advance, they squeeze themselves into their best attire, and pay a fortune to ring in the new year surrounded by other desperate revellers.

Here are some tips on how to survive this bittersweet evening…

1. Do something different

Go somewhere you’ve never been. I don’t know about you but spending New Year’s in the same club you’ve been throwing money at since you were 17 is hardly going to make you feel positive about how far you’ve come in life. Ring in the new year in a coastal country pub, singing along to “Raglan Road” and cheersing the intoxicated locals. Or venture further afield. Visit a cool European city. Go for a week’s skiing in Austria. There’s nothing like falling on your ass in the snow, then boozing it up in your thermals for the aprèsski with your fit instructors to give you a good laugh as the new year makes it entrance. Alternatively, spend it in a developing country where Christmas and New Year’s aren’t heavily marketed and this time is more about family, hard work and survival. Or go to a Muslim land where New Year’s doesn’t even fall on the same day. You needn’t worry about suffering an anti-climax there.

2. Don’t beat yourself up

Yes, you promised yourself that you’d welcome the new year in a sober and non-hungover state. But if there’s ever a night to let the hair down, it’s this one. It’d be rude not to cheers the new year with that double vodka and Red Bull and then toast it again with a Flaming Lamborghini  just to be sure. Tell yourself that the new year only commences when you’re back in work so you’re allowed to spend the first of January dragging yourself from the bed to the newsagent’s deli to the couch.

3. Stay in

Okay, this sounds terribly depressing but if this dreaded night has been a major let down for at least three years in a row, then cut your losses and sit in. At least you’re saving money and you won’t smell like the inside of a beer barrel for the premiere of the new year. I spent two New Year’s Eves on my own. Yes, when the clock chimed midnight, I did feel like I was missing out, and I did feel more alone than ever, but that lasted all of a minute and then I was back to the salt and vinegar Pringles and whatever movie had taken my fancy.

4. Work

If you have no major plans, you could welcome the new year with some extra cash in the bank. Many employers offer extra pay and brownie points for knuckling down on this much-celebrated evening. Plus, your co-workers will thank you for allowing them to spend it with their loved ones. They can suck it up and work for you when you actually get a life.

5. House party

Have or attend a house party. It’ll be less expensive and you won’t have to battle crowds to get to the bar/loo/dance floor. Just make sure the other guests are a bit of craic. You don’t want to spend the night with a bunch of negative whingers. Check out this clip for what not to do. 

6. Don’t get too drunk

I spent one New Year’s Eve at a concert in The Point. I had clearly drank too much as I spent the latter part of the evening with my head over a toilet bowl. Being confronted by a reflection of yourself in the shimmering loo water with mascara running down your face, as you hear your friends gleefully count down to midnight, is enough to make you swear off liquor for life.

And once you’ve gotten over the night of drunken fights and tears, emotional embraces and tonsil tennis, you can get around to making that shining list of New Year’s Resolutions. Writing down one’s intentions is a lovely way to feel positive about your life in the new year. Some believe that we can create our own reality by the power of positive thinking so why not put it out to the Universe?! If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Think of it as a Santa list you send up the chimney. For adults. Here’s how to go about it:

1. Don’t do it

If you’re the type who constantly bitches and moans at oneself for not doing stuff, then simply don’t make a list. It’ll be just another reason to beat yourself up for not jogging three miles a day or learning how to bone a duck.

2. Be realistic

Don’t promise to save more than you can afford. Because either you’ll get evicted from your rented accommodation or you’ll feel bad for not fulfilling your resolution. I’m the very one who’ll decide to exercise, study, write, cook, read, and meditate every single day of the week, and then realise there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all this, unless I skip work, stay up all night, and avoid friends and family, so I end up doing none of the above and feeling rotten about myself.

3. Make it positive

Don’t make it a list of hard rules, “don’ts” and “shoulds”. This list can be inspiring and fun. If it’s all about denying and pushing yourself, you’ll be exhausted before you even tackle resolution number one. Add nice resolutions like “I will have fun and enjoy myself this year” or “I will not take life so seriously”. Decide to try something new and exciting like a class in carpentry or dance, or plan a trip to some far-flung, exotic destination.

4. Give yourself a get-out clause

If you’re finding something too tough or time-consuming, allow yourself to be the editor of your own list. You have the authority to chop and change it. Feel free to add new things throughout the year. The first of January isn’t the absolute only day you can begin a new regime. You might be too tired after all the Christmas celebrations to come up with a great list. Once the days start expanding and the sunshine favours our little island again, our energy increases, and this might be a more ideal time to create that list of good intentions.

5. Revision

Don’t just write the list, enjoy a week-long burst of good work, and then lose the piece of paper and your will to continue. Re-read the list every so often and monitor your progress. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back for what you’ve achieved so far. Revise it and don’t get angry with yourself for not being the star pupil of new year’s resolutions. Be aware that it’s pretty impossible to follow up on every single pointer on the list. You probably had a fair idea you wouldn’t be able to master the imperfect tense in modern Arabic, let alone read the Qur’an in its original form.

My advice is to just have fun. Many of us take everything way too seriously. Life is about enjoying yourself as much as possible and being the best you can be. So, enjoy your New Year’s Eve, even if you do snog the village idiot just so you can have someone at midnight. And be thankful that a new year is commencing and the road ahead is full of possibility. This year can be the best one yet. You’re the one who can make it happen. So do.