Tag Archives: pub

Breaking out of the Comfort Zone

On the drive over to a riverside festival, my friend challenges me to do one thing that will take me out of my comfort zone.

We chat to the locals, admire paintings and jewellery, drink beer out of plastic cups, laugh at a raft race and a tug-of-war, and listen to live music. The day grows dark and I still haven’t completed my task.

After a mesmerising performance by a bodhrán player, I tap the man on the shoulder and say: “Hi, I’m Sharon. I want to tell you something but I’m saying it without expectation. I don’t want anything from you. But I just have to let you know you that you’re the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen. And you’re very talented.” He blinks incredulously, thanks me and moves away.

Later in a different pub, the sexy musician comes back to me and says: “I was so shocked earlier that I was speechless. But I want to thank you for the lovely compliment. I hope you have a great night.” And I do.

Now I challenge you, dear reader, to do one thing this week that will take you out of your comfort zone. Do let me know how you get on. Have fun!

http://en.fishki.net/cool/1227548-inspiring-quotes-about-embracing-lifes-adventures.html

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The Dude From Last Night

So, the dude from last night texted me but I haven’t replied. I’ll explain why but first I’ll have to tell you the whole story…

The Dude got chatting to my friend and I by eavesdropping and then interrupting the tale I was telling her about a male friend.  He enquired, “How did you get on with him?” “Fine,” I said and turned back to my mate. He persisted in asking me questions until he figured out that the guy from the story was just a friend. He then asked: “So, where’s the love of your life?” “I don’t know yet,” I responded. I never got to finish the conversation with my pal because The Dude was there to stay.

The Dude proceeded to seriously insult my resilient friend while simultaneously coming on to me. We can both take a joke but this guy was going too far. Fortunately, she wasn’t fazed by his brutal banter and he did make us laugh, so we stayed chatting to him and his mates. One of them whispered that The Dude was only joking and that it was a technique to chat me up. He explained that if I thought he hated my friend but liked me then I’d think I was extra special. What did he take me for? A needy puppy who couldn’t distinguish between a kick and a cuddle?

A few years ago, a male friend told me about a book called The Rules or The Game or The Condescending Bastard or something, which had taught him how to get lucky with the ladies. He began to adopt strategies like using insults as chat-up lines. He’d start with something like: “You could have at least brushed your hair before leaving the house!” The surprised dame would look all offended but then he’d follow with something charming and funny and she’d be hooked. Or he’d converse with the least good-looking girl in the group so the hot girl would wonder why he was ignoring her. Then, when he finally gave the pretty one his attention, she’d be relieved and grateful and his for the night. This unconventional approach worked a treat for him in night clubs.

That method might fool girls who are horribly insecure and easily manipulated but not a 31-year-old woman who’s made the effort to work on her self-esteem and doesn’t want to entertain such ridiculous mind-games (yes, I am talking about myself in the third person). I’ve come too far to waste my time on a man who belittles others to cover up his own insecurities.

If I went on a date with him, would he drop the act and be real with me? Or would I spend the evening trying to defend myself by conjuring up witty retorts, while desperately hoping to outsmart (and thus charm) him with my cool intelligence? This year, I’ve decided to go with my instincts. No prizes for guessing what my gut’s telling me about The Dude.

So, why did you give him your number? Because I told him I’m studying acupuncture. And despite informing me that acupuncture was a “questionable occupation”, he ran after me as I walked out of the pub and asked for my number because he wanted me to help him with his sore back (he’s actually not the first guy to use that line). I hesitated before giving him my digits. What if he really did want some acupuncture? Was I to deny a guy in pain some beneficial treatment?

Anyway, he texted today asking how I was. No mention of acupuncture. Not that I’m surprised. But I couldn’t be bothered engaging him in dialogue when I’ve no interest in meeting him again. Am I being mean? Pessimistic? Should I at least have the decency to reply to the chap?

Anyway, enough about him (although he deserves  some recognition seen as I’ve just written an entire blog post about him). Here’s an update: My Resilient Friend texted her guy from last night and they’ve arranged a date for Friday. Quick work, girl friend! I told her she’s my role model.

I hope their date looks something like this.

Images: http://lavenderbullet.tumblr.com/post/13113472632

https://twitter.com/#!/briancag/status/153964226476646401/photo/1/large

Challenge Accepted!

Last night I witnessed a friend doing something so brave I almost came out in a rash for her.

I met my gal pal for a few Saturday night bevvies. We were standing in a cold part of the smoking section when my friend spotted a table by a heater. But a man was there. She decided to ask him if we could swap tables. She persuaded him by telling him he was a “strapping fella” and he was wearing a coat. He obliged.

As we caught up on our news, she kept catching his eye. After just two glasses of wine, she stood up and announced, to my excitement and horror, “I’m going to ask for his number!” I worried that she’d pick up on my terror so I kept my mouth shut and simply smiled and nodded. I may have also given her the thumbs up. I don’t know. It all happened so fast.

She sauntered over to him and I slyly watched them in the reflection of a window. She was talking and laughing and typing something into her phone. She breezed back, mission accomplished. And not a bother on her.

Later, we discussed the issue with a lad, who said it’s a turn-on when a woman approaches a man. It shows that she’s confident and doesn’t care what people think. I confessed that I’ve an almighty fear of rejection. My friend stated: “If you feel fabulous, the outcome won’t matter.” She told us that if the guy had refused her advances, she wouldn’t have felt any differently about herself. He wouldn’t be rejecting her as a person because he doesn’t know her. He could have a partner or he may not find her physically attractive. She added: “It’s impossible for every man to find the same woman beautiful.”

She explained it with such logic that it actually made sense to me. Maybe it didn’t have to be so scary… We decided that the next time we go out, I’ll give it a go. Challenge accepted! Eek!

P.S. As we were about to leave the pub, a guy we’d been talking to came after me and asked me for my number. And I gave it to him. Already, 2012 is proving to be a very interesting year…

Read this if you want more on fear of rejection…

Image: http://sprinkles-of-love.tumblr.com/post/13047156412/free-fallin

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…

Tracing memories…

A few weeks ago, my aunt gave me her unused copy of Cheryl Richardson’s Turning Inward, a lovely journal of self-discovery. I’m loving this unexpected hand-me-down as it’s forced me to really reflect upon what’s important in my life, what I fear most, and what’s blocking me from unleashing my potential.

Tonight, I turn to page 22, where I’m asked about a favourite memory. I struggle against the memory that immediately pops into my head as it involves an ex, with whom things ended badly. Despite this, I start to write…

"Recalling days of sadness, memories haunt me. Recalling days of happiness, I haunt my memories.' Robert Brault

Last summer, my ex-boyfriend bundled me into his van and brought me to Ballyferriter, a small Irish-speaking town in County Kerry on the west coast of Ireland. This was where I had spent my childhood vacations. I hadn’t been there in 16 years so I was extremely excited to revisit this special place.

This impromptu trip has elbowed its way into my patchwork quilt of favourite memories because it was beautiful in its own right and because it awakened a whole landscape of wonderful older memories…

We peered into the boarded-up caravan where I’d spent summers playing heated games of cards and Scrabble, where I’d listened to the tap-dancing rain when I wasn’t warbling along to Mariah Carey on the Walkman, where my cousins and I had huddled together as we whispered ghost stories and feasted on apple drops and Dip Dabs, where my grandma had taught me how to knit a tea-cosy while my granddad completed the Irish Times’ crossword, where we’d dipped bread soldiers into runny eggs with RTÉ Radio One  playing in the background…

We visited the beach where my family and I had picnicked and ridden waves, built sand castles and squelched across seaweed, savouring the sounds and smells of the ocean. This was where I’d drunk my first can of cider and chatted up boys in my native tongue.

We pitched a tent (which was an experience in itself) and drove into the village. I pictured myself, as a child, walking into town, stopping to pick black currants and suck on fuchsias. I remembered dangling from monkey-bars in the hotel playground as I gazed out at An Fear Marbh

An Fear Marbh (the dead man)

We wandered around the village as I regaled my beau with stories of my brother, cousins and I going to the pub to drink  Coke “in a bottle, with a straw”, playing pool against the locals, then buying lollipops and turnover bread with our winnings of punts and pennies, and investing in my first pair of dangly earrings…

Having showed him all the sights, we munched on fish and chips, washed down with a pint of the black stuff. That night, we cosied up on the beach while the crashing waves serenaded us…

The following morning, we woke ourselves up with an excruciatingly refreshing swim. We warmed up by running the length of the beach, then executing a number of yoga moves while still in our bathing suits (much to the astonishment of the well-wrapped-up passers-by). Afterwards, we used a small camping stove to make the most delicious breakfast I have ever had (no exaggeration) of poached eggs and tea…

Writing about this bittersweet memory has taught me three things:

  1. The most wonderful memories are made up of the simplest scenarios.
  2. Even though life hasn’t turned out the way you expected, what happened before still counts.
  3. Just because someone is no longer in your life, doesn’t mean the memories you shared with them should be tinged with sorrow.

Last summer, I was happy and in love. Last summer, I delighted in spooning and holding hands. Last summer, the man I loved made it possible for me to rediscover some of the best moments of my life and, in the process, gave me a wonderful new memory that will stay with me forever. And for that, I will always be grateful.

Images: http://mydeardiamond.tumblr.com/; http://crunchy-little-human.deviantart.com/art/Childhood-198323794; http://inphotos.org/2006/12/21/an-fear-marbh/; neon-stories.tumblr.com; http://www.bigonbuds.com/category/uncategorized/

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/

Unrequited love: I love him, he loves me not

Unrequited love is bittersweet. Feelings of passion, promise, and affection are diluted with feelings of longing, rejection, and frustration. Your life is plunged into a cocktail of excitement and disappointment. You had been plodding along contentedly in your plain little world until you develop a crush on some oblivious character and suddenly, everything is brighter and louder, fun but scary. Kind of like a fun fair. Unfortunately, your crush doesn’t know you exist, doesn’t realise your lust for them, is currently attached to some other lucky so-and-so or, worst case scenario, knows you’d cart-wheel through hoops of fire to snog them and would prefer to forget that little tidbit of information.

How do you cure a serious dose of unrequited love?

1) Wear your heart on your sleeve

Better to know one way or the other, and sooner rather than later. Right? Tell him/her how you feel. Maybe they feel they same and you’ve just saved them the daunting task of opening up to you. Either, you’ll be cosying up on the couch with the object of your affection before you know it, or you’ll find out it’s a no-go area and give up.

Unless, deep down you know that this person will never live up to the leading star you’ve created in your (crazy) mind. He/she is so nice to you in your head, and a fantasy lover never doubts themselves, disagrees with you or farts in bed. And they definitely won’t resemble a bleary-eyed, cranky skunk in the mornings. In this case, tuck your heart under your cuff and enjoy the reverie.

When I was about 12, I knew a boy with movie star good looks. Every girl in the town was after him. I fancied him and I must have fancied my chances with him because I ordered my friend to tell him that I liked him. He never did anything about it. And that was enough. I had given it my best shot. So, I moved on to fantasising about other guys I had absolutely no chance of meeting let alone dating. Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, Jordan Catalano, to mention but a few.

2) Milk it

Make the most of how alive you’re feeling right now. Colours are more vivid. Every song on the radio talks to you. The slightest glance from your amor is enough to spread warm tingles all over. You have all this love, passion, angst, and pain, and nowhere to send it. So, feed these intense emotions into song lyrics or poetry, run through the hills, take up kick boxing. Get out all that energy and turn it into something positive and creative. At 15, I wrote a poem about an unwitting hottie in my ninjitsu class, with the spectacularly surprising title “Unrequited Love”.

You can also milk it with your mates. Girls love discussing unrequited love. Get them to call over for some vino, Ben & Jerry’s and a good ol’ chinwag. They can empathise and offer advice or slate the dude if that’s what you’d prefer. If you’re a guy experiencing a nasty bout of unrequited love, you can also try get yer mates over with choccies and hankies. Alternatively, head down to the pub.

3) Wallow in it

Once in a while, it’s nice to be able to indulge in a bit of wallowing. Kind of like when orange juice stings the crack in your lip and you take another sip ‘coz you sorta liked it. In the case of unrequited love, you may not have even known the chap(ette) so your heart probably isn’t broken broken. Seen as it’s not totally devastating, you may simply enjoy lying in your dirty bath water for a bit longer than necessary. Hence why I played this song on repeat for about a week after a break-up when I was 16. 

4) Self-love

Sometimes, unrequited love is less about your fantasy partner and more about you. Sure you hardly know them. But you’re certain that if they knew the real you, they’d fall deeply in love with you. If only they knew how talented, sweet, funny, and generous you are. You post cool YouTube videos on your blog and update your status constantly with witty comments and inspiringly intelligent quotes just so that he will finally figure out that you’re the one he’s been searching for. Newsflash: this is a pointless exercise because he’s probably removed you from his Facebook news feed for taking up his homepage with irrelevant drivel.  I know, I know, you want to share your magnificent self with someone. But you’re aware of all these wonderful things about yourself. So why not love and enjoy yourself for a while? One day, you will share these things with someone else. Someone who values all you have to offer and who has a hell of a lot to offer you as well.

5) Don’t boil any bunnies

Seriously, don’t stalk the poor fecker. Don’t even engage in any of that modern-day, socially acceptable stalking. Checking his Facebook page several times a day is not healthy. Especially if you’re not even friends. And saving his profile picture onto your computer is just not cool. And please, don’t drive by his house every evening. Particularly, if his is the end house in a cul-de-sac.

We all want to be loved and appreciated. More than that, we want someone (other than ourselves) to notice (and adore) all those lovable and quirky things that make us who we are. This lovely clip sums it up. 

Observe all the best things about yourself. Write them down. And forget about needing someone else to notice how nice you are. You will always (and rightly so) be your own biggest fan.