There are many vulgar phrases used to describe the private parts of the fairer sex. It'd be quite fun to list them here but perhaps I'll leave that for another day. Alongside those unsavoury, descriptive terms lie more socially acceptable names. Muff, that's a nice one, wholly inoffensive and even a bit cute if I do say so myself. Fanny? Hmm, tis a bit dated now really, nobody calls it that anymore. Nobody that is apart from Senator David Norris. Norris has always been a bit of a windbag, anyone that sat through the presidency debates of 2011 could tell you that. But he seemed harmless enough, until now.
Coming in the wake of another Daíl scandal - the now infamous 'lapgate' – Norris' outburst was the last thing the government needed. More to the point it was the last thing he needed. His reputation has always been built upon shaky foundations, the country as a whole got to know him better during his campaign for office and the majority did not like what they saw. Furthermore, as one of the few openly gay politicians in this country, he faces a higher level of scrutiny that your average member of Daíl Eireann. So it wasn't really in his best interests to launch a sexist tirade in the direction of Regina Doherty.
What does it say about the 'lad culture' in our government when even a gay man feels he can have a pop at one of the horrendously outnumbered women? True being homosexual doesn't automatically instill Norris with a better understanding of how women feel, but it does allow him to empathise with their plight as the clear minority in the Daíl. He must surely have faced the same kind of prejudice during his rise to prominence, and yet here he is dealing in petty insults and smutty innuendo. However I'm not sure what's worse, his complete and utter ignorance, or his use of a phrase that went out of fashion years ago.
We Irish are a cynical bunch, not for us yearly honours and the endless, meaningless letters after your name. No, if you wish to gain our respect you must earn it. You could say we're a nation of begrudgers. So becoming a national treasure in this country is quite the feat. Very few people reach this esteemed level of admiration, and even those that do are invariably loathed within months of doing so. Off the top of my head I would say that currently there are but a handful of national treasures in this country; Katie Taylor, Ray D'Arcy, Brendan Gleeson and Gay Byrne. Everybody likes those people, don't they?
But there is man whose popularity outstrips even that of Gaybo. This is a man who is loved by every man, woman and child the length and breadth of the Emerald Isle. And the crazy thing is he's long since retired from his profession and only comes to our attention when he's done something bad. But still we love him. And why wouldn't we? Sure isn't he the Black Pearl of Inchicore? Arguably the most talented sportsman to ever emerge from this tiny island nation, Paul McGrath. Our love of him is rooted in countless heroic displays for the Irish football team, but plenty of players have performed stoutly in the green without garnering the kind of affection Paul does.
You see what we love about Paul is how typically Irish he is, he may have been one of the first black men in Dublin but a more Irish person you couldn't imagine. Despite his mercurial talents he never quite believed in himself, and this was despite playing for the biggest club of them all, Manchester United. He seemed bashful when praised, embarrassed almost, gway outta that I was only alright. And when coupled with an almost crippling shyness what you had was an incredibly unassuming, gentle giant who just happened to be a world-class footballer. But like so many Irish men before him Paul sought to overcome his social awkwardness in the only way we know how, with drink.
Anyone that has read his autobiography will be fully aware of the tumultuous life of Paul McGrath, it's an astonishing read which leaves you in awe of the man. But by the book's end we are left feeling positive about the future, Paul is seeking help, everything will be okay, he won't go the way of Best and Gascoigne, thank God for that. Sadly in the life of an alcoholic nothing is ever that simple. And so it was that Paul hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons again this week: a public-order offence in which he was accused of acting in a “disturbed manner.” His 'punishment' was a day teaching young kids the finer arts of the game in which he so excelled. But more revealing was his excuse for his behaviour, he admitted to using alcohol as a way of overcoming his anxieties. The crazy thing is he was doing that twenty years ago, is this simply a man that is beyond help? All he want is to be sober and the entire country is behind him in that regard. But you can't help but feel you've seen it all before, and that you know how it ends - badly.
COPPERS AND ROBBERS
How is your money jar coming along? Getting nice and full in preparation for Christmas? Come on, don't pretend you don't have one, everyone does. Mine is currently full to overflowing and I badly need to cash in. At the moment I've even taken to pilfering the last remaining 50 cent pieces during the more austere times. The pennies and two pennies? I never go near them, why the fuck would I? The reason I wouldn't is because they are essentially worthless. Oh yes they're occasionally handy when you're in a bind but for the most part they never re-enter circulation once they drop into your pocket. That's right the majority of those little pieces of copper only end up being used in one solitary transaction. They either end up in the bottom of your money jar or back with the bank via one of those handy little money bags. Hardly seems worth the effort to even make them does it?
And when you consider that they cost as much to produce as they are actually worth then it's hard to ascertain why we even have them. Well thankfully they might not be around much longer. You wouldn't usually associate Wexford Town or it's denizens with anything approaching forward thinking but they are currently experimenting a system which dispenses with those pesky little coppers. And should this experiment be deemed a success then they will be officially taken out of circulation (the coins, not people from Wexford). The more mistrusting among us may question this initiative and wonder if it's not just another cunning ploy by our government, they're taking our pennies the bastards! But it is has already been implemented in Holland to great success so we can rest easy. Fuck knows how we'll manage at Christmas without our money jars though.
I'll BE THERE IN A JIFFY
No jobs, no money, no women, no drink, the country is fucked, get out while you can. And many have, emigration is at it's highest since the 1980s and shows no signs of slowing down. Who can blame those who have fled in search of better fortunes? Good luck to 'em, we'll let ye know when it's safe to come back. What this has also meant is the slowing down of the mass immigration that occurred in Ireland during the early part of the noughties. No one wants to come here any more, we're fuckin' skint lads turn back. But on the other hand, thanks to the Gathering (aka; the shakedown) our tourism industry is on the up and up. They're falling over themselves to get here and sample our overpriced Guinness and intemperate weather. Why some of 'em are even paddling over on dinghies, from Dorset.
Yes one American man was so keen to set foot on our fabled land that hetook it upon himself to pop over on a little dinghy, sure 'tis only across the water I'll be there in a couple of minutes. It didn't work out like that though and the poor sod was found floundering in the Irish Sea just a couple of miles off the coast of England. Eventually, after much discussion, he was taken ashore and treated for severe sunburn. Maybe he has Irish roots after all, we're renowned for going a bit mad when the sun hits us. Details of his cargo were unconfirmed but he is believed to have had two flagons of Linden Village, eight luncheon sandwiches wrapped in tin foil, an Ipod featuring the hits of The Dubliners and a six pack of Tayto on board.