Sunday, 28 September 2014

Men and the travelling woman.

As some of you know, I travel independently. And I don't just mean organising my own flights and hotels, I mean I travel on my own. Without going into detail, it just worked out that way. Now I've got the hang of it, I love it.

But it does raise issues with travelling men. Now, I'm no spring chicken. I've got a bus pass, if you must know. Wrinkles to prove the years of experience. (Botox? Why would it want to do that? I'm getting on a bit. Get over it!)

In most western cultures I enjoy the invisibility of older women. Where youth and wealth are valued we are also-rans. We slink into the shadows, from where we can see and hear much more than you can possibly imagine. There are, I have discovered, advantages to being invisible.

In many Far Eastern cultures older people are revered. Once people get over the fact that many of my contemporaries are already dead, I am treated with great respect. There is always someone to help with the rucksack, or steer me in the right direction if I'm lost. Plus countless young people wanting to practise their English, so I am never without company if it want it. Occasionally a young man will show 'interest' but he knows I have a British passport and he lives in poverty. I try to be kind.

And then there is Ireland. I love Ireland. I love the lakes and mountains, the music and the Guinness. But there I was, tapping my feet and sipping the black stuff, when up came a beery bloke about 10 years younger than me and asked if I was dating!! The first time it happened I just laughed, as you would. Every night, someone sidled up to me, would l like another drink - I often had another half, as the music was wonderful and I needed little encouragement to stay. But what was going on? Just the craic? A bit of fun? That's how I looked at it, though I haven't been hit on like that since I was 16. I confess to being a bit clumsy in the being-chatted-up department.

(I can only assume that many Irish women are chained to their sinks, have taken their intelligence and humour to work in the cities, or have more sense than to go near any of these beery blokes. But I'm guessing - if anyone knows where Irish women are hiding, do let me know.)

The daughters might be pleased to know I haven't come back with a toy boy.

22 comments:

  1. I had to laugh at this post this morning, after watching "I married the waiter" last night on TV....thank goodness you have more common sense than coming home with a toy boy from the Far East! But it's nice to know that you've still got it in Ireland Jo...even if you're not interested!

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    1. Suspect it has much more to do with lack of available women than with my appeal - but hey ho, maybe I shall reframe it and be flattered.

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  2. My clever Irish nieces in the lovely 20s and 30s would not set a foot in a pub with craic and the slightes tourist whiff. They go out in large groups of equally lovely women, late at night, mostly clubs these days where they meet other clever and lovely young men and women. There is quite a gap between a certain type of Irish men - beery blokes, middle aged - and the new generation, especially the women who tend to be way smarter, determined and sophisticated. But this is based on my Dublin crowd. Also remember, you were in THE tourist hotspot, move further into the country, the pubs are closing, the still poor rural Ireland is going silent in front of the internet screens.

    But then, I was picked up by my Irish toy boy 35 years ago in very rural Connemara and no regrets to this day.

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  3. I did see some of the poverty in rural Ireland - I had a car so drove away the usual tourist traps. So glad your lovely nieces enjoy their evenings without beery blokes. And I do take your point about being in Killarney, with is Costa del Ireland (without the sun).

    But maybe I should go loitering in rural Connemara ... now that would frighten the daughters ...

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  4. shame!! I's have liked to see you and a toy boy!! Hahaha. Seriously though... sometimes it is quite nice to be flirted with ...and let's face it, we mature ladies have so much more to offer than the flighty youngsters!

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    1. It would have been more fun if they'd not been quite so beery!!

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  5. Hi Jo. Like Italian men, Irish men feel they have to chat you up. They are the friendliest men I've ever met, but many women prefer to leave the men alone to their drinking. And they certainly know how to drink. But the picture of you and the prospective suitors and the Guinness is a cheery picture! Those Irish know how to live! I can say that as I have Irish roots and adore visiting Ireland.

    Blogging once a week is heaps. I only do more when I have people knocking at my door wanting to be interviewed or whatever or if I take part in a blogfest. Once a week allows me to be more thoughtful about what I post.

    Cheers...or should I say beers...to you!

    Denise

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  6. I don't think I'll be going to Ireland on my own. Years ago, I couldn't sit and read outside because some guy would inevitably start chatting me up - even after the wedding ring appeared. Oh, the joys of being... mature (nice word, Carol).

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    1. You might surprise yourself, Miriam. Even the beery men have their funny side!

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  7. Ooooh, Jo, I was reading faster and faster to get to the juicy bits! I know what you mean about anonymity but you must have got a bit f a buzz from that attention even if the blokes were beery!

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    1. It was such a surprise - and I realised how very out of practice I am at the chatting-up-game.

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  8. It'd be a whole other kind of adventure for you to allow yourself to enjoy the attentive flirting of a boy toy, as long as he isn't TOO beery... (He'd be more than lucky to have YOUR attention, too, ya know!)

    Cheers and beers!

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    1. I'm not above a little light flirting, Susan. But you probably guessed that.

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  9. Maybe you accidentally strayed in to that place in Ireland where all the farmers come looking for wives. :) Or it could just be that all the travelling has been better for you than you realise!

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    1. They were certainly looking for something!! And I'm not sure it was just someone to enjoy the craic with!

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  10. Now I shall know where to go to find a bit of flattery…or O'Flattery if it comes to it. Actually, I would have enjoyed seeing that, Jo, and I can just see you dealing with the chat-up lines with lovely good humour. Beeriness apart, I expect it was rather jolly really…and maybe you aren't as invisible as you thought!

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    1. It was so unexpected, Val - but it won't stop me going back. Forewarned, next time.

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  11. It's a nice feeling that of being chatted up, which you can either laugh it off or take it to the next level. I remember many years ago travelling on the overground to Gospel Oak with my two childre. They were very young at the time and I was taking them to a playgroup. A couple of young Colombian women sat opposite whilst I had my daughter on my lap and my son by my side and held the pram with the other free hand. First there was the eye contact and then the chatter. Of course they didn't know I spoke Spanish. I must say that they were quite "explicit" (let's not go there) That's why they both went beetroot red when I got up and said "Gracias, but I'm old enough to be your (young) dad".

    If you have it, you have it Jo. Sometimes one doesn't know one has it. But it's there, the essence, the spark, the core, the thing that atrract another person to you.

    Now, when are you returning to Ireland? :-)

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Oh I'll be back, I'm sure of that!!

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  12. So there you go, Jo, well done! I went to Ireland when I was 20, landed up in Dungarvan (quite literally because I spun around in circles in front of a map in the tourist office in Dublin and wherever my finger landed when I stopped is where my girlfriend and I went) and had no one chat me up. Not a soul. Quite the contrary, they looked at us like we had horns. I should have ditched my friend, I guess. Maybe I'll wait a few years, go back on my own and try again. I hope my husband doesn't read this.

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    1. Oh do go again!! Maybe we should stand at opposite ends of an Irish bar and watch the other in action!!

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