I had this great idea for a present-tense description of the past few weeks, taking you with me through the highs and lows, but I am absolutely exhausted – again – and have neither the time nor the energy to be creative or funny. Not that I ever am, etc, yeah, the door’s that way, don’t let it hit yer arse on the way out, and all that.
So here’s what happened:
Several unmitigated DIY disasters, including putting in waste pipe, re-laying floor, stink comes from waste pipe, pull up floor to find problem, discover problem lies elsewhere and is completely unrelated to the work I’d been doing, re-lay floor AGAIN – two weeks wasted.
Ancient stop cock = burst water main and no way to turn it off. Had to hammer the pipe in half to stop the mains-pressure cascade through the house. No access from the road to turn it off, had to buy a pipe freezing kit to help replace the stopcock. Pipe freezing kit promised 45 minutes of hold, lasted ten. Result: More high-pressure hilarity, and I no longer have a mobile phone. Here’s a learning I made: unlike the many hundreds of women I have slept with, mobile phones don’t like to get wet. Now I have to buy a new one.
Several disasters, none of which I claim responsibility for. I used to enjoy doing this stuff, you know. Knowing how my house is put together, there’s a comfort in it. This shit from the last few weeks though, it’s put me off for life.
It was Jack’s first birthday, that’s why I was under pressure to get the job done. Each evening I’d get home from work then do kitchen stuff until after midnight. Up again at seven and repeat the process. Zombification.
In the end it didn’t matter. We had no sink on the day of the party, and we survived. Water’s overrated anyway. You become very frugal when you don’t have running water. There was a day or two of whore’s bathing going on in our house – we went through some amount of Johnson’s baby wipes.
Jack’s birthday meant family visiting, which butted up against Linzi’s friends from Ireland visiting, and today her sister arrived up, because she’s looking after the kids for us when we go back to Ireland on Thursday for this wedding. You can see now why the blogging side of things has been a bit slack lately.
After we get back from Ireland, we have another wedding, followed by a christening, before the end of August. You’d swear we had a social life, the way we’ve been carrying on lately. I can’t wait for it all to be over. All this shite is only about half of it, but I’ll only want to hang myself if I go over everything. The main thing is, Linzi and I are still friends in spite of all the muck that we’ve churned up over the last month. Better still, we’re friends who have sex with each other, which is good news for me, and even better news for her.
I’ve been swimming too. I’m up to 30 lengths now. Not bad considering that a month ago it took me half an hour to swim six lengths and I was the closest to death I’ve been since ‘Nam. (Not that ‘Nam. I’m talking about Cornamona, that time with my dad and the fishing rod and the grease. It’s a long story, but you’ve probably already read about it in the papers.) I’m still shit though. If you can imagine tying Stephen Hawking to Christy Brown‘s left leg with a stout length of rope, then firing them both into a pool and saying off with ye lads, a pint if ye can make it to the other side, that’s the kind of flailing you get from me most days.
This wedding next Saturday: did I mention that I’m best man? Well listen: I’m best man at this wedding next Saturday. 300 guests or something mental like that. I’ve never done anything on this scale before, so I’m kind of shitting it. No – I’m fucking petrified. I haven’t even started on the speech (see above, no explanation required), and it’s only now that you’ve read this far that you realise I had an ulterior motive for updating the blog: I need help.
Give me your humour, people. I need to be hilarious without being offensive, risqué without being crude. I sometimes struggle with subtlety, as you’ll know just by reading this. You cunt.
Seriously, any wise words, good lines, or advice of any sort as I hurriedly prepare this speech would be an absolute godsend.
In other news, thank you all for your “what the fuck are you up to?” emails, and I apologise for not replying individually, but…you know. All that stuff. Some of you got Facebook stuff from me too – no, I haven’t abandoned blogging in favour of it, I just had a fit of adding shit to it, like I did with Bebo a few months back. I’ve been on Facebook since Christ was a cub scout, but I never did anything with my profile. Over the last couple of months, a few people asked me to be their friends, so I had a fit of activity the other night and put a bit on my profile. Nowt sinister, like. Sin é. It’s always there if I need it, but I won’t be making much more use of it at the moment, I don’t think.
I’m a nice guy. Always have been. Ask my friends or co-workers to describe me, and I guarantee you one of the first adjectives they’ll use will be “nice”. I’m the guy women can talk to, open up to. I’m like a brother to them, you see. Non-threatening. One of the lads, but also a sensitive bastard. A shoulder to cry on for girls in between fuck-buddies. Oh yes, yes, tell me again about how terrible it is for you being with that guy, I don’t have any feelings for you myself at all. No, of course I’m not thinking about taking you from behind here in the college library, I really am just here for you as a friend.
When the summer of 1999 rolled around, I had lived out my teenage years and was sick and tired of always being Nice Guy Kavvy. By that time, I had somehow managed to bag myself a lovely girlfriend, and was having the time of my life at university. Several months before, a bunch of us got loans and spent a fortune on J1 Visas so we could spend a debauched summer in the US. Though I didn’t know it, and only came to realise it as I thought about this post, I spent the months leading up to that summer working myself up to burying Nice Guy Kav and playing the role of Kav the Bastard with as many
slappers girls as possible.
As soon as I left my tear-soaked girl and family at Departures in Shannon Airport, I was intent on reinventing myself for an America that knew nothing of me. No small-town preconceptions to hold me back because nobody cared where I was from or what I’d done; yes, despite cosmetic pretensions of big-city savoir-faire in the gaping jaws of the Celtic Tiger, Galway was still a small town at heart, a shadowy beast that thrived on gossip and nepotism. Still does. I, though, could be whoever and whatever I wanted, in the land of the free and the home of the slave.
You can’t reinvent yourself overnight. You start small. We sat one warm salty evening on the Boardwalk in Wildwood and all I did was say hello to some girls. Unremarkable, except in my head, where I’d had to work myself up to it for half an hour.
It helped that American girls were so forthcoming. In my (limited) experience, Irish women are painfully reticent in expressing their interest, so I was constantly left uncertain of their desires and motives. Were they into me, or just having a laugh? No such worries with the Americans.
“Damn girl, he is hot! Hey baby!” a girl proclaimed one day as I wandered to work in my gay khaki shorts/jeans shirt uniform. I said nothing, because truthfully, it took me a while to process that it was me they were talking about. Made my day, that did.
You don’t need a blow-by-blow (heh) account – suffice to say that my first six weeks as I-really-don’t-give-a-shite-about-your-feelings Kav was very successful. I two-timed. I even three-timed. I caused girls to argue about me. One of them did that head movement/fingerwag combo that black women do on Ricki Lake. It was fucking brilliant. I was almost cocky.
Then I met Linzi, and she stripped me back to myself with a single look. I felt foolish and vulnerable in front of her, like a man playing himself on stage. I was me but not me. To bring myself to talk to her, I needed the confidence of my new persona, but to get her to like me, I had to be myself. I spotted her on the day she started work on the pier, and found her a few nights later in a club. I was sober, having just finished my shift, but I took the plunge regardless and started chatting to her. I was secretly delighted when she wouldn’t let things go further than a snog.
After she blanked me a couple of days later on the pier, ostensibly because she wanted nothing to do with me, when in reality she was just paranoid because she felt she looked a state, I resolved that if I didn’t say something to her, I’d always regret it. The next time we met, I took her aside and told her I was into her and wanted to see her. I said we only had the summer, so there was no time to fuck about playing games. She agreed. We’ve been together since.
She fell in love with me, and for a while, I was really afraid that she’d fallen in love with someone else. It was exhausting, you see, keeping up the facade. It was a hell of a lot of fun, but it wasn’t me. I didn’t even make it last the full summer, yet somehow, Linzi looked past the farts, the scratching, the burps, the random squawks, the odd habits like readwalking, the unintentional rudeness, the temper, the terrible drunken states I got myself into and had to be rescued out of, the obsession with her arse, all these things she’s managed to accept, and she’s stuck with me. Which is good.
Having spent my teens wanting to be someone else, and then a summer being someone I hardly recognised, I find it odd that these days, in spite of all my faults and worries, I don’t really mind being me. I’ll never set the world on fire, but nice is alright, mostly.
Sit down for a minute, because I have to tell you something shocking.
Comfortable? Good. I don’t want you to collapse. Imagine how thick you’d look at the hospital. “Oh, well, I was reading kav, who is, like, the greatest blogger in the entire fuckin world, and he admitted something so overwhelming in its unbelievability that I fainted and hit my head off the radiator.”
Doctors are a sceptical bunch at the best of times, and, well, I wouldn’t believe that story either.
Here it is: I’ve never been particularly successful with women.
I know, that’s staggering, and you find it hard to believe that someone as incredible in bed* as me would be saying such a thing, but it’s true. I blame the all-boys school I went to for stunting my development. That, and levels of self-awareness so crippling that they’d put the cast of Dawson’s Creek to shame.
There was, however, a brief period back when I was twenty (the age, not the blogging phenomenon) where women, and, if I’m being completely honest, men too, found me absolutely irresistible. Fortunately for me, I happened to meet my future wife in the midst of all this sweaty action, so I’m now able to look back on that time without tainting it with the hollow bitterness of cynicism.
It’s one night in particular I want to tell you about, though. Now, I know women will be reading this and saying “Ara, jaysis, that happens me ten times a night when I go out”, and because of your familiarity with this kind of situation, what follows might lose some of its impact. Just try to imagine it from someone who’s never been anything but the pursuer in any kind of relationship.
It was a dark, stormy night. No, seriously, it was. This isn’t the start of a secondary school essay. Besides, night is always dark.
So, myself and Brian met up for a few pints on this dark, stormy night. We were in our last year of university then, and of course were all jaded and contemptuous of the club scene; having spent the past five years immersed in it, we were now at the top rung of the coolness ladder and so shunned the very clubs we grew up in in favour of quirky little pubs filled with gassy regulars. The same pubs we first started drinking in years before. Perhaps it’s less a ladder than a parabola.
It was one of those good nights where the conversation flows as fast as the booze, and before we knew it, it was last orders and we were still thirsty. Despite our reservations about going to a club to mix with mere undergraduates (yes, we were still undergraduates, but that’s hardly the point, is it) we decided that the GPO needed us to continue the chat and the bevvying, so in we went. We were far too late to get seats, but this was only a wet Tuesday or Wednesday or something, so the club was not exactly heaving.
Halfway through our second pints, I felt a tap on the shoulder, and turned to find a rather attractive-looking young lady. Petite, brown-eyed and brown-haired, she was fixing me with a dazzling smile. Then she opened her mouth, and out popped the thickest, most strangulated redneck accent I’d ever heard.
“I’ve been watching you all night from across the room.”
I swear to God, she said that. How feckin cool is that? In a retro way, of course. Man.
“Well, why don’t you go on back over there and keep watching,” I replied, and turned back to my conversation with Brian.
Heh, not really. I wish I had had the guts to say something that scathing and dismissive, but I’m just too damn nice. All I did was smile and say “sorry, I’ve got a girlfriend”. She was very gracious, and held her head high as she walked back to her seat. I was impressed.
Now, bar one or two less memorable occasions, that’s pretty much the only time in my life I’ve been openly hit on. That said, Linzi says that I wouldn’t know if a woman was flirting with me unless she parted her legs and asked if I wanted to come inside.
What I want to know is, what chat-up lines have you used? What ones have you had used on you? Did they work? I’d especially like to hear from the lads, as this whole “women taking the lead” thing still has the power to shock me. Do it more, ladies! It fills unconfident gobshites like me with a strange feeling, and I’m convinced that, for a little while after that nice girl bared herself to me, I almost felt…attractive.
*power naps, you understand. I’m brilliant at them.