Sunday 10 February 2008

Yikes, it's a tiger in sequins and fake tan (and she's forgotten her tablets)!

Here's the first line from an article in today's Irish Independent.

Irish women are slowly drinking themselves to death in the comfort of their own homes -- sipping bottles of extra-strong wines as they sit in front of the television.

I was in a large suburban pub last night. The age range was very wide, from 18 to 75, and thoroughly mixed. The bizarre thing was that there were a few groups of young women dressed in tiny sparkly dresses and spindly sparkly sandally stilettoes, tremendous quantities of cleavage on display, bare legs, mucho make up, and there was even one gal who seemed to be inspired by the Pussycat Dolls' dominatrix routine, but with Irish Dancing style dyed black ringlets. She got 'em going on the dancefloor, I can tell you. But I was making my escape when that got started.

There's something really odd to me about dressing up like a drag queen to go to your local pub on a saturday night. But this is part of the Tiger legacy over here. The above mentioned newspaper is always going on about how rich the Irish are, and certainly, there's employment, and drinking money, and houses being built and extensions on houses being built. And there's money, there's no doubt about that. But I think that for most people, it's about dressing up like you're expecting the paparazzi to show up and snap you as you fall out of the pub/your dress/your mind at 3 am. There seems to be a lot of hope in it. Hope with boom, despair with bust, of course. But everybody's trying really hard to be sexy in Ireland, at the moment. They'll do just about anything to be sexy. And in Ireland, at the moment, sexy is defined in streetwalkin' drag queen terms.

I lived in Denmark for three and a half years, where of course everybody looks like a supermodel and nobody wears make up (except the actual drag queens, because SOMEBODY has to have glamour). They're not outrageously rich over there, but the minimum wage is twice what it is in Ireland, and they have a decent health, education and social welfare system for their extra 10% tax. Of course they're all suffocated by their comfortableness, so that's another story.

There was a Mr. and Mrs. style quiz on The Late Late Show on friday night. Three couples answered questions like "What do you think your girfriend would name a baby, if it was a boy: Evan, Sean, or Justin?" in order to win a customised marquee wedding and honeymoon in Capetown, to the value of €35,000. This is what people are paying for their pageboy-scattering-organic-rose-petals weddings these days. And that's just the cheap, common or garden variety version. People save up for years so they can afford to get married. Just to have the day.

As I write, an old woman has been carried out of her jazz brunch in this fancy hotel, to languish on the couch in the lobby. She has forgotten to to take her pills this morning. The French Maitre D' has brought her a glass of water. They're calling her doctor.

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