An op-ed written in record time early this morning for today's Evening Herald...
By SUSAN DALY
I CAME up from the country to meet someone just like Ryan Tubridy. No, really. Someone whose car wouldn’t smell like the inside of a heifer and who subscribed to The New Scientist rather than The Farmer’s Journal.
The pretext of my arrival in the Big Smoke was to find a job. I would send money home to other culchie relatives so that they might be able to pay the traffickers to smuggle them across the Tipperary border and into the Pale.
But really, I was on the hunt for a man. Any man. As long as he had a pulse and a DART travelcard, the passport of the sophisticated suburbanite.
Tubridy knows it – he has just given an interview in which he expounds the firm belief that country girls are less fussy than their city counterparts. “They’d say, ‘Well your man is a bit of an eyesore but he’s good craic so let’s go for him’,” said Tubridy.
Sure aren’t we so stuck for choice in the countryside that we are beside ourselves when we get to the city and there are men everywhere? Big men, baldy men, men with limps, men with tattoos. Pull into Heuston on the train, drop the bag at the new digs (shared with three other country girls called Bridie, Mary and Rosie of course), and head out to grab the first warm body who might buy us a coffee in Bewleys. That’s our idea of romance, and isn’t Maeve Binchy just our favourite author ever?
You might gather that I don’t entirely agree with the new host of the Late Late Show. And if this is his idea of stirring up a debate, we might as well bring back Pat Kenny.
For all his spit-shiny shoes and neat little suits, Tubridy is outing himself as something less than a gentleman. Is he suggesting that country girls are easy? He remembers being ignored by girls in Blackrock College because the good-looking women of south Dublin went for the good-looking guys. (Which makes one wonder if Ryan considered that trying his hand at the average-looking women to be beneath him.)
“But (then) bang into third level and everything changed,” he said. “Why? Because I could meet girls who were not from Dublin and they weren’t as fussy.”
Thank God for country girls, eh? A fish dinner at Burdock’s, a miniature bottle of your freshest wine and we’re yours.
I’m sure Ryan’s new girlfriend, Mayo woman Aoibheann Ni Shuilleabhain, will be absolutely delighted by his appreciation of her easygoing culchie nature. As a former Rose of Tralee, she’s probably the very personification of what Tubbers regards to be the perfect Lovely Girl. I wonder if he asks her to wear her sash for him from time to time when they’re alone.
It’s lucky that he met her when he did. Otherwise he might have had the misfortune to bump into country girls like myself who have had the green rubbed off us by many years spent in the city. It would be a terrible shame to ruin Ryan’s fantasies of our innocent appeal with our demanding ways and cynical expectations.
You would want to hear the things country girls would be talking about these days, Ryan – it would burn your sticky-outy ears (see: a nice country girl wouldn’t have passed a remark like that on an aspect of your appearance).
We’re talking about how we like men to have all their own teeth, an intimate acquaintance with Listerine, and a passing resemblance to Don Draper from Mad Men. At the very least, we expect men to do their best with what they have, keep fit and look after themselves. A bit like Mr Tubridy would expect us ladies to manage our upkeep, no doubt.
It’s not that we can’t be flexible – I’m not holding out for George Clooney to whisk me off to Paris – but make no mistake: we ARE fussy.