FUNNY, ISN’T IT?
By: Jeanne Charters
Okay, girl friends, if you are single, lonely, heterosexual, and in the market for a hunky-doodle man, I have advice.
Go to the Dingle Peninsula!
As many of you know, I recently was gifted with a trip to Ireland by my four daughters. Cori was flying from Santa Cruz, CA. Stacia, from Boston. Julie, from Raleigh. And Caroline from Albany, NY. I was flying from Charlotte.
We were all supposed to meet up at JFK and fly over to Shannon together on a red-eye, arriving Saturday morning. In a perfect world, that might have happened. But I knew there was trouble when I got to Charlotte and saw a big CANCELLED next to my flight number. The only ones who made the scheduled flight to Ireland were Cori and Caroline, though they were four hours late. After being re-routed through Heathrow Airport in London, I finally got there seven hours late and was never so grateful as when I saw Cori and Caroline waiting for me.
NOTE: In the course of this trip, I was at Heathrow twice and Dulles (in D.C.) once. Avoid these airports at any cost. After going through security four times at each of them, I very nearly missed flights out.
Anyway, Stacia and Julie, flying from Boston and Raleigh, fared even worse than I did. They didn’t arrive ‘til Sunday. Cori, having driven from Shannon to Killarney, lost for most of the drive thanks to jet lag and pesky Irish roundabouts, wisely suggested the three of us chip in to send a taxi over for Stacia and Julie on Sunday morning.
When they got out of that cab, both looked gnarly and exhausted. A quick walk around Killarney and a pint of Guinness worked wonders on their dispositions.
But, back to my point about meeting men. After driving through the beautiful National Park that surrounds Killarney, we headed for the Dingle Peninsula. We had a B & B booked within walking distance of Dingle Town. After many stops to oooh and aaah over the lush countryside and cliff views, we arrived and were greeted by a lovely, smiling Irish woman who took us to our cute little rooms upstairs. We had booked a triple and double room at each B & B we planned to visit.
We cleaned up a bit, put on some lipstick, and headed to a pub. There’s something magical about five American women walking into an Irish pub. Maybe it’s because the Irish love Americans again now that Bush is gone. We were universally welcomed with open arms and hearts.
Here’s a critical part of your “meet men” strategy. One daughter brought four T-shirts along. Four women had asked her to have them signed by handsome Irish men. We called this our T-shirt project. Believe me, if you want men to flock to you, come up with a T-shirt project of your own. After dinner, the girls asked our waiter to sign. When I commented that I didn’t find him all that handsome, I got a scathing lecture from my girls about looking beneath the surface for character.
Jeeze…I thought this was all about cute!
I was on antibiotics for a bad flu and pooped out early that night, feeling lousy and feverish. Fortunately, Julie walked me back to our B & B with a head lamp. Otherwise, I’m certain I’d have fallen from the narrow, unlighted bridge that wound along Sleahead Drive and would have probably been washed out to sea, delirious and screaming for an aspirin.
At breakfast the next morning, my girls proudly displayed the T-shirts, now sporting five signatures. We scored a sixth when we laid eyes on our B & B lady’s scrumptious husband.
We drove out to the tip of the Dingle that day and found a pub where the men only spoke Gaelic, the Irish language. Until they heard about our T-shirt project. Then, suddenly, their English was perfect, with just a touch of brogue to spice it up. Score!!
Our second night in Dingle was even better. We followed our ears to the best music in town and ended up in a fabulous pub. I was feeling much better now and even joined the band for “Danny Boy.” No, I wasn’t drunk. I like to sing… especially in places where nobody knows me.
By this night, we had developed what became our regular pub behavior. We’d walk in together, separate, talk to people, and then, bring all our new friends together to sing and dance. Caroline, my youngest, and the only single among us, won the trophy for best catch.
Oliver was French, 23 years old, and handsome as a young George Clooney. We had a quick committee meeting and agreed to suspend our “Irish only” T-shirt rule for Oliver. He signed. Not only was he handsome (well, look at the picture) but he was one of the nicest, smartest young men I’ve met in a long, long time. I think this time, though, I was the only one considering character.
One of our new friends, a married woman from Dublin said, “I’d smother me mother for a shot at Oliver.” Her husband just shook his head and smiled.
When we said adieu that night, Caroline had stars in her eyes. If Oliver ever comes to visit her, as he wants to do, he may get a jolt when he sees Corey, her 15-year-old son who’s about 6’2” and built like a half-back. She told Oliver she was divorced and had two sons, but nothing was mentioned about said sons’ ages.
We left the Dingle Peninsula with great sadness. Funny, isn’t it, but we quickly recovered in a pub the next night in Kenmare. Again, our strategy—divide and multiply and scout for the T-shirt project—worked its magic.
Cori, Stacia and I (who were leaving a day later than Julie and Caroline) ended up getting stuck in County Clare for an extra four days after Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast of America. In order to save money, we found a great hostel where we could cook some meals. Best of all, we made good friends with a Moroccan woman and her Irish husband who ran a café where we enjoyed strong Persian coffee each morning. If you ever get to Ennis in County Clare, Ireland, be sure to visit Café Argan.
The couple, Fatima and John, invited us to their home for a fabulous dinner to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Beautiful people with a six-year-old daughter, Ayah, who speaks four languages. Our Muslim-Christian discussion was an education in understanding for all of us, I think.
So, remember… if you’re feeling lonely and want to meet men, go to Ireland. Specifically, head for the Dingle Peninsula. And don’t forget those T-shirts.
Jeanne Charters is a writer, wife, mother, grandmother and happy faux Southern lady since moving to Western North Carolina nine years ago from New York. Her book funny, isn’t it? is a collection of her favorite columns and makes a great gift of laughter for you or a friend. The book is available at Malapropos, Mountain Made Book Store in the Grove Arcade, or at jeannecharters.com. Jeanne recently completed her second novel and resides in Asheville with her husband, Matt Restivo. Contact her at email@example.com