I often get asked how I met my husband and instead of turning it into a successful, drawn out TV show, I will tell you here as briefly as I can.
The year was 2003 and I was 27 and dramatically pessimistic about my love life. I had been single for years and long enough on the dating scene to realise that all the decent men were in a relationship or gay or pretending to be neither. I could write quite a bit about my wilderness years but I am aware that my kids could read this one day and I would like them to hold on to the beatific image they have of me. I would lament in the early hours of the morning in the pub (the goblet) about my single status and cry into my insurance (last) order of two double vodkas that I’d never meet anyone. I would then go home and watch re-runs of Sex and the City and think I was SO Carrie even though I was watching it from the box room of my Mam and Dad’s house in my late 20s and I owned 5 pairs of shoes with a combined worth of €50. Sometimes I’d force my cousin Jen to come into Leeson Street for insanely priced wine and my needy company. Everyone would say “it’ll happen when you least expect it!” But for fuck sake I was always expecting it. I grew up watching John Hughes movies and the toothy redhead (Molly Ringwald) would always live happily ever after with the man of her dreams at the end; why wasn’t he standing outside my window holding a ghettoblaster aloft in a trenchcoat? (technically not Molly but would handing me his diamond earring work as well image-wise?)
I decided a holiday was needed and my friend and work-colleague Yvonne wanted to come so I rang a travel agent and asked about Tunisia or somewhere cheap and exotic and she asked had I ever been to Turkey? I said no because I was afraid they might chop my hand off for stealing bread (a strange scenario, I know… I think we smoked a lot at the time; not entirely sure as my memory has a lot of holes from this time; can’t think why). She assured me it was safe and more importantly cheap so I booked 2 tickets for early May for a week.
We arrived late in the evening and decided we’d have dinner in the hotel and an early night but drink was ordered and we both have a bit of madness in us so we got a taxi and I asked could he drop us in the middle of everything (I’d just read the Madonna biography) and he dropped us at Jimmy’s bar. We took a walk down one of the streets and were accosted to buy everything, shopkeepers were shouting spice girls at us and I smiled smugly knowing I was Geri. I was wearing a Counting Crows baseball type top and a flowy skirt and I’m not ashamed to admit that I was not at my optimum weight due to an extravagant and lazy lifestyle (a bit ashamed).
We somehow ended up in a leather shop and were escorted to Jimmys Irish Bar like the naive fresh chickens we were. Shots were ordered and I was afraid to divulge that I have a bad gag reflex. I tried to do the shot, I kept swallowing and grimacing and made my excuses to go to the loo where I seeped some vom through my fingers and on to Adam Duritz’s face enroute. I removed the top and put it in my gypsy bag.. I had a vest top underneath… this story is making me dislike myself.
Anyway I got back to the bar and saw a guy standing there that literally took my breath away. He was so tall and gorgeous and was wearing a long, grey cardigan with pockets (my badly dressed soul-mate). I turned to Yvonne that was now stuck into the barman (in all connotations) and said “I’m going to marry that guy” She glanced at him and said in her thick Galway accent “well send him a beer then”. I was shitting, I had never bought someone a beer… well maybe not while that sober (the puke had cancelled out the last 5 drinks). I sent a beer over and he tipped it at me in the international gesture of “thanks and I am so fucking chilled and hot that this is a normal occurrence”. Yvonne then gave me a shove in his direction and I can’t remember much of our conversation bar I had to write my name down phonetically and say it possibly 75 times before he could pronounce it… I’ve had worse with telesales guys from Northern Ireland to be honest.
We got a booth and discussed important issues such as our favourite colours and star signs. I talked and talked and thought “this guy is a seriously good listener”. He later told me that he hadn’t a breeze what I was shite-ing on about so he just nodded and went along with me. We had a little kiss and I was completely in love. Every night when he finished work in a DVD shop around the corner at about 1am he’d meet me in Jimmy’s and my heart would be on the point of explosion when I saw him. Liberty Xs version of -Aint nobody and Eminem’s Lose Yourself mixed with Punjabi MC were the songs I remember from this time (not ideal first dance material). Me and Yvonne would swim in the pool during the day and say that if Carlsberg made holidays this would be it! The week was coming to an end and we were not ready to leave (Yvonne had met someone also). What were we to do?
To be continued…