The Secret World of the Irish Male by Joseph O’Connor
I remember seeing the title of this book for the first time. It was a moment that will stay with me always. I thought to myself, “I knew it! I knew it wasn’t my imagination!” And then when I saw that Joseph O’Connor was the author I was even more convinced. (Joseph is Sinead’s brother and he wrote Star of the Sea, an amazing, intricate book about an Atlantic crossing of a famine ship.) I guess the title summed up what I had known deep down for quite some time but just couldn’t put into words. So instead of my words, I will let the Irish male speak for himself. Or at least just a few that I have happened to run into along the way.
One time at a “A New and Not So New” meetup at a restaurant on a Wednesday evening.
Me to a newly arrived guest: “Hiya, how are you?”
New guest: “Not so good. I’ve been drinking a bit already and I’m dizzy.”
Me: “Maybe you should drink some water or sit down.”
New guest, for all to hear: “Really? Can you imagine being married to this one!”
Another time when John, a young good looking electrician, came to my apartment to fix the light fixture in the bathroom at 8:00 on a Saturday night – (I know, only in Ireland could this happen.)
John, after a short time working: “I need to go out to my truck to get something. What apartment is it again so I can come back up?
Me: “I’m 49.”
John: “Is that your age?”
Another time in a cab ride with a cabbie who was telling me all about his dating life before he met his wife.
Cabbie – “A lot of the women I met just talked and talked. I was bored to death. To get away, I just said I had to use the toilet and slipped out the back.”
And a few more glimpses into this secret world from a few of my favorite famous Irish males.
From Liam Neeson – “Some mornings you wake up and think, God I look handsome today. Other days I think, What am I doing in the movies? I wanna go back to Ireland and drive a forklift.”
I think it would enjoyable to watch Liam operate a forklift, but I’m glad he’s decided to share his gifts with the world. In interviews he seems like the nicest man you would ever want to meet. I was convinced of this when he said that he still has his wife’s clothes in her closet even though it has been years since her death.
From Colin Farrell – “Being Irish is very much a part of who I am. I take it everywhere with me.”
We can tell, Colin, we can tell. To me you are the quintessential Irish male. And because you are so famous, we have had quite a few glimpses – in fact, maybe too many – into your secret world. Colin was born and raised in Dublin and graduated from the Gaiety School of Acting just across the way from my apartment in Smock Alley. I would be happy if he stopped in tonight to see our class.
From Pierce Brosnan – “Love means that everything is right with the world. Love and only love. Love means that you are content within your own heart and in the presence of the person that you love, who fills your day and makes you stronger and wiser, and gives you the confidence to go out into the world. Love is just the most beautiful, joyous feeling.”
Pierce, like Liam, has also known great personal loss – he lost his first wife Cassandra and Cassandra’s daughter, his adopted daughter, to cancer. He was raised in Navan, County Meath, but his father deserted the family when Pierce was an infant, and then his mother moved to London when he was just ten. In England his nickname was “Irish”. I have adored Pierce since Remington Steel and my favorite Pierce film is The Matador – it’s a tour de force.
From Michael Fassbender – “I’m always interested in trying to investigate different personalities. I want to keep myself guessing and keep the fear element alive, so that I don’t get too comfortable.”
Michael’s father is German and Michael was born in Germany, but his mother is very Irish – she is the great-grand-niece of Michael Collins – and Michael’s home town is Killarney, County Kerry, so for my purposes here he will be another extremely good looking Irish male. I find his quote very inspirational. I’m afraid of fear, but a lot of very talented people seem to embrace it, so I’m giving it a shot. My acting class is indeed a little scary for me, but it is also invigorating. And as it turns out, my acting teacher, Donal Courtney, discovered Michael Fassbender when Michael was just seventeen. As discoveries go, that’s an excellent one. I’m dying to ask my teacher what Michael is really like, but I will control myself.
And lest you think I am only interested in modern-day hunks, I will leave you with this final glimpse – well, at least for now – into the secret world of the Irish male.
From W. B. Yeats – “Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.”
I’ll let you think about that one on your own.
And I’ll save the secret world of the Irish American male for another time. I have to look back at some of my old journals first.