Saturday 1 October 2016

Summer nights learning to fly the virgin nest

Lay of the land

Fiona O'Connell

Published 21/08/2016 | 02:30

'Back when country towns boasted not only shops, post offices and Garda stations galore, one soaking wet Sunday night saw him cycling to its cinema...' Stock photo: Michelle Cooper Galvin
'Back when country towns boasted not only shops, post offices and Garda stations galore, one soaking wet Sunday night saw him cycling to its cinema...' Stock photo: Michelle Cooper Galvin

The season is no longer sprightly - despite the juvenile robins, blackbirds, sparrows and crows fluttering around the bird feeds in my backyard. For summer is slowly dying - like the bumblebees that I sometimes find lying flat out on pavements around this country town. They can often be revived by carrying them to the safety and sustenance of nearby flowers.

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Though all these birds and bees remind me of the x-rated conversations I used overhear when I travelled by bus to and from the big smoke. Two girls sitting behind me on one particularly lustful trip giggled and gossiped the entire way about a certain derelict cottage where they would go to canoodle with their respective Romeos.

However, shacking up in old shacks for shenanigans is nothing new, as an older country boy reminded me recently. Back when country towns boasted not only shops, post offices and Garda stations galore, one soaking wet Sunday night saw him cycling to its cinema in the torrential rain. All because "a certain wan had given me the eye the previous Sunday night!"

His motive wasn't catching that week's offering of Calamity Jane - but rather the casting off of "the much-jeered stigma of my virginity. It was to be many years before I'd discover that my mates talk was so much bull dust - and we were all in the same boat."

Given his goal, it's no wonder nerves got the better of this brazen bucko as he approached his destination. So he "nipped into Molly Bulger's pub, and had a few snifters of Paddy - to which I was also a complete virgin!"

Thus fortified, he and his mot went to the movie, where he "made a reasonable fist of things by offering her a tuppenny Dinky bar - to which she graciously assented. I was on my way! Further progress was made at the interval, when an ice cream wafer was purchased from Nosey Kennedy. It was accepted - like the Dinky - with a shy, or coy smile."

Those were the days when the National Anthem was played at a film's finale, after which they started home. When they reached a barn - aka the intended boudoir - the virile virgin paused, pretending to adjust his bike chain. Then he asked his date if she would "perchance dally a while in those romantic environs". To which she replied with "a subtle pressure of the fingers - and I knew a certain Bob was definitely my good new uncle".

So up into "the sweet-smelling hay" the courting couple climbed. Where the flirty fellow pondered "what would Clark Gable do, in these circumstances? Or Gregory Peck?"

Unfortunately, "the dropeens of Paddy were catching up fast!" Next thing he knew, "daylight was peeping in - and my bird had flown! I was mortified, as she spread the tale about what a loser I was!"

Happily, cupid took pity on this chancer. The learner lovers met up again and "this time, things went a lot better" - leaving this country Casanova as fully fledged an expert as the birds and bees.

Sunday Independent

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