Look what came out of the cupboard
Bertie's predecessors as Taoiseach would never have sold themsleves out so shamelessly, says Cathal MacCarthy
How do we define the concept of 'class' or 'classy'? As a style icon for the 40-something, darts-and-lager, elastic waistband set, I am often asked how I manage to achieve that indefinable air of classiness and style that buzzes around me like flies on a summer meadow cowpat.
I always reply that it is a matter of allowing people to be your friends without trespassing into over-familiarity. I tell them that keeping a little distance goes a long way to being classy. If you want to pull the chicks, just pull that slightly bored, cold-eyed expression. Because, as Warren Beatty never told me: all the girls want to screw inscrutability. Of course, the handiest way of knowing whether something or someone is classy is by simple comparison. We wouldn't know what Jordan is if we didn't remember what Audrey Hepburn was. I stopped agonising about the state of Limerick immediately after the first time I visited Paris. What was the point? What the hell difference did it make after I'd seen what the real standard was?
People will say that this comparison malarkey is just a shortcut. They'll say that we should be able to arrive at free-standing definitions of all these kinds of concepts ourselves. It's a free country, I suppose. It's up to each of us. Personally, I find the comparison method fairly infallible in terms of telling you whether something is classy or not.