News Billy Keane

Friday 19 September 2014

Not only did he want to marry my mother, but he wanted to take the pub as his dowry

Published 12/05/2014 | 02:30

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Billy Keane and his mother Mary ouside The John B Keane Bar in Listowel. Domnick Walsh/Eye Focus

The old boy stood in front of our pub and pointed up at the mounted lettering. "My name will be up there soon." he said. The man was a suitor for the mother and he had no chance of success. I'll go further. He had no chance whatsover.

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Not only did he want to marry the mother but he wanted to take my pub as well as part of his due dowry. "Look," I said to him, "you can marry the mother but you'll have to sign a pre-nup."

He had a better chance of prising the queen away from Prince Philip. I was very much aware that customers are a valued commodity in the pub business right now but I couldn't help myself.

It could have been some sort of a variation of the Oedipus complex that broke out in me but there was no way I was going to call him Dad. There's this lady of indeterminate age whom we have often referred to here as "the woman who hasn't had sex in 37 years".

It seemed to me like a perfect fit but the randy suitor didn't bother with her. He had it very bad for the mother. She was somewhere around the 80 mark back then and the oul' lad was about six or seven years older.

So I got to thinking. And the question I was asking myself is, what age do men lose the mind for women? I put this one to a 90- something-year-old. "Ask me in 10 years' time," was his defiant reply.

Then the mother was on TV twice in the past few weeks and a man from the midlands who never met her wants to marry her off the television. He proposed by letter and in the old-fashioned way. He asked me for my mother's hand.

I was going to write back that he could have her bad hip instead. The mother insisted, though, that he be treated with respect.

I turned him down for her with a polite but firm reply. What I would really have loved to write was will you ever feck off and stop trying to rob my mother off me. He put a bar of chocolate in with the marriage proposal letter. Fruit and nut. The mother refused to eat it in case it would be interpreted as giving him some sort of encouragement. Not that he would know. For the record I ate it for her, even though the mother instructed me to send it back.

I'll tell her the paper didn't come in this morning as the delivery lorry was punctured or the piece was spiked by the lawyers or a lover of literature, so don't go telling her now.

She'd probably find out anyway. My mother should have been a PI. She loves investigating things. The continuing investigation into the detection of the toilet paper thief has taken a new twist. There was a roll stolen from the gents on Saturday night. Up until now we thought the thief was a woman. Or at least we think the thief was a woman because the paper was stolen from the ladies. This is a serious development as we can hardly put CCTV cameras in the toilets.

Now she wants me to get involved in the investigation. As if it's not bad enough to have to be on the look- out for horny octogenarians showing off to the mother by riding bikes with no hands up and down the road outside the front of the pub and trying to seduce her by sending on bars of fruit and nut in the post.

I'm going to sue Viagra, Ciallis and any other tablet that makes old men young.

There was a great order in the world when men retired gracefully from the fray after years of service. It's like giving past-it footballers flying feet.

There's a man whose most earnest wish is to grow old gracefully and he told me lately he has no interest whatsoever in the other thing, which is what we call sex in Kerry.

Sometimes, some of the people who read this column ask me if all this stuff really happens. It does, it does. In fact there are occasions when I have to leave out true stories because the tales are beyond belief. I've lost track of the amount of people who have asked me if the woman who hasn't had sex for 37 years really exists.

The improbable and shocking story of the man who lost interest in sex is true.

I asked him if he might try out the Viagra. His heart, so far as we know, is in good nick and I couldn't see any harm in his putting up the bit of scaffolding, but he was a conscientious objector who would not interfere with the natural decline in sexual function.

"I'll take my baten," he said.

But then again, could you blame a man for wanting to extend his sex life well into the golden years? There might be a dividend, too, for his partner... or maybe it might be that she'd like a bit of rest.

An old man is as much entitled to a bit of the other thing as a young man.

I have no problem at all with the notion of eternal lovemaking. But stay away from my mother. She only ever loved the one man and even though he's no longer with us her fidelity endures.

Irish Independent

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