Saturday 1 October 2016

Okay lads – some free advice

Published 15/02/2013 | 06:00

Let's be honest for a moment, shall we, and come out with a clear, definitive statement – Irish men are simply incapable of doing romance.

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It's not that we don't want to (well, there is an element of that, I suppose) it's just that we seem genetically destined to completely bugger up any attempt at a grand gesture.

Usually with farcical consequences.

I remember deciding to surprise my wife the Christmas before last.

She was on a night out with her friends and someone suggested that I turn up as a surprise.

So, I turned up to the club, bought a bottle of champagne in a nice bucket of ice (the bloody thing cost a hundred quid or something ridiculous like that) and then . . . spent the next 20 minutes wandering around the bloody place before I eventually found them all, huddled in an alcove that I kept on missing.

By that stage all the ice had melted and was overflowing from the bucket on to my hands.

And when I did make my grand entrance and announced my arrival to the surprisingly subdued group of women (it's almost like they would have preferred if I hadn't turned up, but that's obviously crazy talk), Mrs iSpy simply went: "Howaya. You know I don't like champagne, can you get me a Diet Coke instead?"

As you can imagine, I reacted to this slur in a calm, rational, mature and sensible way – by going into a monumental huff and flouncing off home.

So take it from me, lads, Valentine's Day is all a scam created by chocolate and card manufacturers.

In fact, if you were to go out and do a grand gesture you would, in fact, be insulting your other half by assuming that they are prepared to buy into the materialistic, manufactured hoax that is Valentine's Day.

And do you really want your woman to be insulted?

No, the best thing to do is simply not to even mention the day that's in it.

You see, I know women and I know they all deeply, deeply resent having a fuss made of them just because it's Valentine's Day so the best thing is to simply do absolutely nowt.

Oh by the way – do let me know how that plan worked out for you.

When you get out of the dog house, that is.

Oh just go away, will you?

She is the single most annoying person in Ireland – and that is surely saying something.

Sinéad O'Connor – for it is she – once tried to get me sacked, and I had a bitter laugh when she became involved in a campaign against bullying – a bit rich coming from a woman with such an awful reputation for bullying herself.

And despite her constant pleas for privacy, she insists on jumping on every passing bandwagon.

The Magdalene Laundries?

Good old Sinéad was straight onto the police – and then the media, obviously – to report some allegation of a missing child and now that the Pope has decided to throw in the towel, she has stuck her oar into that as well.

She says: "Benedict's greatest achievement is this act of retiring. There is a chance now for the Church to be rebuilt."

She has already been 'ordained' by the patently absurd 'Bishop' Michael Cox, so why doesn't she take the next step and join a religious Order?

Preferably an Order which insists on a vow of silence.

Who let the dogs out?

There's a guy who walks a Rottweiler near where I live.

Now, the dog seems fine, and I hate the demonisation of these dogs – but I really do wish the owner would put a muzzle on it.

The problem with dogs that big is that they can do immense damage in the blink of an eye and no matter how much we all love dogs they are still animals that can be unpredictable and need to be trained and controlled.

So I saw with horror the story of dog walker who was out with his Labrador the other day when he was attacked by a pitbull who was without either muzzle or leash.

The pitbull has since been put down but the story enraged me because it wasn't the dog's fault, but the owners.

In fact, it gave me an idea – would it not be more fair to simply put the irresponsible owner down rather than the dog?

Big mouth strikes again

Yes, he cost Utd the title last season (I know it's not as simple as that, but I needed a focus for my rage that day and he fits the bill nicely) and his addiction to Twitter is legendary, but there is a part of me, no matter how grudgingly, that finds Joey Barton (pictured) intriguing.

Like him or loathe him, you must at least admit that he is a more interesting beast than the average footballer.

And yet again he has walked himself into a world of trouble.

He said of Paul Gascoigne's current drink-related breakdown that if he dies he "has only himself to blame".

He then went on to describe those celebrities who are paying for his treatment in rehab as "blood sucking leeches".

This has been condemned by donors such as Piers Morgan and Chris Evans – but I have to admit, I would have had more respect for their argument if they hadn't been so public about their good deed.

After all, charity is a bit like religion – best kept silent.

Your little Timmy ain't so great after all

I suppose it's natural and inevitable but when people become parents something changes.

It's almost like the new arrival is now the most important thing in their life and they can no longer go to gigs with you any more because they have to stay home and look after the kid.

That's obviously a random example and not all directed at one of my friends. Honest.

It's all very selfish of them and rather annoying, to be honest.

But a new study has come out which makes some interesting conclusions – including the fact that constantly complimenting and praising your child is actually counter-productive.

In fact, the study claims that praise leads the child to feel "their abilities are fixed at a higher level".

That translates to mean that your kid will become a spoiled, entitled little brat who doesn't think it needs to do any hard work.

Actually, that sounds like . . . me.

Whoops, I probably shouldn't have started writing this story.

Irish Independent

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