Thursday 22 February 2018

Listen, it's okay to be a feminist fangirl

Say cheese: Justin Trudeau poses for a selfie in Dublin. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne
Say cheese: Justin Trudeau poses for a selfie in Dublin. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne
Pogo Fred
Glow
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

I thought I was over that sort of nonsense.

Not since Harvey Kinkle sauntered down the corridor of Westbridge High School in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, or Shane Lynch writhed around in those OshKosh B'Gosh overalls during Boyzone's heyday have I had a schoolgirl crush.

But then Canadian PM Justin Trudeau walks into town with his big, beautiful Canadian head and perfect teeth and I'm laughing hysterically at cheap socks and mishaps with sliotars.

It wasn't just me, mind; the Taoiseach, other reporters, passers-by all giggled and blushed when he arrived at Farmleigh for his early morning tête-à-tête.

He sauntered into the hallway, shook Leo's hand, and spoke about how he had slept like a log.

I deduced all of this when watching the news later; the only thing I had written down in my notebook about that significant first meeting was the word 'face'.

There was a flurry of excitement when they exchanged gifts - with one eager photographer knocking over an antique lamp as he hurried to get a picture.

"Careful," Leo said before hitching up his trousers, Max Wall style, to show Trudeau his Maple Leaf socks.

Outside, I texted my news desk, informing them just how handsome he was.

"Like the Jonas Brother's sexy uncle or a wiser Prince Eric from the Little Mermaid, or a more chiselled and clothed version of Michelangelo's David," I explained.

At this stage, I realised I was smiling so much my face had started to ache.

It was around about then, when all of us were in the middle of a collective blissed-out hazy crush, that the 'Broflakes' started to gets angsty. For those of you unfamiliar with the term; a Broflake - derivative from the term used to describe sensitive millennials 'Snowflakes' - refers to "straight men offended by any activity which is not directly designed for him".

These are the guys posting on Facebook that 'All Lives Matter' or asking if 'there is an International Men's Day?' or 'When is there going to be straight Pride march?'

And if there is one thing they hate, it's suave liberals with a full head of hair and gleaming teeth.

"And you call yourself a feminist?" one of them said when I pointed out how well Trudeau wears a button-down shirt.

Riiight, you know feminists can still fancy people? Those two things aren't mutually exclusive - you don't stop appreciating Brad Pitt's jawline just because you want body autonomy.

"If men spoke about a female politician that way, there would be uproar," was another soundbite.

"Can you focus on his politics and policies - not his socks?"

Like I care about CETA. Besides, it's not the same.

There is a lot more written about female politicians' appearance than males, Theresa May's shoes get more column inches than Corbyn's suits.

What's more, I wasn't focusing on Trudeau's socks, thanks very much. I was focusing on his arse. Get it right, okay?

It wasn't just the Broflakes getting het up though, other po-faced people were tut-tutting about Leo jogging around the Phoenix Park, and rolling their eyes when Trudeau was handed a bodhrán.

It was all so clichéd and cringe, they said. Next, they'll be drinking pints of Guinness in flat caps.

Oh for crying out loud, lighten up nerds!

It was fun, remember that?

Can everyone stop being such a Debbie Downer and just let the rest of us enjoy some good old-fashioned fangirling?

Get ready for the reinvention of the pogo stick... 

It's a curious line of work to fall into - professional pogo-er.

Especially if, like me, you thought that pogo sticks had been left far behind in the 1990s - along with space hoppers, POGs, and Talkboys.

But this week, the world's première pogo stick artist, Fred Grzybowski or 'Pogo Fred' (inset) as he prefers to be known, is in Dublin showing off his best and baddest pogo skills at the Laya City Spectacular.

Among his many other accolades, LA-based Fred holds the world title for bouncing on both the 'shortest usable pogo stick (63cm) and the 'tallest usable pogo stick' (290cm).

Pogo Fred says there is more to pogo-ing than meets the eye; it's not just bouncing up and down on the spot and trying not to crash through your parents' conservatory doors.

"It's impossible not to have fun on a pogo stick," he says.

"Impossible! Which is why they are definitely coming back, the number of extreme pogo artists is growing, it's like BMX bikes. Plus, the annual Pogopalooza festival is getting bigger each year".

Fred will perform in Dublin's Merrion Square at the City Spectacular this weekend, before heading down to the Rebel County.

He joins an eclectic mix of performers including Kobbler Jay - a man who juggles apples while eating them (harder than it sounds), Woody Woodman, a German who dresses up as a sort of giant Pinocchio and wanders around the place, and Britain's Got Talent semi-finalists the Lords of Strut.

The star of the festival though, has to be the Amazing Mr Fish, whose act involves balancing a goldfish on his foot while riding a 10ft unicycle with one leg. "It's not something you see every day," the PR told me. No, I'd imagine not.

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