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Out there: My parents have plans that don't involve me

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Home: Cork city

Home: Cork city

Home: Cork city

I'm home in Cork, which means I have morphed into the very worst version of myself. The type of person who sweeps into the kitchen, flings the fridge door open and barks "what's for dinner?" at my mother. As she lists the homely meal choices, I think 'what, no starter?' and flounce upstairs to examine the sheets on my bed. They feel like Egyptian cotton but I can't be sure of the thread count.

The fact that my parents seem more interested in the arrival of a new compost bin from the Council than that of their only daughter from London is most displeasing, but I don't say anything. Best to bottle these things till Christmas.

To add insult to injury, they are leaving the country for 60pc of the time I am home, which I will punish them for by drinking the good, dusty wine my dad hides in the utility room (no, I have no idea what a utility room is either, other than it's where we keep broken brollies and the fish-shaped pottery ashtrays I crafted as a child). I suggest a family dinner the night before they leave. "We have plans" my mum says. Plans? How vexing. I spend the rest of the day draped across the couch watching costume dramas and getting crumbs everywhere.

When I have exhausted Netflix' classics selection, I offer my mother the chance to feel inferior at Scrabble. She accepts and then beats me by a margin some might call ungentlemanly. I start thinking of the banned items I could mix in their beloved compost as revenge. That cheers me right up.

Once the oldies have been dispatched to the airport, I busy myself with packing for a music festival. The inspiration for my wardrobe is ageing Goth meets Stevie Nicks with a nod to The Royal Tenenbaums. I'm really looking forward to stomping around a field for two days wearing silly outfits and not caring if I spill my drink.

My only responsibility is to collect my parents at the airport at midnight on Sunday, which means leaving the festival a night early, and therefore is unlikely to happen. That'll teach them.

Katy Harrington

 

From nun to net flasher in mere minutes

I thought I had successfully avoided it. I had watched many friends doing the Ice Bucket Challenge on Facebook and sniggered, all the while congratulating myself on my luck.  Be careful what you wish for because two minutes after convincing myself that it wasn't going to happen, it did.

hate photos of myself. I convince myself that I'm just not photogenic and that I look way better than any photos. There's no getting away from a video. Facts are facts. That's how I look and sound. Shite.

I had removed my bra and jumper and put on my friend's tee shirt which was too small and accentuated every nook and cranny, mound and crevice. I took on a nun-like pose, pursed my lips and brought my hands together as if in prayer. Why I don't know.

My mother was pedantic when it came to enunciating your words properly and forced me to 'round' my words and bring my voice down to a low pitch..

"Repeat that sentence, Eleanor and watch the timbre in your voice" As a result of years of this I sound like a man on video.

I did my speech in a man's voice and then when the water hit, I became a babbling psycho. Shouting and cackling in a voice that would have caused my mother to turn in her grave. A wrong side of town cackle. Common even.

And then the tee shirt became see though and people had to rush to cover me up. That's how offensive I looked. So now there's a common cackling half naked older female with a man's voice up on Facebook for everyone to see.

And then the comments came in and an older Swedish guy who is friends with a friend of mine posted a congratulatory comment and my friend's daughters thought they'd have a laugh at my expense and poke him. What does that even mean!? And he poked me back and they poked again.

So now I have encouraged some random stranger who likes nuns who have a penchant for exposing their boobs and talking like a man.

Eleanor Goggin

 

Someone has to tell the emperor the truth

There are all kinds of pitfalls to incipient middle age. Beyond a few creaks and twinges most of us are lucky enough to still be largely functioning physically although time and gravity are friends to no-one. If I was inventing a new world, along with world peace and an end to hunger I'd have zero gravity, just heavy boots, that way your boobs and bum would never sag. You'd need a bra just to keep the bosoms out of your eyes. The underbra.

However time marches on and hair falls out of heads but sprouts out of all kind of weird places, a ronnie isn't enough, apparently I need to brace myself for chin hair? Then there's menopause, male and female, you have to tick the '45 - 60' box on surveys and you lose the ability to dance. It goes on. But by far one of the most insidious pitfalls is the fear of seeming middle-aged. This was the fear behind the cliché of the ould lad with the sports car and the toupée, the same fear drives middle-aged people to take up extreme sports, have one more baby and make panic purchases of any product that promises youth. But the worst is the loss of confidence that leads perfectly stylish middle-aged people to forget their brains and fall prey to fads.

A bit goofy when someone applies teenager make up to a crepey eyelid it's substantially worse when older people lose the confidence to call out crap when they see it. Youthful innovation is vital but a lot of it is daft and in the ever more desperate quest for youth, forty/fifty-somethings are increasingly afraid to appear old or out of touch by pointing out that the emperor is wearing no clothes. Or really ugly ones that do nothing for him, or anyone. The end result is that dopes who know nothing are being put on pedestals they are ill-prepared for and style pages are full of horrible jumpers. Someone needs to stand up and be counted, to scream No to Normcore. It really has nothing to do with age, after all, for every twenty five year old who thinks they're deadly, there's a seventeen year old who thinks they're out of touch.

Aine O’Connor

Sunday Independent