Thursday 26 April 2018

Watching a middle-aged Sinead O'Connor on TV made me just cringe

Justine O'mahony

IFELT a sort of empathy with Sinead O'Connor last week when she went on The Late Late in a desperate bid to find a man. I know she's a bit bonkers and her fashion sense leaves a lot to be desired (whoever let her out of the house with that haircut is no friend of hers let me tell you). But she's a good laugh and I bet you anything she'd stand her round on a date.

What she sees in Ryan Tubridy however is beyond me. On the few occasions our paths have crossed, he has been very charming in a public schoolboy kind of way but he strikes me as being a bit pompous and I could never date anyone who weighed less than me.

Of course this is all hypothetical seeing as I have a man already and plan to hold onto him for another while. But the whole Sinead O'Connor debacle has made me re-evaluate how I interact with the opposite sex now that I'm approaching middle age (all right all right, have approached.)

Watching Sinead flirt unashamedly with Ryan made me cringe into my pinot grigio and shout at the telly to have some self respect. 'You're a middle-aged woman like myself for God's sake.'

Therein lies the crux of the matter. You see I've always been a bit of a flirt. In fact back in the day, I was a dirty big flirt as any of my friends would testify. Which is grand.......when you're twenty something. There was many a time flirting worked to my advantage when trying to win someone over or soften them up. What I lacked in cop on I usually made up for in my flirting ability!

However when you're forty something, flirting is something one just doesn't do. Probably because you need to be young, nubile and attractive for it to work in the first place. What is perceived as a cheeky little wink when you're in your twenties is seen as lascivious and randy when you hit middle age.

And yet I still find myself flirting with the opposite sex when I'm in their company, because I'm not really sure what else to do. I'll flirt with a ninety year old or a nineteen year old, I'm not in the least bit discerning. I can't seem to help myself. The only problem is, I don't seem to be yielding the same results as I did 20 years ago.

I interviewed a young man last week in the course of my job. A fine thing he was, and probably young enough to be my son. Yet there I was dangling one leg over the other, giggling like a simpering idiot and touching his arm for no apparent reason.

He looked slightly amused initially then mildly alarmed. I kissed him on the cheek when saying goodbye. Would I kiss a woman if I was saying goodbye? Of course I bloody well wouldn't. Does that make me a dirty 'oul wan?! Probably!

What Sinead and I need to learn is how to grow old gracefully. We're no spring chickens anymore, even if mentally we think we're 16. When you hit forty, you're not supposed to talk about sex (you'll be lucky if you're still doing it!), use bad language, or drink too much. You're supposed to just be elegant, poised and dignified - at peace with yourself and all that rubbish.

I suspect Sinead may want to grow old disgracefully. Me? I tend to lean towards acceptability. I've a way to go but if my flirting must come to an end then so be it. Wasn't having much joy anyway!! The last time someone whistled at me it was to tell me the train was about to leave the station!

God be with the days......