Sunday, 5 June 2011

Why Molly Isn't Dating an Irishman

An idea struck me last night as I sat in a poetry reading with a friend: this blog is called Lit Nerd Around the World. And while I'm sure the literature aspect is very well covered, I haven't really delved into 'around the world.' I do travel quite often and, as in all travels but especially in ones of a college-age traveler, there tend to be a lot of interesting stories that pop up. So, let's give this blog a bit of a revamp: I'll still be writing all my literature reviews (which I am woefully backed up on) but I'm going to add on travel stories. Because, to borrow a phrase, sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.

I think I'll start off this new angle of the blog with one of my favorite stories from one of my first times abroad. I call it: Why Molly Isn't Dating an Irishman.

These are the most important players in all my Ireland stories. I'm third from the left.

When I took my trip to Ireland, I was twenty years old and one of the youngest members of our group. It was a month long class from my college that made a giant loop around the countries of Ireland and Northern Ireland, stopping in major areas and learning about Irish history. While the days were probably my favorite parts of the trip, being a really dorky girl who loves history and stories, the obvious favorite of everyone else were the nights, where everyone had free reign to do whatever they wanted and what they usually wanted to do was go to a pub.

I've never been much for bars or pubs, mainly because I don't drink but pubs in Ireland are different. They're comfortable and really encourage you to meet other people and just enjoy yourself. To my surprise and delight, I found I could happily spend every night in a pub with my friends. And so, most nights I did.

One night, however, I found myself stuck at the hotel. It was about midway through our trip and we were in a small fishing village around Donegal called Killybegs. Although the town was tiny and smelt of fish, it was quite a favorite of the trip because our group was 4/5 girls and the town was 4/5 men.

Killybegs! It's beautiful but smells of fish.

We spent two nights in Killybegs. The first night, my roommate was feeling a little under the weather and asked if I would stay in with her. I informed my friends that I was doing that and spent a very chilly night tucked into my tiny twin bed, reading Friday's Child by Georgette Heyer. When I found them the next morning at breakfast, I discovered that I had missed one hell of a night. My friends had met several men down at the pub and had spent a fun evening being typical young women in the presence of nicely-accented young men. They told me that there was no way I was getting out of going out that night. I didn't argue, mainly because I was curious to see this strange drama play out in real life.

That night, after a tour of an authentic Irish wool shop and some sight-seeing in Donegal, my friends decided they were going to "pretty me up" for the night. I had a habit of not wearing makeup and spending every day in a tee shirt, jeans and a giant sports jacket, certainly comfortable for Ireland in January but not the most attractive look in the world. They had me borrow a top from Nora and did my make up and I was, to be quite honest, a little embarrassed. I wasn't used to this and ended up wearing my jacket the whole night.

Well, the three of us went out and, to their disappointment, could not find the men from the night before. We wandered from pub to pub, finally ending in one down the street from our hotel, where we apparently ran into the least attractive man from the previous night. He found a table for us and bought all the girls a drink. He started chatting up my friend Christina and another man came from somewhere to talk to Claudia. I sat there, blissfully zoning out while my friends were preoccupied when I felt a tap on my shoulder.

I turned around to find possibly one of the most attractive men I've ever seen in real life grinning at me. He said, "Hello, there," in a gorgeous Irish accent. "My name's Shaun. What's yours?"

I managed to squeak out "M-M-Molly."

"Well then, Molly," he said with a big smile, "what are you doing the rest of the night?"

It was midnight at this point, I was the definition of a nerdy A student and apparently terrified of attractive men so I answered in a very high-pitched voice "Probably going back to bed. I have class in the morning."

Shaun, however, would not let my obvious awkward nature deter him.

"Well, my friends and I are going down to the disco around two. Maybe I'll see you there?"

I'm sure sheer terror was in my eyes.

"Yeah, m-maybe."

"I hope I do," he replied, before giving me a wink and heading back to the bar. 

Here is where my propensity for an overly comical reaction wins out: I took one look at my friends, muttered "I'm going back to the hotel" and full on ran out of the pub. I didn't look back, just ran all the way down the street and didn't stop until I was in the hotel lobby, collapsing on a couch and realizing what I had just done. 

I sat there, talking to another trip member who had happened to be down there and trying to make sense of my ridiculous reaction, for a half or hour so before my friends came back and proceeded to tease the life out of me. They did begrudgingly admit, however, that somehow I had attracted the most attractive man of the trip. You know, despite my running away from him.