Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Why women enjoy singles nights more than men

Gerry Anderson

Last week, a Belfast cinema cancelled its first singles night due to lack of interest from certain quarters.

But let the women remain blameless. The organiser was heard to say that she could have sold her female tickets twice over whereas the male response was sluggish. She should have talked to me first.

In a previous life I ran a number of singles nights (albeit in venues where drink was, well, on tap) during the course of which I learnt a great deal about Northern Irelanders in search of a mate.

Firstly, women regard singles nights as just another night out and show up in groups of two, three and often more. They commandeer a table, order a rake of drink and wait for the men to come at them — all in all, a bit of a laugh.

On the other hand, men take the game infinitely more seriously and mostly turn up alone — solitary hunters.

You see, two men going to a singles night together might risk the lash of Iris Robinson’s confused tongue.

And therein lies the problem. The women sit happily chatting whereas the men sullenly prop up the bar and drink heavily.

My first singles nights attracted a wide age range, from those in their 20s to wrinkly sixty-somethings. Perfect, I thought, the 30-year-old men will chat up the 25- year-olds, and the 50-year-old women will be attracted to the 60-year-old men, much as nature originally intended.

How was I to know that a drunk 60-year-old man sees no reason why a 20-year-old girl shouldn’t find him irresistible. A pattern emerged.

When the elderly men at the bar felt sufficiently fuelled up, they stumbled towards the youngest girls they could spot through rheumy eyes. When inevitably rebuffed, only then did they head for the older women sitting at the tables, invariably crashing into other tables on the way, often spilling valuable drinks belonging to the innocent.

As a result, our last singles night was attended by 60-year-old women and no men. These fine women talked, drank, jived and enjoyed themselves immensely

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On the radio recently I foolishly claimed that I now speak Ulster-Scots, having learnt all five words of its vocabulary.

As a result many people irately directed me towards a book called The Hamely Tongue by James Fenton — self- described as a personal record of Ulster-Scots as it is spoken in Antrim. It’s really a dictionary containing the words we’ve heard all our lives without really understanding what they meant.

I never knew what possessed my granny when, for no apparent reason, she uttered sudden shouts of Jaimery! Jakers! Godscursed! Great Goch! Jing! Loshins Amighty! Lawney! And, lastly, Jinkers!

I know now that they were all watered-down references to the Saviour — oaths if you like. They’re all in the book ... look them up for yourselves.

And before I lose the bap entirely, I have to say that whether you’re blattered, blarged, blocked or blootered, whether you’re a ganch, a bisom, a glipe, a fly footer, a gorb, a halion, a lig or a midden, whether you’ve just hirpled in the door oxter-cogged and drooked, with clabber on your gansy, rest assured that you’ll always find in Ulster-Scots Ulster, either abin or fernenst you, a tarnisher of a styachie to bebble down your thrapple.

And, on the other hand, not brekkin’ your discoorse, if you’re the kind of asheypet that prefers a bing of beestins, don’t get yourself in a hitterpush. Just houl your wheest and ask the nadger for a sope of the craiter. Bumfle up and read this book, if you can thole the twang.

I feel better now

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And finally, tucked away in the remote corners of our national newspapers this week lurked the news that small bars and restaurants in Germany will be exempt from smoking bans after a court ruled that the law threatened their existence.

Who would have thought that, of all people , the Germans would bend the law to facilitate smokers? They bent it because it was stupid not to do so.

It’ll never happen here. We have our own little Hitlers.

But, then again, we haven’t the wit to build the Mercedes-Benz or BMW either.

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