Belfast Telegraph

Error of judgment isn't private for long in this social media age

By Suzanne Breen

Drunken debauchery, nudity, and sizzling scenes of a sexual nature unfolding on the streets - you'd be forgiven for presuming it was Magaluf at 5am at the height of the summer season.

But think again. The X-rated action is a lot closer to home.

This is quiet, sedate Comber at 5pm on a crisp autumn afternoon. The cool conditions aren't stopping two apparently intoxicated women strutting their stuff. They strip off and simulate sex on a table outside a pub. A two-minute video of their shenanigans has become an internet sensation.

Sexy and sophisticated it is not. This is an embarrassing and undignified escapade and the last thing that any town in Northern Ireland would want to hit the headlines for.

I'd be the first to raise a glass to women behaving badly for the right reasons. But this isn't a leap at liberation, it's just tediously tacky.

Why does getting drunk for the Irish and British so often mean making right eejits of ourselves in public?

The French, Spanish and Italians manage to imbibe alcohol without stripping off and flashing their bits in the faces of passers-by.

And it's a tad disconcerting that it's always inebriated women running around naked while a fully clothed man, as in this case, is standing by with a mobile phone filming them.

The rise of social media means that you can't now make a mistake and move on discreetly. It's not just kept among friends. It's recorded and put online, and that moment of madness is laid bare to a global audience.

Of course, flashing and 'mooning' to the camera was only a bit of a lark for the red-haired woman in the bright pink knickers and her mate. They're having a right old chuckle as they cavort around the streets.

It's hardly a hanging offence. Unless teetotal, we've all had a morning after when we've wondered why on Earth we did that hugely embarrassing thing while under the influence - sent that text, made that unsolicited declaration of love, or told somebody exactly what we thought of them.

But social media today means that an error of judgment no longer remains private. It's online for potentially millions of people to view.

Imagine having to do the school run knowing half the world has seen you prancing around drunk in your underwear?

I'd reckon the two women involved definitely didn't want to become legends in their own lifetimes for this sort of stuff, and they're now mortified that they've been catapulted into household amateur porn star status.

There are other ways to make a name for yourself, and next time I'm sure they'll be drunk and disorderly indoors without a camera in sight.

We also must spare a thought for local Alliance MLA Kieran McCarthy who, along with other members of the Comber Public Realm Steering Group, is trying to attract more visitors to the town for the right reasons.

Unfortunately, the type of tourists he doesn't want could well be winging his way. Move over Prague and Amsterdam. Stag parties of rowdy males could he heading to our shores - attracted by the lure of the wild, wild women of Comber.

Belfast Telegraph


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