I don’t know how often I’ve been disappointed to meet young Irish men who have flagrantly shed their ties to Irish culture. How many Limerick men I have met who have never heard “Shanagolden!” I can count on one hand the Irish men I’ve met who play traditional Irish instruments, watch performances of Irish plays, attend the local county dinner dances or even watch Gaelic Football games.
We often talk about how the number of Irish in Woodlawn is dwindling, but sometimes it seems like the ones who are here are deliberately but avoiding the opportunity to preserve their heritage here.
And finally, the Irish male makes no secret about referring to American-born people as “narrowbacks” and “yanks.” A favorite conversation topic for the Irish male is deriding Irish Americans for what they perceive as their weakness, stupidity and foolish behaviors. All this, in spite of the fact that he says he’d like to live in America (and then raise his children as Irish Americans!).
Perhaps the Irish American male takes a beating in the polls when pitted against the Irish lads.
Irish American women who love to laugh and talk find that Irish-born men have a natural comfort level that makes them seem at home in any given situation. They find the Irish American man a bit harder to talk to, and someone who expects a woman to entertain him. He intimidates easily and for all the eggshells he would have a woman walk on to maintain a relationship, it might seem easier not to bother with him at all.
Irish-born women seem to like the laid back nature of the Irish American man, as they prefer to take the lead in conversation and appreciate a man’s sensitivity.
All that being said, maybe you’ll be lucky to find the date of your dreams without his ethnic peccadilloes coming in to play at all. But otherwise, you and your girlfriends might prefer to recharge your batteries with a Barnes & Noble night before delving in to the fray once again.
Originally published in the Irish Voice June 18, 2008.