It’s not always easy being young, Irish and single in the city, but Rachel Shearer is giving it her best shot. Starting this week, Rachael will fill us in on life as an Irish college grad looking to make her mark in New York on the professional and romantic fronts.
We all know that Americans love the Irish – that’s nothing new. They want to hire us, give us free drinks, talk to us about how “Irish” they are – the list goes on. Remarkably, some of them even want to date us.
At the ripe old age of 24 I came to New York City last year in search of purpose, direction and hope of a career beyond serving breakfast. Any romantic intention was shelved in place of several means of employment in a desperate attempt to distract from matters of the heart which had become a troublesome topic.
Throughout college, it is safe to say, I dabbled. As much as it pains me to admit, I have been called a serial monogamist and often ridiculed for my seemingly endless stream of boyfriends – a habitual state I never questioned until one day, my best friend announced: “You get over boyfriends like an alcoholic gets over a hangover.”
Immediately embarrassed and concerned about my lack of identity independent of my significant other, I decided to take action – and engage in a secret relationship.
Friends presumed I was single the entire time and congratulated me on this giant leap forward in personal growth. Of course, in the minuscule pond that is Dublin City, the secret soon began to leak and my new-found image was destroyed.
Coming to New York, I was determined to reestablish myself as a strong, independent woman who didn’t need a boyfriend to depend on – which I still firmly believe I never have, however naïve that may be.
Admittedly still entirely hung up on said secret man at home, I decided that this summer I will embrace single life as an explorative adventure rather than a state of premature spinsterhood.
This winter provided a long, dark and barren wasteland of nothingness for the Irish female contingent (I speak only for myself and close friends – sorry, girls) so we have banded together with encouraging words of promise and success, and have planned an entire season of dates, flings and presumable hilarity as we break free from the constraints of self-inflicted gloom.
A large part of this comes from our male competitors. While we have sat around drooling over pictures of Michael Fassbender gorging on every flavor of Ben & Jerry’s that the U.S. has to offer, the boys have been parading around the streets of New York with several women on each arm, smoking cigars and tipping their hats to each other like bonny old cads.
It may seem like I’m exaggerating, but the truth is, American women love Irish men (boys) and Irish women do not love American men (boys).
Our lads are lapping up the attention, flaunting their rouge locks, ruddy cheeks and mucky accents while us ladies get little more than the “OMG, you’re Irish!” conversation starter and we run screaming.
Having recently joined the Tinder brigade with the usual stream of excuses along the lines of “It’s just a joke” – but with the actual purpose of journalistic experiment – I have encountered a similar ordeal.
My bio tells the masses that I am Irish and can speak fluent Gaelic (lie) to see what riveting conversation will be provoked. Needless to say, any match (I’ll claim hundreds – there were far less than that, and even less who actually spoke to me) burst onto my screen with that over enthusiastic “OMG, you’re Irish!”
I engaged out of curiosity (vanity) but quickly grew bored when Chad rattled on about how he had traveled the whole country three times over, or how Brad didn’t speak Irish but was “fluent in the language of whiskey.”
One ridiculous attempt opened with “Finnegan’s Wake… have you read it? Because I have.” Excuse me while I die.
One even went for “You are not Irish! I’ve seen Irish girls, and they aren’t ever babes (like yourself).” Thanks for insulting my entire nation and making me cringe so hard that I’ve put my back out.
Constantly reconfiguring my Tinder profile to see what other gripping content I can wrangle out of these guys has been incredibly amusing. Just last night my friend and I were reduced to tears of laughter as we sat Tindering away while stuffing our face with BBQ chips and rubbing our bellies like disgusting old sows.
While Tinder has so far proved unsuccessful, the past few weeks has seen the girls upping their game as summer skirts and flirts have created a little more confidence and appropriate social opportunity.
However, the few (very, very few) of us who have managed to garner so much as a kiss, have done so with Irish men (boys). They have better “craic,” don’t take themselves so goddam seriously and have that adorable crippling insecurity that only comes from six years in a school run by Christian brothers.
What hope is there for the American male with the Irish woman? Will we forever choose our homegrown fellas with their farmer’s tan, self-deprecating humor and hapless charm? Perhaps this summer I will find an American boy who can change my mind.