This is an odd, messy post. It’s made up of the various bits and pieces that I noted in my phone between late October and late December. This is the general bric-a-brac of my life and not the emotional stuff that gets written whether I plan to or not. I only sat down to write it once I decided the blog was going back online.
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone to learn that I love One Direction. They genuinely make my world better. And I have a particular soft spot for Zayn Malik, the most beautiful man in the world and probably the most influential Muslim alive today.
But I do sometimes get carried away. I’ve had a t-shirt printed that says “No Zayn No Gain”. It makes people smile. Except for the elderly. I’ve now got used to older people in pubs stopping me and asking me what my t-shirt means. I’m never sure what to tell them. (Incidentally, I’ve had another t-shirt printed that says “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” Nobody asks me what it means. It generally makes people smile too, although the reactions of the elderly vary from fear to disgust to shock.)
Months after I ordered it, my life-size cardboard cut-out of Zayn arrived. I collected him from reception in Hall with trepidation. It was a windy day and I was stopped by some students from “my” house as I carried him back to my flat. They asked me what this large package that I was struggling to hold on to was. I told them. I also told them that we were going to perform a wedding ceremony. I don’t know why I told them that, but I kind of did have a little Zayn/Connor “wedding” once I got him erected.
For the first few days, I used to bring Zayn from room to room with me. I’ve stopped that now, and he lives in the living room. And I have to admit, sometimes I chat to him, and I’ve kissed him good night more than once or twice.
The week before Christmas, my parents came to visit Hall, for the first time since I moved here two and a half years ago.
This meant I had to embark on a large-scale deOneDirectionification of the flat. I didn’t overreact. I left the canvas of One Direction dressed as sailors up on the wall, left the One Direction mugs in the kitchen and left one of the One Direction calendars up, but I folded up life-size Zayn, took the One Direction posters off the kitchen cupboards, and took the One Direction duvet off the bed. Of course, I also took down the topless Zac Efron who looks down on my bed and the topless McFly poster from the bedroom wall. It was a big task, but I did it, and the visit was a success.
In many ways, I continue to be completely inappropriate:
20-year-old straight male friend’s status: “Just experienced my first earthquake in Japan. It wasn’t what you would expect. I have had more exciting experiences riding the Massey 135 at home. Thank fully it was only a small one.”
Connor: “Is the Massey 135 a particularly powerful vibrator?”
Friend: “tis powerful.”
Third person: “Cheers Conor – I now have uncomfortable images involving tractor gear sticks in my head.”
Connor: “One man’s uncomfortable is another man’s seven minutes in heaven.”
Friend: “Boundaries Connor BOUNDARIES!”
Hall is still wonderful, and the people here continue to be just as inappropriate as me. On one visit to an apartment, I passed a pair of boy’s underpants lying, unloved, in the hallway of House 87. On another, there was what looked like a used condom sellotaped to a girl’s bedroom door. It turned out to be a condom with hair conditioner in it. Or so the girls said. I also had the good luck to be involved in an “investigation” into a large penis spray-painted onto the ground outside House 87. And I was MC for Crazy Bingo once again, and once again was “in charge” while 19-year-olds gave each other lapdances, rode each other like horses, recited poetry from their Leaving Cert and plunged various parts of their body into a vile sludge.
I was on duty the night of the Hall Christmas party, playing the role of bouncer and there were a few familiar faces. First of all, I was totally papped. A student, who lived in Hall the year before last, who I didn’t know, other than on Twitter, approached one of the other Assistant Wardens, asking if she knew where the guy who writes Project Connor is. He then took a photo of the two of us together to show off to a friend of his. Because I’m a celebrity.
On the same night, I met a group of students from last year’s Irish-speaking Scéim. I have been very careful this year and have deliberately avoided getting to know the current batch of students in Hall too well and have avoided sharing the details of my life with them. However, as soon as I was presented with a group of students who had spent a year reading the blog I couldn’t restrain myself and told them all that I had a date the following Sunday. As it turned out, the date didn’t happen, but habits are mighty difficult to change, and I always find 19-year-olds a lot less judgemental and more optimistic than people my age.
Sometimes, I have no idea what the appropriate thing to do is in a given situation.
I went to my PhD supervisor’s birthday party. And had a lovely night. At the end of the night, me and some fellow supervisees lined up to say goodbye and happy birthday. All of the other students there were female. All the other students gave him a birthday hug and a kiss on the cheek. I stood there in a panic. I have no idea what my “touching status” is with my supervisor. Should I hug him? Give him a hearty handshake? Should I kiss him on the cheek like the girls were doing? Should I maybe slap him on the back? I squirmed and panicked. He’s not in the least anti-gay, but he is a straight, married man in his late fifties, and I have orchestrated some fantastically awkward PhD-related moments with him in the past. What should I do?
In the end, I swerved ahead of the rest of the students in the queue, boomed a loud “Happy birthday!” and got out of the door without any touching happening at all.
I spent most of the next twenty-four hours agonising over this. I really have no life skills whatsoever sometimes.
In spite of my lack of life skills, I was asked to take responsibility for an emergency phone for a week, answering a phone for international students living in, arriving in and departing from Dublin.Obviously, I took this seriously. Having collected the phone, I bought a sandwich and went to my desk in college. I sat down and pulled out the emergency phone to figure out how it worked.There were three missed calls.I’d been responsible for the emergency phone for 15 minutes and I’d missed three calls. I am all kinds of incompetent.Luckily, it was the same person who had called all three times and it wasn’t an emergency.I turned the volume up on the phone and didn’t leave it out of sight again for the next seven days.
As I’ve boasted here before, I’ve had a twitter conversation with the author Margaret Attwood, and I’ve had a tweet favourited by Eurovision superstar Linda Martin, but I think my favourite twitter interaction ever was with an Irish TD (member of parliament). The TD in question, Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin was clearing out his house for a move and he tweeted that he was ashamed to have found an S Club 7 CD.
I responded: “Why is the Labour Party being mean to S Club 7 on Twitter? This is unacceptable. @AodhanORiordain there ain’t no party like an S Club party.”
To which I received the answer from the TD: “@connormuzz #sclubrespect”
An actual high-ranking national politician tweeted me to apologise for slagging nineties/naughties superband S Club 7.
He even invented a hashtag for this purpose.
If I should die unexpectedly, I would like people to use this story in my eulogy.
And I’m even worse when I’m drunk.
One time in the run-up to Christmas, I was in a pub. For no good reason, other than whiskey, beer, gin and tonic, I sang Garth Brooks’ “I’ve got friends in low places” for the entire table. The last thing I am is a Garth Brooks fan. Never was. Never will be. I literally have no idea why I sang it.
Even more disturbing, when I woke up the next day, with my brain throbbing out of my skull, I discovered that I’d downloaded and paid for the Garth Brooks song I’d sung the night before at 5:00 am. Sometimes, I don’t even know me.
And sometimes, when I’m drunk, I’m truly intolerable.
At another pre-Christmas party where lots of drink was taken, I uttered the following immortal line, while wagging my finger, “I will not have a word said against The Captain and Tennille!”
At the same party, I turned to someone twice my age and proclaimed, “Connor giveth and Connor taketh away.”
I really need to dilute my Messiah complex.
My Christmas complex, on the other hand, makes me endlessly happy.
Two years ago, my Christmas outfit was simply two strings of tinsel. Last year, it was a large tinsel-based headpiece, with baubles and lights. This year, I started small and added to it.
At Christmas parties in early December, I simply wore a tinsel sash and a snowman brooch.
As Christmas approached, I constructed a marvellous Christmas mess to wear. I had a belt made out of two different coloured tinsels wound together. I also had a circle of tinsel for each shoulder, and wore a large, foot-square red Christmas bow on my belly. On my head, I wore a Christmas-tree-top glittery metal angel, tied on with a large Christmas bow under my chin, and from each wrist hung a large red glittery Christmas bell with glittery pinecones and plastic holly. I had a long crystal Christmas tree bauble hanging from each ear. I was a Christmas explosion.
I had planned to make some kind of Christmas-tree-like foundation garment with more baubles and lights, but I ran out of time and energy. But I was generally happy with my tacky festive mess.
One person said I looked like Santa had vomited on me. A friend of mine literally refused to walk down the street with me.
But I loved it.
I strutted along Nassau Street in Dublin city centre in the middle of the day, on my way to a Christmas lunch. People rolled down the windows of their cars to call out to me, groups of secondary school students on their way to the National Gallery wolf-whistled. I was a superstar.
A week later, I walked down Grafton Street, fully costumed, walking from one party to another. I walked with my arms outstretched, displaying my Christmas bells dangling from my wrists. I kept my chin high, my Christmas fairy balanced precariously on my head. Children pointed at me excitedly. People stopped me and asked if they could take photos. Of course I assented.
It was one of the most electric experiences of my 2013. I wish I could do it every day.
I’m not used to having large glittery bells hanging from my wrists, and it certainly makes eating awkward. It also gave me too many opportunities to make “stop touching my bell-end” jokes. You could tell how drunken the different Christmas parties were by how well my bell-end based puns were received.
Early in the Christmas season, I was wearing a simple outfit, just a flashing Rudolph nose and a tinsel sash, when a senior academic at college said that I had “no shame”. He later re-worded his remarks, to say that I was one of the “last true eccentric extroverts” left in college and that there were too few of us around.
I told my mother this. Her reaction was predictable. “Can he get you a job?”
I normally have a lot to say about Christmas itself. This year I don’t. I spent too short a time at home in Cork.
The only thing I have noted on my phone for inclusion in the blog from the five days I spent at home was that I learned that my dad opens bags of crisps with a scissors.
For Christmas, I was given a halogen oven. I didn’t quite know what to say either.
Of course, my mother and I had a “when are you going to get a permanent pensionable job?” chat. I talked about California and adventures. My mother talked about Waterford Institute of Technology. She didn’t like it when I said my PhD would qualify me to work in a Department of Women’s/Gender Studies. I also didn’t mention my objection to the concept of a permanent job, because we’ve had that conversation too many times.
My nephews and nieces were adorable. Christmas telly was fun, Christmas dinner was yum and it was nice to see everyone again.
I’m sure other stuff happened too.