WHEN you start dating someone new and you’re both living with your parents, opportunities for some ‘alone time’ are few and far between.
After scandalising some older women in Ster Century cinema – as it was then, in the black and white days – in Liffey Valley one evening with our canoodling we decided we’d have to do something about it.
“Let’s go on holidays,” Yer Man gasped, frantically fumbling with the buttons on my coat and licking my chin.
“Ok,” I panted back, scrabbling at his chest, trying to find an inch of warm bare skin under his jumper and his shirt to press my lips to “where will we go?”
“I don’t care,” he replied, fingers tugging desperately through my hair. “Anywhere. I’ll think of somewhere. I’ll pay. I’ve mid-term break coming up in a couple of weeks, we’ll go then.”
I had visions of us jetting off to paradise, warm beaches, secluded luxury villas, clear blue skies, nothing to do but relax and, well, you don’t need me to draw you a picture.
“Wexford,” Yer Man suddenly shouted out “we’ll go to Wexford!”
My passion suddenly cooled. Wexford. In November. By the beach. It’d be fucking freezing!
Turns out Yer Man’s folks have a mobile home there which was up for grabs, for free. Beggars really can’t be choosers and after assuring me that there was heating and hot water (and that he’d buy me as many Wagon Wheels as I could cram into my greedy little mouth) I capitulated.
Wexford, here we come.
I was scarily excited in the week leading up to the holiday, washing and ironing clothes with abandon, packing every item of clothing I owned into my straining suitcase. I gleefully bought shiny new deodorants, fancy face-wipes, new perfume, body lotion, proudly stuffing them in alongside 40 pairs of itchy, uncomfortable, lacy knickers.
I was washed, plucked, preened and conditioned to within an inch of my life and spent my days ignoring my food, unable to sleep, feverishly anticipating the week ahead. By the time the evening before we left arrived I was suitably hysterical and actually really needed a holiday.
At around 2am I fell into an uneasy sleep only to be shaken awake an hour later by a thought – he was going to see me without my make-up.
Thirty minutes later I was awake again – he was going to realise my hair doesn’t always look like this.
As dawn broke, I turned over and realised – he was going to hear me going to the toilet.
My hysteria was replaced by fear. What if this holiday sounded the death knell for our relationship? What if he took one look at my shiny, make-up-less face in the harsh Wexford light and thought “My Jaysus”?
And of course, more importantly, what if, after 24 full hours together, we wanted to stab one another?
A few hours later we were opening the door to the mobile and at least some of my fears melted away. It was only gorgeous. I had visions of a Father Ted style tiny caravan but in reality it was like a mini-apartment. But on blocks. Obviously.
Full sized kitchen/dining room, sitting room, TWO bathrooms, an electric shower and several radiators dotted about the place. It looked out over a gorgeous craggy beach where the bright winter sun bounced off icy waves, all very windswept and interesting.
We waved off his folks, who had given us a lift down and showed us how to turn on the gas, and stood in the sitting room in silence looking at each other.
By the time we emerged day had turned into the blackest night and we both looked like we had been run over by a bus.
“That was…” Yer Man tried, limping over to the sofa and gingerly easing down onto the cushions.
“I know,” I interrupted, walking John Wayne like into the kitchen foraging for sustenance “it really was.”
“You know what the best thing is though?” he asked, grinning contentedly at me from a 45 degree angle to the floor “we don’t have to go home now, we’re here, alone, for the next seven days. Seven. Days.”
It was pure bliss.
Sure, I discovered that it takes him exactly one hour to get ready for bed – locking up, brushing teeth, puffing on inhalers, some general faffing about – while I lay there silently screaming at him to turn out the light; he’s suspicious of anything that isn’t ‘plain’ food wise; watches far more sport than any normal human should and had a penchant for doing things during the day instead of flaking out on the sofa.
But it was still pure bliss.
Long lazy days doing little but getting to know one-another, walks on the beach, romantic dinners out, chats that lasted for hours about absolutely nothing, if there’s a cliché about it, we did it.
Suddenly racing into the bathroom every morning before he woke up to apply a full face of make-up didn’t seem so important. I abandoned my straighteners and allowed my hair to exist as God, nature and Amy Winehouse intended it and I even wore my ‘fat’ slobbing out tracksuit bottoms in front of him – though I did have a pair of the uncomfortable lacy knickers on underneath. Standards didn’t slip that low.
After the first night, time fast forwarded at breakneck speed until it was suddenly the morning of our departure and we found ourselves outside on the decking waiting for our lift home.
Yer Man’s folks pulled up in the car and warily got out, approaching us as a lion would approach a herd of wildebeest in the Serengeti.
“So, are ye still together then,” they asked, holding their breath, no doubt dreading a two-hour car journey home carried out in stony silence.
We looked at each other and grinned.
(Caravan pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jos1946/3234388688/)
(Mad hair pic: http://www.haironthebrain.com/2008/12/worst-hair-of-2008/)