There's nothing like an Irish pub in Paris to settle down to of an evening. Guinness galore and green floating flags with four leaf clovers. Baristas serving up pints of ridiculously overpriced Irish brews (because let's face it, we're still in Paris), speaking perfect English because they've migrated from the UK (usually the North) to find love, or whatever people go in search for in this city. After the waiters embarrass you with comments like "I think it would be easier for both of us if you just speak in English", you realise that you're no longer on French turf and you are technically allowed, or rather, forced, to speak in English. "Un verre de rosé s'il vous plait" usually gets a reply akin to "sure thing, can I get you anything else?", while my response usually aligns itself with Meryl Streep's blunt, but beautifully executed expression in The Devil Wears Prada: "that's all''.
It's nice to know the Irish pub tradition has swum across the Channel however and made itself prominent in Sunny France (btw, this is a total misconception. The weather in Paris mirrors England's rainy days). Nevertheless, I have frequented three different Irish pubs since being out here. 1) Irish pubs seem to be the only drinking grounds still open when everywhere else is closed. 2) Irish pubs still welcome you in with open arms on Sundays (when the rest of Paris becomes a ghost town) - since they appreciate the need for a pint of Guinness after church. 3) They attract beautiful men (sort of). 4) They love their music. Open Mic/Karaoke evenings are always well-received as far as I’m concerned. Do I even have to mention the cute Irish chap performing on a makeshift stage, guitar in hand and gravelly vocals? I think he just winked at me…*shivers*
After watching way too many chick flicks, I have it in my head that all Irish men look like Colin Farrell or Michael Fassbender. That their gorgeous, slightly unshaven, chiselled faces are part of the common Irish gene pool, and that their accents were God's gift to mankind. He may be Scottish, but Gerard Butler's Irish lilt (he is of Irish descent after all) in P.S. I Love You had me nothing short of weeping. He just so perfectly encapsulated everything a man should be: Good looking, and Irish. Apart from the fact that the film centres on his unexpected death (one of the greatest losses in film history), his voice-overs are enough to (as Essex boy Olly Murs so eloquently put), “make my heart skip, skip a beat”. Of course I am thoroughly aware that Irish men tend to be notorious for their slight “bad-boy” persona. Colin Farrell being an obvious contender for the prize. But womanizer or not, Colin Farrell has the typically Irish "I like to be mysterious" vibe which keeps us girls in the lurch. "Mysterious" in this context also meaning "I just want to stare at your face, for like, 500 hours".
But as well as attracting all sorts of the best Irish brethren, Irish pubs also have a tendency to be the stomping ground for drunkards. This Monday, a man (albeit, not Irish), between his 40s and 60s (drunks make it difficult to tell), decided that he would interrupt our girl "posse" to smell my hair. As much as I appreciate being told I smell good, I'd rather this didn't involve up-close and personal contact involving my hair and his nose. Personal space limits definitely exceeded here. After he came out with a few cringe-worthy comments like "ravissante" and "charmante", I decided it was time to let this guy into a little secret. Which went something like this: "We don't like you. We don't speak French. We don't like French men. Go away." In his delirium, he continued to comment on how "charming" we were (not sure if the guy understood our previous comment), so I decided that physical action was entirely necessary. As I placed my hand on his arm, I began to push him, hoping he may topple over, get the message, leave us alone, and disturb his next victim. Anything. Instead, he pulled up full resistance. By which I mean, tried to lean in for a kiss. Flattered as I was, I left the guy hanging, lips pursed.
So apart from one moderately good-looking (albeit rather short) Frenchman singing his heart out as he strummed some tunes on the guitar, I was rather disappointed about the lack of eye-candy and Irish accents in this particular Irish pub. The closest thing was a bunch of German men attempting to speak in English. The lesson I've learnt? Irish pubs in Paris don't tend to attract the Michael Fassbenders of the world. You have to go to Hollywood for those.
Watch this space.