Am I really so uniformly unpopular?

Originally published in The Sunday Independent on February 24, 2008

It was like the Nineties all over again last weekend. First, a friend and I were stopped from going into a place because there was a dress code of shoes and a shirt — the poor bouncer was nearly embarrassed telling us this himself — and we were, in the words of Morrissey, “hidden by rags”.

Then, muttering darkly about how much it cost to look this tatty, we went drinking among all the after-work suits on Dawson Street (who were sniffing around the assorted Irish models like a fox might sniff around a bin bag) and, as always in those places I ended up bumping into someone I knew at school.

At 14 we were sworn enemies — I seem to remember a lunchtime dust-up — and I was delighted to see he hadn’t grown much since then.

Of course, now, neither of us could remember the other’s name off-hand and instead of punching each other or grunting aggressively, we were improbably cordial to each other. He kept speaking in odd self-help slogans, saying to me, “Are you happy with your life and moving in the right direction? Because that’s the main thing.”

I kept thinking, “Why couldn’t we have been all civil and pleasant and self-helpy when we were wearing navy uniforms?” He did tell me that there was a 10-year reunion in the works — it has, incredibly, been that long since I left school — but not being in the Facebook-MySpace loop (I just don’t like kids that way) I hadn’t heard anything about it. Either that or I’m just not popular enough to know — some things have never changed since the Nineties.

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~ by Donal Lynch on March 7, 2008.