Friday, May 02, 2014


I'm amazed I'm not more effed up than I am. Or maybe I am and nobody's telling me.

I'll tell you one reason why. Someone used the word "suitable" the other day about a wood floor and its suitability for a large space.

And as such light word droppings can sometimes do to me to me, it set me to drifting off. On such occasions, I'm sure my vacant look can be bothersome. My mind takes off and I vanish for a while. The lights are on and nobody's home in today's parlance.

For the word "suitable" took me right back. It was one of my father's favourite words. But not in a good way. Oh no.

It was his way of terminating my friendships, desires or intentions.

"Oh, she's not suitable," he would say to me irritably, upon meeting a friend of mine,"You're forbidden to see her again".

I should mention here that my family were barely middle class with no great aspirations of grandeur at all.

"But why dad?" I was always in terror of making him mad. His rages were legendary and the man hated to be challenged.

"Just not suitable, that's all."

One could never be saucy and ask suitable for what. The backdoor to my mother, his translator, was inevitably used when Dad was not around.

It would usually be a flimsy reason for the unsuitability. Like the following:

1. The father drank
2. She/he ran with a rough crowd.
3. The family were "blackguards" - one of his favourite words.
4. They voted Fine Gael
5. They were protestant.
6. They were Jewish and didn't care about the One True God. Or Jesus and his Mother.
7. They didn't believe in education.
8. The father committed suicide.
8. An aunt was an actress.

Doesn't it all sound so 18th century-ish?

I am still best friends with an unsuitable since First Class (aged 6) in the national school I attended.

Why was she not suitable?

Her father owned and raced greyhounds and would take his daughter and myself to the pub on a Sunday afternoon and feed us Tanoras and Taytos.

We had to sneak around behind Dad's back for years and years and was he pissed off - she was a bridesmaid at my wedding!

Oh, the stories I could tell you about my Irish Cacklick childhood!


  1. I can't imagine forbidding my kids from befriending anyone based on not liking something about their family. We're all standing on the same ground.

    (Although - I can't help but cringe a little at the greyhound bit - I used to have a rescued racer and have read a bit about it, and it's a cruel sport.)

  2. I am laughing. Yes, I heard that line too as a child, but could you ever imagine Elly taking that from me!

    She would tell me it was not a logical excuse!

  3. Fortunately my parents never dismissed any of my girlfriends as unsuitable, they left me to make my own choices. The nearest they got to dissing someone was when a girlfriend broke up with me, I was devastated, and my mother said I shouldn't be so upset, she wasn't worth it.

    The whole business of judging your children's girl/boyfriends is absurdly authoritarian.

  4. I smile as I remember much of my childhood.
    You reminded me of a word
    I seldom use at this time :)
    and this one wishes you
    a wonderful day....

  5. With my great aunt, who was like a grandmother to me, it was "Who are his people?" when I started dating. I was 16 and had no plans to marry anyone I was dating. We were Protestant, and it was important for her to know if they were Catholic for that meant we'd have to raise children in that faith. She liked my Catholic boyfriends but she liked it a lot better that I married a Baptist.

  6. I was never told that someone I befriended was unsuitable (but then again, I had great taste), but I know my mother heard this constantly and for the same reasons that your Dad told you, just about. As a result, she became very defiant and hung out with all the wrong people and had no sense in her head at all. That's the other side of the coin. She married below herself and never let my father forget it. Life!

  7. SAW:
    It wasn't the racing with my dad, it was the gambling he was up against.


  8. GM:
    Me too! My kids would have fallen down laughing!

  9. Nick:

    He was Da Man for that and no mistake!!


  10. Sharon:

    Oh LOL. I remember the question of (in our lingo) "Who does she/he belong to?"

    thanks for reminding me!


  11. Irene:

    The "unsuitables" were the most interesting people of all.

    The "suitables" were crashing bores.


  12. "Suitable" is more often than not used in India for matches in arranged marriages. One of the most hilarious books that you can read is this one :

    I can tell you some bizarre stories from real life about finding a suitable boy or girl for matrimony.

  13. Sounds like my family. They were worried I would get in with the wrong crowd and inconvenience them by getting pregnant.


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