Isn’t Thursday night grand? It doesn’t qualify as the weekend but is almost in league with Friday and Saturday. The only thing to let it down is work on Friday morning. Well, isn’t that half the excitement of Thursday night? The knowing that you have to be up early. The divilment makes you test your body to the limit. To taunt your weary limbs and over excited emotions to stay out later than they should.
Every half hour is a screw being turned into the back of respectability. Another two fingers in the face of the do-gooders asleep since 11’O’clock. Sure what would they know about enjoying themselves? And this is where our two heroes meet every second Thursday…..in a pub near you.
You see there comes a time in a mans life (how many times has a story been started with that line) when he knows what he wants. When he knows who he wants to be with and when. He knows what he likes to do and with whom he wants to do it. If he doesn’t want to be at home, he doesn’t want to be at home. This isn’t just the married man may I add. Oh no. This is the modern man. The colossus. The prima male. The lion of the jungle. The leader of the pack. Renaissance man. Except this Thursday, Rome, the jungle and flying to the moon, because he could if he really wanted to, are admonished and instead he is off to the pub with his mate.
He is not a Renaissance man tonight, he accepts that. He is not a potential world leader, he knows that. No, tonight he is pint man. Nothing more, nothing less. Tonight nothing else matters only pints. He is dedicated to that one passion and pastime. Downing that pint with the respect it deserves. Nothing will stand in his way only the last call of the barman to say “no more lads” and with that mutual respect Pint man will be on his way to the second part of the evening – the chipper.
However pint man does have a weakness. For tonight pint man needs to share himself. He needs someone to bounce his emotions off. After a long hard week at work he needs to release some male energy. Hormones and endorphins are raging. He feels the urge to roar at the world, “I am released” and at the same time to get the comfort and agreement of another. His wife? Oh God no. What would she know? What would she understand about the wants and needs of a modern renaissance figure? What would she know about the hustle and bustle of the city? Or of Drogba’s loss of form for Chelsea. What would a meagre woman understand about James Bond’s nemesis and who the same nemesis was in Diamonds are forever? No tonight is not the night for a wife or girlfriend. Or God forgive me for saying it, but tonight an Irish man doesn’t even need his mother! (Three hail Marys and a Glory B) For tonight, Pint man needs – his best mate. Agreeable man.
For pint man needs to sit and see the mirror image of himself nodding at his every whim. He needs to see that face gazing blindly back at him in the stool beside him willing him on. To see that concerned face nodding in agreement at how pint man told his boss exactly what he thought of his latest bonus. Agreeable man has many faces. Agreeable man is a cunning ally to have. For agreeable man can change face from comedy to sympathy in the space of the time it takes to say “another two pints there Seamus.” These quirks are something that Pint mans wife will never be able to offer. Yet by the end of the evening Agreeable man can change. And to bring back our jungle analogy he is not dissimilar to an animal that can change his camouflage to mirror his environment. For by 11 O’clock agreeable man has been a bit too agreeable and is starting to miss the opportunities that could once have been afforded to him. For by this time Agreeable man will shut off from pint mans latest rant about bin charges and start to wonder to himself why he couldn’t have been President by the time he was 45.
As he looks over pint mans shoulder (Pint man is now illustrating with gesticulating features about the size of the bin he had to carry back through two cul-de-sacs because the bin men didn’t bother) he notices President Obama on the Television screen giving a speech about the U.S foreign policy. Pint man stops mid sentence and puts his hands down. “What are you at?” he questions agreeable man who is now pouting and holding his shoulders back. “What do you mean what am I at?” replies the would be President elect. “I’m listening to you”.
“Whats with all the shapes and showing your teeth?” Continues Pint man.
“Can a man not hold certain poise in his local hostelry?” questions Agreeable man.
“Jaysus wept” mutters Pint man as he takes hold of his real friend. His real friend that is there in his hand. Cool, sleek, solid, tantalising.
There is a coolness now. Both men think. Agreeable man rubs down his would be moustache and eyes up his surroundings. For Thursday night being the night of many colours also has its own quirkiness about it. It is amazing the habitual creatures that come out on a nocturnal adventure only on a Friday’s eve.
“I see the detective is in.” Pint man turns around to see the stout, bald headed jumper adorning gent saunter to the far end of the bar and order a late “pint there” before slowly and quietly ambling to the end of the bar to rest upon a barstool.
From this perch he can view everyone. Discreetly posed beside a pillar, he has the air of simplicity and calmness, like an eagle on a mount viewing his prey.
“He must be a copper” states agreeable man and after months of observation the fact that this creature of habit does the same thing every second Thursday, brandishes him with the unenviable label of “the detective”
The detective is not the only habitual “Thursdayer” (try saying it when you are locked). No Thursday night throws up many the character and group no less. For somewhere in this pub not too far away from where you live, groups and clicks form every second Thursday and pint man and his agreeable friend are never one to miss out on any activity that befalls them.
For along with the detective there is the click from the football club. This however throws in an unusual addition. For amidst this throng of football mentors is one of their wives. Heaven forbid that such an event should occur but alas one of the click has not yet been made aware of the benefits of the modern Renaissance man. Bringing a wife on a Thursday is akin to having a child out of wedlock in the 50’s. Has the same stigma of bringing a black man home to dinner on a Sunday afternoon to a family farm house in Cavan.
To add insult to injury, all Glitter woman ( for that is what we will call her due to her excessive Marks and Spencer post Christmas top) will do is to throw her eye to any passing male as she portrays the boredom that comes with the constant drivel that is spouted out by her husband. As agreeable man turns back to his compadre, his eye catches that of Glitterwoman. She doesn’t smile but gives that look. That knowing look – that look that says nothing but says everything combined. Agreeable man looks to the screen again and sees his inspiration before slurring to himself “Yes we can!”
Another two pints there Seamus when you’re ready!
Time passes and the pressure on bladders has started. There is a certain unwritten rule for Thursdayers. When your fellow Thursdite is mid conversation it would be unfashionable, uncharitable and most disrespectful to leave and head for the little boys room before the point or story has been concluded. This point however must be addressed accordingly. The story just needs to be finished. For once this courtesy has been observed the toilet break can actually be used as a moment of reflection to revert back to the conversation with some valid points. However this is earned. For there is nothing worse for pint man or Agreeable man than to hesitate in going to powder their respective noses. For once their compatriot is locked in on a story, getting up to relieve oneself is not an affordable option.
So with discretion the listening Thursdite will cross a leg tentatively. Will tap on the bar or alternatively purse lips until the story has concluded. Then with an “excuse me for a minute” he can gracefully make his way with head held high and hands held somewhere around his crotch to the waiting comfort of the urinal. At this point, nothing in the world matters. That beautiful moment with his forehead resting against cool wall tiles when he no longer feels like the President of the most powerful nation but more so like a Greek statue in a garden centre, which is the centrepiece of a fountain, he realises all is right with the world.
At this point he is ready to return with some interesting comments about the previous conversation and Agreeable man now changes from his early evening stance of diplomacy to…. Disagreeable man. Changes like Bill Bixby to Lou Ferigno. “It was, don’t make me angry Mr. Magee not Mr Magee don’t make me angry” and all of a sudden all bets are off and anything goes. “There will never be a better Wonderwoman”
“Send all the foreigners home” “Women should never have been allowed into modern business” and it goes on and on.
At this stage everything becomes dreamlike. Glitterwoman is crying or sulking. The detective discreetly looks on but keeps a steady distance. At this point the ticket sellers come into the pub and the rustle of pens is coupled with the searching of change for the monthly draw. Names are scribbled, euros borrowed and pens are dropped and cursed and a certain commotion builds around.
As quick as it begins it ends and our heroes return to their drinks. The conversation at this stage can go anywhere. From light-hearted to deep conversations about families and missed opportunities. Backs can be patted or not at all. A manly nod of knowing can be enough to comfort a friend who has opened his heart. A comforting “Say no more” can be enough to solidify a friendship and a trust that is shared.
The idea. Ah the idea. What would a night out be without an idea. It usually starts with “Why don’t we …….. Or alternatively, “What do you think about this…….
And a plan is hatched. A plan so brilliant it is hard to understand why this hasn’t been thought of before. Smiles and laughs are coupled with head shaking in disbelief that nobody has ever had the brains or gumption to think of this before. As extra points are added with an “and do you know what we could do then”………more head shaking, handshakes and a smug look to Obama – ha! We just did! The triumphalism is paused momentarily as the Presidents wife’s credentials are assessed and graded.
The idea however is a type of formal unwritten contract. For even in the cold light of day the following morning it will have to be addressed either to be cancelled swiftly and effectively or to be carried through albeit without the enthusiasm of the night before. Negotiations with wives will need to be discussed. Indeed alternative holiday arrangements may need to be considered and in the worst case scenario the back garden may have to be re-vamped to facilitate the new dog shelter that has been agreed to be opened by messrs Pint and agreeable.
For agreeable man is back now. Mellowed from his evening sups. Yes for a while he became that niggling politician – that man who needed to get his point across but he realised that to be honest he didn’t really care either way and now his biggest concern was whether it was raining and was the aforementioned chipper still open.
“Last orders there lads” comes from nowhere. A face appears in their faces with all the suddenness of a stranger peering in your kitchen window. A decision is needed. But it’s late. Heads go from left to right, glasses are lifted and shaken. Frowns appear on faces as if each man is being asked shall I save the mother or the baby!
“Sure go on” the decision is made. Its Thursday for Christ sake – Worry about Friday on Friday and a laugh and rubbing of hands sets the barman on his way to earn his crust. The loudness of the surroundings now has its own immunity and even now Pint man is finding it hard to know if Agreeable man is …….well agreeable anymore.
Then as quickly as it began one says to the other “Are you finishing that or what?” Another realisation. It is time to go home. A befuddled set of questions come into the brain. Walk? jacket?, rain?, chips?
They go unanswered and suddenly our heroes are at the door of the pub. Outside – smack! The frosted air hits like a prize fighter. Alertness takes over and jackets are zipped up. Deep breaths, hands in pockets and a step is taken as if a foot is being put on the moon. The surroundings are taken in as if both men have only arrived in town off a train. Then they start their journey – that long journey, just as well they zipped up as they have to make it all the way to ……the chipper,……next door. Jackets are unzipped, hats taken off, wallets extracted. A quick glance at the clock and reality sets in. It is no longer Thursday night. The new day began an hour ago. – Bed…..work…..the mini calculator is dusted down in the mind as pint man tries to work out how many hours sleep he will get. It won’t matter. Because he will still be unfit at teatime tomorrow.
As food is ordered he peers over at his friend. His accomplice. His loyal companion, his buddy – his chum and he roars across the chip shop…… “Why are the dogs going in my back garden!!”
Thursday night and all is well. God bless the weekend. But hats off to the man who decided it needed a pre-cursor. To Thursday! And all who sail in her!