You know how it is in post-Tiger Ireland. You go to a dinner party and they’re using ordinary olive oil on the placenta instead of Extra Virgin. The man of the house, who up until recently you would see in diamond-encrusted loafers down at the yacht club, is out in the garden on all fours, licking the decking and dousing himself in Steiger lager. The once perky Pekinese is slumped with its paws in the air atop the Brabantia bin, having exhausted itself in its attempts to hump the leg off the architect’s wife from up the street, his underbelly matted brown with the fake tan she’s had to resort to now. Three holidays a year in Marbella gave way to one trip a month to Chartbusters spray booths, and now that that’s gone to the wall, ever the resourceful type, she’s been draining off the excess liquid from the organic bins into a brownish paste, and started glazing her now-flabby calves (the gym membership expired some months back) with a pastry brush. What can get really galling is the one-upmanship of the whole thing. At the same dinner party, the hostess tried to make a show of her generosity. While the rest of us were struggling cheerfully with the plastic knives and forks, tucking into our (surprisingly delicious) Aldi tinned ham fritters, she grandiosely produced a garden greip and a hoe. Oh don’t mind me, I can manage, I’m afraid we can’t afford any more cutlery. Sure.
One former banker guest seemed rather perturbed and red-faced by the sniggers that accompanied the host reading aloud an Irish Times account of an unnamed former banker who had started up a ‘discrete personal service’ provided to the pets of rich old dowagers in the South Dublin area. “I don’t know how the hell she meets these people” laughed one. “Yah, it’s as if she makes it all up” laughed another. The former banker launched into a stinging disquisition on the morality of providing sexual stimuli to animals. “Imagine you were the last man on earth, lonely and ontologically redundant, with no prospect of sensual consolation from another being. Are you seriously saying that you would reject the tender advances of another creature, even if it was an 11ft praying mantis from the planet Zarg? Your bourgeois morality disgusts me.”