"Do you fancy a pint", except in JJ's rough Dublin brogue it sounds like "Djy fancy oh poyint?".
Twenty minutes later, sitting in Sleepers, nursing a poyint of Worthington's Cream Flow, we agree that we'll just "have the one". It's Monday after all, about five thirty pm and our first day of proper lectures has just finished. Naturally, midnight comes and goes and the good stuff is still flowing, except now we've moved to JJ's kitchen and its two stiff fingers of Bushmills each. The acid test comes, inevitably, as JJ is pouring the juice. He glances casually at me and asks
"Yer want some ice in that or something?"
I look at him like he's from Mars, and nothing further needs to be said. We sit there and sip, neatly. Perhaps us getting along (as we have been doing), is not just because we're the only men in the class, but I do sense that although my new found comrade in arms and I have hit it off immediately, I shall be missing out on an important facet of University life if I dont also attempt to mix a little more broadly.
The question of how to do so without being either creepy, or well, creepy, is one I am considering the next day when I pass our Departmental noticeboard and discover to my horror that I have been placed in a small seminar group that, self excepted, consists entirely of young female students. I realize quickly that it is not the 'female' that particularly bothers me, it is the 'young'. Young people can be scary and tend to notice all sorts of things that us old'uns do not - things like the make of one's trainers, nose hair, ear hair, lack of hair and excess hair in the form of sloppy, unshaved chins, and if my trendy English nieces are any guide, they also notice very quickly when an old person is trying too hard to be young. Immediately, I decide that my safest bet is to adopt an air of studied nonchalance, perhaps with a suggestion of wisdom, while steering clear of being patronising, but above all, to appear genuine.