ANGRY WOMEN

'People, you have been warned. There are angry women everywhere. Be afraid, be very afraid!' - Mary McEvoy

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Male readers, take note—I know you are angry as well, but I would not be presumptuous enough to explain yours. One apparent difference between female and male anger is that women are more likely to suppress it. I credit the male y-chromosome for this comparison in behaviour.

There are many angry Irish women living in our towns and cities. (I don’t spend enough rural time to comment on the anger levels of country-women.) Body language reveals a variety of clues, revealing the seething resentment, of what, I’m not certain—but I think many women are discontented with the level of satisfaction in their current lifestyle.

These are the women who dig their heels into concrete footpaths, sometimes causing sparks at the ferocity of shoes upon mere cement. Others have their jaws set as if hanging from Liberty Hall by their teeth, or a Doberman grinding her molars. Their anger churns if you first reach a door they are pursuing, and you can feel their hot breath upon your neck as you rightly proceed and graciously hold open the door for them behind you. Not a whisper of a thank-you escapes their tightly pursed lips, as they storm past, steam blowing out of each ear.

Women of all ages are angry. Recently, while in a bank queue, I watched a pensioner wangle her way through two separate queues, confident (and correct, as it turned out) that her feigned confusion and personal chat would earn her a top-of-the-queue rating. She was about 4’9″, 4 1/2 stone, well-dressed in black suit and shoes, a full head of grey hair swept up to her c4own and some money for changing. She only spoke to the men and came from a generation which praised, favoured and acquiesced to them, sincerely believing they were the superior gender. Ha! My bank is in a fashionable part of Dublin, where she lived. She joined the queue behind me, passing out a new teenage customer making a transaction with her mother’s help. After enquiring as to whether I was queuing for the cash window or bureau de change, she stood in front of me and adjacent to the man queuing for foreign currency, whom she immediately began to chat up. He could see her game plan, but since he was converting dollars after returning from an extravagant and sunny American holiday, he folded like a deck chair.

When I tell you she stood in front of me, in doing so my floor-space disappeared and my right arthritic foot engaged with the pedestal, throwing my configuration into a New York pretzel, facing backwards in the queue.

She was flying by now, exhilarated by removal of all obstacles on her way to change £400- I was still waiting for the cashier’s window, where a young lady was carrying out multiple transactions requiring much dinning in her handbag, overflowing with conduits of money matters. Cash, cheque cards, cheques, plastic credit, deposits, withdrawals …..

Meanwhile, the petite patrician-like lady was asking for a special bank rate for staff members. I couldn’t hear the reply, but recognised the ‘beal bocht’ attitude very successfully used by some Irish people. I have heard it go unchallenged by listeners until the person has left—only to hear opinions of people-in-the-know set the record straight by listing off accrued assets of the pretender.

The man she had so expertly superseded smiled to himself at her up-frontery about exchange rates.. Still at the top of my queue since I entered the bank, I was getting anxious about the car which I had failed to ‘disk’ properly. I was braced and ready to pounce upon the cashier, sensing Ms Moneybags to be finishing, when the diminutive grande dame turned to me once again and said: ‘Are you in this queue?’ My bemusement began to melt away, as I saw her slithering ahead of me, but I gathered my calm and replied, with a light-hearted lilt: ‘Yes, I am, and no, you cannot go ahead of me’, as I side-stepped her in a move Ginger Rogers would have admired. Unstoppable, she asked the young lad behind me if she could take his spot, but was quickly outflanked by his mother, who had wandered over to the customer service desk in boredom. The third gentleman, 20ish and pinstripe suited, shiny black brogues and slightly pimpled, smilingly gave in, recognising one of his own class, accents perfectly posh and matching.

Angry women are no more dangerous than when wielding a trolley in the supermarket. Although favoured by insurance companies as a good road risk, something peculiar happens among the brightly coloured goods and produce which seems to leave them devoid of any sense of spatial relationship. Preferred parking spots are across the end of an aisle, in the middle of the aisle, or perpendicular, each position maximising the need for space and creating gridlock at every junction. Now it’s not that they don’t know they are being awkward—they take pleasure in it, assured that such innocent habits are deemed acts of ignorance. Oh no! These are acts of triumph of angry women who will have their way, on their own turf. With no rules or regulations governing the driving of huge trolleys, they enjoy a free run.

They smile benignly as you struggle past without hooking wheels or catching your coat on the handles. ‘Sorry’ or ‘excuse me?’ barely result in any move to allow space, as they wander a crooked path from one side of the aisle to the other. It is one place where they know they can seize control and have no intention of sharing, heady with the power of a four-wheel drive.

People, you have been warned. There are angry women everywhere. Be afraid, be very afraid!

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