Sunday, May 31, 2009

Connor Moore saved my love life

What up thugs? It's been over two months which is an obvious sign that I do not take this blog seriously, so if you've been faithfully waiting since March for another update, get a life. If you want to know anything about my time in Ireland, I've decided you'll have to ask me in person like normal friends do. Anyway, I'm back for a reason, and that is because my good friend Connor has opened my eyes to what it really means to date and respect a woman. Several months ago, Connor had an assignment for his Women in Irish Society class [teacher's a Scranton native! represent!] in which he was required to interview Irish girls and American girls and then compare and contrast their views and opinions on love, sex, and dating. Connor received a B+ for his work and filed the paper away until one fateful evening in Gort na Coiribe when I stumbled upon his musings and was enlightened beyond my wildest dreams. So now, for every guy out there who has ever wondered about dating women and couldn't find the answer in Men's Health [or Cosmo, admit it, you read it sometimes], here is Connor's unedited, unabridged paper. My favorite parts are italicized and any commentary is in bold. Read and may you "get some" this weekend!

Unspoken Rules: An Analysis of Dating on Both Sides of the Atlantic
Connor Moore

Irish girls and American girls have contrasting views regarding sex and dating. However while both look at sex and dating in different ways, some similarities do exist. The main differences occur in dating, their views on relationships, and sex. The main similarities are sexual practices and what they find that makes men attractive.

When it comes to meeting men, Irish women adamantly refuse to approach men that they find attractive, no matter what. When I asked a group of Irish girls would they ever approach a guy that they found to be attractive, they burst out, “Hell no!” Their reasoning for this is that besides the general view of Irish girls, as well as their own view, of it being the guy’s responsibility and job to approach them, it would make them look desperate. I have found this in my own personal experiences as well in Ireland. On more than one occasion I have noticed a girl that was clearly sending signs that she was attracted to me such as consistent eye contact or smiling. However on each occasion it was left for me to initiate a conversation or ask her to dance. In contrast American girls usually would have no qualms over approaching a guy or a group of guys. Just the other night a few of my guy friends and I were at a club when a cute blonde American walked up and introduced herself to us. During the conversation one of my friends asked her if she came over because she knew we were Americans and she replied, “No I just saw some cute guys and I wanted to talk to you.”

Both Irish and American groups find similar characteristics in guys to be attractive. When asked to rank the most important features they look for in a guy from most important to least important, their answers were very similar. Irish girls said that they first look to see if they have nice eyes and smile, then they looked for a good personality, stressing that the guy needs to be funny. In third came body followed by clothing in last. American girls said that they first looked to see how nice his smile was, then looked for his personality also commenting on the need to have a sense of humor, and in last was body. The only difference was that the American girls said that clothing wasn’t particularly important to them.

Dating is another point of difference. Irish girls in general say that they don’t date someone unless they’re seeing them and the relationship is already established. Even so, they would rarely go on dates because everyone knows college students are broke so it is not expected. American girls usually date someone before they decide to get into a relationship with him. For example a girl might be taken out to dinner or to go see a movie after only meeting the guy. This is not saying that American girls must be taken out on a date before they will go out with a guy because most American students are also broke. However almost always American girls would go somewhere alone with the guy that can be considered a date before they start calling themselves boyfriend and girlfriend. Also Irish girls strongly feel that they should never have to pay on a date. This is not the way American girls think. On most dates I’ve been on with American girls, they almost always offer to pay especially if it’s the first date. On one occasion the girl actually insisted on paying. So even though American guys usually do pay for dates, American girls are almost always prepared to pay their way or at least willing to offer.

Romance generally goes hand in hand with dating, although there are plenty of romantic things besides dates. Irish girls' views on romance go along with their views on dating. When I asked Irish girls what they felt was the biggest difference between Irish girls and American girls when it came to sex and dating, they said that it was romance. They said that they felt that American girls needed romantic gestures and dates a lot more than they did. In my own experience I would have to agree. Although I don’t have much experience in dating Irish girls [read: none], I do know that American girls need romantic gestures. An example of this would be sending American girls thoughtful texts or messages or buying them flowers. The Irish girls I interviewed said that although those things would be nice, they don’t expect or need them.

Irish women and American women also have very different views of taking a guy home with them or going to back to his place. I found this to be very surprising. When I asked the Irish girls that I was interviewing what they would expect to happen if they took a guy home or went back to his place, they said, “A bit of kissing and a goodnight’s sleep if it’s the first night you met.” Although this was meant to be funny when I asked again they said they were serious. They felt that just because they were sleeping in the same bed, it didn’t mean that anything more was going to happen besides some kissing. I couldn’t believe it, in America it is almost an unspoken rule that if you go to a girl’s place or take her back to yours, then you would at least get some oral sex if not sex. When I told them this one of the girls said, “I think Irish girls take guys back all the time but not thinking anything of it whereas guys always think they’re gonna get somewhere but girls just wanna get a laugh.” This leads me to believe that although Irish girls and American girls may not be thinking along the same lines on this topic, Irish guys and American guys seem to have the same idea.

In terms of sex, Irish girls seem to be less concerned about contracting sexually transmitted diseases due to the fact that they say that it is common for guys not to use condoms during sex, especially if they are going out. Moreover it is very common for girls to take birth control pills only while they are in a relationship with someone. Then after they break up they stop taking the birth control. This is much different for American girls. Personally I have always been told to wear a condom, except for once. Also most of my American girl friends take birth control and stay on it. Also a lot of them say that they first started taking birth control pills not for contraceptive purposes but for other reasons such as regulating their period.

Both Irish girls and American girls practice the same types of sex for the most part. When asked whether it was normal for Irish girls to perform oral sex, the girls thought it was a no brainer and replied, “Obviously.” American girls regularly perform oral sex as well. When a guy performs oral sex on the girls it would almost be bad manners or wrong for the girl to not reciprocate the favor by performing oral sex on him. In terms of the amount and frequency of sex, it was also the same. The Irish girls said that if they were with someone then they would probably have sex about 4-5 times a week, which goes along with the general way it is in America. Both Irish and American girls found it difficult to put a number the amount of sex partners a girl has to have had in order to make her a slut. Both said that it depended more on the way she presented herself i.e. clothing, how “easy she was,” and how low her standards are.

Another difference in how Irish girls and American girls view sex is how American girls seem to be much comfortable to have casual sex with a guy friend than Irish girls are. This is also known as having “friends with benefits.” American girls said that they would have no problem with it and most have in fact had casual sex more than once with a close guy friend. Irish girls however said that they would never have sex with a guy friend for fear of one of them becoming too attached and ruining the friendship. Because of this, I believe that American girls view sex much more casually than Irish girls do. American girls are more comfortable with being able to separate sex from love. I personally have never had sex with a close friend but many of my friends in America have. In most cases it works out fine even though there may be a week or two of awkwardness after it ends. On one occasion it did ruin the friendship because the girl had had feelings for the guy before they started having sex.

While collecting information for writing this paper I discovered some very surprising differences in how Irish and American women view sex and dating. The most surprising was how completely differently Irish girls go on dates and how more much more casual American girls are towards sex with friends. It is amazing how two cultures can shape people’s views in such different ways.

There you have it. There are no sources for this paper other than those interviewed, but honestly, does the truth need citation? I hope this paper helps you as much as it helped me.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Distance relationships are easy

This weekend has been a weekend of failure. Sarah lost a battle with her economics midterm, I turned homemade gnocchi into a boiled pile of mashed potatoes, and the Animal Collective show was sold out last night. To top it all off, I probably will not accomplish any of the work I hoped to get ahead on today either. At least I get to hang out with Sarah in Dublin...but I mean it's a pretty weak consolation prize at this point. Movie-star looks, a sense of humor that reaches any audience, dance moves that should land her a spot in Lil Jon's next music video...

What's there to like? She is so lame, she's actually making me an ice cream sundae in the kitchen right now - that I didn't ask for! She knows I am allergic to chocolate syrup! I don't know how much longer I can take this.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The post you've all been waiting for

Last month we took a trip to Northern Ireland to see the divided streets of Belfast and the unspoiled, natural beauty of the Giant's Causeway. I suppose what happened on the bus ride between Sligo and Enniskillen could now be considered foreshadowing. I consumed way too much water for my own good that morning, despite being warned by the bus driver that there would be no toilet on the coach. After shifting around uncomfortably in my seat for ten minutes, I finally realized I couldn't take it anymore and had to ask my good friend Michael James Kelly to perform a block while I pissed in an empty plastic bottle and chatted casually with gfs Erin and Sam in front of me. All in all, it was a success, no one except the four of us knew it happened [until discussing it in pubs later that weekend], and I felt very relieved/glad I was born of the male sex. Little did I know that my crafty bathroom tactics would be topped ten-fold the next day by another good friend, Samuel W. Golenbock.

The Giant's Causeway is a beautiful, dramatic place of mythical proportions. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site back in 1986 and it is still heavily protected and conserved to this day. Unfortunately for our full-bladdered friend Sam, it is right on the ocean, so his discomfort turned into an emergency situation quickly. Here is what happened at the breaking point, captured on film by Mike Kelly:

And here are some stills:

How awesome is that wave crash in the first shot? Unlike my experience on the bus, everyone knew about this bathroom break within an hour, and now I am sharing it with the world because Sam is my friend and good friends publish embarrassing stories about you using the internet. The damage has been done for a month now anyway, but in his defense and as a disclaimer, Sam is resourceful, masculine, and a great buddy whose reputation I do not wish to destroy. If anything, he is 100% cooler for doing this. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sneak attack

What do you think of when you think of Ireland? Rolling green pastures? Friendly people? Rainbows with pots of gold at the end? Sheep? There couldn't possibly be a single threat to your life in such a peaceful, civil nation.


I am sick of reading about all these other Penn Staters and their "dangerous" lives in Ecuador, France, Australia, State College, whatever. As if electrocution, getting mugged, falling down ski slopes and breaking your entire body, and XL poisonous spiders are even that bad! Ireland is way more terrifying and I am here to explain to you how this is so.

I had a recent run in with death yesterday morning at about 6:30 AM. I woke up to a faint, low buzzing sound coming from my window. I didn't know what time it was and there was daylight shining through the blinds so I assumed it was just one of Gort na Coiribe's yellow-jacketed maintenance men trimming bushes out front and fell back to sleep. Then I had an awful dream that a large, blue bat-like creature was trying to bite me in my bedroom, so I woke up half an hour later, frantic. I could still hear buzzing...and that's when I saw a shadow inside the curtains on my bedroom window. As I approached the window and pulled aside the curtain, I was startled not to find a maintenance man outside, but a new yellow-jacketed terror:

After almost suffering heart failure from pure, unadulterated shock, I quickly came to, grabbed my Penn State 2008-2009 Academic Planner, and obliterated the offender. Then to ensure the kill, I picked up one of my Timbs, jammed that sucker into the floor, and wrapped it in Kitten Soft toilet paper before flushing it down the toilet. My roommate thanked me for saving his life and I fell back to sleep, no big deal. Tell me that isn't worse than almost tumbling down a mountain in a bus! And whoever told you that kind doesn't bite is a liar!

Ireland is filled with numerous other life hazards, if you think about it. Towering sea cliffs, seals, precariously located parking lots, angry name it, we've got it here. So stop thinking that Ireland is some lightweight's study abroad destination! We don't drink copious amounts of Guinness and Jameson because we're babies...we are constantly toughening our bodies and minds for the perils that lie before us! You will only know true fear and real adventure once you have been on the Emerald Isle.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Workin' on my fitness

Going to the gym here is so much easier than going to the gym back home. I don't really work out at home ever, despite the fact that I used to live across the street from the a gym. I always felt like everyone was stronger than me (likely true) and everyone was watching me struggle with confusing equipment (likely untrue), so I would just sit and play Super Smash Brothers instead and not really regret it because let's be honest, knocking your opponent clear off the screen with a fully-connected PK Thunder is way more satisfying than doing a sit-up. Furthermore, everytime I went to the gym I always seemed to get on the bench next to the militant athlete who was screaming and lifting about 400 pounds, and that was intimidating. Most of my concerns and fears about the gym were definitely irrational, but living in Galway has helped me overcome my laziness and now I have worked the brand new Kingfisher Sports Center into my weekly routine. It feels less threatening and less embarrassing, and today I was trying to think of why I feel that way here.

+ First of all, Irish people are way more relaxed when it comes to sports and physical fitness, so I automatically feel like I am in better shape. My roommates are perfect examples of this, one of whom rewards himself after his monthly 2k jog with a cigarette and a can of Tuborg.

+ Second, nearly all guys at the gym wear board shorts. At first I thought this was the dumbest thing ever, but then I realized this is very efficient! After your (uncomfortable) lifting/running sesh, you can hop right in the pool or sit in the sauna without having to change in between. In reality however, it is a silly idea, and I feel much more athletic and appropriately dressed when I step foot in the weight room.

+ Third, everything is in kilograms. This helps me because I cannot compare myself to anyone in my past who has ever mentioned how much they lift unless I actually go convert the units.

+ Fourth, the treadmills have a hookup for your iPod and headphones so I can plug in and listen to all my sick workout jams!

+ Fifth, and most importantly, I have developed a buddy system with my friends, who frequently go with me and motivate me to not be lazy, even if it is just using the sauna.

Of course, I still have the body of a 16-year old boy and sometimes get pushed over by strong wind gusts, but it's a start, and it feels good to finally have worked this into my routine. Maybe by the time I get back to the states I'll have gained 5 pounds of pure muscle mass! Until then, I'm going to shower and check myself out in the mirror for a while. And then I might change my facebook default picture to a shot of just my abs. Cheers.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tour de Aran Islands

Hello from the library at the National University of Ireland at Galway!

I hate libraries. At Penn State I never go to them, in fact, the only times I've gone to libraries were on mandatory class-assigned trips or scavenger hunts, or maybe to stop Annie from drooling on herself during one of her two-night stays. I've never seen the stacks and I don't intend to before I graduate. But here in Ireland, I NEED THE LIBRARY. Gort na Coiribe (my apartment complex) has been without internet for three weeks now, and even when we did have it, it was 1997 AOL dial-up slow. Then about a week into not having internet at Gort, whatever powers the wireless internet in my computer decided to quit, rendering me lost, hurt, confused, out of touch, and unable to perform basic google searches like "how to store celery" or "galway post office hours" and the like. Since then I've been using other peoples' computers, various PC suites around campus, and the nearby McDonalds for internet access. It's actually gotten to the point where I have included "internet use" as part of my daily schedule, like I have to set aside hours of time to go to college/McDonalds and just zone out on Facebook. I don't know how much longer my mom (or Kevin) will last without seeing me on Skype.

Internet gripes aside, I spent Valentine's Day in true isolation on the Aran Islands, which are situated in the Galway Bay about 30-40 minutes from the coast. There are three islands; Inis Mor (Big Island), Inis Meain (Middle Island), and Inis Oirr (East Island), but we spent the whole day biking around Inis Mor. Inhabitants of the island speak Irish as their first language as well as English (for tourists like me) and are very kind from what I experienced. The main attraction is Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus in English), a prehistoric fort on the edge of a 100m high cliff, which my friends and I had fun falling off of and climbing up all day. Here are some pictures!

Breathtaking, I know. Note a) Connor's sick wheelie, b) the true fear behind Connor's smile near the cliff, and c) how Emerson that grass photo is! The link to see more pictures (I promise I'll get them all uploaded by April at this rate) is: [] There are great shots of Mike with his hand in his pants and various other romantic scenes from the day. Nothing of Sam (the girl one - I'll explain the tale of two Sams later) being seasick though, that would be mean.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


This is almost a joke considering the fact that I have been living in Ireland for over a month now, but I am finally starting my long-anticipated blog. I figure that I'll want to remember all the adventures I go on here and although my mind is a trap when it comes to phone numbers, birthdays, and the occasional PIN number, I regrettably forget details of the best times of my life on occasion. Plus if I start drinking at the same rate as my Irish comrades, I won't remember anything. So as a precautionary measure and for your (a total of 7 people, I'm sure) enjoyment, here is MURDERHOLE: an account of my life and times on the Emerald Isle. Mile fáilte! (A thousand welcomes!)

I chose "murderhole" as the title for this blog while sitting in a particularly fascinating lecture module that my friends and I call "Castles," which is short for AR 332: The Development of the Castle in Medieval Europe. My boy Kieran O'Conor is the lecturer and he was talking to us about tower houses, a late form of castle that is more prevalent in the Irish landscape than any other variation of castle.

Here are pictures of Sarah and I at Dunguaire Castle in County Clare, a 16th century tower house in excellent condition.

Sarah is showing off the strength of the yett, or defensive metal grate.

Tower houses are usually rectangular in shape and tend to be 3 or 4 stories high and were built by Irish lords especially in the 16th century. Defensive features included gun loops, arrow loops, a bawn (courtyard), machicolations, assommoirs, and my favorite, murderholes. Oftentimes, if a tower house was under attack and the main gate was breached, intruders could be sealed off within the ground floor of the castle and attacked from the floor above via murderholes with guns, arrows, heavy objects, and boiling water. Genius! I wrote "MURDERHOLE" in bold in my notes so I wouldn't forget such a fun new term, and now it's the title of this blog. That's the story. The cool thing about this castles class is that I am actually learning more from it than from most of my other classes, even though I intended the opposite.

So...I'm going to have to do a lot of backtracking in order to really do my experience justice, but bear with me, I promise the stories will be entertaining. Think of it like LOST - there will be flashbacks and flash-forwards and some stories in the present tense as well. I fucking love it here and if any of you are ever blessed with the opportunity to visit, do it. This island is full of warm, welcoming people and breathtaking landscapes that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime. Rains a lot though...bring a good raincoat!