I love men.
Some of my best friends are men.
Yet sometimes… I hate men!
Where I grew up children would gather in the evenings,
to play football.
Teams would be selected and named.
No girls allowed.
From an early age I was excluded,
for no other reason but that I was a girl.
I was a good footballer,
better tree climber,
and would have been a great super hero.
But I was not given a chance.
I was a girl!
I went to school,
and our school was split into two.
A boys school, and a girls school.
Even at a young age I could not understand why?
Why could girls and boys not go to school together?
As I grew up I was greatly influenced by my mum.
She was a very strong individual.
“Never run after a man or a bus there is always another one coming”,
was what I learned.
Despite all the put downs over the years,
with a mum like mine,
I grew up with the firm belief that women and men were equal.
I married and moved to Cork.
When we bought our house,
I took quite a few of my memories from home with me.
Including my swimming medals and trophies.
As our friends called to our new home,
we would proudly show them around.
The collection of medals and trophies,
were stored in a bedroom.
Without exception every visitor who saw them remarked,
“Wow Kearney, didn’t know you had won so much”.
Or “Fair play to you Kearney, that’s some haul”.
It was of course my husband they were referring to.
Certainly no one ever suspected me, a woman, could have won them!
It was only on closer inspection,
when they would see a swimmer on the medals, not a footballer,
that they would be aware of their mistake.
My husband on the other hand often led them on,
in the hope they would not look too closely.
Delighting equally in their mistake and my indignation.
As time has passed I have mellowed slightly,
and I am not quite as quick to argue if I feel put down because I am a woman.
However recently I am afraid I couldn’t resist.
I was at a work meeting.
there were two men who I regularly deal with,
and one other gentleman who was there as an adviser.
As the meeting began,
without hesitation Mr Adviser turned to me and said,
“Tric I thought you would take the minutes”.
I could sense the other two men fidgeting,
they were possibly smiling too but I didn’t look over.
Before I could think I heard myself saying aloud,
“What?”,”Why me?”, “Why did you ask me?”.
The poor man was a bit taken aback to say the least,
at my unexpected outburst.
I have no doubt at all that he meant no offence.
In the room he had clearly seen,
three men and a
“Oh sorry” he said “I thought you would do it,
as I can’t and I didn’t think the boys here would be very good”.
I was speechless, which was probably a good thing.
At this point one of my male colleagues,
tried desperately to take the heat out of the moment.
He explained to Mr Adviser that it was only a casual meeting,
and after my initial indignation had waned,
I agreed to do a small bit of writing!
However that incident opened the door to many memories,
of past exclusions.
Things I was not allowed to do just because I was a girl.
Even though a great deal of time has passed,
since I was refused the right to be a super hero,
I have learned two things as a result.
1. It is a man’s world.
2. I will never get over the fact that it is a mans world!