Friday, Sep 21, 2018
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Paddy O'Gara


Lifting a glass to women

  • APTOPIX-Spain-International-Women-s-Day

    Women shout slogans during a protest at the Sol square during the International Women's Day in Madrid, Thursday, March 8, 2018.


  • Paddy09

    Paddy O'Gara


“What is the world coming to?”

The question springs to mind all too frequently these days. Last week, for instance, a story leapt off the computer screen, and practically seized me by the larynx. President Trump’s waxworks dummy, newly on display in Madrid and still warm, had been subjected to a full frontal attack by a half-naked woman.

The assault took the form of grabbing the presidential effigy in what can only be described as a highly inappropriate manner. The woman had writing all over her back, with language unrepeatable in a family newspaper.


Women shout slogans during a protest at the Sol square during the International Women's Day in Madrid, Thursday, March 8, 2018.


A more curious aspect of the incident — which was, of course, captured on video — was that the waxen and graven image of Trump was oddly unconvincing; It looked considerably more life-like than its subject matter. The “skin” of the simulacrum more closely resembled the skin of an actual human being than Trump’s does, and the “hair” looked more like real hair than the original. Donald’s own tresses appear to be cunningly fashioned out of some artificial substance: yellow-colored fiberglass possibly, which has been affixed to the presidential noggin with the intention of hiding his bald spot at the back and creating the illusion of a forehead in the front.

Naturally, none of this concerned the crazed protagonist whose gesture was clearly intended to be more political than aesthetic. But it makes you think, doesn’t it? Certainly did me, and my thought was that I could use what Bertie Wooster, in the Jeeves stories by P.G.Wodehouse, would call a “snifter,” with the intention of restoring mental equilibrium.

So, loyal greyhound companion Harry alongside, walking stick with horse’s-head handle in hand, I doddered 200 yards or so to the local bar in my village of Moratinos, Spain, (population approximately 25). Harry and I enjoy the bar. He likes being slipped bits of sausage by the patrons. I like the company and the drink. Soon after we’d settled in, Gaspar, a Catholic priest from the district, arrived. I offered him a glass from the bottle of Rioja in front of me.


Paddy O'Gara


“Thanks, but I’m going to have a beer,’’ he said. Then Esteban, the bar’s owner, came up and explained, “Gaspar doesn’t drink wine — it’s against his religion.” Everyone had a good laugh at that.

The TV featured International Women’s Day activities throughout Spain. There was a massive turnout — hundreds of thousands of women — many wearing the color purple in honor of the event. Spaniards are fond of collecting in huge crowds and marching through the streets singing, shouting, and waving banners.

In the bar we men agreed women had a point: Men are mostly no good. Everyone else on TV also seemed to agree, except the Bishop of Santander. He thought feminism was a bad idea; it might, he implied, lead to women priests, and him out of a job.

On leaving the bar Harry gave me a reproachful look, which clearly said, “All that for a bit of sausage and a pat on the head. What is the world coming to?’’

I felt his pain.

Patrick O’Gara, a former Blade editor, was a journalist all his working life. He now lives in northern Spain with five dogs, two cats and eight hens, and a tolerant American wife. Contact him

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