Late on Friday afternoon I had a beer at the Watson's Bay hotel with a young Irish relative who had just arrived in Australia that morning. Our great, great grandfathers were brothers from County Clare.
“Australia needs more people”, I told him, “and given our migrant history we may as well take more Irish, rather than those who come here and milk our generous welfare system.”
Twenty four hours later, St Patrick's Day, I was accused by four young Irish women of 'racially abusing them'. I was dumbfounded and said to the policeman, “Mate, why would I do that? I'm Irish too!”...
The girls had refused to pay a $23 fare, insisting I had no right to admonish them for offensive language. One in particular had dropped the C-bomb with such vicious regularity that by the time we reached the City I'd had enough, and so unloaded on her.
“Lady, you've got a foul mouth!...where's your class?...what would your mother say?...blah, blah, blah.” I was upset.
Being the alpha female and clearly unused to being challenged, she exploded. “How dare you speak to me like that! I've been in the British Army...blah, blah, blah. Fook you, we're not paying!”
And so they sauntered off, laughing at my inability to stop them. Five minutes later they arrived at the pub, with four policemen waiting outside on crowd control. Needless to say they then paid me. Dopes.
Later I ran a Cabpoll amongst various passengers regarding the acceptability, or otherwise of the c-word. To a person, women recoiled at the word being used with such casual abandon. Sure, they conceded, it occasionally slips out but it was still a nasty and offensive word to use in mixed company.
Then a trendy fella aged around thirty seriously disagreed. “C*** is a brilliant word,” he countered. “I want to use it on my next range of T-shirts.” He was a fashion designer from Paddington.
Yet when I suggested two other vulgar variations of c*** he baulked, claiming they might be too controversial on a T-shirt. But c*** was perfectly okay. Fair dinkum, call me old-fashioned.
UPDATE: Original post edited for length.