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An investigation into Irish fashion

Photo courtesy D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr

Breathtaking high heels, micro-skirts and evening dresses – tourists and Erasmus students are always surprised by the way Irish girls dress up when the sun goes down. I just have to walk through Temple Bar to hear the tourists’ comments: “It’s winter, why don’t they wear a coat?” or “I’m freezing for them.”

So I have to know – how does it feel to dress like an Irish girl? To begin my investigation, I have to talk to some of the Irish girls. For Sarah, dressing like that is just a way to enjoy nights. “We like to dress like Californian girls from time to time. We don’t have their weather so we take their clothes.”

Lucy agrees and adds that she likes to be a bit provocative. She’s even a member of the Facebook group Non chéri ce ne sont pas des prostitués. Elles sont juste irlandaise which translates as, “No sweety they’re not prostitutes, they’re only Irish.”

I really need to have the men’s point of view. During dinner, between the salad and the pizza, I ask my flatmates (two Italian and one Swiss), “Boys, what do you think of what Irish girls look like?”

Their answer is fast and unanimous. “It’s sexy but it’s too much. Too much make-up, too short dresses. Of course I look at them, but I would not like my girlfriend to dress like that. I don’t want other men to look at her if she has micro-shirts and bare neck and shoulders.”

Judging by this reaction, is it fair to say that guys would gladly have a fling with one of these girls but a relationship wouldn’t be on the agenda?

I decided to share my discovery with Katie. I warn her that if she goes on wearing short dresses she may never find love. To my dismay, she merely laughs it off.

“I don’t mind! I don’t want to find love now, I’m too young. I just want to have fun and enjoy life. Besides, you should try, it’s very funny!”

So, I take her advice. I put myself in their shoes for a night. The day after this conversation, Sarah lends me very high heels and Katie a very short evening dress. As soon as I step out of the door, the cold hits me and all I can think is that what I’m doing is crazy. After five minutes of deliberation with myself on whether I should take a coat or not, I finally decide to follow through with my plan.

Ten minutes in and I forget that I’m cold, but then another problem comes into the equation when I reach Temple Bar. Try walking on the cobblestones with terribly high heels and you will understand what I’m talking about. Not only that, but Temple Bar is loaded with hoards of judging eyes. Men look at you like you are a piece of meat. I could feel the contemptuous vibes coming from girls who were dressed like me. I was relieved to reach the club and get out of the sight of the open public to say the least.

Inside I meet my Irish and Erasmus friends. I melt into the crowd as a few guys try to pick me up and buy me drinks. It’s fair to say that when I’m with my Erasmus friends I stick out like a sore thumb because none of the other girls are dressed nearly as scantily as me. As the night finishes, the boys who try to pick me up become insistent and boring. That’s my cue to leave. End of the experience. Never again!

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