I found myself in Ireland a number of years ago, headed for the single pub on the outskirts of a small town. Most people think of rural Ireland as a land of compact, peat-smoked, white-washed stone buildings with thatched roofs. And in truth, you can find more than a few of these around; yet their price — in excess of $750,000.00 (USD) — leaves the inquiring tourist with sticker shock. This pub was a modest wooden beam and stone building, the foundations of which probably predated the first trans-Atlantic cruise of Christopher Columbus. It was on the edge of a field, where the meadow (filled with cows) was bordered by something of a tree-line (also a rarity in Ireland).
I remember thinking the building had a distinct “New England-ish” look about it, for the exception of the sign, which hung above the door, and which may have swung in the early autumn breeze, had there been one. The sign had a distinctly Irish look about about it, suggestive of hospitality, benign neglect, and good stuff to drink. But what really caught my eye was a line of late model Triumph motorcycles parked outside, with a couple of vintage beauties dating back to the ‘70s. “Aaaahhh,” I thought to myself, “The local boys are riding the British stuff.” As a 1995 BMW K75 rider, which has virtually nothing in common with any British bike, I thought I’d join the two-wheeled brotherhood at the bar...
While there is nothing as cozy as an Irish pub, these neighborhood gin mills are like saloons the world over. They’ll welcome you at the bar, but hesitate to roll out the red carpet until they determine whether you’re a sport or a douche. And believe me, it can be a fine distinction in some of these places. I decided to delay the verdict by keeping my mouth shut as long as possible.
The barmaid was about 30-years-old and one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. She had shoulder-length red hair, a peaches and cream complexion, full lips, and a svelte body cleverly detailed by a charcoal gray sweater that disappeared into jeans just made for her perfect ass. Though she had no rings on her hand, I found it hard to believe this incredible beauty wasn’t the wearing the favor of some local stud.
The bar was “L” shaped and I was on the short edge of the mahogany counter, closest to smoldering peat in a smokey fireplace. Seven guys, all wearing leather or ballistic riding pants, coagulated on the long arm, and politely halted their conversation to look at me like I was about to steal something. I looked back with a slight smile that any other K75 rider would have instantly interpreted as “Kiss my ass.”
“What can I get for you?” asked the barmaid, through the tops of Emerald green eyes that could have acquired my soul for half price.
“A double shot of Jameson’s,” I said, with a Jersey City accent that has caused hundreds of beautiful women to wince, the moment I speak.
“You’re not from around here,” she said, pouring the amber fluid into a rocks glass, sans the ice.
“I was born and raised in the next village,” I said, looking her right in the eye, fighting to keep a straight face.
“The very same.”
“You were born and raised in Drom, County Tipperary?
“There aren’t 99 people in Drom and I think I know all of them.”
“Well, there’s a hundred,” I said, extending my hand. “My name is Jack.”
“And how is it I’ve never seen you before, Jack?” asked the prettiest barmaid I have ever seen in my life, whose name was Chavonne.
“My mother raised me in a barrel in the attic.”
“And why would she do that?”
“To keep the women off me,” I replied.
“Well I bet she was successful,” chimed in one of the riders, to laughter of his friends.
I simply looked at him, raised my glass, and smiled the genuine Riepe article.
“My mother taught many useful things,” I said, sipping my whiskey.
“And what would they be,” said the rider in the black leather pants.
“Well for one thing, she taught me how to thoroughly intrigue a pretty red-headed woman to the exclusion of everyone else in a bar.”
Now it was the barmaid who laughed, as she topped off my glass.
It was no secret I was an American... And Chavonne plied me with a hundred questions. Where did I live? What was I doing in Ireland? Where was I staying? Who did I know locally? What was I writing? Plus dozens more.
I didn’t care. I love talking with pretty women. But then it was my turn... And I said:
“Chavonne, you now know everything there is to know about me. And I know nothing about you. May I ask you four questions?”
“Four questions?” she asked back.
“Ask away,” she said.
“What’s your favorite color?”
The simplicity of this question threw her for a bit, and she hesitated in telling me, “Blue.” (I think she suspected some sort of trick.)
“What’s your favorite book?’
She blinked on this one... But said, “Ulysses, by James Joyce.”
“What’s your favorite perfume?”
“L’Aire du Temps...”
“By Nina Ricci,” I added.
“No Irish man has ever asked me questions like this,” said Chavonne.
“There’s only one more,” I said. “But... It’s personel.”
“Personel, as in ‘sexual’,” she asked.
“Go ahead,” she dared.
I took a long sip of my drink, nearly draining the glass. Then I said:
“If you were out with a biker for the first time, and you really liked him, and he asked you to do something peculiar, would you do it?”
It got so quiet in that damn bar, you could hear the grass growing outside. Half of the other riders were staring at me in amazement; the other half were staring at her, mute with anticipation.
I watched as a hint of color tinted her cheeks, and our eyes locked on each other.
“If he asked me to do something peculiar,” she repeated. “How peculiar?”
I took another sip of the whiskey, and did drain the glass, before asking:
“Well, if you were out with a biker for the first time, and you really liked him, and he asked you to tune-up his 1995, BMW K75, would you do it?”
The silence lasted another 5 seconds before the riders at the bar exploded in laughter from their souls.
“I can’t tune up a motorcycle,” said Chavonne, with the most incredible smile I have seen on two continents.
“Ooooooooooh,” I exclaimed, clutching my heart. Then I held up my thumb and forefinger about an inch apart and said, “I was this close to meeting the perfect woman." Then to the bar:"What did you people think I was talking about?”
Seven guys bought me drinks that afternoon. And Chavonne bought me two. I have had very good times in France... I have riotous good times in Germany... I have had extraordinary times in Great Britain... But I do recommend Ireland for beautiful women and legendary good times. It is the nation that invented laughter.
©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Would A Beautiful European Woman Do Something Peculiar For A Rider On The First Date?
Posted by Jack Riepe at Wednesday, October 19, 2011
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Jeeez...I was actually holding my breath! Very good!
That was a good story. And one easily adapted to many encounters by a lot of riders. I bet waitresses across the country will be hearing that in one form of another from motorcycle riders.
It's almost as if you are training a generation of social awkward men. You can pull of the things on the fly that the rest of us don't think or until hours or days later.
Thanks for the smile at the end of a noisy day.
Yeah, that was good, Jack. You're a champ. Roddy.
...she reached into her bosom and produced the ephemeral special tool for adjusting the valves on a two-valve k bike, then reached into her apron pocket and produced an assortment of adjustment shims, laying them in front of the New Jersey visitor.
You did well to visit the Emerald Isle prior to the universal adoption of non English (or Gaelic) speaking Polish bar "maids".
All the best from A+++ rated Britain, N
Loved the story. Just like a magician using misdirection. Well done.
Nicely crafted tale, my friend. Knowing you as I do I have no doubt that it happened exactly as you describe it. I can't wait to read Part II in which Chavvone and her sisters, Amelia and Bernice, teach you their ABC's until you are immersed in a babbling stream of unconsciousness -- or was it the Jameson's?
The best stuff I ever do is straight from memory. And I will never forget how beautiful that woman was. I was desperate to make an impression.
And it was silly, because she was nearly half my age, and I'd never see her again just an hour or so later.
Thanks for reading my tripe.
Dear Scooter I The Sticks (Steve Williams):
That was a very kind thing for you to say... But the truth is that I just enjoy the attention of women. And when the competition is tough, I have to get creative.
I'm glad you got a good laugh.
Once again, it was simply a retellig of something I witnessed.
I'm delighted you got a kick out of it.
I'd have married her on the spot if she could have produced a K75 valve adjustment shim tool. Then again, I'd have married her if she had just said yes.
Thanks for the book on the Jersey City Fire Department.
I could spend a lifetime in Irish pubs... But there is a great disparity at what is considered to be an "Irish" bar in the U.S., and the real thing in Dublin, or Drom.
But the truth is that there used to be a Polish restaurant in Lake George, NY, with a couple of blond beauties (the daughters of the owner), who'd have me speaking Polish in my sleep.
How are things in Britain?
It may seem like slight of hand, but it is only the redirection of the facts. I would have told this woman the U.S. government's most treasured secrets to see a hint of rosé coloring rise in her cheeks.
Thank you for reading my tripe, and for leaving a comment.
It seems so odd writing a note and beginning that way... I discovered that Chavonne was a very popular name in that part of Ireland. I met six women and two guys all named Chavonne.
But man, was that barmaid ever pretty.
Jack, you're bad, to the bone. Including the one under discussion.
Trust your shifting abode away from #3
will enhance your life and your tripe.
Mind anybody who will let it all hang out with the likes of Steve Williams and others in the blustery heat of Bloomsburg before the floods, has to have some sense of modesty.
Irish barmaids, are they like Irish wolfhounds, short-lived but fun?
A very nicely told, as always, tale of your exploits with comely women. I spent a week in Ireland and thought them the friendliest folk I'd ever met.
Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner
by keeping my mouth shut as long as possible ?? when had this ever happened ?? Great Story... held my full attention including the closing..
This is a wonderful story. It could have taken place just about anywhere but you would be hard pressed to find a better back drop than Ireland...
How's the move going?
I love reading your stories! Always keep me wanting more! I like to say I had a similar experience when I was in Scotland. Well, I did drink Scotch "Whisky." I only wish I met a girl half as pretty and said something half as clever! Great Story!
Whether writing a story for the gentle reader or attempting to impress a woman, a man of my limited physical means has about three lines to rivet their attention.
I try hard not to waste them. In other words, make every shot count.
Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, and for taking the time to leave a comment.
Dear Charlie6 (Dom):
Somebody once said to me, "Did you ever not meet a pretty girl when out on a ride?"
That has happened millions of times to me... As it has to everyone else. Why would I write about something so utterly common though?
And motorcycling is such a physical thing... Just firing up the bike is like setting the tone for romance, at least for me.
Thank you for reading my tripe and for leaving a comment.
Dear JASIII (Jim):
I have kept my mouth shut on a number of occasions, but it nearly killed me. Meeting pretty women is a traumatizing thing for me. Mark Twain once said that most men could be regarded as the consummate ass... Yet you can cut them some slack until they open their mouth — and remove all doubt.
Thanks for reading my blog, and for leaving a comment.
Dear Richard M:
Thank you for the kind comment. I do regard this adventure as some of my best stuff, as I was able to cite it verbatim. And while it was moto content, I do not pretend that I was riding a bike in Ireland. While I wouldn't hesitate to drive a car over there, taking a bike through Dublin or an Irish traffic circle would tax my reflexes.
Thanks for reading Twisted Roads and for leaving a comment.
Dear Adventure Hermit Joe:
I regret to report that if the story had gone on two or three paragraphs, you'd have discovered that I left that bar alone. Yet had I been in that town a month or two, I'd have been in there drinking every night, until her boyfriend beat the living shit out of me.
Women that good-looking always have a boyfriend, or a husband, or a fiance, who is the local boxing champ or karate instructor.
Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, and for leaving a comment.
Great story Jack.
(Word verification: dykfa. Don't know what it means but it sounds rude.)
I really enjoyed your 19 Oct offering! Made me want to investigate touring Eire by motorcycle.
Both of my Grandparents came from the "old country" and I think I'd like to see a bit of it before
I hang up my spurs.
By the way, received your book last week. Haven't had a chance to get into it yet (weather is finally
great for riding) as our "hell" summer is finally over! Last summer brought to mind the quote by Gen Sheridan: "If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent Texas and live in Hell”!
My wife is intrigued by your book title, by the way!
I'm glad you liked it. It seemed like the perfect fall piece.
Thanks for reading my blog, and for leaving a comment.
Dear Bill Carter:
Thanks for your kind note of support. This piece was one of my simpler, and less convoluted stories... But true none-the-less.
And I am delighted your wife was intrigued by the title of the cigar book. Most of the fan mail I received from the book was from women.
Or was she speaking about the title of the "motorcycle book?"
Thanks for reading my blog and for writing in.
great story! I would love to go to Ireland and see some of the land my gggrand father came from.
BTW...it's pronounced Chavvone, but I believe it's spelled Siobhan.
Dear Mr Riepe,
We've been hearing a little about your exploits around the world since that unfortunate encounter with Siobhan.
We got over it quite well all things considered.
Did you? I hope the Irish treatment we gave yer wasn't permanent?
The Boys From Drom
The last Chavonne I met in Ireland was about 19, brunette, and another stunner. I was traveling with my girlfriend at the time, and had to pretend not to be looking.
I would go back to Ireland tomorrow. Glad you liked the piece.
Dear Boys From Drom:
You are amateurs compared to the boys from Key West.
Great story! I can't believe you actually have a tale of drink buying and back slapping that doesn't include running down the street with your pants around your ankles!
Very refreshing and still.. very funny!!
Great Stuff Jack, as usual ! If you had only thought to identify yourself as a Boxer rider, things might have turned out better for you.
Ahh...leave it to you to make my day!!
My "grinnin' " muscles are sore.
Dear Lady "R:"
You have no idea how many times I have walked out of a bar without some pretty girl's ass in my hand. The truth is that it happens more often than not. And always has... But what is the point in writing about that?
If people knew how often I missed the target, who would regard me as an expert?
Dear Keith Stone:
Thank you for reading "Twisted Roads" and for leaving a comment.
I am about to make a serious change in motorcycle preferences — not from BMW — and I took a serious look at the BMW "R" bike. Then I nearly pissed myself when the whiskey wore off.
Of course, the 2012 "R" bikes will have a proper cooling system (water and a radiator) to get the horsepower up and thr emissions down. But they will lack the vicious Luftwaffe-like snarl of the "K" bike.
Biut I will publish more on this later this week.
Dear Dan McKenzie:
I am delighted you got a smile out of this piece... Quite frankly, it was fun to write too. But it was also easy, as it was as close to the truth as if it had just happened to me.
I can still see that Irish barmaid before me. Actually, clearer than ever.
Touche` Mr. Riepe... touche`!
Certainly not I!! ;D
you are the master of taverns on multiple continents and an island or two. Good stuff as usual
I've never gone in for all this shit about "gingers." There are some smoking hot redheads out there, and the image of well-built, cream-skinned lady got me all warm under the collar. Nice story, short and sweet.
Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life
Just one word. Brilliant.
nice post love it
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