ROSS O’CARROLL- KELLY
‘ I’m with The Girls – and, it has to be said, we’re getting along like doughnuts and Blanchardstown’
Iget the coffees in. We’re talking one grande macchiato, one tall macchiato, four skinny cappuccinos, two skinny lattes, one skinny vanilla latte, one ristretto and one flat white. Yeah, no, I’m in Cinnamon in Ranelagh with, I can’t believe I’m even saying this, but The Girls – and, it has to be said, we’re getting along like doughnuts and Blanchardstown. “I was thinking of getting Invisalign braces,” Gráinne Lessing – as in, Hester Lessing’s old dear – goes. “Oh my God, I hate my teeth!”
I’m just like, “Yeah, you’re the last person in the world who needs those things.”
“What do you mean?”
“Er, you look like Rachel McAdams when you smile. And that’s not me coming on to you. I thought it the first time I saw you.”
She’s delighted. She flashes her upper and lower sets at me. I’ve got a definite way with people.
I’m there, “You should maybe get them bleached – but that’s about it. Did you not see those two builders checking you out as we were coming in? Here, there’s your coffee – better latte than never!”
All the other Mount Anville moms laugh like it’s the funniest line they’ve ever heard. Sorcha always rolls her eyes when I say it, but they’re all going, “Did you hear what he said? Better latte than never!” quoting me back to each other, then going, “So, so clever.”
I get a text from Oisinn. I forgot I’m supposed to be playing golf with him in Milltown today and he’s waiting for me in the clubhouse. I decide to just ignore it.
Rachel Lynch – as in, Eponine Lynch’s old dear – goes, “Okay, Ross, I want to get a male perspective on something. So we’re, like, having a porty to celebrate my mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary and I’m having a hord time choosing the right tablecloths for it. I can’t decide between baby- powder white and cornsilk. When I asked Trev, my husband, for an opinion, he said he didn’t mind either way.”
“And what part of that are you not understanding?”
“Well, which do you think he’s leaning more towards? At first, I thought it was cornsilk. But then, from the way he said he didn’t mind, I was thinking maybe his hort is set on Orctic snow and he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings by saying it.”
“Look, Rachel, when Trev says he doesn’t mind, what he means is that he genuinely doesn’t care. Was he watching something when this conversation took place?”
“The Walking Dead.”
“See, the thing to always bear in mind about men is that there’s a hell of a lot less to us than meets the eye.”
Orlaith Stapleton – as in Liesel Stapleton’s old dear – goes, “That’s amazing!”
And I’m like, “No, I’ll tell you what’s amazing – those pumpkin cinnamon cookies you made for me the last day!”
“You liked them?”
“Liked them?” I go, drumming my hands off my belly, “I horsed the lot in the cor on the way home!”
She’s like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe you liked my cookies! I’ll make more!”
“Yeah, no, definitely do.”
My phone all of a sudden rings. I just presume it’s Oisinn and I end up answering it without even looking at the screen. I’m like, “Dude, go ahead without me. I’m out with The Girls.”
But it ends up not being Oisinn at all. It ends up being Sorcha.
“The Girls?” she goes.
I decide to step away from them.
I’m like, “Er, hey, Sorcha. Yeah, no, I’m talking about some of the moms in the Mount Anville WhatsApp group.”
She goes, “You’re having coffee with them?” “Yeah, no, they do it every Tuesday and Thursday and they sometimes drag me along. I’m trying to work out if you sound jealous.”
“Oh, I’m not jealous, Ross. Have you used your ‘ better latte than never’ joke on them?”
“Because it’s not as funny as you think it is. I’m just letting you know.”
“Well, they all laughed.”
“They’re probably just patronising you. You’re still a novelty to them.”
“Is there a reason for this call, Sorcha? Because they’re really helping to build my confidence up and you’re knocking it down again.”
“I’m ringing to ask, have you checked your daughter’s laptop lately?”
“You know my attitude, Sorcha. What Honor does on the internet is her own business. You heard what Hennessy said: the less we know, the fewer lies we’ll have to tell when the Feds inevita- bly call to the door.”
“She’s set up a website…”
“Sorcha, if you try to explain it to me, I’m just going to put my hands over my ears and shout, ‘ Bah, bah, bah, bah, bah…’ over the sound of your voice.”
All of a sudden, Gráinne Lessing shouts over to me, “Ross, I’m getting a muffin – do you want one?”
I’m there, “Yeah, no, blueberry, thanks, Gráinne.”
Sorcha goes, “Is that Gráinne Lessing – with the crooked teeth?”
I’m like, “I just think they need to be whitened.” “Oh, she would definitely be interested in this new website that your daughter has set up.” “Seriously, I don’t want to know.”
“It’s a review site, Ross – called Rate My Playdate.”
“It invites young people to post anonymous reviews about other young people they’ve been on playdates with. Have a listen to this: Hester Lessing pretends to be a nice person but she’s actually a two- faced cow. And she’s totally self- obsessed – like her mother.”
I look across at Gráinne. She’s going, “Ross, they don’t have blueberry! Do you want cranberry instead?”
I just nod sadly, then underneath my breath I go, “Poor Gráinne.”
Sorcha’s there, “There’s already dozens relating to Mount Anville. Listen to this one:
Eponine Lynch came to my house for a playdate and afterwards my Pandora bracelet was missing. The next time I saw her, she was wearing the exact same one. My mum said it was no surprise given that Eponine’s dad borrowed ¤ 18 million from the bank and never paid back a single penny and they’re still living in the same house and going on three holidays a year.”
I look across at Rachel. She’s licking cappuccino froth off the back of her spoon, knowing none of this.
And Sorcha goes, “I wonder will The Girls still love you when they find out who’s behind this website, Ross?”