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How not to meet an Irish woman

Kilkenny, 2002 —

I was working at an Irish department store and asked a woman customer if she'd like to have a drink with me. It was a reasonable question — in my opinion. I'd been showing her curtains, or something, and as we spoke we began to discuss good local places to have a pint. It was natural to ask.

She gave me her number — or at least a number.

After she was gone, the assistant manager came to speak with me. He said that he'd had a complaint.

She had given me a telephone number, and had then complained to management.

Tim, the haughty, Dublin-4-style English-esque ("West Brit"*) elderly gentleman assistant manager, told me that it is inappropriate to meet women at a place of work.

Okay, I said — and I asked him "then where is it okay to meet women?"

At the pubs and clubs, he said.

It was the first time that I'd had the rule spelled out for me.

It's more than a rule, too. It should be appended to the Constitution.

Trevor, the manager, told me later that he knew the woman and that I was lucky to have avoided her.