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What Katie did next: 'In which I channel my inner badass'

A criticism often levelled against me is that I'm "too nice". Generally it's a charge handed out by my female friends rather than my male friends, and my older female friends rather than my younger ones.

I stand accused of it not when I'm insisting on paying for taxis/drinks/dinner, but when I'm engaged in an admittedly excruciating conversation with some gormless fella in a GAA jersey who has asked me where I'm from three times in the last two minutes.

"I don't know how you do it," they say. "I haven't got the time for that shit."

I don't know how not to do it. When it comes to chat-ups, my sister and I were taught at the "that could be my brother" school of morality.

When a man is brave enough to walk across a room to try to win over a stranger, I think he deserves more than a slack-jawed "not interested". Why hurt someone's feelings if you don't have to?

Besides, I've always felt that showing an emphatic disinterest in Mr Not So Great betrays a brutish determination to find Mr Wonderful.

I don't want to come across as a monomanical manhunter - "We've got eight hours to find our guy. You stake out the toilets, I'll cover the bar."

My friends aren't buying it, though. They insist that I'm wasting my time (and theirs) while I insist that they are running up an alarming karmic debt.


Their advice must have seeped in by osmosis, though. A group of us recently convened en masse in Chicago where we had an impromptu ladies' beach day. There were eight of us stretched out on our towels. Some were chatting and giggling, some were tippling and some - okay, just me - were drifting off to the land of nod.

Or trying to. I was interrupted by the obnoxious sound of flip-flops thrashing through the sand, followed by the insipid plea of: "Would you ladies mind if I joined you?"

Like I said, I admire bravery, but attempting to chat up eight women simultaneously (while limply carrying a plastic bag containing a towel) smacks of audacity to me.

His request was met with silence. I pretended to be asleep while the rest of the girls pretended to be hard of hearing.

And yet he lingered on, invading our space and blocking our sun.

Maybe I was tired, maybe I was irritable, maybe I had finally had enough. Either way, what happened next was completely out of character.

I turned over on my side, propped myself up on one elbow, flicked up my shades and said "give us a look at ya?" after which I delivered a flat "nah".

I was careful not to make eye contact as he turned on his feet to flip-flop away - bullies never make eye contact.

I felt pretty bad afterwards. But I also felt pretty badass. The howls of laughter from my friends helped. I'm sure that's what also attracted the next gentlemen callers.

While our first suitor was preternaturally white and anaemically thin, our next suitors were well built, black and badass. What can I say: like attracts like. I was a bad muthaf***a and these were my people.

There were three of them. They had names that sounded like car manufacturers and diamond ear studs. They were gentlemen, too, so we were very happy for them to sit with us.

They told us they had met at an all-boys Catholic boarding school and were now studying International Business, but I chose to ignore that part lest it interrupt my straight outta Compton fantasy. Would they care to roll a blunt?


It was all going swimmingly until one of them turned to my friend and asked: "Why you so white?"

Admittedly she was a whiter shade of pale at the time but nobody should mention the war to an Irish woman, particularly when she's in her bikini and subjected to the mottled decay of what was once a top-to-toe spray tan.

No, this would not do. Not in my hood. I knelt up in the sand, stared him dead in the eye and roared: "Why you so black?"

BOOM! An eye for an eye, bitch. Gangsta-style. Shout out to all my ladies.

Only my boomerang retort was met with silence. Nobody uttered a word. "What? He asked her why she was so white."

One of my friends looked up from the sand. "He asked her why she was so quiet."


So apparently you can be too badass just as you can be too nice. It's a careful balancing act which I still haven't conquered, but you can read all about my attempts in next week's column. Until then.