herald

Thursday 23 November 2017

Colette Fitzpatrick: Keep your pants on boys. Really, please, I mean it

Clearly the trend of women over the age of 40 buying risque underwear hasn't filtered through to their male counterparts. In fact, men donning decent underwear, not to mind risque, would possibly be newsworthy.

Thankfully, international No Pants Subway Ride 2010 hasn't caught on here. It's a day where people around the word are encouraged to take the train without their trousers.

Imagine this on the DART or Luas? Shabby Y-fronts, novelty boxers and the dreaded briefs? And, dear God, what about the folk that go commando? We've seen way too many celebs sport this wardrobe malfunction ...

How I got over my fear of Aldi and Lidl to become part of the cheap plonk and chainsaws brigade

Lidl and Aldi shoppers shall inherit the earth. Or at least a bigger bank balance.

Up until recently I had an irrational fear that everything in the German discounters was tinned in a sickly sweet juice or pickled in a jar, processed to within an inch of a fructose high. But an emergency budget in my own house forced me to leave my prejudices in the aisles of the more well-heeled supermarkets and give the stores a whirl. Where have I been?



CHOPPED

My shopping bill has been halved, I've bought two laptops -- one from Lidl and one from Aldi. And as far as I'm concerned, a tin of chopped tomatoes is a tin of chopped tomatoes, is a tin of chopped tomatoes, no matter what the label.

The discerning boozer and backstreet surgeons will be familiar with their vodka and spirits. Cirrhosis of the liver has never been better value. Apparently there's a cookbook for Aldi ingredients and a connoisseur's guide to their wines.

A word of caution though, you might pop in for a smash and grab on the fruit and veg and leave with a fishing rod or a waffle maker.



BARBIES

They're the weekly 'specials', you see. Themed discounted items like barbies and golf gear. The aristocracy and landed gentry aren't marginalised either: Lidl has even featured horsey items in their specials.

My husband says my obsession with the supermarkets is akin to that of a retired DIY dad. Do we need a chainsaw? I texted him one day.

I love the German efficiency, the way the checkouts are shaped for your trolley to pop neatly into, pressure mounting to pack your bags at the speed of light.

Is it true that the security guards double as customer services too? Now that is efficient. On the downside there are no baskets. But regulars know that emptying the last of the peanut butter out of a box and using it as a basket is de rigueur. Another negative -- you need €2 for the damned trolley.

A pal says if you buy nappies in the discounters, 'you'll be wiping from the neck down'. She thinks there's 'an Eastern bloc' vibe coming from the supermarkets. But in Germany these stores are found in wealthy neighbourhoods, the car parks bumper to bumper with Mercs and Beamers.

The socially confident brag about their bargains with pride. They have the knowledge to make their own judgments and don't need the reassurance of a trusted brand.



AWFUL

Their catch-all is 'there's loads of just awful wines but through trial and error I swear by the Pinot Grigio'. We get it. You have a refined palate. My ass. You like a cheap bottle of plonk as much as the next person

They're brothers apparently, Lidl and Aldi. Nothing like a bit of sibling rivalry to bring knockdown prices to the masses. But which came first? No matter. Both live by the same mantra -- spend a little, live a lot.

By the way, it's pronounced Lee-dul.

It's wedding season. Welcome to hell...

Summertime and the wedding season is in full, white, overblown and over-the-top swing. So plenty of bridezillas and their bridesmaids on the verge of irreparably ruining their friendships for ever, then.

Brides, remember that your bridesmaid is not technically your subordinate, or a stand-in ugly person to make you look good. And you are not her boss. Yes, it's 'your day' and to a point it is 'all about you' but you are not the only woman to get married and it is just that -- 'a day'. You do not have a free pass to say and do anything you want.

To be fair, bridesmaids, too, can turn into power-hungry alpha Queen Bees. Yes, you have validation as best pal, but that doesn't mean you can bulldoze every guest, friend and relative into doing tasks. And remember, steamrolling a pensioner is not considered acceptable wedding etiquette when it comes to snagging the bouquet -- or, indeed, a husband to be.

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