‘I have no prejudices. Except people who aren’t from Dublin’

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly has been sent for Gender Attitude Reconditioning. It’s not going well

Lauren, the new Lady Managing Director of Hook, Lyon and Sinker, thinks I have a problem taking orders from women. Which is complete horseshit, of course. I worked behind the bor at the annual Foxrock Golf Club Ladies Foursomes event for seven years in a row and took thousands of orders from women. Mostly for gin and tonics.

Point proven, I think we’d all agree.

But Lauren is absolutely adamant that I go on some stupid course in – get this – Gender Attitude Reconditioning. Which is how I find myself, first thing on Monday morning, back in a classroom for the first time since I left school. And, let's be honest, I didn't see the inside of many classrooms when I was actually at school.

There's, like, 20 of us in the actual class – all men, by the way? And I just take it for granted that, like me, they're all here against their will. As a matter of fact, I turn around to the dude next to me and I go, "What a waste of time, huh?"


But he’s like, “I think it’s actually good to interrogate your own prejudices once in a while.”

I’m there, “Prejudices? I don’t have any prejudices. Except against people who aren’t from Dublin. And people who aren’t from the south side of Dublin. And people who went to a different school to me.”

Maybe I should be on a course for people who are prejudiced against those who went to Clongowes or Belvedere College

“It sounds to me like you’ve got a lot of prejudices.”

The dude has clearly been “got at”.

I'm there, "Maybe I should be on a course for people who are prejudiced against those who went to Clongowes or Belvedere College then. I definitely don't belong here."

That's when the teacher walks in. Stephanie is her name. I'm not going to describe her because I know you can't do that kind of thing in the current climate. All I will say is that she's a ringer for Emilia Bechrakis and I'll leave it at that. She's absolutely gorgeous.

The second she steps into the room – and this isn't me being big-headed – I'm the one her eyes are immediately drawn to?

“Can you please take your feet down off the desk?” she goes.

I’m there, “Hey, I’m leaving anyway. I shouldn’t actually be here because I’m not prejudiced against women. I’m the opposite if anything.”

She goes, “What do you mean by the opposite?”

“What I mean is that I’m actually nicer to women than I am to men.”

“And you don’t consider that prejudice?”

"Er, no? Because it's obviously not."

“But you’ve just acknowledged that you practice discrimination on the basis of gender.”

“Yeah, but women are getting the best of me. You’d want to see what I’m like to the men I work with. I can be a real piece of work.”

She’s like, “I bet you can,” and everyone in the class laughs. “You’re not Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, are you?”

I’m there, “Hey, someone’s clearly a rugby fan!”

“I’m not a rugby fan. I got a note from your boss-.”

"She's not really my boss."

“-saying that you have difficulty taking instructions from women.”

“Like I said, she’s only my boss in the sense that she’s more senior to me in the company.”

“Well, I asked you to remove your feet from the desk when I walked into the room and you still haven’t.”

Now, I know what unconscious means because I'm unconscious most weekends

“Yeah, no, I will in a minute. Like I said, we’re still debating whether or not I should stay. Lauren – she’s the one who’s my technically boss, if you want to call her that – she said I was an unconscious misogynist. Now, I know what unconscious means because I’m unconscious most weekends. But I asked my daughter what a misogynist was and she told me that it was someone who hates women. And if that’s true, then I’m sorry, you’ve got the wrong goy.”

“I’m wondering about that.”

Again, all the other men in the room laugh. I’m getting the impression that I’m very much on my own here.

I'm there, "Hey, I love women. I love women so much that it's actually put a strain on my marriage over the years. I said it to a goy I played rugby with the other night. A very clever goy by the name of Oisinn Wallace. Very good prop forward as well. I was like, 'Dude, would you say that Ross O'Carroll-Kelly hates women?' and he went, 'Ross, no man has obsessed as much over the female form since Michelangelo.' That's an actual quote. We played rugby together."

“Rugby can’t be an excuse for everything,” she goes.

“Then I was going to mention to you that every year I work behind the bor at the annual Foxrock Golf Club Ladies Foursomes event in aid of Quantity Surveyors Without Borders.”

“And that makes you a feminist, does it?”

"Hey, they send not only quantity surveyors but also orchitects to the United Arab Emirates to help those whose need is greater than our own."

And that’s when she says it – totally out of the blue. She’s like, “Could you go and get me a coffee please?”

I’m like, “Excuse me?”

"There's a Starbucks across the road. I'll have a tall Americano and would you see do they have some kind of scone as well?"

I laugh. I’m there, “I know what you’re trying to do? You’re testing me to see if I’m capable of taking orders from you as an actual woman. And I’m happy to say that I’m about to prove you wrong.”

“Excellent. Because I missed breakfast this morning.”

I actually try to move them with my hands but still they won't budge

And that's when the most random thing happens. I go to take my feet off the desk only to discover that I literally can't move them.

I’m like, “Oh! My God!”

She’s like, “What is it?”

“I don’t know. I can’t move my legs.”

“Can’t or won’t.”

“Maybe a bit of both.”

“Quickly please.”

"Yeah, no, I'm trying?"

I actually try to move them with my hands but still they won’t budge.

“Oh,” she goes, “there’s another teacher next door – Janis. Could you get her a flat white and a cinnamon roll?”

But it’s no good. My legs simply refuse to do what my brain is telling them. I’m there, “I don’t understand it. I’m like, paralysed.”

And she goes, “Shall we get on with your training then?”