It’s not easy being blond. On the way to work recently, I was faced with this desperate reality. It was a beautiful morning, birds chirping and all that, and I was feeling like I had this whole adulting thing down to a T.
Walking to work is usually an eventless affair spent thinking about the stock markets or my hypothetical Pulitzer acceptance speech (you know, whatever us journalists think about). But this time I was rudely interrupted by an almighty screech.
I was strolling by the College Square development on Dublin’s Townsend Street – hot chocolate in hand – when a construction worker called in my direction: “Jeffrey Dahmer!”
My cup nearly hit the pavement.
Now, I should clarify that I am not Jeffrey Dahmer, nor do I bear any real resemblance to the notorious dead American serial killer. Ever since I started sporting a mullet-and-moustache-combo I’ve had my fair share of creative hecklers, but Dahmer is about as weird as it’s got.
When you’re rocking a mullet – which Dahmer did not, let’s be clear – people love to tell you what they think and compare you to all sorts of goons. Be it the Deliveroo fella at the door or some blabbermouth at the urinals, if they’ve noticed your “business at the front and party at the back” ensemble, you’re going to know about it.
The moustache, however – I’ll concede on that detail. There are some similarities with the murderer. But it’s not like he trademarked the fluff under his nose, is it?
Unfortunately for me, the recent screen adaptations of Dahmer’s terrible crimes have again thrust his image into the public sphere. Evan Peters starred as the killer in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story last year, as did Ross Lynch in 2017′s My Friend Dahmer. Dahmer murdered and dismembered 17 boys and men between 1978 and 1991. Books, plays, documentaries, a novel and biopics about his crimes followed.
I haven’t seen either Dahmer production. That whole true crime fetishisation has always felt a little alarming to me, but upon asking some of my friends, they concurred that I don’t look like Dahmer.
I suppose it’s better than the myriad of vile comments my female friends often endure during their walkabouts
It’s not the first time this Dahmer thing has happened. My first run-in with these creative hecklers prompted a caricatured double take from me. “Surely not?” I thought. And of course, like all the best origin stories, it started in Cork.
I used to live on the route between the student houses on College Road in Cork City and the strip of bars on Washington Street. Not too long ago I passed two lads clearly on their way back from a successful night on the Beamish or whatever Leeside brews they favoured.
“All right, Jeffrey Dahmer?!” one hollered in my direction. When I looked around, he seemed pretty chuffed with his ingenuity. I suppose it’s better than the myriad of vile comments my female friends often endure during their walkabouts. And whatever it was about his melodic Cork accent, I couldn’t help but laugh.
So when I heard the name hurled in my direction again recently, I wasn’t entirely surprised.
Usually my stroll past the College Square scheme in Dublin inspires some excitement, as I’ve watched the complex go from a deep pit in the city centre two years ago to its impressive footprint on the skyline today – even if I have to bear the mustard and maroon colours from my office window. But now I’ll be on guard for this mortal enemy of mine.
When he yelled at me, I had half a mind to turn around and holler, “Alright, Bob the Builder?” or suchlike, but then I remembered I’m no good at heckling – and that’s a truly terrible comeback.
I asked Marlet, the property company that runs the construction site, how many people are working there at the moment. It’s about 400. There’s no way I’ll find the culprit in time to serve up a well-thought comeback without looking like an utter plonker.
Should some feuds be left alone? No.
As the next best thing, I figured I would put pen to paper (or manically type through the rage on my keyboard). Perhaps our man flicks through our pages or scrolls through The Irish Times app during his lunch break. If you’re reading this, Shoutmaster General (yes, that’s the fictional villain name I like to imagine you’re called) , I’m coming for you.
You may not have been aware of our newfound rivalry, but someday when you least expect it, I’ll be waiting for you, armed with the most lethal of verbal retorts. That’ll show you.