Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Evening Herald, August 2008

Irish Film Institute

6 Eustace Street, Dublin 2

It’s just one of those unfortunate incidents that occur from time to time. A random accident about which no great fuss should be made and from which no big conclusions should be drawn. This is what I tell Michelle. But she still looks rather appalled.

“You did what?” she gasps.

“Shhhh…” I giggle.

I whisper it again.

“I think I just exposed myself to a little old lady”.

She buries her face in her hands.

What happened, briefly, is that after two hours of some incredibly tedious and depressing Moldovan film Michelle wanted to see, I needed to visit the bathroom. She was right. Those pints of Budweiser at the bar beforehand were not a great idea.

Now urination for us men is usually a pretty straightforward function. No great fanfare is generally required. One simply (1) unzips, (2) makes the appropriate arrangements and (3) goes.

Sometimes though, when a man is in a particular hurry, he may elect to get steps (1) and (2) out of the way in advance. Inside the bathroom, you understand, but prior to his actual arrival at the urinal. It’s a time-saving tactic employed by men of good standing the world over.

On this particular occasion, I managed to get steps (1) and (2) out of the way without incident. But step three proved a little bit trickier. There were no urinals on the wall.

I had mistakenly entered in the ladies toilets.

“So you were standing in the women’s bathroom doing what? Cupping your genitalia?”

“Pretty much.”

“What happened?”

“Well, next thing, this old lady appears out of one of the cubicles…”

“Jesus Christ, I let you out of my sight for two minutes and you commit a fucking sex crime. Seriously, Eoin!”

“It wasn’t a sex crime, I wouldn’t think… Was it?”

“Oh God, I can see it now: My Lust for the Temple Bar Flasher! Did she get a good look at you?”

“Well, let a bit of yelp out of her alright. So I just legged it out the door. I dunno if got a good look. I mean, she wouldn’t pick me out of a line up, I don’t think.”

“Come on then” says Michelle, knocking back her drink. “We’ll leave by the back door…”