Marriage Equality Referendum – A night out with disagreeable friends.

The Marriage Equality referendum continues to trundle on.  The political parties are finally starting to make their presence felt with posters and the odd canvass outside of urban areas.  It has become an emotive issue.  That’s understandable.  It means a lot to the people involved.  For many though, it’s just another referendum where they are hearing the usual liberal and conservative heads knocking lumps out of each other.

We are like the person who has arranged a night out with two pals.  We are excited.  We want to try having a good time.  We would enjoy a good night out.  We book a table in a pub and plan on having something to eat and a few drinks.  We get there and we wait.  Shortly after one friend arrives.  This is happy friend.  You know the kind.  Happy friend hasn’t been out in ages.  For them this is the biggest night out they have had in so long.  As soon as they arrive they throw their arms around us and screech loudly making everyone look and embarrassing us slightly.  They are so enthusiastic. ‘Oh my god I can’t wait for tonight, we are going to have a wild time! Here, do you want a drink?’ We try to say No and that our drink is full but they quickly order another ignoring us.  They go on to tell us all about how long they have waited, how much they have been doing and all about what they plan to get up to tonight.

We try to calm them down.  We try to tell them what’s been going on with us but they quickly silence us and tell us not to worry, forget it, it’s all about the fun and tonight, think positive.  We didn’t even know we were being negative.  We are a little worried at just how hyped happy friend is and try to tell them that we might not be planning on going quite as wild, but they are having none of it.  Still when our other friend arrives we can sort it out.

Eventually that other friend gets to the bar.  Scowling.  They immediately start to tell us how they don’t have time for this and how there were better things to be doing.  Happy friend only makes it worse by telling them to cheer up and stop being a wet rag.  Grumpy friend only scowls more.  You know the type.  Everything is wrong now.  This was the worst pub we could have chosen.  They can’t eat any of the foods here.  Is nobody thinking about tomorrow?  What about the consequences?  We have work in the morning you know it’s not all fun and games.  What kind of example are we setting?  Happy friend dismisses them and tells them to just go home.  We don’t want that though; after all wouldn’t it be a bit better if we could all enjoy it.  However, grumpy friend then makes everything a problem.  There is no ill in the world but it relates to this night out.  Children are starving because of the food being wasted in here tonight.  The music is too loud.  Look at all these foolish people drinking to excess, this is what’s wrong with the country they tell us.  They won’t stop and we are getting rightly fed up listening.

Happy friend then throws their arms around us saying ‘It’s ok forget grumpy boots we don’t need them we are going on a wild one woohooo!’ then they slam the bar and call for some shots.  The thoughts of the rest of the night with Happy friend is not so appealing as they are not really listening to us.  We ask them to calm down and give us five minutes with grumpy and they say ‘ooooh look at you, careful that grumpy must be catching.’  We turn to grumpy and try to ask them, reasonably if there is anything we can do.  Do they have any real genuine things we might be able to sort or agree on?  However Grumpy is too busy being annoyed at Happy to retreat on anything now so they just continue with the litany of statements on why we should stop this night out and we know we can’t agree with them.  We know that whether or not we have this night out the stuff Grumpy is talking about won’t actually change.  We try to engage a bit more but it’s clear that Grumpy and Happy are obsessed with each other and too busy sniping to pay us much heed.  By this time Happy is now standing on the bar gyrating their hips in front of grumpy and telling them ‘You love it really’  Grumpy stares angrily and then turns to us and cocks an eyebrow.  Our shoulders fall and we sigh deeply.  We look sympathetically at Happy but we know it could be a long night and that’s not exactly what we wanted.  Grumpy knows that.  Grumpy’s plan was not to get us to agree with them but to ensure that we got annoyed and that Happy reacted so much that we would get fed up and go home anyway even if we didn’t agree with Grumpy.  We feel like we should leave them to it but we can’t. It’s decision time.


Johnny Fallon