Got Yourself A Girlfriend Yet?

It’s a Match! You and Nadine have liked each other.

Her Tinder profile was that of a promiscuous single mother on welfare. A fun-loving girl that liked her Vodka Red Bulls. According to her pictures she kept herself fit by pole dancing with a cigarette in her mouth, and she boasted a Playboy tattoo above one of her breasts. She looked great in a miniskirt. With tanned skin (possibly fake) and dark hair she was a solid 7, and perfect for her knight in shining Armani tracksuits.

He was cute she thought. It wasn’t only his soft eyes and pearly whites, it was his clothes and social spirit too. His car was also minty fresh; a hot little Audi A3 with banging speakers and leather seats. Snickers workwear made him look sexy and gave him breadwinning brownie points. As a man of strategy he didn’t disclose his height (5’5”) on Tinder. Instead he highlighted his neck tattoo and his fine head of blonde hair.

Like many great modern relationships this one might never have happened if it weren’t for the matchmaking supremacy of internet dating apps.

Dean Boyle wasted no time in pursuing his dream lover; as soon as Tinder had linked them together he embraced his inner Romeo with the eloquence of “alri sexy” and other such expressions. Nadine Byrne – playing Juliet – welcomed him as her “hun.” It took less than a day for them to exchange phone numbers, and in doing so they started calling each other for chats and banter. Chemistry bubbled up. Within one week they had arranged their first date.

The first time the couple met was on a rainy night in September. As they were both living in Dublin 5 they chose a setting familiar to both of them; they went drinking in a pub in Coolock. Being human they were a little nervous upon first meeting in person, but as the night rolled by they got on famously. They drank, they smoked cigarettes, they laughed, and at some stage they ordered a bag of cocaine to “freshen up” in case they got too drunk.

They took their invigorating spree to a late-night establishment and drank cocktails until almost 4am. By that stage they had danced, kissed and knocked a tray of drinks over. Blinded by booze, coke and infatuation they took a short taxi ride back to her place and tiptoed into bed so as not to wake her kids. Thereupon they had a botched attempt to make love; a performance rendered impossible from the overindulgence of intoxicants. Nevertheless they gave it another shot upon waking up in the morning, and in their crusty eyed hungover state of dry mouth and foul odor they triumphed like champions and nearly broke every spring in the stinking sweaty bed. With that their fate was sealed. From that moment on Deano and Nadine were boyfriend and girlfriend, or rather “fella and bird.” Their relationship had officially commenced.

In love there were many sweet things between them. They relished in pleasing each other with surprises, gifts and sundry other treats. At their best they were truly adorable and as individuals each of them had some very nice attributes.

Dean had a genuine softness to him and he had been well-brought-up as an only child by respectable working class parents. At 32 he was still living at home although he had always worked full-time as a plumber ever since he left school at 16. Nadine was the same age (32) but her background was somewhat different. She grew up in a tough disadvantaged neighbourhood in the city centre. She had 6 siblings. She had her first son – Jordan – at 18 and her second – Anthony – at 25. She had a disruptive relationship with her parents and at times things were very hard but she always did her best as a mother. She was unemployed; motherhood was her full-time commitment. She had many ex-boyfriends and some of them had treated her very badly. Jordan and Anthony were in fact stepbrothers of different fathers, neither of them knew their dads. She was grateful when the day came for her to benefit from social housing as she received a turnkey apartment in a safe residential neighbourhood.

Dean spent a lot of time hanging out at her apartment. He forged a great bond with the kids to the extent that they came to see him as an uncle. However despite all the seemingly wonderful features of the love story between Dean Boyle and Nadine Byrne there was one feature that stood out more than any other, and in hindsight that feature was a canary in the coal mine. The most prominent feature of Dean and Nadine’s relationship was that they both shared the same Achilles heel; they were a disaster when it came to drink and worse yet with drugs on board. Yet they indulged such habits generously and frequently. As a result all their sweetheart passions were but the devil in disguise because when unveiled their relationship was toxic, and in truth the worst thing that ever happened the pair of them was meeting each other in the first place.

The first hiccough between them arose no more than three weeks into their pairing. The kids were to spend the whole weekend with their aunts and uncles giving Deano and Nadine all the leg room they needed to stretch themselves out in the apartment. Nadine invited two of her old friends around; a couple from the inner city. Blaring music and enjoying ecstasy tablets the hours rolled by. Saturday rolled into Sunday morning and then into Sunday afternoon.

The crew had been up all night; nobody had been to bed, and they were still sipping away on bottled Budweiser when, all of a sudden, Nadine caused a stir over the toilet seat which was wet with urine. Things got quite hot and a tempered outburst of shouting developed. All the attendees got involved. Somewhere in the middle of all this shouting and roaring Nadine directed very hurtful verbal abuse at Dean. In response Dean got right up into her face and screamed at her. This led to Patsy (Nadine’s friend) intervening by punching Dean three times in the face. For this mishap Dean was knocked unconscious and gifted a black eye. The whole situation ended in tears (literally) which were succeeded by genuine apologies, forgiveness, kissing and making-up. Love reigned supreme and to prove it the following day Dean got Nadine tattooed onto his hand and Nadine had Deano tattooed onto her neck.

Another messy night ensued the following weekend. They were out drinking at a hotel when Nadine mislaid a fresh bag of cocaine. Dean had just forked out €100 for this bag of cocaine – in fact Dean often financed their outings – and he wasn’t too happy to hear that it had gone missing. Shouting took place. They were thrown out of the hotel. Nadine punched Dean. She kicked him and beat him with her handbag. He didn’t retaliate with physical force, he was the kind of gentleman that wouldn’t dream of hitting a woman, however he did utter obscenities and hurtful personal comments. “Fat little pig. Little bitch, and dirty little fuckin’ piss whore” were but some of the expressions used. She busted his nose. They went home with blood on their clothes.

At this juncture a dispassionate analyst would have suggested that this relationship needed a divorce; it should have been over for it did not look like much of a relationship anymore but rather a mismatch of two dysfunctional immature adults. However love has no time for common sense, so when Deano and Nadine arrived home from their bust-up they removed their bloodied shirts and had sex as if nothing untoward had ever come between them.

Despite the constant ebb and flow of their situation an epiphany eventually came to Deano. Deano decided that it was time for him to be a dad and he wanted Nadine to help him bear fruit. Nadine acceded to grant him his wish, so they decided to start trying for a baby.

There was a confusing blend of feelings swelling up in each of them around the time they decided to enter parenthood together. She was feeling uncertain about their future together. In all honesty there was times she felt like she didn’t love him, and she was getting the itch to dump him, but then again at other times she loved him rather dearly. She had felt like this before with other boyfriends yet she still found it hard to reach a verdict as to whether she should break-up or continue as they were. She didn’t want to break his heart so she sacrificed her own in order to keep their bond intact, and secretly she hoped for a miracle that would fix all their problems so that they could experience long-lasting happiness and stability together.

Dean could see no further than the end of his nose. His friends urged him to snap out of his delusion and depart from Nadine. His parents were constantly worried about him.

For all of their frequent domestic disturbances Dean rationalized the worst moments he’d had with Nadine while glorifying the best. The buzz of passion had tricked his vision into distorting the image of doom that lay before him. Such trickery was made all the more effective as he was romantically inexperienced and somewhat adolescent in terms of maturity. Alarm bells of many varieties rang out to warn Dean of why he needed to stop loving his girlfriend, but he couldn’t help himself. The force was too strong. He held tight to his dream of a smiley happy family life with Nadine.

They started drinking early on the day they visited the Dublin/Wicklow mountains. They had their first few drinks in the apartment, starting at 11am. It was of course Saturday; most of their greatest errors took place at weekends. After smoking a joint in the afternoon they hopped into Dean’s car and journeyed to the summit. They brought Anthony and Jordan along for the ride. They had a few drinks at a pub near the mountaintop and then they decided to head home. All was going well until he mounted a curb and crashed into a lamp post.

There was nobody injured but his car was badly damaged and there happened to be Garda nearby as it happened. He was arrested for driving under the influence and his car was towed away. Nadine and the two kids took a taxi home.

Less than two hours later Dean arrived back at the apartment. He had been released from the Garda station and he was eager to go out into town for a few more drinks. Nadine was delighted to do the same so they went into the city centre for shots and beers.

By the end of the night Nadine was absolutely trashed. She had gotten sick on herself and twisted her ankle. She was in a state. Dean was not half as bad. He got her into a taxi and took her home to bed. He sang her praises in the taxi home; told the taxi driver what a wonderful girl she was and spoke of their dreams to have a baby together. Upon arriving home and slipping into bed Nadine kicked off. They embarked on one of their abusive spats. Nadine was kicking and punching and shouting at Dean. Dean just wanted her to stop so he grabbed her by the neck and screamed at her, begging her to stop. He choked her for a minute and shook her as he did so. The fighting stopped. Nadine collapsed onto bed as if she had been shocked. Dean switched the lights off and fell asleep. When he woke in the morning he noticed Nadine had turned pale overnight. Her lips were blue and puffy. She had no pulse. She was dead. He heard Jordan moving about in the room next door. Jordan began playing Life’s a Bitch by Nas on his music speakers.

Thereupon the curtains closed on the love story of Dean Boyle and Nadine Byrne. He sat on the edge of the bed, in his underpants, holding her cold stiff hand, sobbing uncontrollably. They had been together for 7 whole weeks.