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Height of a manÕs waistband allows you gauge their age

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Date Published: {J}

Just as you can tell the age of a tree by the rings on its bark, it now seems you can tell the age of a man by the height of their waistband.

Teenagers wear them so low they have to buy designer underwear to cover the bits that would otherwise be exposed to the elements; Simon Cowell’s trousers, on the other hand, are so high that there are times you think he might be breathing through his fly.

Now comes proof positive that this is not an accidental phenomenon – because apparently waistband altitude is officially a metaphor for life.

The department store chain Debenhams discovered that the cycle of life sees the low-slung teen fad morph into armpit huggers by the age of fifty.

Middle age may be when your age starts to show around your middle – but now it seems, this transition is marked by the inexorable rise in of waistband.

The survey deducted that the last time most men are able to fasten their trousers around anything resembling a natural waist is at the age of 39. After that, the only way is up, or down.

The way up – or the Cowell phenomenon – isn’t a route open to all of us of course because the combination of gravity and an expanding middle force those trousers downwards.

There the waistline of your trousers settles into a sort of wasteland, largely hidden and protected from the outside world by the overhang caused by three decades of dedication to pints of stout.

At the other end of the scale, long before Simon Cowell became synonymous with the high waistband, generations of oul’ fellas shortened their braces so that their pants provided an extra layer of insulation that went all the way to their chest.

This endlessly fascinating survey found that, by the age of 57, the waistband can be just seven inches under the armpit.

But those of a more ample girth head in a southerly direction, relying on a keen sense of direction to fasten belts, buttons and zips they can no longer see.

This circle of life apparently begins very early in the male; boys wear their trousers around their waist, the thinnest part of the body between the rib cage and hips, until the age of twelve, because their parents buy their clothing for them and they are invariably at least one size too big……on the basis, as we all remember, that ‘you’ll grow into them’.

But waistbands plunge with the advent of teenage hormones, plummeting to five inches towards the apex of the hips, and far below the underpants position by the age of 16.

Dressing for work sees a gradual upward creep between 16 and 20 years.

By 27, the waistband starts returning to the natural waist, where it stays until sometime around the age of 36, and this conservative positioning influenced by factors such as career progression, marriage and impressing prospective in-laws.

The critical turning point is 39 and the demise of the washboard stomach – that’s on the basis you ever had one.

But when the six pack stomach falls victim to a lifetime of drinking six packs, down go the trousers – or if you’re still able to see your toes, you may make a virtue of that by pulling those trousers ever closer to your chin.

So, according to our survey, by the age of 45 trousers will be worn at least two inches above the waist, rising to an incredible five inches by the age of 57.

And then like everything else in life, gravity takes hold for good and, 65 year olds are back to waistbands just three inches above the waist, lowering to a single inch by the age of 75.

Of course what the survey doesn’t take into account is the old man’s habit of tucking the jumper inside the trousers, or the younger male’s habit of leaving the short loose over the pants.

Equally it doesn’t deal with the specific requirements of builders who must have a degree of flexibility built into trousers that unfortunately means you see more than you might have bargained on every time they bend over.

But as a rule of thumb, this valuable social study will give you the wherewithal to gauge the age of any man you meet. And that could never be a complete waist.

For more, read page 13 of this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.

 

For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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