This nostalgia is an awful yoke. We are all enslaved by a sentimental longing for a past that was a place strewn with happy personal memories. We Irish do nostalgia better than most – but there again; we have much to be nostalgic about. I’ll tell you what I am pining for at this particular point in time. When have you last seen a decent love-bite? The good old fashioned love-bite would appear to have gone the way of the dodo and the corncrake.

God be with the days when life was so much simpler and easier to figure out. We were relaxed and easy going and the only people around were those we grew up with. In primary school I was the only one with a pen-pal; whom I corresponded with for a few years. I never met him; but I still remember the name and address of Tom Bolger, Kilmurray Mid, Arklow, Co. Wicklow. Now a lad of similar age has 1,800 friends on Facebook.

I digress … where was I? Ah yes, this country needs to concentrate on bringing back the bonding of the love-bite.

I miss salty home-cured bacon, Micheál ò Hehir, the showbands, ‘lady’s choices’ and all that jazz. We have to accept that the world has outgrown the innocence of the past; but this column strongly contends that there is still a place in the modern world for the love-bite: Not only that, but we believe that its revival would cure a lot of the country’s ills. Any of you interested in giving it the kiss of life before it is too late?

During my late teens and early twenties, a love-bite was the greatest badge of honour known to man. It was one of the few notches which couldn’t be faked or lied about – simply because you couldn’t give one to yourself. It was a public statement of conquest, submission and ownership. Looking back now – and in all humility, I recall that I spent an awful lot more time looking for one than looking at one.

When I worked on the buses in England; New Ferry Bus Depot was nothing short of a love-bite factory. The guy I envied most was a young driver by the name of Doug. His ‘clippie’ was also his girl-friend and they became engaged. Judy was the sexiest little thing you ever did see and she and Doug would come in with matching love-bites; like two on the same side of the neck or whatever.

A couple of years before that, I boarded with a few fellows in Galway; and if I want a nostalgic laugh to myself, I only have to think of what Mrs Lawlor had to put up with. Names and faces spring to mind; the quiet and studious Walter McDonnagh from Moycullen, Laois man, Seamus Mortimer who now lives in Collinstown, (fear not Seamus!) and a wild young hell-raiser from Ardrahan, by the name of Jerry Callinan.

Casanova Jerry was into love-bites big-time and one night after a dance he told us the most erotic story of that night’s experience; so much so that I used get him to repeat it over and over.

‘I was giving her a love-bite on the side of the neck, up against a wall at the back of the Seapoint Ballroom’, was how the commentary commenced. Half way through the execution of the operation, Jerry paused to change the air in his lungs. ‘Is that hurting you’ he asked? ‘It is … but I like it’, came the reply – and the Galway man quickly resumed his task.

When Jerry was fully satisfied that his trade mark was planted on his second-date girl friend, he arched his neck invitingly like a swan and announced; ‘now it is your turn to give me a bit of hurt if you like?’ The girl’s next sentence, surely the most unromantic response in the history of romance, became our catch-phrase for the remainder of my time in Galway. ‘I have a gum-boil’!

This column previously made a valiant case for bringing back the wink. We did have some success at the time – if judging by the number of people who blocked me on the footpaths of Mullingar with exaggerated winks. But this love-bite crusade is much more vital for our well being. We need to pull together and show our love for each other – and there is only one way to do that. Go for it!

Think how much more easily we would identify with our politicians if they sported the odd love-bite; (fill in a face to suit your taste) and wouldn’t a little island on the neck put the finishing touches to Joan Blackburn’s weather forecast? This is only the tip of the ice-berg

Don’t Forget – Experience is a form of knowledge acquired in only two ways – by doing and by being done.