Most people would prefer if 2020 never happened. That it could be erased from memory entirely. Paul Mescal, however, is not one of those people. Since the debut of 'Normal People' on our screens earlier this year, Mescal has become one of the hottest properties to come out of Ireland for many years. Overnight, the success of the show has catapulted him into the spotlight on a scale that nobody could have thought possible. His meteoric rise to fame has taught us two things, or maybe just reminded us of what we already knew. The first of which, is the fact that speaking with a solid Irish accent remains extremely desirable to females all across the world. Why is that?, I'm not sure, but I don't think anyone is complaining about it! The second thing we've learned is that O'Neill's GAA shorts(pictured above) are in fact quite fashionable and maybe even a little 'edgy'. Who would have taught it?. O'Neill's shorts, and 'edgy' in the same sentence. For decades, nobody in Ireland realised! Most Irish men are instantly recognisable across the worlds beaches each summer. Pale, white, hairy legs accompanied by a pair of their favourite O'Neill's sports shorts. Safe to say, it's a sight which has rarely been aligned with an idea of looking 'cool', or 'fashionable'. Step forward Paul Mescal.
The Kildare man was spotted out and about in London recently donning a pair of his O'Neill's shorts. The paparazzi couldn't get enough, and the shorts soon drew the attention of the worlds premier fashion designers. They saw the shorts in a whole new light. To them, Paul Mescal was making a statement, and they wanted a piece of it. To everyone in Ireland, he was probably nipping into Tesco, and threw on the first thing he could find before doing that very thing. Nothing too exciting. The design executives at 'Gucci', on the other hand, saw a different picture. A gap in the market for tight white shorts which could be easily mistaken for a pair of underpants. Depending on how much a person enjoyed their Christmas of course. A near identical pair soon appeared on the 'Gucci' website. What a coincidence. The only slight difference being that Gucci's version will set you back a cool £480. Considering that O'Neill's shorts retail for around £25, I doubt that too many pairs of Gucci shorts will be getting packed into Irish suitcases anytime soon. But, that's besides the point! Thanks to Mescal, Irish men have finally arrived as style icons.
Nobody from the likes of 'Gucci' ever took any notice of our nations favourite shorts until Paul Mescal wore them. Further proof that the young man has made quite an impact on the world stage. What is it about him that's captured the imagination of so many, and so quickly? The authenticity he brought to his portrayal of 'Connell Waldron' has been greeted with almost universal acclaim. Women all across the world instantly fell in love with the slightly aloof, but highly intelligent character portrayed by Mescal. But, is it the character they fell in love with, or is it Mescal himself?. Originally, they may have fallen for 'Connell', but its Mescal who brought him to life. Without him, 'Connell' would have been a completely different entity. The lines of reality between character and actor are often blurred in the eyes of those who love them the most. A failure to realise where fiction ends, and reality begins allows one to love an ideal more so than a person. Paul Mescal is the reality in this equation, and his portrayal of 'Connell' was founded in his experiences growing up in Ireland. It's that reality and authenticity which has made him so popular, maybe even more so than the character. His ability to display those unique Irish traits in the character, shone through clearly for all to see.
Like so many Irishmen before him, Paul Mescal has travelled abroad to follow his dreams. He took a chance, and its paid off. By moving to London, he's opened up doors that will lead him even further afield in the very near future. His talent as an actor will leave 'Conell Waldron' far behind as he engages with new, and even more challenging roles. Paul's decision to leave a promising career as a Gaelic footballer behind him to follow his dream shows how committed he is to his craft. In Ireland, the idea of giving up the opportunity to become an inter-county footballer in favour of trying to make it as an actor is unthinkable. Paul Mescal laid the foundations for a totally new path, one that only he has trodden. I can almost see the frowning faces amongst the more sceptical in his community. 'Who does this fella think he is?'. That type of attitude is par for the course in Ireland, and especially in GAA circles. Playing for your county is seen by so many as the be all and end all of life itself. If your good enough to make it, then under no circumstances should that opportunity be given up in favour of anything else. Mescal, on the other hand, had a different image, he saw the bigger picture. A reality that there's more to life than playing football for Kildare. All I can say is, look at him now.
Paul Mescal displays traits easily found in so many young Irishmen. The manners, the wit, and an innate ability to take everything in ones stride. Those traits would have been fostered during his upbringing in Maynooth. A decent Irish town, full of decent Irish people. All those factors combined have led him into the spotlight. And, into the hearts of thousands, if not millions of young women across the world. 'Connell' is a much loved character, but you see, it's Mescal who brought him to life. Without him, the character wouldn't exist in the form that people enjoyed so much. Paul Mescal, and his shorts have shown the way. Dreams are there to be followed, all you have to do is believe...
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