There is a strong cultural aversion to forelock tugging in this country, especially if that forelock tugging is offered to any representative of our recent guests of 700 years.
It is seen as an act of capitulation, as a gesture of undue, undeserved abjection. In a society so long denied basic liberties it is entirely natural that anyone who expects such expressions of pecking-order deference might be more comfortable elsewhere.
There is a warmer side to this demand for parity of esteem too. If we are reluctant to tug the forelock we are, at least most of us, also reticent about intruding on the privacy of those who, elsewhere, might be besieged by starstruck, rubber-necking celebrity chasers.
Over recent days a reporter commissioned by The New York Times to file a piece on how Matt Damon is enjoying his time in lockdown in the south Dublin town of Dalkey ran into a kind of omerta. The reported asked several locals for their impression of the film star but met a wall of silence so strong that the story had to be abandoned.
“Leave him alone... he’s only human,” said one response on the Facebook forum the reporter contacted. “How about just leaving him be?” said another.
In a world where privacy is ever-more a quaint notion, especially for a Hollywood A-lister, the value of this collegiality cannot be underestimated.