What the blazes does that expression mean, I hear you ask. Well at least you got the word “wigs” right and didn’t say “rigs”. I’ve been going around for donkey’s years saying the wrong expression and yet I got nods all around as if my meaning was understood.
We were told this umpteen times when we were little. “When your daddy comes home, there’ll be wigs on the green” We knew what it meant alright. No doubt in our minds. It was time to repent and to put to right whatever “divilment” we were up to.
So what does it mean? Well what it meant to us all those years ago is that there would be hell to pay or a fight to fight, that there would be a fracas as a result of some difference of opinion or other. ‘Wigs on the Green’ was originally Irish, dating from the eighteenth century, when men, or at least wealthy men, usually wore wigs. If a fight started, the first thing that happened was that the wigs of those involved would be knocked off and would roll onto the grass. Others say that the wigs belonged to the barristers and/or lawyers in dublin and the green refers to Stephen’s Green.
Whatever the explanation, it certainly is not used anymore. Not that the irish have become more complacent or anything like that or that we wouldn’t dare get in to a fight. It’s just that we don’t wear wigs anymore. If anything is to fall to the ground during a scuffle or skirmish it’ll be our mobile phones falling out of our pockets. So maybe we should adapt the expression for nowadays and say” there’ll be phones on the shopping centre floor”. It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it!!!