Colette Fitzpatrick: I never minded anyone asking me whether or not I wanted children
It's got to be one of the most antagonising things you can say to those who don't have children - 'when you have a child, the world makes sense. You realise what it's all about, why we're here.'
Ugh. As a mother-of-two, this actually makes no sense. Of course your children are the most important thing in your world.
But to suggest they 'make sense of the world' is ludicrous. Make sense of what, exactly? They might motivate you more to make the world a better place or strive to combat social injustice. But the world does and doesn't make sense to a lot of people a lot of the time. Kids or no kids.
But the yellow jersey for offending comments has to go to those who think it's okay to say to people in a relationship or of a certain age (say, 21 to 45) 'why don't you have children?'
Insult much? Do you not realise there's a chance that the woman or couple could be trying unsuccessfully? That they've been trying for a long time? That every month and every negative pregnancy test is a hammer blow to their dreams?
I don't think there's anything wrong with asking a young woman, as in a woman in her teens, if she'd like to have kids some day. But only if she's single and only if it's patently clear she's not in a couple.
Most teens I know baulk at the idea. I know I did. I did right through to about 35. But I never minded anyone asking. I just replied honestly that I didn't want any (and I ate my words on that one).
I now get asked all the time, if I'd like another one. Perhaps if I was younger. If the others were older, maybe. But not now.
Model Sarah Morrissey (right) this week said she gets asked the baby question all the time, and described the question as "inappropriate".
Meanwhile, research shows that women without children are not anomalies.
An official US population survey last year found that 47.6pc of women between age 15 and 44 had never had children, up from 46.5pc in 2012.
This represents the highest percentage of childless women since tracking started in 1976. And you'd have to think the numbers can't be too far off that here.
There may be a controversial reason for not having children, other than not being able to.
In his book The Intelligence Paradox psychologist Sanatoshi Kanazawa suggests that for every 15 IQ points a woman has, her maternal urge drops by 25pc.
In other words, the smarter a woman is, the less likely it is that she will want to have kids.
Aside from that theory, there's some other reasons - maybe some women don't like children. Maybe they realise that paid maternity leave, flexible work schedules and subsidised childcare are a pipe dream.
You don't need to give birth to be a real woman. You're not selfish or immature and your world can make perfect sense.
And when you are of child- bearing age, you certainly don't need anyone asking what the score is with your womb.
To tie or not to tie? Men shouldn't wind up in knots over their neckwear
When politicians go without a tie, they're trying to convey a rolled-up sleeves, getting stuck in, everyman impression.
It says: "I haven't time for ornaments; I have a country to run. You can also relate to me. I am you. I understand you. Think about some of the motley crew of independents in Leinster House. Not donning a tie or suit keeps them 'real', they believe."
When a television presenter doesn't wear a tie, especially if that presenter works in sober current affairs, a minor menswear scuffle erupts.
Robert Peston, the BBC's economics editor, recently channelled his inner Richard Branson, going without a tie when interviewing British chancellor George Osborne. Peston instead showed a hint of a hirsute chest.
It's not the first time the lack of a tie made headlines. Jeremy Paxman, another BBC bigwig, previously appeared tieless on Newsnight.
Ties are often used as an identifier of status and occupation, as well as allegiance to a group or cause, often military. They do of course have a utilitarian purpose-possibly to protect the neck or hide buttons on a shirt.
But ties fall into soup, get tangled in revolving doors and fly over shoulders on blustery days. They don't keep men warm or dry and they certainly don't add comfort. In fact, it's often the opposite. It's hard, actually, to figure out how they caught on.
There is perhaps a middle ground Robert Preston might think of visiting. It's from the Jon Snow school of colourful ties. The Channel 4 newscaster, along with declining an OBE, once turned down a Tieman of the Year award.
Snow has said, bluntly: "If a man is going to wear a tie he should wear a tie".
"Socks and ties", he added, "are the only ostentatious testament a well-dressed man can make".
So don't avoid ties completely - just wear ones that make a statement.
Just how normal is the Lammilly doll?
THE creators of the Lammily doll have endeavoured to make the plaything even more real. They've produced a 'Period Party' doll. It includes an educational pamphlet, 18 coloured sanitary towel and panty liner stickers, spare underwear and a calender.
The whole premise of Lammily is that she is 'normal'. You can order stickers for her - moles, freckles, acne, bruises, scars and cellulite. Imagine how upsetting it is then when little girls grow up and discover that cellulite doesn't peel off?
Though its heart is in the right place I wonder, despite period packs and cellulite stickers, just how 'normal' Lammilly really is. She's still white, has long hair and is conventionally pretty.
Making right call on being catcalled
A REPORTER produced just about the most prefect piece to camera recently.
Sarah Teale, a BBC journalist, was sitting on a wall in Nottingham for her report on a new study revealing the high number of people who've experienced street harassment.
"An online study showed that a shocking 95pc of people said they had been harassed, jeered at, or had obscenities shouted at them in the street and a large proportion said they'd also been groped or grabbed inappropriately in public," she said.
As she finished her piece to camera, and almost on cue, a man passing by shouted sexual obscenities at her.
Teale pointed to the man and stated to the camera: "Yeah, like that."
It shouldn't happen to a reporter but it did. And she nailed it.