Colette Fitzpatrick: Young women shouldn't have to fear walking alone on our city streets
As a young girl in my 20s, my gang of pals and I had a rule - none of us ever walked home alone.
We had very little money in college and the walk back to flats in Rathmines was short anyway. But we would never, ever take the chance of walking home alone on our own. Those were the days before everyone had a mobile and apps and social media to track your almost every step. I still tell younger women - friends and colleagues - to not take a chance and have someone with you.
I think it's perfectly acceptable, by the way, for a woman to walk around alone having drunk whatever she wants. You're not "Giving a wrong message", as I heard someone once say. The message is merely that you need to get home so you're walking home. No more and no less. The problem isn't with you, of course. The problem is that some idiot could take advantage of the fact that you're on your own.
That's why women often have a fear of violence. Some women forgo a night-time event because they know they'll have to travel home alone afterwards. They think better of an evening run because it's too quiet. They won't wear headphones. Sometimes women even think better of an outfit or a friendship because someone might misinterpret it and think it implies an invitation that it actually doesn't.
Some keep their keys ready at all times. Hold onto them inside their pocket, holding the proper key in position as they approach their car or front door, to eliminate fumbling around. They have specific footwear to walk home in. They avoid carrying too much so they're not slowed down. They walk clear of doorways and walk in the light and in the open as much as possible.
Our perceived fears sometime become real. Last Friday night, a 17-year-old was attacked by a group of two young women and three young men and left with serious injuries, including a fractured nose and severe bruising to her face and head.
Her tooth was chipped and her arms were left marked. Diana Mongan was beaten so badly that she drifted in and out of consciousness. One of those suspected of being involved joked about it on social media. Diana is now reluctant to go into the city centre in case she's seen by her attackers.
This week too, Irish model Thalia Heffernan spoke about the violence she experienced when she was mugged on the way to work in Dublin city centre.
A teenage girl led a gang that attacked the 20-year-old. She was hit three or more times in the face and elbowed and shoved while another man came behind her and grabbed her from the other side.
More than 700 tourists reported they were mugged in Ireland last year. The figures, from the Irish Tourist Assistance Service, showed that the victims tended to be women aged between 17-25.
That'll come as no surprise to people who believe there's been a surge in criminal activity in the city and no surprise to women like Diana and Thalia.
Unlucky parents set to be collared for yet another new Irish rugby jersey
I'm more of a collars person myself.
As in, on a top. On both men and women. I think they sort of finish off the rig-out. Not having collars on a T-shirt or sports top makes me believe you are five or work in the fast food industry. It's just neater. In the A to Z of fashion transgressions, tops without them are up there with socks with sandals.
The new Ireland jersey for the Rugby World Cup was unveiled this week. It's tight. Some might say "unforgiving". Fine if you're Paul O Connell. (Though Sean O'Brien looks like he needs to exhale in the promotion picture.) Not so fine if you're a typical rugby supporter who likes a pint. It's simple, though, and collarless. Well, there's a white trim. Nothing like what, say, Donal Lenihan, might have worn. Maybe it's my age, that I fondly remember the '90s and early 2000s when the collar was de rigueur.
However, more of note, is the fact that this new kit is out less than 10 months after the last new kit was unveiled - and this one costs almost €88. When the Rugby World Cup is over in a few months, the team will wear another 'new' jersey for the 6 Nations.
However, if Three Mobile don't renew their sponsorship then fans will be looking at yet another new top.
Now, it's all high tech and all that. But what is "adaptive fabrication"? Helps stop you sweat? It was developed through "position-specific 3D body-mapping", but who knows what that means? But kids are kids and if their pals are getting the new kit (€65 for youngsters), there's no doubt that they'll want one too.
It's easy to say "Just say no", but sometimes pester power or the desire to make sure your child is not left out is overwhelming.
I know I'll be sticking with an ancient, collared, non-logo top I wear for all Ireland matches. If you do shell out for the kit, at least you'll watch the Rugby World Cup for free on TV3 this autumn.
JK Rowling serves up perfect rebuke
Best Twitter comeback of the last week goes to JK Rowling, who stuck up for Serena Williams when she was body shamed by some troll who said her Wimbledon victory was down to the fact that she was "built like a man".
Rowling posted a picture of Williams in a knock-out, bright-red bodycon dress (left) that emphasised her curves. "Yeah, my husband looks just like this in a dress. You're an idiot," tweeted Rowling.
It's not the first time she's been a Twitter heroine. When someone suggested LGBT students weren't in Hogwarts she tweeted "if Harry Potter taught us anything, it's that no one should live in a closet".
Yawn ... more life advice from Gywneth Paltrow
Gywneth Paltrow is at it again. Her website has got some fascinating advice on how to live better. Yawn. Gotcha. You're doing it the wrong way. Yawning, that is.
According to Gwynie, there's a right way and a wrong way to "involuntarily open your mouth wide and inhale deeply due to tiredness or boredom". I suspect that she herself has seen a lot of yawning up close.
While she is stirring her soy latte with all that privileged righteousness, I'd like to advocate my own personal recommendation for yawning in public. If you must do it, would you mind covering your mouth with your hand, because the rest of us don't need to see your uvula while we're trying to eat.