Aoibheann Ni Shuilleabhain is a gorgeous, raven-haired 29-year-old-maths teacher, PhD student and glamorous TV presenter. She also seems pretty nice (Grrrr), so it’s safe to say she could have had any bloke she wanted.
Quite what she is doing with a self-confessed nerdy, string-bean of a young fogey’, forty-year-old separated dad-of two Ryan Tubridy, had some ladies (and gents) scratching their heads for the last few years.
Don’t get me wrong. He seems like just the chap you’d bring home to your mother, but some of us had wondered was there ... well, a bit of zip’ in him at all.
Well, not to worry. It seems he’s prepared to turn into a gun-slinging, macho hero of the day if he spots a damsel in distress.
Well, not quite perhaps, but suddenly we’re seeing him in a new light. And we like it.
His comments, on live radio, while interviewing a deeply unsavoury character called Chris, who openly admitted to regularly beating his wife, even landing her in hospital on one occasion, was enough to unleash the hidden depths of ire safely kept under wraps by RTE’s Mr Nice Guy until now.
“I would have walked over and broken both your legs,” he told the waste of space that was his guest’.
He added, had he witnessed any domestic violence against someone he loved, he wouldn’t have hesitated to come down heavy. It’s precisely what you’d want your man to say, isn’t it?
At the end of the day, we all want a protector, someone who would jump to our defence and be prepared to do battle with an attacker. It might be safer to play the wimp and run, but it’s not very manly.
Of course, nobody is making light of any form of violence, even that against a violent individual - after all, two wrongs don’t make a right and Tubs himself contextualised his remarks afterwards as a “figure of speech”, but one which came from the heart.
I don’t think any of us who know Ryan, or otherwise, would think for a moment that he’d actually indulge in a violent lash-out - but the sentiment is one that many would concur with.
Women’s groups were quick to play down the incident, saying that, although understandable, the way to treat violent abusers is not with violence. We get it. Of course that’s the case. But I daresay every woman out there who has suffered domestic violence or a mugging, rape or assault, wanted at that precise moment for somebody to come along and knock the guy’s block off.
And there are many men out there who intervene in fights who live to regret it, getting punched or worse by the people they’re trying to save.
Chris’ is, in every way, the polar opposite of Ryan, and most men, it has to be said.
But that doesn’t stop the primal instinct of protection rearing up. Very few men, thankfully, would follow through physically, knowing the legal and police approach works best.
Tubs says he wants to continue to raise awareness about the issue and reckons if even one low life scum stops beating his wife as a result, he’ll be happy. Now that’s a manly sentiment we can live with.