Lads, if you’re suffering from stubble trouble…jog on!

I have a confession to make, readers; I’m a big, screaming, card-carrying pogonophile! Before you start panicking and getting worried that I’ve suddenly morphed into a weirdo, let me explain that a pogonophile is: someone who adores beards on men. Yep, my name is Miriam and I’m a beardaholic!

  With that in mind, I was delighted to hear about An Garda Síochána’s latest policy change, which allows uniformed members who wish to grow a beard to do so… er, so long as (according to a memo), they don’t resemble ‘a badly watered lawn in a heatwave’.

  That’s fair enough! I mean come on, there’s a huge difference between a grown man with a healthy quota of face furniture and one who’s got the type of ‘bum fluff’ that makes him resemble a pre-pubescent teenage boy about to suddenly sprout whiskers! On the other hand, if it’s a toss-up between a closely-cropped, carefully manicured stubble, or the archetypal flat-white-drinking, man-bun-wearing hipster look, then the former wins. Put it this way girls: if I were single and a bloke with a beard walked into a crowded room, I can guarantee you my pogonophilia would be on red alert!

  Yep, if it came to me making a choice between a closely-cropped Jason Statham lookalike or a hideously bushy Dumbledore/Conor McGregor type beard, then the bold, bald and cropped Jayo gets this hormonal harpie’s vote every time! For me, in order for a beard to be deliciously rugged (as opposed to being scraggly, scruffy and unkempt), the overall look must be topped off with the perfect haircut – as in bald!

  I’m quite fussy you see. Therefore, rather than seeing a manly mane on top of a bloke’s head, I prefer to see it on his face! And yes, I do realise I’m possibly a suitable case for psychiatric assessment!

  Oh, but it’s not just beards that get my attention – I also love a healthy moustache (with healthy being the operative word here). I can’t be doing with any of that sparsely-sprouting, my-eyebrow fell-onto-my-upper-lip type of excuse normally displayed on a teenybopper about to release a breakthrough album following a split from his boyband! I’m talking a well sculpted, properly maintained, hairy badass Hulk Hogan horseshoe tache!

  That being said, when it comes to a man who displays an-all consuming passion with his beard – as in it becomes his ‘wingman’, literally taking over his life, rendering him to spend every waking moment online searching for ‘tache wax’ and ‘beard balm’ – then I’m afraid me and ZZ Top would swiftly be parting company.

  Before I go, let me make something clear! I am not slagging off any man who suffers from a serious case of stubble trouble. On the contrary, I’m offering them some friendly advice and it’s this: if you’ve got a significant lack of beard or moustache-growing capability, rendering your facial follicles to look more like a spattering of whiskers than the hairy, Holy Grail you’re trying to cultivate, then for God’s sake, admit defeat and give up!

Has Putin got Ireland in his sights?

As Ukrainian authorities released a series of disturbing and highly graphic images of bullet-ridden civilian men, murdered, bound and thrown onto a street in the town of Bucha, the response of the rest of the world to simply ‘tighten up sanctions’ against Putin’s forces appears to me to be pretty pathetic!

  One has to wonder just how far EU member states are going to allow Putin (whose savagery has served to strengthen the West’s unity in much the same way as the Brits caused a rift with Brexit) to continue?

  On a personal level, given I’m so disturbed by the horrific scenes I’m seeing day in, day out on the news, I can only imagine how damaging the impact has been on those who’ve fled their homeland in a bid to save their lives. My thoughts and prayers are with all those families currently staying locally at Donamon, who must surely be worried sick about the loved ones they were forced to leave behind. I’m sure these guests staying in our county are wondering if there’s ever going to be any way for them to claw back their lives following what is a totally senseless war.

  Indeed, as gaping holes from explosions are visible in home after home, apartment block after apartment block, school after school and hospital after hospital, we have to wonder what other atrocities, destruction and ruination we’re going to find left behind by these Russian aggressors?

  Will we witness more roads strewn with the bodies of executed innocents? Will Putin and his forces face more allegations of rape, torture and war crimes? If they do, is anyone prepared to stop this dictatorial maniac’s reign of terror? Or will the EU, in a year’s time, continue to run scared as he continues to make Mariupols out of the rest of other European cities?

  Given we felt the need to expel four Russian diplomats in response to ‘increased espionage by the Kremlin’, I’m now wondering if our own defenceless little country will be next in Putin’s sights? If it is, and this madman decides to unleash a fusillade of fire in our direction, will we recall our boys and girls from their peacekeeping duties in the Leb; or will it be left to a group of fishermen from Cork to defend us? It’s a fair question, don’t you think?

Why reusable cups won’t work for a germaphobe like me!

In their bid to try and curtail plastic use, our government, in its wisdom, has, under the new Circular Economy Bill, come up with a plan to slap a 20 cent levy on disposable cups produced through the sale of hot beverages.

  Controversial though this extra charge is, given there’s a reported estimated 200 million disposable cups dumped right across this nation each year, as someone who’s environmentally friendly, I can see the government’s reasoning behind this latte levy, cappuccino charge or tea tax… whatever you decide to call it.

  On the other hand, I’m also someone who (like many readers) is constantly budgeting and trying to make ends meet. Therefore, if my Americano gets any dearer, my daily saunter up to the barista for a freshly brewed cup will now have to be seriously curtailed. And you can forget about telling me to brew my several caffeine hits at home – sure what with the rocketing rise in gas and electricity prices, I’m afraid to flick on the light never mind boil a kettle!

  I’m someone who never has and never will, trust other people’s basic hygiene practices when it comes to, well, completing lots of tasks. Therefore, if reusable cups do become a ‘thing’, I’d wonder if they’ll be kept clean enough to be deemed safe? I mean, we are still in the midst of a pandemic, and Covid cases are on the rise. Therefore if our cups are being carried on public transport, or into the workplace (where people may be coughing and sneezing), aren’t they going to become impacted by germs?

  Let me put it this way folks: we’re all acquainted with that compulsive coffee/tea drinker who, instead of thoroughly cleaning out their mug, will simply run it under the tap and leave it at that! Yuck! On the other end of the scale, there’s me – and my OCD. Those who know me will tell you that if I (and fellow germaphobes) can’t give our cups a hot soapy scrub with a rough sponge every time they’re used, this reusable cup lark is probably not going to fly! The result? All those 20 cents will add up, and our government will make a flippin’ fortune!