Rachel Dugan: 'Single women at the back of the queue'
Maybe house-hunting can be fun. No, really. In a buoyant but not over-inflated market, in which the banks are doling out tracker mortgages like vodka jelly shots at spring break party, it could be a real blast.
In Ireland, though, it's just stressful and fraught, as my other half and I discovered a few years ago.
But, a bit like childbirth, your memories of all those 'Wacky Races' Saturday dashes across the city, guided only by a meticulously planned spreadsheet of open viewings and a rising sense of panic, seem to magically disappear when you finally secure a house. I say this because it's the only possible explanation for me offering to chauffeur a friend to some viewings last Saturday.
Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.
And it didn't take long for the bad memories to come flooding back. We arrived very early at the first viewing, a one-bed cottage in the south inner city "in need of some work", having panicked and overestimated how long it would take to get there.
An anxious 20-minute wait ensued as we watched a slew of prospective buyers form an informal queue at the door. Once the agent arrived and we'd all squeezed into the property - which was so tiny I felt like a commuter trying to wedge myself onto a Tokyo subway train - we sized up the other viewers.
Why was that woman tapping that wall? What are they whispering to the agent? Does anyone else have the cash needed to transform this ramshackle abode into the Instagram-worthy crash pad we'd spied on AirBnB that morning? My friend - whose budget, if she's lucky, might get her on the very lowest rung of the Dublin property ladder - certainly didn't, so we slipped out quietly and moved on to the next viewing, and the next and the next...
You tend to see the same faces again and again when house-hunting. During our search, it was a mixture of singles, couples or those with young families. But last weekend it was all women, mainly viewing alone. I said as much to my friend. "Yeah, they're all like me: single women in their 30s. Rarely couples and never single blokes."
"Where are the single men?" I asked.
"At the higher end of the payscale," she deadpanned, before sighing loudly.
It was at that moment I offered to take her out again. Like I said, house-hunting can be fun, but definitely not if you're a single woman in your 30s.
Oscars swag bag goes down the pan
The Oscars are on this Sunday and while it's still not clear if there'll be a host, we know there will be winners and losers. But even those who don't bag a statuette will not be walking away empty-handed. Stuffed full of $100,000 worth of goodies - including an exclusive trip to the Galapagos Islands and dinner cooked by a celebrity chef - this year's swag bag will go a long way in tending to those wounded egos.
But a quick perusal of the contents reveals some truly bizarre 'gifts'. These include a Peta spy pen for discreetly reporting on-set animal abuse and an 18-minute session with a phobia relief expert. My personal favourite, though, is a $20 Mr Poop emoji toilet plunger. Well, I guess most celebrities are full of sh**e.
Going vegan? It's not eggsactly my thing...
As a former vegetarian, I'm surprised at my steely resolve in the face of the recent rise of veganism.
No amount of articles about the joys of a beetroot burger haemorrhaging on your plate or the authentic tang of vegan cheese will turn me off meat.
More likely to sway me was the news this week that a teenager managed to hatch a duckling from a supermarket egg. Certainly food for thought.