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An independent girl needs a bathroom and a bank account

Mammy O'Keeffe, despite looking far too young to have a 'child' my age (34) has always loved Gay Byrne, mainly because he was the first male media figure to champion female financial independence within a marriage.

He advocated that women should have separate bank balances and always have their 'running-away money' at the ready.

And Gaybo being Gaybo has proven himself to be way ahead of the starting line. The most recent survey on the subject, by Tesco Bank, confirms that, while newly weds used to pool their resources, with the growing independence and self-reliance of women, now that more go out to work, his and hers means just that when it comes to the ATM.

Also, the fact that more and more women settle down later in life means that we are more 'set' in our ways.

Personally speaking, at the beginning of our little romance even having Himself in my home for the weekend was traumatic -- for me! We love being together but our separateness is part of the charm.

And what it mainly comes down to these days is the bathroom situation. He has the main WC, mine is the ensuite -- and never the twain shall meet. I love the fact that Catherine Zeta Jones (below), married to Michael Douglas for 10 years, went on the record in recent years to declare that: "Separate bathrooms is always a really great idea. Mine is so messy, I'd absolutely hate for my husband to realise just how incredibly cluttery I can be."

Whilst Michael Caine, married to wife Shakira for 37 years, also admitted that the key to marital bliss is not fidelity or eternal love but separate bathrooms: "The secret to a happy marriage is separate bathrooms. That's essential. Whenever we stay in a hotel we always get two bedrooms just so we can have an extra bathroom. It's vital to have your own space so you aren't constantly in each other's pockets."

In the past, women had a certain sense of powerlessness -- largely due to our financial dependence on men. But these days even a gal like me has two bathrooms.