My fifteen years living in Ireland have led me to believe that women are judged harsher than men. Not to say that men are not judged, they are, but in response to a man staying out all night he might just be referred to as a feckin' eejit where as a woman gets labelled a slapper. As much to suggest that the man is a harmless fool caught up in the moment but the woman a Jezabel looking for any harmless fool willing to take her. It seems to me that women's liberation stopped in Ireland outside our obvious ability to hold down full time jobs, keep the house clean, organize the children, take care of our aging parents, cook the dinner, attend extra curricular activities for our children and of course keep our men sexually satisfied. That's right women have been liberated to do it fucking all. I feel with a great deal of certainty that the pressure of everything was not what our fore sisters had in mind. My ex-husband used to tell me I would be bored if I didn't go to work. Wow. I always replied well, I have not had the luxury of finding out. I had a child when I twenty and was married, divorced at twenty one, remarried by twenty four with my second child on the way at twenty seven. At thirty-six my marriage became completely un-workable and ultimately resulted in what I can only describe as another statistic - 'failed marriage' (rolling my proverbial eyes). When it broke down living in a small village as I do I didn't go out, I didn't date for two years. For the fear of what people would 'say' about me. Then I had an epiphany and some very pushy friends: it doesn't matter what anyone says, I pay my own bills, raise my children, do my thing, I have started going out again, I have started dating again. When my children don't come home I have the odd 4am wine night with my girlfriends, we laugh, cry and solve the problems of our micro lives that remain unsolved the next morning. I had a male friend who I was rumored to be seeing for a while. I suppose I liked hanging out with him and he wanted more. I wasn't emotionally ready to give anything more (remember it took me two years to leave the house). When I made my debut back to the village and the dating world well, rumors went flying. I was thinking of taking an ad out in the local paper to clarify what I was really up to. But decided it was best to let people's imaginations run with what I am really up to. I mean, realistically, I just make single motherhood look glamorous. My male friend got a girlfriend which makes me happy for him because I was never going to be his girlfriend but I do miss his friendship. Albeit old fashioned often comes to mind when I think of him. Anyways, the other night I had a 4am finish which I am still recovering from. Having been drunk the night before I had to leave my car and walk home. I text my male friend who now has a girlfriend to come collect me and bring me to car which he did. Getting out of the car I leaned back in to the car and said, 'will I stand here until someone sees me getting out of your car and start the rumor mill'. My friend said, 'uh no'.