QUESTION Time folks. See this lady here? Attractive, right? Dressed like she's about to hit the town, wouldn't you say? None of those are the actual important question here, they were more hypothetical ones just to establish some important points.
The main question for you today is, how do you think a dressing room full of men from any sport of your choosing would react were this lady to walk in looking like this directly after a game?
Would they greet her as though she were just another member of the coaching staff? Or perhaps would they engage in some whooping and maybe even some hollering?
If you're answer is the former then I can only presume that the dressing room full of men you were thinking of is the octogenarian bowls team from the Planet Castratus.
You see this little lady's name is Ines Sainz. She is a sports reporter for a Mexican TV station in the States and she's caused quite a stir on this side of the Atlantic in recent weeks. While awaiting an interview on the sidelines prior to kick-off in a New York Jets football game, Ines grabbed the attention of warming up players who consistently "overthrew" the ball in her direction so they had to run by her in order to retrieve it.
Horrific isn't it? Imagine men in their 20s and 30s - professional athletes no less - acting goofy in order to run past a hot lady in a pair of arse-suffocating pants and a top that provides worse coverage than an umbrella made from nets.
Poor old Ines' nightmare didn't end there however. As is standard practice over here she, along with some other reporters, went into the Jets dressing room after the game and was subjected, nay tortured, to the aforementioned whooping and hollering.
Predictably, a variety of different groups who have self-appointed themselves to the position of spokespersons for all of womankind were up in arms over this. The most vocal amongst these mostly hysterical and radical groups were the Association of Women in Sports Media whose moaning prompted the NFL to conduct sensitivity training with all of its 32 teams. The bill for this training will be footed by the Jets.
Not being accustomed to sports coverage North-American style, the first question that crossed my mind upon hearing this story was, what the hell was she doing in the dressing room afterwards as players got undressed and had showers?
You could argue that TV rights payments have made these players all millionaires but does that mean that they have to lose the right to wash themselves without having the ogling eyes of the press also present? Should they also be allowed follow them home?
I've been informed though that it's standard practice for the media to be allowed a few minutes of coverage inside the dressing room after games. Although I don't understand why they can't just wait until the post-match press conference, as in European sports, if sports fans and players can tolerate it here then so can I.
What I really can't comprehend though, and I'm about to get soap boxy and perhaps a little controversial here, is why they would allow female reporters to carry out this coverage.
Of course it's all in the name of equality and - unlike some people have claimed in arguments regarding this issue - the same standard applies to male reporters going into female locker rooms after major sports events in North America. I can't understand why that is allowed either but in this age of political correctness, common sense is all too often sacrificed in the name of equality.
Again though, if that's how it has been done over here for decades, even though I don't agree with it I can let it slide without getting too rowdy.
What does get my dander up though is how an apparently professional journalist, yes the one in the skintight jeans and boob-friendly shirt, can walk into a room of young adult men dressed as she was and complain when they react like a room of young adult men. If she is a sports reporter then she should know that the dressing room is a place where a lot of farting, belching, cursing and yes, un-PC chatter about girls takes place. If she can't take it then for the sake of all concerned she should stay away because those kind of activities are as essential an element to many sports as the bloody ball.
Many of the aforementioned womens groups have also claimed that Ms Sainz is suffering for her good looks. Once again they are about as on target as a blind drunk wino taking pot shots at cans on a fence 200 yards away. The "suffering" she endured was as a result of the unprofessional way in which she dressed.
I've worked as a journalist and never once did I come to the office wearing a tight pair of crotch-hugging trousers, no matter how badly I wanted to, because it would have been deemed unprofessional. If you wear clothes that show off your arse and considerable cleavage then don't be shocked when people react to them. It's akin to a stripper getting indignant for a customer staring at her rack.
You know the way in the Dail you can't libel yourself regardless of what you say? Well a dressing room - regardless of whether or not it's for professional sports - is a similar kind of haven. For some men, it's the only place where they can actually speak freely without fear of offending the ears of the easily-offended.
If those sensitive souls can't take boys being boys in their last remaining refuge then they shouldn't let the door hit the behind of their skintight jeans on the way out.
I have noticed many signs over the last couple of months that indicate I am slowly but surely morphing into my father.
On three occasions this week alone I have fallen asleep on my couch about five minutes after sitting down to watch some TV. It only took 25 years for me to start working a job somewhere near as hard as himself - who has never once stayed awake for the closing credits on the Late Late show - and the effects on my evening time energy appear to be the same.
Like my father, my head tends to tilt back at almost 90 degrees when I'm couch sleeping, giving all and sundry a delightful view right up both nostrils. It was sleeping at this angle that gave my lady reason to notice that I'm cultivating a veritable forest of nose hairs that, if allowed a few more weeks of unimpeded growth, will soon be a Hitler-style moustache. Guess who else in my family has a pair of bristly nostrils.
Strike three is a tendency I have developed really only in the last couple of months but one which Dad has had for as long as I've known him. The other day, my aforementioned lady was making us dinner but was short one ingredient so I offered to go to the shop on what should have been a ten minute excursion but one which took over half an hour.
I can't really explain why it took me so long other than there just happened to be a wide variety of worthwhile distractions along the way. You know the sort of thing; interesting newspaper headlines, a new brand of cereal that had to be investigated, a couple arguing that I felt the need to eavesdrop on for just a while. All the usual things.
The reprimand I received upon finally returning home prompted a real sense of nostalgia as memories came flooding back of my father returning from short errands that turned into epic journeys. His distractions tended to be more in the line of car dealerships, which he could rarely pass without going in for a look, and car magazines both of which could render him MIA for lengths of time that would drive my waiting mother cuckoo.
In a way, it's oddly comforting to develop habits that my father probably embedded in my psyche at a very early age, even if some of them drive those around us a little barmy now and again. I don't reckon I'll ever be quite the man he is, but if I do end up adopting most of the quirks and foibles of someone, there's nobody else I'd choose.