Be very careful what you order this festive season

Country Living with Francis Farragher

NO one should ever have to work or socialise in an environment where there is any element of harassment – and that’s probably a ‘given’ among all reasonable minded people but somewhere a line in the sand must be drawn between that and political correctness going completely bonkers.

A couple of weeks back on RTE television, I listened to a man who sounded quite knowledgeable on all matters relating to equality and workplace issues, but I have to admit to being taken aback at one his examples of gender based harassment.

He said that if a man was telling a joke in the company of four other men and one woman and the four men laughed at it and the woman didn’t, then this would be an example of harassment. I kind of scratched my head a little and said to myself: hold on here for a minute.

I thought for a few seconds if a woman was telling a joke in the company of four other women and one man, and the man didn’t laugh at the joke, would that be an example of male harassment.

And given some of the quality of the jokes that are being told – I normally dip into the Marty Whelan selection on Lyric FM that are so awful that they end up being funny – maybe it’s little wonder that at least one person in a listening party of five might decide not to laugh at a particular corny tale being told.

Again, stressing that there’s a clear line to be drawn between perverse or harassing behaviour and the day-to-day banter that we all tend to engage in, maybe at times we do just need to lighten up a bit.

Unfortunately, . . . or maybe that should be fortunately . . . we cannot all be at the centre of the universe; none of us today or tomorrow morning will solve the great issues of the world and I’m afraid that if North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and US President Donald Trump are both daft enough to blow us all up, there’s not really a lot we can do about it. In the meantime, the golden rule is not to lose any sleep over it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.