Essential advice from Póilín on progress and propositioning

Dear Póilín,

When my husband and I first got married, we enjoyed a year or so in a cute little house on the fringes of West Dublin, in Dundrum. It was hardly what we wanted out of life, but we were young and bohemian, and it was exciting to live somewhere a bit "down-at-heel".

I hadn't been there for many years, but found myself in the town last week. And what a change! The main street has been pedestrianised and roofed in, and all the old dingy shopfronts have been replaced with shiny glass displays. All those awful pokey little places, like the post office and the pubs, are gone – no sign of them! – and in their place there's a stream of the best in British fashion.

Surely, this is what progress is about. I was sceptical about the value of the LUAS before – after all, why would people from Tallaght want to go into town? But now people from all over the city will be able to visit Dundrum, and be inspired by what can be achieved when good economic policy is harnassed by progressive minds with artisitc vision.

I want to congratulate all involved. The next step, of course, is for every other town in the city to benefit from such benevolent investment.

Elizabeth, Glenageary

Dear Elizabeth,

I have to admit, I haven't been to Dundrum since it re-opened. I'm a little set in my ways, and was worried about getting confused by the new roads and ending up on the M50. That happened to me once before, and I had to pull in to the hard shoulder and call the AA, who didn't look kindly on my request to be towed back into South County Dublin.

But it does sound glamorous. It just goes to show you what the private sector can do. And imagine if they were able to build our schools and hospitals! Now that would be progress.

If you're so inspired, maybe you should apply your energies to politics. You've certainly found a worthy cause to rally around.

Good luck! Póilín

Dearest Póilín,

I'm as feminist as the next man but this has to be shared with you, beloved solver of all things to do with Irish solutions to Irish problems.

A train is hurtling along at dangerously breakneck speed because the driver has collapsed at the controls. One pretty young woman begins to panic and shouts impulsively: "I'm too young to go like this! I haven't even met the man of my dreams whom I could have married and given my flower to. Why did I wait so long?"

She blurts out to the man sitting across from her, as she throws off her clothes: "Sir, please, make me feel like a woman, like a wife."

The man quickly whips off his own clothes and, throwing them at her feet, cries: "Here! Wash them."

Now Póilín, somewhere in all this mix I'm witness to the episode, and while I'd never ask her to clean my clothes under such circumstances, I can readily identify with her matrimonial dilemma.

I too have difficulty meeting and putting propositions to the opposite sex, so could you at all advise as to what I should do to better my situation in a hurry. Otherwise I might have to catch every available train whose driver is prone to passing out at appropriate times.

Bashful Bob, Ballydehob

Dear Bob,

It's good to know there are men out there still who aren't afraid of admitting they too are looking for love.

But beware, Bob: today's young woman is a savvy, sophisticated beast, and bad jokes are no longer enough to woo her.

You have two difficulties, it seems: meeting women, and, how shall I put it, propositioning them. Although I don't know Ballydehob's social scene too well, certainly in the nation's burgeoning towns now there are ample opportunities to meet respectable young women. Private gymns, private members' clubs and charity balls are all excellent options.

That's "meeting", "greeting" is another thing altogether. In this, you may require some coaching. Go to for advice on how to improve your prospects. But remember, if talking is what's difficult, you don't have to talk! A good suit and car, and maybe a business card, can always do the talking for you.

Maith an buachaill, Póilín