An Occasional Guide to Irish Life: The overly interested in other people’s wife/husband.

They can be both women and men, and you see them at big family events or social gatherings like christenings or communions, and they stand out. Yes, the parents with young kids do make an effort, but it can only be that, with the huge time-devouring monster that is raising children eating up what used to be gym time or getting one’s hair done. But the overly interested, being single, don’t have that pressure. They’re in the gym everyday, and still wear designer labels that are always dry cleaned and look immaculate and most of all don’t have patches of dried baby sick on any of their clothes, or those double rings under the eyes that only a sick child up all night can endow.

Curiously, they’re not really drawn to each other, but to other people’s husbands or wives. Maybe it’s the position of strength they enjoy, a handsome and well turned out man giving a tired and feeling under appreciated young mother that flirtatious look that her husband hasn’t given her in years. Or the attractive, elegant but age appropriate woman with the playful hand on someone else’s husband’s arm, laughing at his jokes, or wearing those health and safety defying heels that his wife gave up after the arrival of their eldest.

They circle the room, like sharks looking for the faintest hint of blood in the water, ready to move in on the former rugby star who still charms but groans at the jowly reflection staring back at him in the mirror, or the previous shiny haired Alex Girl who takes out the former Little Black Dress of choice to look at when she wants to feel really bad about herself.

You can almost hear the Jaws theme in the background.

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