Deirdre Reynolds: We will deal with bottom pinchers in our own way
Deirdre Reynolds has some words of wisdom for Mr Irons about his comments on bottom pinchers
Women the world over will know exactly what we're talking about. You're standing at a crowded bar patiently waiting to be served when suddenly you feel a sweaty, fleshy mitt clenching your backside.
No matter your age, shape or orientation, there isn't a girl on the planet who hasn't fallen victim to the Nightclub Groper at some stage in her life.
And now Hollywood star Jeremy Irons has butted in to the great derrière-grabbing debate -- claiming we little women should be able to defend ourselves from such asses without involving the long arm of the law.
The 62-year-old is best known for his roles in period dramas such as The Merchant of Venice -- and perhaps it's down to too much method acting, but it seems he can't quite shake a more chauvinistic era where men felt entitled to grab whatever 'pound of flesh' that tickled their fancy.
Hitting out at political correctness, Irons ranted: "If a man puts his hand on a woman's bottom, any woman worth her salt can deal with it.
"It's communication. Can't we be friendly?"
Oscar-winner Irons is next set to star as the debauched 15th century Pope Alexander VI in new TV series The Borgias.
And he reckons "the Catholic Church deserves a huge amount of criticism" over the child-molestation scandals which have rocked the religion in recent years.
When it come to grown women however, the veteran actor -- who's been married to Irish actress Sinead Cusack for 33 years -- is less sympathetic, arguing we should just "deal with it" if a man places a wandering paw on our posterior.
To paraphrase Harry Enfield: Oi! Irons! Get a clue.
While, undeniably, most women might be delighted to spin around only to discover the hand of a craggily handsome Tinseltown star on their toosh, sadly in reality, this is rarely how the scenario plays out.
In my experience -- and that of many other ladies, instead, you do a 180° to discover someone who looks like Mr Tayto's less-attractive first cousin grinning like he's on day release.
Admittedly, between the bottom-shaping Salsa Jeans which have been flying off the shelves at Brown Thomas and Bremenn Labs' 'Butt Lift in a Box' beauty kit, perfectly pert celebs such as Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Biel seem to have made us all ass-obsessed.
Unlike Kim Kardashian however, who's been known to allow TV presenters grab her most famous asset to prove it's real, it's also fair to say that most women have a strict 'Look but don't touch' policy on theirs.
Still, that hasn't stopped some men from confusing slapping, grabbing, squeezing or pinching a girl's bum as an entirely acceptable romantic overture.
Over the years, I've also had a finger sucked and breast grabbed (singular -- he couldn't have even been bothered putting down his pint glass to seize both) uninvited while on nights out.
Needless to say, I would have been perfectly within my rights to have snitched on both body-snatchers to the bouncers, let alone the police.
But if we're to take Mr Irons' advice to simply "deal with it", what's a girl to do about having her bottom (or other body parts) mauled?
For too long now, women have just accepted being felt up as an unfortunate-but-inevitable part of girls' night out. And now the phenomenon is taking hold beyond the meat market, as I, for one, have also had my personal space violated on public transport and even at a funeral.
So is there a middle-ground between the shrinking violet who embarrassedly takes whatever manhandling is meted out to her and the uptight killjoy who has her solicitor on speed-dial for whenever a man so much as glances at her?
Traditionally, a woman's best course of redress against an errant groper was the flat of her hand or neareast drink.
But in the politically correct world that Irons so bemoans, that's likely to get you in even more trouble with the law than getting handy on the dancefloor.
For today's fiesty twenty-something females, getting your own back seems like the most obvious solution.
And this might actually work in your favour if the feeler-upper happens to look like Hugh Jackman -- certainly, it would be a great story to tell the grandkids when they ask how you met.
As per our earlier assertion though, good-looking guys tend not to need to lunge at the nearest rear in order to get up close and personal with a member of the fairer sex.
And though it may sound like the stuff of Sub-Dom fantasy, grabbing your average Irish guy's nuts and bolts in retribution is only likely to send him whimpering into the toilets for the night in terror.
There's also the problem of identifying the owner of the offending mitts.
Whether playful or plain pervy, grabbing a girl's booty is still very much taboo -- and only the most gormless groper would own up to it.
In a sea of arms exchanging drinks and cash over the bar, cross-matching limbs to faces isn't easy -- and it would be most regrettable to wind up pouring your drink over the wrong person.
No, short of following in the footsteps of hotel worker Sarah Ure -- who was awarded $250,000 after suing former basketball player Dennis Rodman for slapping her backside -- there's just one surefire way for gropees to get even.
Given that it's an unmitigated failure as a chat-up device, ultimately it seems that the purpose of smacking a woman's backside is to leave her, well, red-cheeked.
To all potential bum-grabbers: remember that women talk -- a lot.
After having the aforementioned boob grabbed at a Christmas party years ago, I was too stunned to retaliate there and then, but later conferred with the other woman at the event, who all reported similar 'honkings'.
In homage to Bridget Jones's Diary, the double-D deviant was swiftly nicknamed 'Mr Titspervert' -- and his reputation among the ladies never recovered thereafter.
So maybe Jeremy Irons is right about us women, after all.
In our own inimitable way, when wronged we can and do take the law into our own hands.