It’s the type of research that has me reaching for a nip from the bottle of Hendrick’s gin I touch only on a Thursday. (Yeah, RIGHT.)
We women aged in our late thirties and early forties have enjoyed too “large ones” of white wine over the years, and now our livers are paying for it. Born in the 1970s, my generation of girls was raised by parents who, whether they knew it or not, transmitted the ideas of second-wave feminism. We were encouraged to do everything the boys did – including elbowing our way to the bar to buy rounds of V&Ts. But apparently our liddle bodies couldn’t cope with alcoholic equality and now we are dropping like cider‑drunk wasps.
Now we've been admonished for “embracing male behaviours – one of which was excessive drinking”, by Sally Marlow of King’s College London, who conducted a study of deaths caused by alcohol-related disease. While men born in the 1970s suffered fewer deaths due to drink than in the previous decade (down 25 per cent), women born in the same 10 years seemed to be paying for it (deaths up by nearly 50 per cent). Rather than congratulating men on their relative restraint at the bar, this was another excuse to mention “ladette culture”. Women matched men drink for drink, and it’s our own silly fault.
But should we blame the way in which women have progressed over the past 20 years? Because being out, drinking more, socialising at work are all part of progress. In our country, drinking – often hard drinking – has been concomitant with playing an active role within your peer group, being part of the “fun”, not just the good girl who sips cola.
Lingering in the pub is what liberated single women in their twenties do instead of being a bored housewife. Now we’re approaching middle age, most of the girls of the 1970s I know are competitive teetotallers, whether to lose weight, enhance fertility or simply because the mix of hangover plus small child is about as palatable as a Jägerbomb. But more of us learnt the lessons of excess in our twenties and try to mix pleasure with moderation – most of the time. Unless it’s a heatwave, of course…