Lisa Markwell: We're bright and brainy but that doesn't mean we don't want to booze

Notebook

Share

News to confuse: a Cambridge academic claims we hit our peak in our forties and fifties. Meanwhile, a study from the Office for National Statistics reveals that the same demographic is made up of heavier boozers than the teens and twentysomethings so often associated with binge drinking.

Dr David Bainbridge's assertion that our most important stage in evolution is after 40 makes some kind of sense. Through a fog of tiredness and stress (it can't be just me), we are able to prioritise what's important and to jettison worries about less-than-crucial matters such as, "Should I have queued up at H&M for that spotted Marni coat?"

Our middle age is challenging, like any other "age", but Bainbridge is right when he says that we have better planning and co-ordination skills than younger folk (although when he adds that the over-40s run our business and political world it's tempting to mutter, "No shit, Sherlock"). We run everything because we've been around long enough to scale the greasy pole.

So, bright and brainy, experienced and strategic, the over-40s are well equipped to cope with probably the biggest challenges we have during our lifetime: that of being the "sandwich generation", with both children and parents to look after. That's where the second study comes in. Nothing washes down a sandwich like a large glass of red wine. Whether it's the reward for unclenching the teenage fist from around its BlackBerry and getting it to go to bed, or the emollient as one braces oneself for the telephone call to the parent for a (very) detailed update on how their minor procedure went at the doctors...

But one in five women between 45 and 64 drinks more than the recommended 14 units a week, and three million men do the same. The younger age-groups, meanwhile, are curbing their drinking.

Obviously, this does nothing to assist our negotiation of the complex demands on our time. Why do we continue to do it, then? It's not as if we're unaware of the health risks. It's the one blind spot in what Bainbridge identifies as our otherwise sharp grasp of our world.

Perhaps we're misguidedly looking back to the "glamour" of our earlier drinking days to stave off feeling middle-aged. Personally, I'd rather settle down with The Tube on Sky+ and take my calories in the form of some excellent cheese and charcuterie than hoist myself into a pair of Spanx and head out to a bar for a Malbec binge. If that makes me a less than perfect example of a brainy, boozy fortysomething, then so be it.

So you're in the club – the cliché club

It was quietly thrilling to hear of Beyoncé's public breastfeeding incident the other week. (Hear of, but not see – there were no photographs taken.) It may have done more to calm the confoundingly continued fuss about an entirely unremarkable activity than any number of official endorsements.

What we really don't need any more of – in what we must assume is an attempt to "normalise" motherhood – is celebrities being photographed naked while pregnant. The latest in what has become a huge cliché is US socialite Jessica Simpson, for the April issue of Elle, adopting the "side view with huge bump, breasts hidden behind arm" pose. And because she's fabulous, she accessorises with gob-stopping jewels. Before her went Demi Moore (who at least had the novelty of being the first), Cindy Crawford, Britney Spears, Claudia Schiffer, Christina Aguilera and dozens of lesser-known women.

What does this pose do? It looks worryingly like fetishising something while simultaneously alienating women. I'm afraid, dears, that you're not the first women to have accommodated a baby, and an airbrushed approximation of nude skin (you'll never see stretch marks or veins on these bellies) is downright unhelpful.

Of course, the person most likely to cringe, years later, is the child itself. Look at how sexy mama was when you were just a foetus... It takes embarrassing your offspring to a whole new level.

l.markwell@independent.co.uk

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power