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

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

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
RIP Voicemail?  

Voicemail has got me out of some tight corners, so let's not abandon it

Simon Kelner
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all