In days gone by, after work dad would invariably stop off at the local bar for a few glasses of amber nectar and chew the fat – popular topics: the economy (bloomin’ awful), favourite sports side (bloomin’ pathetic) and sex (not a bloomin’ chance) – before reeling home tipsily to play merry havoc with the wife and kids.
Mum generally drank a sweet sherry of a birthday or Christmas and the occasional port and lemon if dad every extended an invitation to join him at the local (bloomin’ rarely) to watch him display his darts or pool skills.
Fast forward to now…fewer dads step over the threshold of the local bar – try finding a convivial pub today! – so most boozing is done at home and it’s mum who’s hitting the bottle harder, not dad. Yet it’s his (bloomin’) fault!
Because, according to research being presented at the American Sociological Association, married women generally drink more heavily than single women, widows or divorcees.
And, by contrast, happily-married fellahs (i.e. yours truly) drink less than their bachelor buddies and significantly less than divorced men.
The reason, the researchers conclude, is that while women can help keep their husbands’ drinking habits under control, men are simply a bad influence on their wives.From personally experience, it’s not unknown in our household for the love of my life and I to imbibe a couple of glasses of wine during dinner each evening – ostensibly for medical reasons – but I can’t ever remember her being rat-legged.
Hence, unless I found she’s lacing her morning cuppa with a shot of gin, I don’t feel the need to hide her favourite vin blanc (vino blanco, as we say here in Spain) or padlock the fridge.
Earlier studies indicated that, overall, married people tend to drink less than non-married people, suggesting that a more settled home life can promote good health.
But a group of sociologists led by Corinne Reczek, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, reviewed data from a long-running study of behaviour involving thousands of people in Wisconsin.
And they concluded that ‘men introduce and prompt women’s drinking.’
Now, speaking as a member of the male persuasion, there may be several alternative reasons for that, which I won’t discuss here, since this is a family-friendly blog.
But all I can say to Ms. Reczek is that if I lived in Wisconsin I’d probably neck a quart or two of Jim Beam a day and I wouldn’t blame the ineffably charming Mrs. A if she joined me.