(Wo)men and Drinking: A Gender Stereotypes Rant

  • Ain’t nothing so macho as getting pissed and throwing up right?
  • Girls like drinking wine, cider and (depending on degree of pretentiousness/budget) alcopops, spirit + mixer or cocktails..
  • Real men shouldn’t drink: anything under 4.5%/lager/anything a girl might drink (see above)
  • Not drinking is only acceptable for the following reasons:- driving, taking antibiotics (and even then one or two shouldn’t hurt), giving up for january detox/lent or being an alcoholic

What is it about alcohol that makes some people so prissy? So judgemental?
Scientifically it is clear that different people metabolise alcohol differently and that typically women have a lower tolerance level (not simply because of body mass but also because of fat:water distribution and chemical levels). It is also true that there is a general trend towards a preference for sweeter tastes amongst women and yet some of the best mixologists in the world are men and some of the most ardent real ale campaigners are women
But I fail to see how that should apply to me specifically or indeed why getting outrageously drunk is the acceptable and indeed desirably big and clever thing to do.

In my job I am often asked to suggest a drink for people who don’t recognise the selection and in doing so I both ask questions about people’s tastes and make judgements about them based on their appearance and attitude. What I find difficult is when people are very firm about one aspect of their preference because of their belief in what they (or their friend/partner) should be drinking. The lads who won’t except anything except the strongest pint for their mate’s stag do; the girls who refuse to touch something dark because it might be heavy.
Despite having done the job for many years and tatsed and recommended thousands of beers I have not yet worked out a particular defining feature that makes a drink masculine or feminine and I’m pleased with that. So why do people care so much?
I can only assume that a drink is an accessory by which you tell people about yourself and attract a partner. If that is the case what is 14 pints of stella saying about you? What does the fear of trying something new say about you?

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