Women and Wine

Mommies Playgroup


Self-portrait I took in college. With juice.

One nice summer morning back in 2007, I went over to a lady’s house in the Oakmont section of town for a playgroup set up by a mothers support network. I had met the playgroup ladies, all with 1 year old sons like me, a few times previous at other events. I was looking forward to some adult interaction with people in my same boat. I’d say Lucas was looking forward to it too, judging by his insane amount of drooling and valiant attempts at escape. I walked up the steps to the beautiful stone house just when the other moms and babies arrived. Inside, we put the babies down. I could swear I heard “Release the hounds!” as those adorable little monsters attacked every toy, cabinet, piece of furniture and architectural molding in sight. Once those piranhas were safely penned in, the adults settled into the kitchen. I was the last one to peel off my progeny and get over the baby gate. When I arrive on the other side, a full glass of red wine was waiting for me. It was 10 a.m.

It’s Drink O’Clock

All I could think of was the Mr. Mom scene. Isn’t there some rule about not drinking before noon or something? I soon came to realize that Havertown has replaced “None before noon” with “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!” When we moved out here to Havertown in 2000, I was woefully unaware of the Drinking Habits of The Typical Suburban Adult Female. I grew up in the Poconos with a teetotaling mother and a father who’d go right to sleep after just one glass of wine. We didn’t see much alcohol use or abuse in our neighbors or friends’ parents. Some teens would drink, obviously, but not us. My brothers are both teetotalers still. Me… well not so much. As many a Havertown mom friend of mine knows, I’m no stranger to a glass or two of wine. But the levels of drinking in the ‘burbs really threw me. I figured that if anywhere, people in the isolated  areas of the Poconos would be heavier drinkers than these suburbanites. And after living in Philly for 7 years, I thought I’d seen it all. I have to say, people seem to drink more in the ‘burbs than in the sticks or the city. This is just my observation, of course, but it seems the Wall Street Journal has observed similar things.

It’s Not Just Us

Skipping around the Interwebz I came across a Wall Street Journal article outlining how women love wine. (So very cutting edge, that WSJ. Women love wine. Shocker.) The article outlines some interesting facts, though, about how the wine industry was flailing and failing until they convinced women wine was The Answer. Every culture has different traditions. It was just a bit of a learning curve to get used to women having a glass of wine at playgroup at 10 in the morning, and every night after the kids go to bed (which, as a mother of two, I painfully understand). Plenty of men around here have a beer or two every night after work. This is probably pretty normal for most suburban towns. I just never knew about it until I moved here. But if neighbors are sneaking their empties into your blue recycling bins, like some examples in that WSJ article, maybe you can leave them a note with some AA helplines on it. That seems a bit extreme, hiding empties and all that. What about you? When you have to tell the doctor how much alcohol you drink per week, do you lie? (I say one drink per week. It’s probably an average of about 1.5. OK. 1.75 tops).

UPDATE: July 19, 2013: Just found this HUFFPO article about a study in the UK about alcohol killing women in their 30’s and 40’s.