I can remember being stood in a pub with a group of my friends in our late teenage years, all drinking pints, and making a confession of sorts:

“Why do we drink this stuff? It tastes awful…. Doesn’t it?”

My good friends all refused to publicly agree with me. Some of them gave me an odd look and I had to change the subject.

Then there was another time, I was with my Dad at the local Rugby club having drinks prior to a formal lunch, all wearing club ties and blazers. I was in my late teens, fairly new to drinking and having had two pints already, when a friend of my Dads asked us all what we wanted to drink, I replied:

“Just half a pint please.”

This was a cardinal sin by all accounts. The hardened man said to me in front of everyone:

“The Lord did not make half a day, so you won’t drink half a pint. Have a full pint of ale or go without.”

Then there was another time, roughly 10 years ago when I ran my first London marathon. I was training hard and getting my mind into shape for the event, I went out on a Saturday night knowing I had a long training run in the morning. When my friend got the round in, I asked for a gin and tonic.

“What are you drinking that for you big girl?” Was the response I got, followed by lots of incredibly rude banter, that comes with a lively bunch of aged twenty something males out on a Saturday night.

My life has been readily punctuated with similar events and situations.

There seems to be some unwritten rule somewhere that drinking beer proves you are a man. If you do not drink it, you are some sort of wuss. In fact, drinking your own bodyweight of it on a regular basis, whether it gets you an unattractive beer belly or not, seems to be the seal of approval for being a bloke.

Each Christmas, I buy a barrel of local real ale from our local brewery, Ringwoods. It is fabulous stuff. When we invite friends and family around for parties during the festive season, it is the men who refuse the snowballs and mulled wine and exclusively opt for the Ringwoods.

It is almost like men are expected to drink it.

Lets add to this, that recently VH1 published a list of fifty things that make men undateable, drinking “girly drinks” featured very high up on the list! Is it these kinds of pressures that result in men having to conform, or do they all actually much prefer the taste of beer?

Cider is getting more appreciated as something men can get away with. Especially when you see the latest Strongbow adverts, absolutely designed at the working man.

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Whilst reading an article on a psychology website this morning, I saw a piece of research highlighted. This piece, conducted by psychology professor Jennifer Bosson and colleagues at the  University of South Florida  suggests that one possible reason for this type of behaviour, is that it is an attempt to display masculinity to others. This display also includes signaling that one is straight and heterosexual.

Within various pieces of their work, they found that people who are given the chance to affirm that they are masculine, (prove that they are ‘proper blokes’) such as by telling the experimenter that they are not a homosexual, later are more willing to do “feminine tasks.” Not only do they do them for longer, but they also report enjoying them more, and have less anxiety during them.

Other research by the same people has demonstrated that when men’s sense of masculinity is threatened (e.g., they think they could be perceived as homosexual), they are more aggressive, and displayed it in outwardly observable ways.

Maybe the reason I am comfortable with my gin and tonics, or sipping my proud collection of Chateauneuf du Paps wines or Remy Martin brandy is because I don’t give a toss whether people perceive me as gay. To me, it is no more threatening than to say I am short, or that I have black hair.  I’m actually tall, have ginger hair and I’m not gay. If you say any of those things, you are an idiot, plain and simple. Though I have been called far worse derogatory things by groups of males when out on the town in my former years!

There is no research to show any correlation with proving your sexuality and drinking beer. But it does strike me as pathetically stupid to drink something just to conform to an idea of what masculinity is. It seems like an idea from the dark ages, doesn’t it? But it still goes on. I would guess that if research was conducted on women in this way, they’d probably drink certain things to appear more feminine at times too… I mean, with a few exceptions here and there, the only females I have ever met who drank pints were the University womens rugby team!

I’d like to assure the reading audience that I have not developed an effeminate wide-hip walk, nor started applying lipstick to a suitable pout I am affecting, despite all the “girly drinks” I continue to consume. The weekend is here, some more of those will be passing my lips this weekend too.

Had to get that subject dealt with… We’ll be back on with some hypnosis talk next week 😉

Cheerio until then.