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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Women drinking pints and other things that give the lie to costume drama

I caught a clip of Pan Am, the new American drama about the early 60s when air travel was glamorous. In one scene the stewardesses were on a layover in London. They were in a pub and  they were drinking pints.

I don't remember exactly when women started drinking pints but it wasn't in the sixties and the last people you would have seen with a brimming beaker in hand were these would-be Jackie Kennedys.

I've adapted to many things but women and pints is something I've never quite got used to. It just never looks right to me. It's obviously one of those things that betrays one's age.

Back in the early 70s the only woman I knew who drank pints was a roadsweeper I worked with during a student vacation. She used to have two pints at lunchtime and a lot more in the evening. She was probably in her fifties and wore bright red lipstick framing her solitary front tooth. I want to call her Lil.

I can't expect the makers of today's period dramas to recognise their own bum notes. The world of Pan Am is about as distant from today as the Edwardian world was from the makers of The Forsyte Saga in the mid-60s. Back then there were probably Edwardian etiquette books they could consult to establish how polite society had been ordered. There's nothing you can refer to which rules with similar authority on what went on in more recent times. When women started drinking pints it was as much a watershed moment as the first appearance of a mini skirt. Nobody, however, seems to have marked it.