Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

By White, Donna | Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), February 1, 2000 | Go to article overview

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun


White, Donna, Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)


IT was once a tried and trusted male bastion - the smoke-filled pub where businessmen spent their evenings, shaking off the stresses and strains of work.

But such watering holes have become extinct as women are fast replacing their male colleagues in the race from the boardroom to the bar.

And unlike the swift pint men used to devour before rushing off for their dinner, the average career woman is not in such a hurry to get home.

This new breed of female drinkers have been nicknamed the AHHAS - After Hours Home Avoiders.

Experts in social trends claim the death of so many male-dominated industries and the increase in women in the workplace means that a different gender can be found propping up the bar during the week.

A survey for Company magazine has discovered midweek drinking is popular with both sexes, with one worker in five enjoying a tipple on a Monday, and one in three on a Thursday night.

But in larger cities, more than half the women regularly go for a drink with colleagues to shake off the tensions of the daily grind - and stay in the pub for most of the evening.

Jim Murphy, director of Model Reasoning, a company which forecasts social trends, says women need an escape from job pressures every bit as much as men.

He said: "People in the UK work the longest hours in Europe.

"Not only does this mean they have to cram their socialising into a shorter period, they also want a quick escape from their pressured lifestyles."

Company magazine points out that more women are waiting until their 30s to have a family - giving them plenty of time to relish their freedom and socialise in their 20s.

But it is a headache for anti-alcohol campaigners, who are dealing with a bigger female caseload.

Justine Long, team leader of a Women's Alcohol Centre, said: "A lot of women we see started off drinking after work to alleviate stress.

"The problem is that it doesn't help. You feel hung over the next day, it's harder to cope with your job, so you feel more stressed and need to go down the pub even more."

And after-work drinking makes it unlikely that such working women will be able to stay within new Department of Health guidelines of a maximum three units of alcohol a day - 21 units per week.

Men are recommended to drink at most 28 units a week.

Gordon Yuill, general manager of the Rogano restaurant in Glasgow, says there has definitely been a shift in the clientele over the past 10 years.

He said: "I see more women out in groups. Once they find a hangout which they consider safe and comfortable, they come back again and again.

"And if they've worked hard, they feel they deserve to drink the best.

"And because they're going out more, women can take their drink. They seem to have a better constitution for it."

But just how much does the average woman's constitution take, considering there is one unit of alcohol in half a pint of ordinary strength beer, lager or cider, a small glass of lower strength wine and a single 25ml pub measure of spirits?

We found our own female AHHAS, and asked them to break down their average working week, drink by drink. This is what we found.

HAZEL

RECEPTIONIST Hazel Wilson, 25, goes out at least two nights a week after work as well as at weekends.

Hazel, of Rutherglen in Glasgow, said: "It's true that it relieves stress, but I also do it to bond with my colleagues.

"It's easier to fit in at work if you do a bit of socialising outside."

And as a single girl, Hazel finds it refreshing to swap gossip with her workmates, rather than go home to stare at four walls.

She added: "I think it's true that single career women avoid going home, because what's the point if there's no-one there to spend the evening with?

"Plus we all know that once we do settle down, there'll be no opportunities for a social life.

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