Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Teenage Kicks

I WASN'T exactly a wild child when I was young, maybe a little advanced for my age in the going to the pub and hanging around rock stars department...

Well, I say rock stars though living in Wakefield which was (and still is) just one level up from touring some sheds, I didn't get to hang around that many. Biff Byford signed my t-shirt and I sat on Ian Gillan's knee for an interesting 15 minutes backstage in Bradford, but otherwise my rock star adventures were pretty limited.

The drinking wasn't though - for I was young in the late 70s when hanging around the pub underage was positively de rigueur. Every time the police raided anywhere, a friendly copper would tip the landlord the wink and the pub would be rather less full by the time they made the raid.

It is, of course, positively wrong to condone underage drinking. I don't obviously, but when I was young it was perfectly all right with me. And the drinking apprenticeship on the legendary Westgate Run through my teens set me up for college -  where one unlucky predatory student tried to get me drunk during Freshers Week and had to be carried back to his room with only a hangover of epic proportions to look forward to.

Now the soon-to-be 16 year old Teen Twin girls, who have not so far followed in my own slightly staggering footsteps, have reached the age where alcohol has become a part of their own social life.

At home we've had an open policy for alcohol since they reached their teens - wine for special occasion meals and the odd Babycham on New Year's Eve on a if-you-can't-have-it-you-want-it-more basis. We make our own wine too (from dandelions and elderflowers, not in a French vineyard *tuts*) and they've tried that, obviously.

But the other night they went to a friend's parent's party and at the friend's parent's party, THEY WERE GIVEN ALCOHOL by the friend's parents who, I suddenly and irrationally decided when they arrived home, SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

So they weren't in the least bit drunk and nobody threw up on a velvet jacket at any point (don't ask), but I was stunned. Yes, ladies and gentleman, what they don't tell you about having children is *huge drum roll* the constant and overwhelming hypocrisy you develop at about exactly the same point that your waters break.

I just about managed to control my stunned-ness and silenced my invective against irresponsible parents who hand out cider to any passing teenager without reference to medical records or social history. Stopped myself launching onto a dangers-of-alcohol-and-boys-and-alcohol-and-parties-and-alcohol lecture because they WOULD have laughed at me and worse.

Which is also what they don't tell you about having children: You can't pretend to be something you're not - because children grow up into teenagers who CAN and WILL spot you being a hypocrite from two rooms away and THEN they WON'T shut up about it. *Grits teeth*

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