Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Women And Alcohol

I may have posted about it before, but it was probably long ago, so who cares:) Also, it's funny.

As you all know, I possess a number of vintage magazines, including some Libelles (a still existing women's mag, which was pretty liberal already back then,  especially compared to the Catholic one I'm currently reading). They did include some useful advice on housekeeping, less useful on motherhood (mostly along the lines of let your teenagers figure it out for themselves, kids are very intelligent), stories about (generally) working gals who land themselves rich husbands and articles about fashion, glamour and life in foreign countries.

Their chief investigative journalist was one Caty Verbeek, who specialised in going to different countries and writing about life there and also brought fashion reports from Paris etc. Well, in one of her journeys she went to Sweden and one of the things which attracted her attention was alcohol. Apparently, Scandinavians had a difficult relationship with it already back then:)

The government invented a creative solution to the problem. Instead of forbidding it altogether, as they had done in the USA they forbade it to be served apart from meals (outside of beer), but that was not all. The breadwinner who paid his taxes and supported his wife and children was rewarded for his good behaviour by a coupon which allowed him to buy 4 liters alcohol per month.

Single men who worked properly got the same allowance, but apparently, not the adult male children who still lived at home so that the father had to share. Women, on the other hand...

Women who visited a restaurant could only get a very little portion (a half quantum) and only if they were accompanied by a man and he agreed to it. Actually, they "got it from him". However, if they were a head of household, that is, they lived on their own, they got a small alcohol allowance, too ("a small part of the man's portion").

Ms Verbeek found it all extremely interesting which finally prompted her female colleague to borrow her father's coupon book and treat her to some local liqueur. It wasn't so simple, however. First, they had to stand in a long line so that an official could check whether the father hadn't used all his allowance for that month, then there was another long line to actually buy a bottle of it.

My, but women had it difficult back then. Quelle discrimination. Luckily, we have all progressed since that dark age of reaction. (Don't click if you have a weak stomach:).


  1. When I visited my grandmother in Canada in 1964 the bars had a separate female entrance. I do not know why it looked like. Apparently they were not allowed to drink with the men.

  2. Interesting. Didn't "Gone with the Wind" mention something about women drinking no more than a glass of wine in company (and none at home) and then only older women, too? Drinking apparently increases risks of getting breast cancer, unless very moderately.

  3. I have heard from old-timers here about what indeed it was like here in Canada back in those days.

    Speaking of Gone With the Wind, I visited a plantation in Louisiana a couple years ago, and in touring it, we were told that, in the Antebellum period, while men visiting were offered some plantation rum (made from sugarcane grown, fermented, and distilled right there), women visiting weren't offered the same because it was considered uncouth for ladies to drink; however, instead, the women were offered slices of pineapple preserved in, ahem, plantation rum. So they got to have some after all, in the form of rum-soaked fruit. IMO, they got a better deal, because they got to have some nice pineapple to eat, too! ;)

  4. How very interesting! Yes, women were supposed not to drink certain beverages, like beer and hard liqour as it was considered unladylike. And of course, only "women of the streets" ever got drunk in public.