Dear Savvy Sister: Wine makes me cranky! Should I do shots, instead?
Reminder: The questions posed in this occasional column are posed by actual people.
Dear Savvy Sister,
What’s the best way to booze in your 40s? As much as I love my vino, I have noticed wine tends to keep me up in the middle of the night. What’s the science here? Is this a hormone thing or a chemical reaction? Should I consider switching to another adult beverage, and if so, what do you suggest, Sister?
You had me at booze. You know why? Because you used it as a verb. Who does that? You’re hard-core, girlfriend.
Listen, you’ve come to the right place, except for the science part. I’m a liberal arts gal. I mostly make up the answers to science inquiries, but I’ll do my best for you. It’s particularly relevant to address this issue on a Monday, when my Advil supply is low, my recycling bin is full, and I’m swearing off the grape forever. Serenity now, please!
The simple response to your question is: switch to vodka. But of course, nothing about alcohol consumption is simple.
In my popular 2-part series About the Drinking (Part I, Part II), I spoke of my history with booze, from my teenage Boone’s Farm days to my current wine dependency. And by dependency, I don’t mean the Rehab, Please! kind of dependency, although frankly, I would love it if Hot Firefighter Husband or some other trusted source sent me to rehab. My preference would be the oceanfront Passages facility in Malibu which offers kayaking and horseback riding.
No, I’m referring to the Is it Friday yet? kind of anticipation that comes with the approach of cocktail hour. Certainly this also is a type of dependency — but it’s a bit like our reliance on good chocolate. Sometimes we overindulge, but mostly we limit our intake to a couple of Hershey’s Kisses at a time, and we’re fine going a few days without it.
Like you, I switched to wine while still in my 30s, and soon found myself overindulging on a regular basis. Then my kids arrived, and I cut waaaaay back so that I’d always have the ability to drive my children to the hospital in the middle of the night. Also like you, now that I’m in my 40s – barely hanging on to my 40s – wine has become like poison in my veins. Anything over a glass and a half leads to heart palpitations, sleepus interruptus and — worst of all — the Headache. I cannot bear a Headache. I’d rather have an infected gash on my thumb than a headache.
You are right to guess that it’s hormone-related. At this age, we women have all sorts of whack stuff happening to our bodies — estrogen levels drying up, bone density decreasing, metabolism dropping — and adding mood enhancers to the mix is like pouring lighter fluid on the grill flame – Wow, that was spectacular! But why is the burger all shriveled up and unappealing?
See, that’s us after too much wine. Unappealing. We’re not funny, cute drunks like we used to be. I know, I know, I should just speak for myself. But seriously, boozy middle-aged women come across as candidates for the Dr. Phil show. Or as bimbos, if they’re hot enough.
Having said all this, there’s nothing like an excellent wine with dinner, so please don’t think I’m suggesting you abstain altogether. But do consider finding yourself a signature drink that’s a tiny bit difficult to make and hard to chug. My latest is a combo of vodka and soda with a splash of cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime. Delicious! Refreshing! Inconvenient enough so that I can’t just fill my glass every time I pass the fridge. I also last week made a yummy spritzer with cucumber vodka, muddled basil, soda and a splash of simple syrup. Like a salad in a glass! You know, in a good way.
No headaches! The scientific reason for that totally escapes me. My party posse prattles on about sulfites, sugar, arsenic, blah blah blah. But does it matter? After a couple of vodka drinks, I sleep like a baby, and that’s what counts.
Cheers, peeps! Oh, and peace. As usual.
the Savvy Sister
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