If you’re reading this and feeling that post-Bank Holiday weekend exhaustion that comes to those of us who are no longer young enough to go out two nights in a row, I salute you. You might be feeling normal again by Friday.
It’s a regrettable coincidence in the life cycle that our inability to go out for two nights in a row coincides with the wedding years.
The late twenties to mid thirties tend to involve more work nights out; more formal functions; and absolutely, definitely, more weddings. You can’t time them, and there’s always going to be a point where, like buses, they come all at once.
Bank holiday weekends are especially eventful, and it was only as I found myself lurching from an office party on Friday (it was the Cork Jazz festival – it’s as mandatory as paying your property tax when you live here) to a next-day wedding, that I realised it. At 28, I am just too old for this.
Being handed a Jagerbomb by an over-excited colleague on Friday night, I heard the alarm bells, and, to my peril, ignored them. I was sorry the next morning, but not as sorry as when, 24 hours later, my bad knee went south in the middle of a particularly brilliant rendition of Dancing Queen. The physiotherapy industry is built on idiots like me.
Looking around my group of head banging fellow wedding guests – shoes all removed, age range 28-40 – I clocked one bad back, one set of bunions and two cases of small-child induced exhaustion.
It’s not always about age. They say you’re as young as the man you feel, and, in a manner of speaking, that’s true. Those of us who are coupled up earlier tend to settle quite happily into a life of box sets, cookbooks, and, in extreme cases, ‘fun’ couples triathlons and marathons.
Unfortunately, when you’re arm locked with 50 sweaty, shoeless strangers roaring ‘Sweet Caroline’ at the top of their voices, and it’s your second night in a row doing something similar, it’s your physical age that matters most. We were all in bed by three.
It’s all a bit pipe and slippers, but when your friends start rejecting nights out because they have a yoga workshop in the morning, meeting for lunch instead of dinner because they can’t get a babysitter, or skip that pint because they are “saving themselves” for an upcoming night out, you know it’s all downhill from there.
Although there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Recent research at the University of Southern Denmark on hangovers among young people discovered that men aged between 18 and 24 were 11 times more likely to experience a hangover than men aged over 60. Young women were eight times more likely than older women to be hungover after drinking alcohol.
Nausea was very rare among older women and men, while up to a fifth of young people experienced that queasy feeling while hungover. Before we make any assumptions, the average consumption per week was similar, although younger peoples’ pattern involved more binge drinking – up to nine drinks per session, with older people sticking at six, most of the time.
Interestingly enough, the researchers didn’t identify any single factor but suggested that perhaps older people were better at managing their hangovers by drinking water, and by consuming lighter-coloured drinks. There’s also a possibility that those reporting the worst hangovers in their early twenties have had the cop-on to lay off the sauce by 60.
Unfortunately, the survey didn’t study anyone in the age range I’m interested in – that rather eclectic band between 24 and 60 with hectic jobs, demanding social lives, big mortgages and small children. It also shed no light on the effects of ‘Rock the Boat’ on nausea and sore-head levels. More research is clearly needed – but I won’t be volunteering.
From The Herald, 29/10/13