My kind of letter writer

The Department of Puritans Health has just come up with its official nine types of heavy drinker, blah blah blah.

From the Graun letters page today, spotting the remarkable similarities between their document and Richard Allestree’s 1659 The Whole Duty of Man, which identified the motives of “the multitudes of drunkards we have in the world”:

2008: “‘Border dependents’ regard the pub as a home from home”. 1659: Too obvious a point to need mentioning, since “an alehouse” was often a room in a neighbour’s home. 2008: “‘Community drinkers’ are motivated by the need to belong”. 1659: “Good-fellowship: one man drinks to keep another company at it”. 2008: “‘Re-bonding drinkers’ are driven by a need to keep in touch with people who are close to them”. 1659: “A second end of drinking is said to be the maintaining of friendship and kindness amongst men”. 2008: “‘Hedonistic drinkers’ crave stimulation and want to abandon control”. 1659: “A third end of drinking is said to be the chearing their spirits, making them merry and jolly”.

2008: “‘De-stress drinkers’ use alcohol to regain control of life and calm down”; “‘Depressed drinkers’ crave comfort, safety and security”. 1659: “A fourth end is said to be the putting away of cares”. 2008: “‘Boredom drinkers’ consume alcohol to pass the time”. 1659: “A fifth end is said to be the passing away of time”. 2008: “‘Conformist drinkers’ are driven by the need to belong”. 1659: “A sixth end is said to be the preventing of that reproach … cast on those that will in this be stricter than their neighbours”.

In 1659 Allestree has no direct parallel with today’s final category, “Macho drinkers”, but in 1660 the Royalists would be back, bringing libertines with them …

A toast or three is due to Kate Loveman, the author of the letter, methinks (ah hah: the culprit, if I’m not much mistaken).

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