April 30 2017, updated 12:20pm

Drunken aftermath of sevens

ROSEMARY MCLEOD
Last updated 12:06 10/02/2011
Drunk girls
Meredith O'Shea
ON THE TOWN: Ever since feminism began, some women have wanted to imitate men.

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Ever since feminism began, some women have wanted to imitate men. Not nice men, I mean, but hoons - and they have the necessary talent.

OPINION: Early last Sunday morning Wellington's streets showcased the aftermath of the NZI Sevens the night before - half-naked strangers toddling home along the walk of shame, wondering who they spent the night with, and whether they were sick on their rug.

A highlight was a tubby fellow still dressed as an angel, zig- zagging his way along the footpath, but there were women there too, and they looked just as unfortunate in the cruel light of a drizzly day. Condemn this by all means, as we do, but it won't do any good.

The sevens is our Roman Saturnalia, when perfectly ordinary people holding down perfectly respectable jobs dress up in crazy costumes and get trashed.

Mostly it's about fun, but a lot of it is about alcohol, and this year young women excelled at its consumption. Most fans needing medical attention, police reported, were women between 18 and 25 years old.

Most, they tell us, were so drunk that they were incapable of looking after themselves.

The Alcohol Advisory Council is naturally worried about the drinking culture that has so many ending up in hospital emergency departments.

"We need targeted messages to groups at risk, such as young women, warning of consequences of this pattern of drinking," the council's chief executive, Gerard Vaughan, says.

I wish him well, but it will be a struggle persuading young women that they shouldn't get just as trolleyed as their boyfriends.

How drunk you were last night is a badge of honour, and looking for love with dribble running down the corner of your mouth and your skirt caught up in your knickers is our way of conducting romance.

If you wake up next to somebody who looks half-decent through the fug, I guess you marry them.

This isn't just a local thing, nor is it confined to alcohol. The example set by celebrities that young women watch is even wilder. Paris Hilton, for example, manages to be a celebrity largely as a result of her tackiness.

The sex video of her and a former boyfriend that wound up on the internet has helped, not hindered her career, and her drink-driving isn't held against her. Last year she was arrested with cocaine in her car, which reportedly reeked of cannabis, and after initially saying it must be someone else's, pleaded guilty.

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This week American actress Jaime Pressly faced drink-driving charges, and Lindsay Lohan, who has long struggled with addiction, is threatened with charges over the apparent theft of a necklace.

Winona Ryder has had problems with shoplifting and an addiction to painkillers, Kate Moss's mystique was only enhanced by the tape of her snorting cocaine, and Britney Spears has been notorious for substance abuse.

Rather than being social rejects as a result, they are continuously on magazine covers, a message to young and impressionable women that misbehaving is glamorous, and an addiction is quite likely to be a desirable accessory.

The only argument young women are likely to take seriously is that excessive drink and drugs will ruin their looks eventually - but eventually is a long way off when you're under 30.

Although more than 100 people were arrested in the course of our sevens Saturnalia, it's interesting to note that there was not one charge of sexual assault among them, despite the helpless condition so many young women wound up in.

Is this a sign that even sexual opportunists have raised their standards, and prefer to hit on women who are not yet unconscious?

As for mating rituals, what are we to make of Rhona Levy, the American woman who never found Mr Right, and has now left a will ordering that her ashes be divided at the crematorium between the graves of her five pets, Snow, Putchke, Pumpkin, Shaina and Twinkie?

"These little furry kids, they just became my first and foremost love," she enthused this week.

Just think of the money she's saved on buying cocktails and paying for the dry-cleaning later.

- The Dominion Post

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