By A. Lynn Martin (auth.)
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Additional resources for Alcohol, Sex, and Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
31 Pierre Gringore’s farce Raoullet Ployart (1512) made similar use of a vineyard. 32 One author used sex as a metaphor for breaching a barrel of wine; another used breaching a barrel as a metaphor for sex. ’33 John Aubrey’s Brief Lives included the story of a handsome young apprentice whose master had died. ’34 Other drinks beside wine could become sexual metaphors. 35 Mother Watkins ale was semen. Another ballad told of a shepherd high on a hill who encountered a pretty maid passing by: Thou shalt taste of my bottle before thou dost go, fa la.
58 In her letters to her daughter, Madame de Sévigné often mentioned the toasts drunk to her. For example, on 30 July 1689 she wrote of a dinner she attended at Vannes, ‘and the wine of St. 60 Drinking provided an opportunity for women to gather to enjoy each other’s company, and the enjoyment of each other’s company provided an opportunity for a drink. 65 Such occasions must have been commonplace, but the documentation exists only for those cases that resulted in accidents or criminal activity.
By playing the same game with the Sienese figure of 415 liters per person per year, the result is over 5 liters a day. The drunken stupor resulting from over 5 liters of wine a day could make many men incapable of exercising their patriarchal authority over their wives and daughters. 133 The inescapable conclusion from these statistics and these games with statistics is that women drank a substantial amount of alcohol. 7 liters a day, men 750 liters, or a bit more than 2 liters a day. 7 liters a day, her child had a good chance of developing fetal alcohol syndrome.