A whole new generation of tender young lambs are leaving home for university and an independent life free of the domestic sheep pen Š easy prey for the big bad wolves of unsuitable lovers, illegal substances and unsupervised alcohol.  ThereÕs not much a mutton-faced old mother can do about the new student of lifeÕs inevitable woolly thinking on all the above activities except urge caution. 


However, when it comes to the demon drink, apart from the obvious public health and personal safety issues around unprotected sex, driving a motorised vehicle or operating heavy machinery, trust me, there are a number of things you should NEVER do when drunk.


Obviously Š donÕt get a tattoo, though in the case of pain relief, being inebriated probably helps.  DonÕt pluck your own eyebrows or, for that matter, anyone elseÕs.  DonÕt, repeat, do not, under any circumstances cut your own hair.  DonÕt sing in public in front of people who might, at a later stage, be in a position to employ you Š or indeed, people who are currently/italics/ employing you Š I made this mistake myself in my last ŌproperÕ job and had to resign a week later.  But most importantly (if you are planning on a tattoo Š this would be a good one to have, in block letters across your index finger) Ōdo not drink and dialÕ.


You know what I mean.  There is not one of us who when drunk, did not think it, suddenly, a good idea to call our ex and confess our undying, unrequited love or, alternatively, hurl badly articulated abuse at the person who had the gall to chuck us and break our hearts.  A night out clubbing with your girlfriends, a couple of glasses of wine, or six pints in the pub first, a visit to the loo to refresh your lipstick or your bottle of water, and wondrously, there it is in your hand - the instrument of your undoing Š the mobile phone.  Men arenÕt immune to this urge but tend to be more surreptitious.  After hours of bravado with their mates, they do it furtively on the way home, or in one blindingly stupid case I heard of recently, in their girlfriendÕs flat while she was not quite as deeply asleep in the bedroom next door as they imagined. Old lovers, it seems, never die, they live on in your speed redial.  Three sheets to the wind, you come over all gushy, mushy and are soon three minutes deep into conversation with someone you broke up with three months earlier but just canÕt seem get out of your head Š or, unfortunately, your phone book.


There should be a law that when you stop going out with someone you are contractually required to remove all their contact numbers from your address book, mobile phone and palm pilotÕs memory.  If you have any self respect at all you should just cut them out of your life and press delete.  But you donÕt.  You look at the dial (or dials) on our mobile, blinking beseechingly in the dark, see that old familiar name on the dial and decide at 3am that it would really be a good idea to breathe life into a dead relationship by simultaneously breathing alcohol fumes down the phone. One of my friends just called her ex boyfriend six months after their break up and started reading poetry that sheÕd written only /a week earlier/italics/ down the phone.  And that was after sheÕd recited it a couple of times to his answer-machine. IÕve done it myself, happily without verse, and I got to marry my hapless victim eventually, which swears him to a vow of silence.  The midnight email is another form of drunken confessionalism Š I regularly get enquiries about my current bra from a BBC light entertainer sent at ungodly hours from hotel rooms around the world - as is the ever popular text message Š the level of inebriation visible by the number of vowelless words with no appreciable meaning.  Come closing time I sometimes think that taxis all over the world are full of slumped bodies tapping out texts they are going to regret a second after their thumb has pressed the send button.  There should be a usual message in your mailbox that reads Š Ōsorry I was pissedÕ.  

Sadly you donÕt only do it to people you once slept with.  In drink Š we are all in touch with our feelings.ŌI love you manÕ is the hello of the paralytic friend.  And weÕve all got gabbling mates who, when off their face, fondly imagine both their intellect and conversational skills improve exponentially with the number of Bacardis theyÕve breezed through and want to discuss the philosophical meaning of the late arrival of the night bus.

So restrain yourself. When drunk Š DONÕT make that call. DonÕt have your nose pierced.  DonÕt get a quickie marriage. Or a divorce.  And, above all, donÕt decide on your childÕs Christian name.  I mean Š I assume Posh and Becks must both have been totally plastered to have hit on the name Romeo.  The alternative is even more worrying.