So it’s Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday as we were forced to call it at school (I still call it that now, really). I have gradually honed my craft over the years and now manage to whip up a pretty decent batter. Shrove Tuesday would be a lot more fun if it weren’t for the fact it is associated with ‘giving things up for Lent’.
No sooner are the dull, predictable millstones of failed New Year’s resolutions starting to fade into memory, than a new, mealy-mouthed stick with which to beat yourself comes into view. I had always thought it was just the religious types that observed lent but on the radio this morning, I heard a group of DJs who sounded like they’d never given up anything that was bad for them listing what they were abstaining from for Lent. It seems we’ve moved on from half-heartedly pushing chocolate to one side for 40 days and 40 nights; one of the presenters was challenged to give up high heels while another promised to refrain from clubbing.
It seems as a society we’re living in extremes: one minute we’re ramming 50 tequilas down our throat, the next we’re self-flagellating and eating only pills made out of seaweed to detox. Whether we try abstemiousness just so that we can be total hedonists the rest of the time or simply because we think it makes us look good to others, I have no idea. It appears that we almost enjoy denying ourselves so that we can enjoy feeling smug. I’m no better than anybody else: I run screaming from chips into the loving arms of a salad so that I won’t beat myself up later about being unhealthy when really, if I want a chip, I should just have a chip. ‘Everything in moderation’ is one of the most dour, humourless, crease-down-the-front-of-jeans phrases in the English language but I think I’m finally starting to get it.