Gallic smugness took a knock last week with the news that our continental cousins might have a thing or two to learn from us about how to drink.
Of course, we already suspected this. When it comes to the best proportions in which to mix Beaujolais, Baudelaire and a sour expression, no one does it better than the French. But recent research suggests that many of them (quelle domage!) remain as yet uninitiated to the pleasures of blue WKD, Jaegerbombs and of proper binge drinking.
This is important in the light of new evidence that suggest that our national drinking habits, ie, four days of remorse-fuelled abstemiousness from Monday through Thursday, followed by three solid days on the lash, may actually be less detrimental to health than the daintily sipped half a bottle of red a day (with a meal of course) preferred by the French.
Appara, the cafe culture so celebrated in countries such as France, Portugal and Spain may contribute to their high rates of alcohol-related death. It's the drip-feed drinking daily approach that is most harmful. Sophistication, it seems, means very little to one's liver.
Perhaps it's time for them to launch an awareness campaign over there, encouraging the French to follow an Irish lead.
A television ad campaign could instruct on how best to neck vodka from a naggin, while public demonstrations could be held to show people how to fall into the recovery position during a drunken blackout.
Most important, however, would be educating our European friends in embracing Catholic guilt. For this is an absolutely necessary component in keeping us off the sauce for the requisite three to four days a week.