Who would have thought it? The downside to having beautiful blue eyes 73



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Back in 1988, I was one of the 40,000 so-called “beautiful people” privileged to go to what had been billed as “The Ultimate Event”, the lavish opening of Sanctuary Cove on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Headlining the star attractions which included Whitney Houston and Peter Allen was Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. Then 72, he was past his prime but was still a magic performer.

His fourth and last wife Barbara wrote in her book, “Lady Blue Eyes: My Life With Frank” that while Frank was obsessed with cleanliness and was a generous romantic full of charisma, he was also a terrible drunk with a furious temper.

She shouldn’t have been surprised.

A study from the US University of Virginia published in July shows that those with light coloured eyes – and especially blue eyes – may have a greater chance of being dependent on alcohol. It echoes the result of a 2000 study by the US University of Georgia that people with light-coloured eyes “consumed significantly more alcohol” than their dark-eyed peers.

Personally, I’m tremendously cheered up by this – I have dark grey/green eyes which means that I can drink myself into oblivion every single day – not that I do, of course – and still not have any dependence on the grog. I can’t wait to share this research gem with my partner who can get a little censorious when I express a desire to have just a wee dram more.

The study said that was a “statistically significant” interaction between genes for eye colour and genes associated with alcohol dependence.

Lead researcher, Dr Dawei Li has said that the next step is to try and replicate the results and, if future studies still show a correlation, then they will try and discover if the link is strictly due to genetics or if cultural factors play a role. He admits that the research show far, “suggests an intriguing possibility – that eye colour can be useful in the clinic for alcohol dependence diagnosis.”

I can assure him that the initial findings will be proven to be true. Back in the days when I was toiling for a living, I would very occasionally go to the office watering hole and there was always this bloke there hitting the juice and if you got close enough you could discern a vague blueness behind the bloodshot peepers.

Over the years during my being single phases, attractive blue-eyed sirens would try and lure me with their wiles but something held me back – somehow I just knew that if I fell victim to the charms of one of these cunning little minxes then I could end up being a wild a drunk as they undoubtedly were. My current partner more than adequately passes the eye colour test I can assure you.

It seems that everybody who has blue eyes are descended from just one person who lived about 10,000 years ago in the Black Sea region which is bounded by south-eastern Europe and western Asia. I’ve done a lot of research into my family background and nobody ever came from anywhere close to the Black Sea.

Professor Hans Eiberg from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark who lead this study has said that while brown is the “default” colour for human eyes, in northern Europe a mutation arose which disrupted melanin production in the iris which caused eye colour to become blue.

“Variations in the colour of people’s eyes can be explained by the amount of melanin in the iris, but blue-eyed individuals only have a small degree of variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes,” he said.

“From this we can conclude that all blue-eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor. They have all inherited the same switch at exactly the same variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes.”

It would not surprise me one bit if they ever found the body of this ancestor and discovered that he – I suspect it would be a man – died of cirrhosis of the liver and alcoholic hepatitis. Being a drunk can also affect sexual function but obviously this guy wasn’t deficient in that department otherwise he wouldn’t have millions of descendents, would he?

American songstress Crystal Gayle had a hit with “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” when she bemoaned the fact that her significant other had “found someone new, And don’t it make my brown eyes blue”.

Happily for Ms Gayle these were only lyrics and not a reflection of her own life. At 64, she is still belting out tunes and has been married to the same man since 1971.

I don’t really think that she has blue eyes and is a hopeless lush.


Tell us, have you ever thought your eyes were connected to your personality? Does this research ring true for you?

Russell Grenning

Russell Grenning is a Brisbane-based former journalist and retired political adviser who began his career with the ABC in 1968 in Brisbane and subsequently worked on the Brisbane afternoon daily, "The Telegraph" and later as a columnist for "The Courier Mail" and "The Australian". He worked for a string of senior Ministers in the Federal, Victorian and Queensland Governments as well as in senior executive public relations positions, including Assistant Federal Director, Public Relations, for Australia Post, Public Relations Manager for the Queensland Department of Main Roads and Principal Adviser, Corporate Relations, for the Queensland Law Society.

  1. Given his nationality, I think we can be reasonably sure that Jesus had brown eyes.
    This is why, when it came to alcohol he could “make it or leave it”

    3 REPLY
    • Portrayed by blue eyed people as having blue eyes and by brown eyes people as brown eyes. Not many blue eyed Arabs around even these days. Vegetarian??? Pfft!

  2. Well I can die now . Just read the biggest load if crap in my life .

    1 REPLY
    • Could you ask your family Dawn to let me know when and where the funeral is?

  3. Thank Goodness I have brown eyes Now I can drink as much as I like & not be dependant on it You little beauty !!!!

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