Saturday, September 13, 2008

Booze Views

That venerable journal so beloved of wannabe intellectuals at airport news shops everywhere, New Scientist, recently reported on the findings from a team at the University of Bristol (cider capital of Great Britain, incidentally) who tested drunk university students (the easiest and most cheaply bought group available if the academics involved were honest) and discovered what we've all found out (unfortunately) for ourselves: that drinking improves the appearance of those around you.

Despite rather grandly and optimistically describing the study as a 'controlled experiment', they managed to corral 84 young heterosexual students ('control' hardly seems appropriate here, more like a pub crawl funded by an ARC or NMRC grant), encouraged them to get pissed and then asked them all to rate the attractiveness of people in photographs. Both drunk men and drunk women rated the faces as being more attractive than did those who were sober, researchers reported. Shock, horror.

The beer goggle effect was not limited to the opposite sex, as the sozzled students also rated people from their own sex as more attractive. One of the egg-heads thought this was 'surprising' but it is hardly so. How many of us have said, or be told, "I love you maaaaate, I really do," in moments of extreme intoxication?

I'll share with you one of my own Beer Goggle stories. You can blame PoetSquib for this, seeing as she'd already got me reminiscing about the joys of backpacker-funded accommodation standards in the Old Dart.

It was London, 1991.
A vodka jelly party, my first.
In a flat crammed with New Zealanders in Hammersmith - definitely not my first.

A funny Kiwi rugby player and I dillied and dallied throughout the evening, punctuated by an ear-splitting soundtrack of the Commitments, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2 and Tom Petty. He rescued one of the housemates who found that the stairs leapt up to meet her after she stood up from the couch and fell down them, breaking her collarbone. I, on the other hand, joined a bunch of other jelly imbibers in using a busted ironing board to surf down the stars after the rescue.

Anyhow, he grew hunkier as the jelly became scarcer. He got my phone number and rang me every day at work the next week, asking me out. I agreed to meet him Saturday night at Kings Cross station, 6:30pm, in order to go to another party, thrown by another dozen Kiwis wedged in a two bedroom flat in Marylebone.

Lordy me. There he was - clad in an All Blacks Rugby jersey (no surprise), a Maori-style tattoo visible on his neck (a real surprise; how much jelly did I inhale?) which seemed to be larger than his actual head. Jeans - standard issue for most of us penniless Antipodeans dwelling in London in between backpacking trips - and therefore no surprise. The canoe-sized, white loafers were, in all honesty a surprise. A horrific one.

Thanks to politeness and a good upbringing, I didn't feign illness or turn on my doc martin (ex-Savoy kitchen hand issue) heels, but reluctantly accompanied him on the tube.

Several hours later, doing my best to mingle, he found me, clamped me to his side and said, "How about we crash on the front steps, eh?" Considering it was November, he was stoned and I was not wearing my beer, jelly or electric spinach goggles, I declined. After all, I'd stood it until three am and told him I had to get up early the next morning (Sunday? Who gets up early on Sunday when they work for a bank?) and said, yes, I'd call him.

I didn't.

I'd met Paul, a lawyer, that same evening and even though he was pretty drunk, he seemed rather nice.

He didn't call me back after our first date, so I suspect that the goggles I'd refused to put on again for the Kiwi rugby player had been passed to him.....


River said...

O.M.G. Stair surfing! As a kid I always wanted to try that. Fortunately we never did live in a house with stairs. When I did eventually move into an upstairs unit I was over 40 and much less inclined to try such foolishness.

franzy said...

I would never ever write down any of my adventures while drunk.

Kath Lockett said...

Franzy - ah but it's a fairly tame one and one that I remember.

I also did it because Carly had seen one of the Simpsons episodes featuring 'Beer Goggles' and wanted to know what they were. After having it explained to her, she then wanted to know if I'd worn them. Or Love Chunks.....

JahTeh said...

I read that article and sniggered. I was always the one at the party who didn't drink and it's like looking at microbes through a microscope.

Lidian said...

Kath, I once thought someone was cute because they were way across the room in my English class and I never liked wearing my glasses (am terribly nearsighted).

I was smiling and flirting away and oh what a shock when he came over at long last, and - ugh.

Some vodka jelly would have helped just about then!

eleanor bloom said...

What few memories managed to survive my vodka and tequila soaked 1991 bwain are not likely to be aired on my blog either. (And please, let us not revisit 'Southern Comfort 1990', urg, goggles indeed... *shudder*)

Miles McClagan said...

I don't understand, when I'm drunk I'm way more fascinating, interesting, urbane and whitty...

(Whistles idly)

Several bouncers at Syrup, girls dancing at Isobar and my old netball playing girlfriend would totally agree! What!

TOM said...

TI wonder how much money was spent to do this scientific research when the answers were out there already !!

Maybe the scientists just wanted a reason to get out of the lab?

Baino said...

Gawd, seems you can get a grant to research the obvious no problem! Dunno about beer goggles but falling for someone at a fancy dress party is just as bad then you see them in their 'real' clothes and it can be a bit of a shock. . Mmmmm jelly shots!

myninjacockle said...

I am embarrassed to admit that I met my wife at the Church. Sawdust on our feet and plastic bags full of Fosters tied to our belts.


We have sworn, however, to tell our offspring that we met on the banks of the Seine. A Spring morning, she dropped her lace hanky, I dashingly returned it and our eyes met...ah yes.

squib said...

My backpacking days put me off ever touching cider again. Just the smell... *shudder*

Kath Lockett said...

Ah yes, Myninj - The CHURCH. Surely Knickers didn't clamber onstage with the strippers and flash you her goods?

There are slightly too many 'Six Pack Cider goggle' stories (yes, proudly looped through my belt and staggering off the tube looking like a human lamington coated in sawdust) for me to revisit. Ever.

Although maybe I should never say never.....