As scientists debunk a key myth about alcohol, Michael Hogan suggests 10 things you think you can do when you’ve had a few – but can’t.
Sorry, but there’s no such thing as a happy drunk, according to new research published in that laugh-a-minute journal Clinical Psychological Science. While many people claim that drinking is to blame for the changes in their personality, these myth-debunking boffins have concluded that alcohol does not, in fact, radically change your personality. Instead, it merely brings out the real you, made more extrovert and louder.
Frankly, this has come as a bit of a boozy blow. The idea that we turn into completely different people when we’ve had one too many is what many of us rely on to get out of scrapes or to excuse any out-of-character, over-the-top behaviour. It wasn’t me – it was the Malbec/single malt/espresso martini (delete according to preferred poison).
However, if this happy drunkenness is all in our heads, what about the other personality traits we think are true when tipsy?
Here are the 10 other types of drunk we’re convinced we become – but are beginning to realise maybe we don’t. Bah. Pass the wine.
Political pundit drunk
“Let’s change the subject shall we, darling?” Many a dinner party has fallen victim to the tendency of wine-emboldened guests to become loudly opinionated about topical issues. It starts with small talk about local schools or property prices.
Before you know it, everyone’s holding court about Brexit, Trump, Theresa May’s strong and stable shoes, Jeremy Corbyn’s copious failings and all the ills of modern society.
This phenomenon reaches its peak at 10.45pm Thursdays, aka “White-wine Question Time”. Cue a nation of squiffy armchair activists shouting at their television screens and venting on social media.
Fluent linguist drunk
Whether you’re chatting up a waiter or bonding with locals on holiday, a few beverages convince you that you’re fully conversant in any language.
Your long-forgotten O-level French comes flooding back. Your extensive viewing of subtitled Nordic noir box sets means you’re skilled in all Scandi tongues. Your pidgin Spanish or Italian, mainly gleaned from watching football or reading restaurant menus, is suddenly faultless. Combined with lots of gesturing and shrugging, what could possibly go wrong?
Oops, you’ve inadvertently insulted his family and, indeed, the entire nation. Are you Jeremy Clarkson?
Gifted chef drunk
Oh no, the dreaded drunken munchies have struck and all dietary bets are off.
In your heady youth, you would have sated this sudden raging hunger with a McDonald’s. Nowadays, though, you’re a gourmet foodie. Literally nobody cooks as well as you.
So you’ll rebound around the kitchen, ransacking the fridge, peering into cupboards and sniffing suspiciously at potential ingredients, before whipping up something random that you’re convinced is a revolutionary culinary invention. It usually involves cheese. And bread. And a bit more cheese. Sometimes hummus and olives. Possibly splashes of Worcestershire sauce.
Always, but always, you will completely forget you have made this until you find the evidence splattered across the kitchen the next morning.
Greatest dancer drunk
Wedding discos and office parties are the natural habitats of this genre of drunk. Sure, you haven’t “thrown shapes” or “cut some rug” since… well, since the phrases “throwing shapes” and “cutting rug” were acceptable. Yet that won’t stop you storming the dancefloor.
Muscle memory brings back the moves of your youth. You throw in the odd new flourish, copied off your fellow (also a bit tipsy) party animals. You’re slightly off the beat, so can hear your own feet. You mouth along to the lyrics, despite only knowing the occasional word.
Enjoy it while you can, twinkle toes, because achy legs, sore feet and flushed cheeks of shame await in the morning.
Expert shopper drunk
What could be more sensible than a tipsy online spending spree? Basking in the warm glow of the screen, drink to hand, you’ll start by browsing your favourite sites: Asos, Yoox, Brand Alley, Net-A-Porter.
The latter is soberingly expensive, so suddenly you’re in the mood for a bargain. A quick click and you’re cruising eBay, recklessly bidding on stuff you didn’t know you needed. You nip onto iTunes to download a few tunes. Stop off at Amazon. Have a bulk-buying brainwave.
Next morning, your inbox is full of regrettable receipts. They should fit breathalysers to laptops. Pro tip: steer clear of pets and holidays.
Digital guru drunk
And if you think breathalysers being fixed to laptops is a good idea, the same goes for smartphones and social networking sites. It might stop you tweeting that bon mot you think is hilarious but totally isn’t – and is also riddled with typos.
It might prevent you posting that ill-advised rant on Facebook which you sheepishly delete the next morning. It might even halt your habit of manically liking friends’ old Instagram pics or unsubtly cyber-stalking people. Step away from LinkedIn until sober.
A few drinks takes years off you, at least in your alcohol-addled imagination. Hence you’ll outstay your welcome at post-work drinks when the office youngsters really want the old biffers to leave them to it.
Sadly, getting a round in doesn’t entitle you to bore them with your ancient anecdotes and cringe-making attempts to appear cool.
See also: cornering your own teenagers, or friends’ student offspring, for slightly slurred chats about sex/drugs/rock ’n roll.
Still got it, right? Wrong. Besides, your age will catch up with you during the next day’s crippling middle-aged hangover. Nurse, more ibuprofen please.
Sporting genius drunk
The odd hellraising footballer aside, most professional athletes tend to steer clear of binge drinking for their body’s sake. So it’s ironic that it’s when you’re in your cups that you become most convinced of your sporting prowess.
You’re suddenly a pool hustler, a darts master, a table-tennis virtuoso, a tenpin bowler of style. You may also hear yourself enthusiastically agreeing to a run, bike ride, tennis match or round of golf with someone who’s blatantly far better and fitter than you.
Human satnav drunk
“There’s a great little place down this dimly lit side street,” they claim. “I know the quickest way across town from here,” they boast. “You’re going the wrong way, mate,” they tell long-suffering taxi drivers, becoming increasingly insistent and argumentative. Naturally, you’re soon totally lost and suddenly stone-cold sober.
Strange how we can spot this a mile away when it’s somebody else making clumsily pickled advances, but never notice it in ourselves. Nope, we’re just engaging in some subtle coquettishness (women) and sophisticated flirtation (men). We’re not the squiffy sex pest here. Lord no. Not at all. Oh, hang on… – The Daily Telegraph