The human race has been drinking since antiquity, and by default, embarrassing our drunk selves for just as long.
What is it about drinking that keeps us coming back for more? Despite the fact that it’s costly (and mostly just money wasted when you are so wasted you can’t hold it down or just slosh your drink everywhere), it makes us do stupid things, you can’t function like an adult when you have too much of it and it can be a real addiction for some people, we can’t seem to do anything without the sweet sting of that buzz.
From a simple dinner out to a wedding to a party, you can’t escape booze and it can’t escape us. We are locked in some kind of orbit, constantly depending on and rotating around it. Some people can drink and be fine. They know their limit and they stay within it. They don’t have to do the walk of shame from a stranger’s bedroom, they won’t have horrible photos of themselves on Facebook the next day and they remember where they parked the car. Others are not so lucky and sail past their tipping point with reckless abandon.
This article is for those that fall into the second category. You may have no idea how you look, act and feel when you’ve had one too many, but we are happy to tell you. Just what kind of person are you when you’re drunk? You’re about to find out, so hang onto your beer or wine or whatever you prefer and embark on this journey of self-discovery. Enjoy!
15. Overly Friendly
There’s a reason why alcohol is called a social lubricant. The shy guy that’s had one too many at the party turns into the dapper dude that is carrying on a lengthy conversation with hottest girl in the room. The petite miss that cowers in the corner like a wallflower is now telling a room full of people how she wrestled an alligator in the outback while swigging snake whiskey in a pool of mud and in front of cheering spectators. There’s a problem with these scenarios. First, people probably like you just fine when you are sober so you don’t need booze to make you approach people. Second, if you are emboldened by alcohol and that is fueling your friendliness, you’re likely coming across as intrusive, not friendly. Third, if you find yourself cozying up to and carrying on conversations with inanimate objects, it’s time to call it a night.
14. Suddenly Lazy
For some, a drink or two (or eight or nine) doesn’t ramp up their social life at all. It destroys it. You could go out for a drink with friends, but you’ve already got a head start at home and you don’t want to put on pants. Or, you are already out at happy hour, you’ve indulged way too much, and you’ve stop caring about the big college assignment you have due tomorrow. Why go home and work on it when life looks pretty good from the bar? Meh. Tomorrow is another (very hungover) day. The dark path this can go down is when alcohol becomes an excuse to chill out and wind down. When you get to the point where you need to drink to take the pressure off your busy life, you are turning into an alcoholic, and the last time we checked, alcoholics aren’t generally known for their ambition or drive. Try yoga instead. All of the chill with none of the crippling side effects.
13. Very Sleepy
There’s a scene in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo where Rob Schneider’s character dates a woman suffering from narcolepsy. Her sudden drop into a deep sleep at any given moment made dating, let alone eating soup, driving or working, very difficult. It’s a real disease that affects real people – and it’s kind of like how lightweight drinkers feel after just a couple glasses of wine. Inexperienced drinkers or those that never build up a tolerance to blunting their feelings through the sting of alcohol, often find it makes them very sleepy. Out on a blind date and wine with dinner? You’re excusing yourself from the table by 8 p.m. At a party? You’re crashing in the host’s master bedroom for a snooze. Honeybun makes a romantic dinner with the intention of getting laid? He better not pair a good wine with that steak. Important meeting? A shot of liquid courage has you napping in the waiting room.
Things that may seem like a great idea when you are drunk often have very unfortunate side effects that lead to a severe case of morning regret. Ever woke up hungover just before work with a Sharpie mustache? The worst has got to be not holding everything down, while being around others so drunk that they are also throwing up, and getting covered in your own, plus other’s vomit. This turns you into a bio hazard nightmare with a gigantic regret headache. After you burn every scrap of clothing you wore that night, even the underwear, waxed off all the body hair just to get the smell of last night off, triple shampooed the hair and scrubbed your skin raw, you still can’t wash away the shame. This leads to promises to yourself to never do that again – at least until your party buddy calls on the weekend and you immediately forget the hard-won lesson.
11. Developing a Drinking Problem
Drinking too much is in and of itself a problem, but when your drinking reaches such epic levels that the simple act of raising a glass to your mouth, holding it and sipping from it becomes problematic, well then you’ve got a real drinking problem. You’ve drunk so much that your own body plus gravity are conspiring against you to ward off the incoming alcohol poisoning. Here are some not-too-subtle signs that you’ve developed a “drinking problem.” You keep reaching for the glass on the table but your hand just swipes thin air. You manage to latch on to the glass but now you have no idea what to do with it. Your brain thinks your shirt is your mouth and pours your drink down it. You can’t remember how to close your lips so your drink dribbles out from the side. You are holding an object and drinking from it, but it’s not a glass. It’s the host’s pet hamster. That he is coming to rescue. And he looks mad.
The formal definition of tipsy is “slightly drunk”. This is misleading. Being slightly drunk is like being slightly pregnant. Your condition may not be on display for the world to see, but it doesn’t change what you are. The tipsy drinker has already started to shed his inhibitions, meaning the word filter is gone, the comfort zone between personal spaces is ignored and you think you can dance. You cannot dance. Your tipsy self may be a maniac on the dance floor, but the real you just looks like, well, a maniac. Cut it out. Go sit down. Consider the Urban Dictionary definition of tipsy: “The state when you are drinking alcohol in which you are past light headedness but before being drunk.” You know where things go from here. Right now you can remember the things you’ll be ashamed of later. A couple more drinks and you’ll find out when you see the pics your friends post on Facebook.
9. The Photogenic Drunk
Hey, speaking of the inevitable photos of your drunk self that your friends graciously post on their social media channels, have you ever noticed how drunk pics are either really good or really, soul-crushingly bad? There seem to be three levels to work with here. Level one – you are tipsy so you don’t mind the photo. Therefore you are relaxed, smiling, and even though your eyes are going in two different directions, you look pretty darn cute. Level two – things have progressed quite a bit and you know someone is doing something with a camera and you are feeling like a boss and ready to let it show. You’re flashing peace signs (or cleavage, or gang signs) and you’re duckfacing, cause that’s sexy right? You’re mugging for the camera. You will have regrets. Level 3 – you have passed out. The photos involve you being in some state of collapse and being the canvas for a Sharpie brigade.
8. What Personal Space?
Girls at parties know the drill. The night starts off civil enough with everyone drinking just enough to let their hair down, so to speak. By 1 AM the guys are handsy and the girls are in full evasive maneuver mode. Truth be told, the ladies can be just as passionately aggressive as the guys. There is something about being drunk that erodes the common decency of personal space. The more you drink, the less personal space you perceive around others. But it’s okay because as a drunk you are charming, witty and everyone wants to be touched by you, right? Not even if you were Brad Pitt, honey. This girl has the right idea. Her mask’s permanent pucker is primed for taking the sneak-attack drunk kiss, leaving her (and her friends) with a giggle and Mr. Pushy with a red face.
7. Lack of Coordination
Despite feeling like you could walk a tightrope between two skyscrapers when you’ve had one too many, this would be a mistake. Consumption of alcohol weakens the connection between your vision and what a recent study calls “movement-planning areas”. In plain wording, this means when you are tipsy or drunk, your coordination takes a holiday and you wind up stumbling around, tripping over objects, walking into walls and failing to make the connection between your fork and your mouth. This is why drinking and driving is so dangerous, kids. Alcohol whispers in your ear, “you got this,” but it’s just one more of its sweet, sweet lies. Booze makes you feel good, but it does horrible things to your ability to function efficiently. At best, you’ll wind up with a mess on your shirt and a few bruises from walking over the houseplant. At worst, you’ll hurt somebody, or yourself, by trying to drive, and that’s never worth the risk.
When some people drink too much, they feel like they can take on the world, but not in the way a good cup of coffee inspires super-productivity. No, these folks want to literally take on the world – with their fists. The more invincible you feel the drunker you are. It’s an inversely proportionate equation that equals your destruction. The Journal of Neuroscience ran a study that had this very interesting result: “After alcohol exposure, threat-detecting brain circuits can’t tell the difference between a threatening and non-threatening social stimulus…At one end of the spectrum, less anxiety might enable us to approach a new person at a party. But at the other end of the spectrum, we may fail to avoid an argument or a fight.” With your brain sending the wrong signals and your coordination three sheets to the wind, your sense of pain dulled and your common sense having abandoned ship after drink three, fighting at this moment isn’t the best idea.
When some people have too many, they don’t get lazy, too friendly or angry. They get weepy. Hey, isn’t booze supposed to make us feel good? What’s the point in drinking if it’s going to be such a downer? What’s going on? It depends on how much you drink and that threshold is different for everyone. At the start of the night, during the pre- and then tipsy phase, yeah you feel good. Your brain is stimulated, your inhibitions come down and it’s all good! But as you continue to drink, the impact of the booze moves from simply inhibiting action in your pre-frontal cortex and starts to impact your neurotransmitters, and that’s when things take a turn for the nasty. Now your emotions are taking a hit. Alcohol is a depressant to begin with, so if you are drinking to wash away a bad day, it may have the opposite effect.
4. You Can’t Sing
If you can’t sing sober, you can’t sing drunk. Same goes for dancing, tightrope walking, spearfishing, flying trapeze and cartwheeling. Let’s get very, very, clear here for a moment. You know those people on The X Factor that get up on stage and you instantly wonder why nobody in their lives loved them enough to prevent them from auditioning? When you have had one too many and decide to thrill your audience with your newfound ability to perform something you haven’t got a hope of conquering when sober, you are that misled person you despised from the X Factor. Yes, you. There is no excuse for trying to sing My Heart Will Go On to your ex-boyfriend at a party. Just stop. Go sit quietly in the corner and contemplate all the things you can about how you feel that don’t involve bursting into song. Drunk people think life is an episode of Glee. It’s not.
3. Brutal Honesty
So far we have established that drinking one too many breaks down social barriers to the point where you completely invade people’s personal space (and you think they are loving it. They are not). So you’re too close to people waxing poetic about everything and nothing, dancing like a lunatic, picking fights and trying to sing. Could it get any worse? Oh yes, my friend. It can get so much worse. Before the vomit and pass out stage of your bender comes the part when you become brutally honest. Not with yourself, mind you. You’re perfect. This is the time you feel very comfortable pointing out the sins of others. You didn’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings before about her haircut but now there is no holding back. You don’t want to befriend the weird poet that is always asking you to go for coffee and today you tell him off. This stage feels liberating, until the apology phase the next day.
2. Swagger (To Cover Up Your Misery)
One too many and you forget that you live in your parent’s basement so you can pay off a multi-year university degree for an industry that dried up two seconds after your graduation. Who knew that a masters in sloth massage wouldn’t take you anywhere? Now your life consists of getting back on track while searching for that special someone that won’t mind that you subsist on nachos and sadness while trying to figure out your true passion and discover yourself. It’s alcohol to the “rescue”. Drinking blurs the lines between reality and your perception of it. You are a graduate in an extremely niche field forging your own path! You got swagger and you’re not afraid to show it! Look at you go, you special snowflake. As long as you are completely inebriated you’ll feel great – but you won’t make much headway on getting your life back until you put down the bottle and pick up your resume.
1. The Complete and Utter Loss of Dignity
Now we come to the worst part of what you look like after you’ve had one too many. You can be forgiven for getting a little too friendly and vocal. It’s understandable that you may feel suddenly lazy or fall asleep in a weird position. Throwing up in someone’s shoes is gross, but hey, we’ve all been there, right? But there comes a tipping point when you simply lose every last shred of dignity and become someone so inebriated that even your best friends are disgusted with your behavior. You’re long past the point of recognizing this step on your own, so if your friend is guiding you to a safe place where you can lay down, and checking on you to make sure you don’t vomit in your sleep and choke on it, you know that is a friend worth having for life. Buy them flowers when you sober up.