Drink, Drank, Drunk

Addendum: Older women who drink are smarter. Question is, are they MILFs or Cougars?


Scanning a few blogs that I rarely ever read, I came across a link to this post from this blog. The post is on Crooked Timber, and the link comes from the awesomely named Lawyers, Guns, and Money. The post starts out with some stuff about the falling birth rate in Europe, but then digresses into a discussion of drunkenness (which is carried on in the comments). It turns out there are people who have never been drunk. Ever. I do not know these people.

I’m wondering what fraction of my readership are members of this straight edge contingent. I’ve been known to wind down at the end of the day with a beer or two . . . or ten. Given that every serious evolutionary geneticist I have met drinks, it would be interesting to discover any non drunkards in my midst. In fact, no scientific meeting would be complete without a night of drinking with one’s colleagues.

I realize “drunk” is a somewhat subjective term. Whereas some people can be drunk off of a beer or two, others can down ten or fifteen and remain functional. You may consider yourself drunk if you can no longer legally drive, or you may not think you’re drunk until you black out. Use whatever definition of drunk you like. There are levels of drunkenness, and you don’t need to wake up covered in your own (or other people’s) shit and vomit to be labeled a drunk.

Have you ever been drunk? Leave a note in the comments.


  1. #1 Cameron
    June 1, 2006

    Drunk is when you wake up behind the toilet in a college dorm bathroom. Or go canoing in the middle of the night to retrieve binoculars from a friends sailboat. Or spend three hours talking to a rock you befriended on the walk home. Not necessarily things to be proud of, but they happen. What university experience does not have such stories?

  2. #2 pough
    June 2, 2006

    I’m drunk right now, Evil Jen!

  3. #3 Brandon
    June 2, 2006

    Yes. I have.

  4. #4 Mark Frank
    June 2, 2006

    I found out long ago that if I drink too much I rapidly get to the sleepy stage. So it is self-limiting. I wonder how many others limit their drinking this way?

  5. #5 Roman Werpachowski
    June 2, 2006

    Yes, three times 🙁 It was not an experience I’d ever like to repeat. Now when I drink, I never get myself drunk (i.e. vomiting and/or having a lapse in memory afterwards).

  6. #6 John Lynch
    June 2, 2006


    I’m Irish, I’ve *never* been drunk. Hell, I only had two beers with you 🙂

    And “Drink, Drank, Punk” would have worked as a title for the post.


  7. #7 Jeff
    June 2, 2006

    Not only did my evolution professor drink but he also held class at the bar(where he was honored on a plaque on the wall as “Beer Drinker of the Year”.

  8. #8 Left_Wing_Fox
    June 2, 2006

    I’ve never experienced memory loss nor done or said anything wildly stupid (aside from rambling when I talk), but my reactions are impared enough that I surrender my keys after a single beer. Two render me drunk, and the next 7 or so merely maintain the drunkenness. I can also mix my liquers with near impunity, and rarely get sick.

    One of the co-workers here at the office can drink canadian lagers all day, without noticable effect. He has to switch up to vodka to get “drunk”.

  9. #9 GrrlScientist
    June 2, 2006

    i moderate my drinking because i don’t want to stagger home on the subway in the wee hours, drunk off my ass (it’s just not safe). i also don’t want to look like an idiot. and yes, as mark mentions, i also become sleepy really quickly if i drink too much. this is, in fact, how i make myself get some sleep when i start worrying about my future.

    and the cougar hunting phenomenon is interesting .. why has it never happened for me? according to the article, being a puma is nearly as good, and i am a puma, mrow! maybe i should get out more. hrm.

  10. #10 Winawer
    June 2, 2006
    Uh, I’ve never been drunk. Not even tipsy, actually. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not on some sort of moral crusade against the “evil alcohol”, I just never got around to drinking, and now I can’t stand the taste of alcohol.
  11. #11 RPM
    June 2, 2006

    Thanks for all the comments, guys. John, because of your comment, I had “Spaz’s House Destruction Party” stuck in my head all morning.

    It’s one thing to be drunk. It’s another to be drunk and stupid.

  12. #12 Travis
    June 2, 2006

    I’ve certainly been drunk, but really bad experiences have been few, and rather pleasant compared to those of some people. For the most part I try to limit myself, but sometimes, well, the limits are broken. Nothing too embarrassing happens, maybe a little bit of rambling, often about physics, to poor unsuspecting people. I hope they learn something beyond the fact that some physicists drink.

  13. #13 John Wilkins
    June 3, 2006

    I’m a philosopher and so by definition I drink, and ergo, given the way beer flows at philosophy conferences, drunk. But I have a rather unpleasant problem – I remember, in crystal clarity and with full visual recall – everything that hapens when I am drunk. Therefore I recall the time I was literally paralytic (I couldn’t even talk), and my friends (companions, acquaintances? I don’t know these people, officer, really) decided to move me by rolling me across the lawn, while making riblad comments which I repeated back to them the next day. Since then, I have been more interested in the natural high of doing really deep philosophy, or even more fun, hitting my head against brick walls.

  14. #14 PZ Myers
    June 3, 2006

    I have been drunk twice. Once by intent, to find out what the noise was all about — I didn’t like it. The second was by accident, since I had no idea of my capacity. Now that I know, I stick to my limits. One beer (American beer) if I haven’t eaten recently, two if I’m having a meal.

    Drunkenness simply doesn’t appeal to me at all as an experience. I also don’t ride the tilt-a-whirl at the county fair over and over again until I throw up, which is roughly comparable.

  15. #15 David Harmon
    June 3, 2006

    Well, some people *can’t* get drunk… they have a knockout mutation that prevents them from metabolizing ethanol, so they just turn pink and get very sick. (This is fairly common among Asians.)

    For myself… well, when I was 12, I decided I was going to do the “four glasses of wine” thing at Passover. Sometime after the second (that is, during dinner) I passed out on Grandpa’s couch. Where I woke up the next morning, and learned that I was too big for my family members to carry home. Since then, I’ve never gotten falling-down drunk outside crawling range of my bedroom… and not often then, because it happens I don’t especially enjoy being drunk. I’m not even I an ‘interesting drunk”, I just get sleepy. These days, two drinks is a party for me.

  16. #16 Alan Kellogg
    June 3, 2006

    I got drunk on a couple of occasions. Way long ago. No double vision, no loss of coordination, and my singing voice improved. No hangover either. Don’t you hate people like me? 🙂

  17. #17 PZ Myers
    June 4, 2006

    I’ve had friends who also thought they became incredibly witty when drunk.

    The only ones who agreed with them were the ones who had also been drunk.

  18. #18 Abel PharmBoy
    June 4, 2006

    My fondest research days were in the 90s at Rocky Mtn U when profs, postdocs, grad students and techs who all brewed beer would bring in their wares for weekly happy hours and helping critiquing on each other’s style. It was unavoidable that the old BAC got above 0.10, but the focus was to celebrate the diversity of concoctions that could be made using basic principles of botany, chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, and the drug delivery aspect of pharmaceutics. The scientific esprit de corps was superb.

    No surprise that the current mayor of Denver opened the first microbrewery in the city during the late 80s when finding himself an unemployed geologist. When the world deals you barley, make beer!

  19. #19 outeast
    June 5, 2006

    There’s a scarily high proportion of non-drinkers here!

    I got sober once. Ugh.

  20. #20 Joy
    June 5, 2006

    I think different kinds of alcoholic drinks have varying limits to getting drunk. I get buzzed with 5-6 beer, but get seriously buzzed with 2 or more glasses of wine. While, 6 shots of tequila does nothing for me. It’s really weird.

    The weirdest thing is though that there is a liminal period between sober and drunk, where the mind becomes completely clear. Clear as in, able to crack even the most difficult of problems. I’ve had quite a few times, but the state dissipates rather quickly..

  21. #21 EricJEmu
    June 5, 2006

    I would drink occasionally, and had been drunk, but it didn’t really start until after I got into grad school. I would feel like a punk asking for mixed drinks while everyone else ordered beer when a supervisor was buying rounds. I made myself be able to drink beer as I was enough of an outcast already, then I found out there was stuff other than Molson and Labatt, like with taste and it was amazing.

    The friends I had before grad school didn’t really drink, was it grad school that drove me to drinking or just being around people who drank regularly? Who knows.

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