Friday, October 21, 2011

In Vino Veritas... Aliquanto

Most guys behave differently after consuming alcohol, and this often leads to situations in which a woman is left trying to decipher her crush's words or actions through the facade of its effects - not always an easy task, but as I will explain, not one worth completely abandoning either. Whenever a man you are interested in interacts with you (i.e. whether he is drunk or sober), he reveals information about himself, even if it is only that he is perpetuating the status quo of the relationship by not giving you any different information. A drunken interaction with a guy you like is no exception; you just need to understand the limitations of what you can learn from it.

Most people are familiar with the Latin expression "in vino veritas," which means "in wine lies the truth." There are a lot of dumb sayings out there, but this is not one of them. With a few negligible exceptions, a man's actions when he is drunk do accurately reflect his true feelings and intentions. This is because his drunkenness relieves his inhibitions, making him more capable of behaving according to his impulses and natural inclinations. However, from an attracted girl's perspective, this honesty carries with it an ambiguity, because in addition to relieving a man's internal inhibitions, alcohol also relieves his external inhibitions; and there is almost no way to judge which one is driving (or, more accurately, allowing) his words and actions. By internal inhibitions I mean those that come from within, i.e. ones that are a product of his personal weaknesses - fear of embarrassment or lack of self-confidence. By external inhibitions I mean those that come from the expectations of society, such as the pressure to date high-quality women, to not sleep with a girl you don't want to date, or avoid sleep sleeping with your female coworker for fear of upsetting your professional relationship at work. Both types go by the wayside when drunkenness sets in.

The loss of both of these types of inhibitions leave a man's natural impulses unchecked, and you can be sure he will start to act on them in proportion to his level of drunkenness. The ambiguity is introduced by the fact that a guy's sincere feelings might just as well be "I have a crush on that girl and want to date her," as they could be "I want to fuck that girl tonight and tonight only." In the light of drunkenness, however, the behavior resulting from both sets of feelings is one and the same: he flirts with you or gives you more attention. So the distinction between these two attitudes is not what you should be looking for when you try to interpret his drunken actions. You need to wait for a clearer data point to make this kind of judgement.

But as I suggested at the start of this post, this ambiguity does not mean no useful information can be gained from a guy's drunken advances. And this is because there is yet another external inhibition that is ignored by drunken men, namely, the concern that "I should be nice to this girl and talk to her even though I don't want to have sex with her or date her." Your clue comes entirely from his dismissal of this inhibition as he drinks. While you may not be able to determine whether or not his advances are purely sexual when he flirts with you, you can at least rule out the possibility that he has no interest in you. If he weren't at least sexually interested, you can be sure he would be off chasing other girls, rather than being "tied down" by the social obligation to be nice, or even just social.

So next time the guy you likes makes a drunken advance, don't stress out trying to decipher the implications. Instead, acknowledge that it means he is at least sexually interested in you, and wait for your next (sober) data point.


  1. Hmmm...perhaps you have is a guy in a class of mine at college, who I am extremely sexually attracted to, and decided that if I were to ever have a purely physical affair with anyone, I wanted it to be with him (I would never date him though- he's a crazy artist type, not my sort of boyfriend material). One night we saw each other in town and had a great (albeit drunk) night...and another great night the next week. However, he hasn't "booty-called" me since, although he still is very flirtatious with me and we've hung out without anything happening. If I've made it clear to him that I want another intimate night, why hasn't it happened yet if he still soberly proclaims how physically attracted he is to me?

  2. If I remember my Classics studies correctly, it was the Etruscans who had a custom of never declaring war unless they thought it was a good idea while drunk and while sober. Sometimes they'd get really drunk and want to invade so-and-so, but if they didn't think that way the next time they gathered together without wine, then the plan was off. And sometimes they'd be really clear headed and decide that attack was the only way to go, only to start drinking and realize they were being silly.

    They understood that the difference between drunk and sober is not always the difference between rationality and irrationality, but the difference between two unique kinds of rationality. And as you can tell, I kind of agree with that. :)

    Your post already recommends that girls who receive a drunken advance should wait for a sober data point. Now I wonder whether girls who have had only sober input should be interested in drunken data points as well. Or at least slightly tipsy data points. (And just to be clear, I'd recommend the same thing all around. You can't say you really know someone if you've only seen him or her in one setting.)

    But my classical postscript to your sober advice doesn't seem like conventional wisdom in this modern age. :P

  3. "If I've made it clear to him that I want another intimate night, why hasn't it happened yet if he still soberly proclaims how physically attracted he is to me?"

    There could be any number of reasons. He could be banging another girl that he is more attracted to, or maybe he didn't pick up on your hint and thinks you don't want it, or maybe was lying about how attracted he is to you. Doubt there is an obvious answer to this one. Getting drunk with him again will probably make it happen if he really does want it to.

  4. I came upon your blog by chance-

    It's a great read and has spot on advice- keep up the great work. I found this post to be very timely- I had a situation where I hooked up with someone when we had both been drinking- (when I mean hooked up- I mean just making out- nothing more- and we've been friends for years- occasionally getting kissy kissy with each other whenever we are in each other's town). Usually it's followed up by texting on his end the next day with references of having a great time or alluding slyly to making out.) I never initiate contact with men). My questions are these- 1) how much weight do men put on a woman's words when she is tipsy- you know.. telling a guy she thinks he's hot and sexy and likes him? (Guilty of this one- had a bit too much vino, that night) 2) What can be discerned when you do hear from the guy and they make sly playful references to getting physical. Are they gaging your reaction? And for what?

  5. "How much weight do men put on a woman's words when she is tipsy- you know.. telling a guy she thinks he's hot and sexy and likes him?"

    This will vary from guy to guy. A guy who knows what it is like to be drunk himself will understand how words and actions get colored by drunkenness, while a guy that doesn't drink will struggle more interpreting a drunk girl's actions. Pride also plays into it. Since drunkenness introduces the same ambiguity for men that it does for women, a guy who has a big ego is much more liable to determine that a drunk girl's advances are sincere. A humble guy will assume she is just doing it because she is drunk. See what I mean? you need to consider each guy individually.

    "What can be discerned when you do hear from the guy and they make sly playful references to getting physical. Are they gaging your reaction? And for what?"

    Sounds to me like he is gaging how willing you'd be to have sex with him. That is pretty unequivocal.

  6. Pride.. lol but of course!!! She diiigs me...big time. I should clarify something- when I said "playful references about getting physical" I meant a man making playful references to the incidents that happened the night before- is that still gaging the opportunity for sex? And how should women handle that when men fish for it?

  7. Yeah probably still is him fishing. How to deal with it? Depends what you want. If you want sex, just take a bite on his line. If you don't, don't, and if he really likes you, he'll make sober advances too - to spend time with you, not just have sex with you.

  8. What can you say about things a man says during sex? :-) Truth or nonsense? Or same concept as drunkenness?

    1. That is a good question. Unfortunately (or fortunately...) I don't know what other men say during sex. I do think, however, that it should be treated with a certain amount of cynicism, especially if it is said in the heat of the moment.

    2. Don't believe anything a man says to you during or immediately after sex.

      I've had a number of ONSs now where the guy has claimed he wanted to keep me forever and ever and i'm an amazing woman blah blah.. Usually when we've just finished having sex.

      Never saw any of them again, I laughed about it since all of them were just hot as far as I was concerned and I wanted to have sex.

      I did have one call me and say things were going too fast for him even though I made it clear to him I was just horny and didn't expect to see him again.

      I'd strictly interpret any kind of positive things said during or immediately after sex still in the grip of the glow as just meaning he thought the sex was really good. You can't infer anything from that, not even if he wants to have sex with you again - you have to wait for more information.

      The exception is in a LTR or ones hubby probably means the things he says.

  9. In the past I was such a shy and socially awkward guy that I would reach the point of me (and usually also the girl) becoming too incapacitated for speech or action before the alcohol loosened up my inhibitions against hitting on her if she didn't make a pretty blatant move first.

    But.. I would at least keep talking to her. I would waste an entire drunken evening talking to a girl I was attracted to, and end up staggering home puking without ever making a move on her.

    Ladies should be aware that some guys really are that bad.

  10. What about drunk men that have sex with women at the bar whom they won't when sober? Doesn't drunkenness make everyone look sexy? You know the saying, after a few beers ever chick looks like Marilyn Monroe?

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  12. What about drunk texts? Should those be paid attention to?
    My new boyfriend sent me two texts " <3 <3 !!!" and then immediately after "ILY". He told me that he was out with his friends celebrating and quite inebriated. He sent me this recently. I am away on Christmas vacation in Arizona and he is in NYC and won't see me for at least another 4 weeks. He apologized the day after and explained what his state... And also said that he understands that saying something like I love you is more serious than a text message...

    Is this him having no inhibitions and expressing true feelings? He wont see me in the next month so it has nothing to do with immediate sex....

    Or was this more likely a true mistake?

    I know as a woman when I drunk text is often to people I think of often and is truthful...

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