Good Guy, Bad Drinker
Men's Health Australia|June 2020
When booze is involved, you might not be as charming as you think you are
Lauren Larson

Good drunks are all alike; every bad drunk is bad in his or her own way.

I, for example, am a self-destructive bad drunk. I’m pleasant until my fourth drink, after which I can be found weeping in the street, wondering where my phone is. (I am also prone to gifting my personal effects to strangers.)

Other drunks are bad in outward-facing ways. They’re belligerent and defensive. They take their pants off at corporate events. They get “handsy”.

Case in point: in August 2017, I was sitting at a bar with friends. I was pre-weepy, somewhere between drinks two and four, when I felt something on my right thigh. For a second I thought it was my skirt bunching up, so I did a little wiggle to dislodge it. Then I realised the skirt-bunch was my friend’s hand. His thumb began stroking my thigh, unseen by the others, as the conversation carried on around us. I sat stock-still, horrified, until it went away. The fondling was completely irreconcilable with my friend’s sober persona, and I had no idea how to talk to him about it, or whether it was my responsibility to do so. I felt certain that if I brought it up, he’d say he didn’t remember. I was relieved, a year later, when he announced he’d decided to stop drinking. I still hadn’t gathered the courage to bring up the handcident. (I still haven’t, and we aren’t friends anymore.)

We all know men who are good guys when they’re sober – and not just “good guys”, but real paragons of sensitivity and self-awareness – yet become touchy, unaware pests when they drink.

When someone behaves differently while drinking than they would behave sober, I usually assume the cause was a “lowering of inhibitions”. That’s definitely one shot in the cocktail of bad behaviour. In 1995, two scientists reviewed existing research, then developed a model to explain why alcohol can compromise our behavioural standards. They found that even a belief in the disinhibiting effects of alcohol makes it more likely that alcohol will act as a disinhibitor. I remember taking one tiny sip of Jameson in high school and feeling suddenly emboldened to talk to my crush at a party. There’s no way that tiny sip had lowered my inhibitions on a chemical level, but I felt as if it had. And I acted as if it had.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM MEN'S HEALTH AUSTRALIAView All

THE GOOD FIGHT

When the going gets tough . . . the tough put others first. Here we salute some of the more selfless and courageous responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Why? Because hope and optimism are catchy. And in this time of crisis it’s worth remembering that the virus isn’t the only thing that spreads

10+ mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

TAKE REMOTE CONTROL

Working from home using furniture that isn’t built-for-purpose could take a toll on your body. MH editor Scott Henderson went hunting for solutions

4 mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

Morgan Mitchell

The eye-catching star of the track has stopped running from a troubled past and is doing things her way. Get used to it

5 mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

SNACK SIZED - WORKOUTS

Purpose-built for the busy man, micro workouts could make you stronger, fitter and more mobile. The best part? You can do them in self-isolation and integrate them into your working day

10+ mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

ENTER THE BEAST

Big, fast and ultra high-performing, Mercedes’ latest offering could make a grown man cry

4 mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

KUMAIL NANJIANI CAN DO ANYTHING

TRANSFORM HIS WHOLE BODY. REIMAGINE A MARVEL HERO. REDEFINE THE ROLE OF LEADING MAN. AND (OF COURSE) MAKE US LAUGH

10+ mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

HOW 25 YEARS OF THE GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL CHANGED HOW MEN COOK

What happens when an ageing prizefighter, a quirky gadget and iconic ’90s marketing combine to take over the world?

8 mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

BETTER MAN

Pop superstar Robbie Williams got in fighting shape while beating his mental demons into submission. Here he reveals how he pulled off perhaps the biggest transformation of them all

10+ mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

How To Change Your Story

For a third of my life, I lived in an endless replay of the story of how I never measured up – a loop that kept me locked in a spiral of shame and meaningless hustling. Then I got the nudge to do some fact-checking

7 mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

Good Guy, Bad Drinker

When booze is involved, you might not be as charming as you think you are

6 mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020
RELATED STORIES

Drinking Alone

A little alcohol can boost creativity and strengthen social ties. But there’s nothing moderate, or convivial, about the way many Americans drink today.

10+ mins read
The Atlantic
July - August 2021

Rethink How You Drink

2020 was the year of over-imbibing. Here’s how to adjust your consumption compunction.

3 mins read
Men's Journal
November - December 2020

Invisible Ropes of Love: ON CROSSING THE BRIDGE OF YOUNG ADULTHOOD

TREVOR WELTMAN describes the rite of passage he has experienced moving from youth to adulthood, how he navigated this crossing, and how meditation and yogic Transmission supported him along the way.

7 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
August 2020

MATTHEW PERRY: DUMPED & OFF THE RAILS

AFTER HIS LONGTIME LOVE CALLS IT QUITS, PALS SAY THE TROUBLED FRIENDS STAR IS SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL.

1 min read
Star
May 25, 2020

Drink More Coffee And Alcohol!

The best New Year's resolutions are the ones you'll keep because you actually want them

6 mins read
Transformation Magazine
January 2020

Whiskey & Tariffs Don't Mix

The weaponizing of trade isn’t irritating just bourbon and Scotch drinkers. It’s crashing headlong into the interwoven realities of a global industry

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Markets
February - March 2020

The American Whiskey Rebellion

Its hard to miss the veritable explosion of American whiskies popping up on the shelves of your neighborhood spirits shops and watering holes lately.

9 mins read
Maxim
January - February 2020

Demi's Shocking Confession: Booze Killed My Unborn Baby

Star reveals mania for alcohol, cocaine & pills

2 mins read
Globe
October 7, 2019

The Rum Diaries

An overlooked spirit comes into its own, and it’s cause for celebration

6 mins read
Maxim
September - October 2019

13 Things - You Can Prevent Many Cancers

One in six deaths worldwide is from cancer, yet research shows that at least 42 percent of cancers could be prevented. Along with healthy eating and not smoking, add these habits to your list of ways to lower your risk.

4 mins read
Reader's Digest US
April 2019