Nobody Likes A Drunk (Lady)Amy Foster

Last week, we all had a good old laugh here at The Heatley Cliff watching Saturday Night Live. Universally, Weekend Update is our favorite, because we love Seth Myers and also Stefon the Super Gay with his pulse on New York City’s club scene. We also love Drunk Uncle, who was particularly funny after the election.

Drunk Uncle isn’t scary. He just slurs his words and gets nostalgic about weird things that don’t make any sense. In general, drunk uncles are not so laughable, but that is a different sort of topic.

It got me thinking about all the adorable drunks in movies and TV- Peter O’Toole, Dudley Moore, Dean Martin, John Belushi, Johnny Depp, Russell Brand… are you sensing a theme here? While I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule, mostly, it’s men that can get away with the funny drunk.

In the past, I’ve written about how men and women are separate but equal. I got slammed for this. I got accused of setting back the Women’s Rights movement, which obviously was not my intention. I’m not sure why some women get so defensive when another woman talks about her perceptions of differences in gender. You may disagree, but I would say there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that in public, men are more likely to burp and fart and do keg stands. A man on a bender can be ridiculous and silly. A woman on a bender is just…sad. Maybe some of you find this opinion offensive and sexist. But as a mother of two daughters and as a person who went to keg parties herself, I’m glad this social moray is in place.

The truth is that a falling down drunk, in real life, is not adorable, regardless of gender. Anyone who drinks that much will likely do something stupid. For a moment, let’s put the life and death aspect of this aside. I am well aware of the dangers of alcohol poisoning (I lost a friend in the 9th grade) and drinking and driving because again, that’s a different topic. I’m talking about the dumb things you say, the fights you get into, the people you ummm…. choose to get intimate with. Those choices. Somehow, there’s a level of acceptability allowed for men in this department that isn’t quite allowed for women. Perhaps it’s because people generally assume that women, girls, should know better (which of course they don’t, not until after they’ve learned the hard way like everyone else).

Of course, I cannot presume to speak on behalf of all women, but I can say from personal experience that not wanting to make a total fool of myself has stopped me from having another drink. That while I felt bad for those girls that got rip roaring drunk and tore off their clothes to dance on tables and then barf in the corner, I also did not want to be them. People may have laughed, but it wasn’t funny. No matter how you slice it, the guy at the party who took off his shirt and wiggled his bum and threw up in his solo cup got the proverbial eye roll, but was rarely pitied. I’m not going to say I haven’t been drunk before or that I haven’t made dumb decisions while under the influence, but it only took a couple of those bad experiences to keep myself in check. I cannot say the same about the male counterparts of my youth.

At the end of the day, there are still expectations that are either left over cues from past eras, media messaging or possibly sheer biology which demand a certain decorum from a woman in a social situation. Maybe it’s backwards, certainly sexist, but regardless, I’m happy they exist. Why shouldn’t one strive to be ladylike while partying? You should still be able to let loose and have at it while still being in control. Alcohol and control should technically go hand in hand, no? I do wish the double standard didn’t exist, not so that the females of the world could get hammered without penalty, but rather so that it was equally uncool for men to get sloppy drunk too. And if that means that Johnny Depp’s career takes a nose dive, oh well.

This week at the Heatley Cliff, we are talking about saloons and November at the manor. Join us!

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  1. I don’t think gender defines how socially acceptable it is to get drunk. I would say “these days” (since you are writing from a different perspective), everyone is encouraged to get drunk. I don’t think it’s just America, I think this trend is everywhere that alcohol is readily available, and it’s up to each person to decide how intensely they’d like to party and accept the consequences that follow. Choose your company and act accordingly.

  2. I don’t think you’re necessarily being offensive to women, I just think that anyone who gets super drunk looks stupid. In Britain we have a really huge ‘drunk’ culture, to the point where young teenagers have drunken ‘anecdotes’. I’m lucky in the sense that very often I can handle my drink and I’m able to stop myself from going too far. The majority of the men I know however are not. Because it’s somehow ‘acceptable’ for men to be drunk it usually leaves me at the end of the night helping these ‘hilarious’ drunks get home and dodging vomit. No one is good drunk, regardless of gender, and the worst thing is that the drunker men get, the more likely women are to be sexually harassed. Call that a generalization if you will, but in my experience it’s completely true.

  3. Gender aside, America’s perception of drinking and having a good time is completely skewed. Other countries do not drink to get “drunk,” and they drink plenty – this is something that is set within our culture because it’s so taboo. People assume it’s wrong to give their kids wine at dinner because it’s alcohol, when the truth is, they need to be exposed to it early on so it doesn’t feel so wrong, and therefore they won’t be so inclined to go overboard when they’re older. A 21 year old man from my school died earlier this week because he actually took 21 shots on his birthday. Anyone who has had experience in drinking knows that is just too much. We really need to change our attitude towards drinking, and we definitely shouldn’t do it to get “drunk.”

  4. There are funny drunks but there are also the drunks who ruin friendships because of how they act while drunk. I recently had to get some space from a girl friend who just gets way too excessively drunk, to the point that she becomes violent, rude, and all around mean to be around. Getting kicked out of bars, having to be dragged home, passing out in bathrooms, and throwing punches. There is a point where we all get to that we know we should have some water or stop. I feel like more people need to realize ‘oh i was blackout’ is no excuse for treating a best friend like a dog. I really like this article because it’s not so much being ‘ladylike’ as it is being a decent human being who can know what their limit is and be responsible to take control.

  5. Caroline from nick and noras infinite playlist was a funny drunk.