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.