Many suspected it but now there is actually some sort of evidence that men enjoy alcohol more than women. Scientists of the universities of Pittsburg (USA) and Oslo (Norway) were had a computer check out videos of men and women drinking in groups of three. The amount of ‘real smiles’ was a lot higher among the male gender. Previous research had always failed to find any proof that men enjoy drinking more, since they let them drink alone. So real happiness – we’ve always said it – lays in social drinking. As for the ladies, they just need to drink a lot to experience a difference.
So what was this research about? Well, scientists of both universities selected 360 men and 360 women (age 21 to 28) and had them drinking in groups of three. Some tables were given alcohol (vodka cranberry), some a placebo (with vodka smeared on the glass and a few dups in it to make the ‘labrats’ believe they were really drinking alcohol) and some alcohol free drinks. All candidates’ faces were caught on camera. And the video was checked by a computer for ‘contagious smiles’. This is when one person’s smile makes the others in the company smile. This computer could also tell if these were ‘real smiles’ or ‘polite tense smiles’.
As it turned out that the big difference was in the men only tables. The contagious smiling increased big time as soon as alcohol was in play. As where there was little effect in tables with women. Although we must add that there was an increase in smiles among heavy drinkers too, regardless of their gender. In other words: people who were pretty smashed had a great time, no matter if they were male or female. The big difference between drinking and non-drinking men was explained by the scientists as ‘social bravery’. Apparently the man’s body naturally blocks the urge to smile back at people and alcohol can unblock that. Our free interpretation is that alcohol finally allows men to be really happy.
Previous research already showed that men are 50% more likely to drink excessively than women. Also a lot of so called ‘problem drinking’ occurs (or at least starts) in a social setting. This was also the reason to perform this research in a social environment. Lead researcher Catharine Fairbairn said: “Many men report that the majority of their social support and social bonding time occurs within the context of alcohol consumption. We wanted to explore the possibility that social alcohol consumption was more rewarding to men than to women — the idea that alcohol might actually ‘lubricate’ social interaction to a greater extent among men.”
Fairbairn then nagged on about this being a bad thing, saying: “Historically, neither the scientific community nor the general public has been terribly concerned about drinking that occurs in social settings. According to popular opinion, a ‘social drinker’ is necessarily a non-problem drinker, despite the fact that the majority of alcohol consumption for both light drinkers and problem drinkers occurs in a social context. Not only that, the need to ‘belong’ and create social bonds with others is a fundamental human motive. Therefore, social motives may be highly relevant to the understanding of how alcohol problems develop.”
Right, this is how we interpretated the results of this study: alcohol in general makes men happy and heavy drinking makes everyone happy. Well, we wouldn’t like to stand in the way of anyones happiness so cheers!