As you’re all aware, the interweb is full of frankly unbelievable crap, some of it so ludicrous you wonder how anybody can fall for it, but people do. They’re the tinfoil hat brigade, yes, but they do fall for stuff.
Occasionally, such idiocy strays into the, generally more stolid, mainstream media, and so it proved over the weekend. Here’s a headline I picked up. ‘Women just love a binge drinker, say experts.’ I’ll give you a minute to take that in.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin*. First up, ‘experts’, as you’ll know, make me wary, especially ‘experts’ invoked by the Mail on Sunday. According to that rag, findings reported in the journal Evolutionary Psychology suggest that heavy drinking among young adults delivers a ‘sexual signal’ that denotes their worth. Eh? Get a bunch of lads on the toot, and they have all the social skills of a bunch of mandrills. It’s not a good look, is it?
The next bit I sort of believe. ‘More eligible men compared to eligible women was associated with higher male binge drinking rates but lower female binge drinking rates.’ The reason I sort of believe this is common sense. That tells you that if a guy reckons he’s not in with a chance, he’s going to drink more to drown his sorrows. It’s nothing to do with trying to impress the female of the species. It’s to do with getting pissed so the evening isn’t a total washout. Next morning it’s likely to result in the infamous, ‘I could have had that blond in the pub last night.’ How many times have you heard that old chestnut?
Now we get down to some worrisome definitions. In women, binge drinking was set at four drinks or more. I know women who can do more than that before noon when they’re thirsty. For men, researchers defined binge drinking as five drinks. Every bloke I know would regard that as a quiet night, and by that metric the Boars Head has a thriving population of sex gods, Adonises.
Binge drinking, ‘may function as a costly sexual signal, conditionally regulated by age and local sex ratio.’ That seems dubious to me. What isn’t dubious is that binge drinking is more frequent among wealthier individuals. No shit, Sherlock? But the researchers blather on about how this ‘possibly reflects the affluence of a possible mate.’ That’s a politely scientific way of saying, ‘Watch out, boys! She’s after your money!’ or is that just me being cynical?
*Brits of a certain age will get that reference.