Anyone who has been in a crowded bar around closing time knows that the higher your alcohol intake, the more attractive you will find whoever you happen to be flirting with at last call. Their smile is radiant, their eyes are sparkling, and everything about them is sexy, alluring, and irresistible.
if you were stone-cold sober, you might not give them a second glance.
C’mon. You know it’s true.
So if you get really carried away and spend the night with your new friend, you may wake up the next morning wondering just what the hell you were thinking — and seeing.
You have fallen prey to the Beer Goggles phenomenon, and most who partake of the Devil' nectar have been there at some point.
If it’s any consolation to those severely traumatized by this trick-of-the-eye, there really is actual science behind your incredibly embarrassing anecdote.
Researchers have found that human attraction is based on bilateral symmetry. This means that if a human body were split down the vertical center, each side would identically mirror the other. It would also be a murder scene, but I digress.
This preference for bilateral symmetry has been bred into us by thousands of years of evolution and hundreds of years of Cosmo magazine.
A study performed at London’s Roehampton University suggests that an impaired ability to judge symmetry when you’re loaded might explain why that 3 is presenting as a 10 after you enthusiastically tipple.
What this boiled down to was that the sober test participants were more drawn to people with symmetrical faces and were better at picking them out of a crowd, which supported their hypothesis.
An unexpected discovery was that males proved better than females at determining whether faces were asymmetrical or not. Perhaps this is because in general men are more sexually stimulated visually than women are.
In other words, dudes are shallow af.
The researchers concluded:
“The reduced ability of inebriated people to perceive asymmetry may be an important mechanism underlying the higher ratings of facial attractiveness they give for members of the opposite sex and hence their increased frequency of mate choice.”
Which, of course, is just a science-y way of saying, “I was drunk off my ass!”
It would seem that the beer goggles work both ways. Not only will alcohol make those around you more attractive, but it can also turn you, yourself, into a specimen of epic awesomeness. Where have you been your whole life?
Laurent Begue at the Pierre-Mendes France University conducted an interesting experiment to explore this The Drunker I Am, The Hotter I Get Syndrome.
She asked 19 patrons in a French bar to rate their attractiveness on a scale of one to seven. Their alcohol levels were then measured with a breathalyzer test. Not surprisingly, the participants who were more biffed were also more full of themselves.
As a follow-up, Begue performed a balanced placebo test with 96 male volunteers. They told the men the test was market research for fruit cocktail, and that half of the group would be given an alcoholic drink while the other would test the non-alcoholic version.
After giving the booze enough time to work its magic, all the guys recorded a fake advertising spot for the fake beverage company that produced the fake beverage. Immediately after, they watched a playback and rated their own wonderfulness.
Interestingly, those who had alcohol — or just believed they had alcohol — gave themselves the best reviews. Those who hadn’t had anything to drink — or had but didn’t know that they had — were the humblest among the bunch.
So what have we learned? We feel happier and more attractive after a few cocktails mainly because we assume we will be happier after a few pops in the first place.
There is a definite downside here though. When a panel of impartial, sober judges took a look-see at the advertising spots, the segments done by the guys that gave themselves top marks were the least appealing.
That explains why it’s so hard to impress that hot number who’s only had one beer when you’ve had more than you can count. You need to seek out someone who’s been imbibing as long as you — and has their outward-facing beer goggles on.
So, Cheers! And be careful out there.