Booze Myths

If you keep making that face, it’ll stick like that. Dudes/ladies like it when you play hard to get. If you swim after eating, you will perish. And such.

We’ve all heard this kind of scary “advice” (or some variation thereof). And it’s kept us from realizing the dream—swimming with a hoagie.

It’s also possibly kept us from enjoying alcohol in a normal way. (Insofar as alcohol is enjoyed in a normal way.) Which is to say, before you put those Mentos into your gin (that’s a thing, right?), make sure you know which booze myths are real and which are made up by some dude wearing a lamp shade.

There Is no such thing as Beer Before Liquor Never Sicker.

Beer before liquor, liquor before beer, either way, drink enough if either in any order and you’re barfing by the end of the night.

Booze is not a Brain Cell Assassin.

Despite the fact that basically no one on earth has ever danced on the bar sober (or well), the explanation is not alcohol-assassinated brain cells. Booze won’t kill your brain cells, though it absolutely WILL damage your dendrites. No, those aren’t tooth-related neurons. They’re “responsible for picking up information from neighboring neurons and transmitting this information to the cell body, also known as the soma.” Basically dendrites are gateways of information. So when you’re brain is trying to tell you “don’t Coyote Ugly this,” and you go ahead and Coyote Ugly it, you know why.

The Cheaper the Wine, the Worst the Hangover? Nope.

So you think you got that massive, crushing hangover from drinking six glasses of wine from a bottle with a stiletto on the label? No, my friend. You got that hangover from the way your body metabolizes alcohol and sugar. And while alcohol and sugar can tend to coincide more often in cheaper bottles of wine, they absolutely partner up in more expensive bottles as well. So yes, the bottle of Chateau Lafite you pounded while catching up on VEEP is responsible for your hangover. Despite it’s fancitude…

Greasy Food Will Not Cure Your Hangover.

OK, that’s not entirely true. Eat some food before drinking (it doesn’t necessarily have to make the paper bag all oily, either) and you’re less likely to get a hangover. Why? Because even though alcohol acts like a hot girl on a club line, shoving its way into the bloodstream/nightclub in front of anything else that wants to be digested, you’ll have some mitigating protein and calories in there. Greasy food after the drinking, however, will do absolutely nothing. The alcohol’s already been absorbed. You may make yourself a bit more nauseated, though. So there’s that.

Your Belly Isn’t from Beer.

Drink enough beer, you’ll get a gut. But not because beer has some special access to your tummy. Because beer is high in calories and lower in ABV than most alcoholic beverages (which is not to imply it’s not delicious and worth drinking, beer for life), you (generally) have to drink more beer if you’re looking for the proverbial buzz. Which means more calories. But no, beer does not have the secret access code to your stomach. (French fries definitely do.)

There Ain’t No Seal to Break.

You’ve been drinking. You’re tipsy (best euphemism ever, right?) and you finally go to the bathroom. Then you keep going. You broke the seal. Or wait, you absolutely didn’t. First of all, the concept of a “seal” is incredibly creepy. But also, in terms of science stuff—and there is some sciency stuff to booze—the reason you keep peeing isn’t because you peed once. Chances are, since you’re out, you waited as long as possible before peeing. The fact that you keep going is because you finally realize/accept how much you have to goddam pee. But the reason you have to pee isn’t because of some weirdo seal. It’s because alcohol suppresses ADH, which is a water-conserving hormone. You didn’t break the seal, friend. You’ve had to pee all night. ‘Cuz science.

Nightcap Ain’t the Rightcap.

Yes, we’ve already copyrighted that, in case you’re wondering. But yeah, the whole “a drink will send me into a deep, restful, Idris Elba-filled dreamland” is a total lie. Booze can actually help “healthy people to fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply for a while,” per Web MD (everyone’s favorite “what is this weird rash” panic site). But it actually reduces REM sleep. Which is not when you fall asleep with the song “Losing My Religion” in your head. Rapid Eye Movement sleep is kind of the—can we say G spot?—of rest. Lose your REM, lose your rest, lose your witty remark at stupid work meeting. (And then everybody loses.)