April 24, 2007

Nightlife 2007 - Dr. Aura is in the house: Does what you drink really affect your mood? LEO conducted an ‘official’

Photo By Gina MoellerDoes bourbon make you mean? Does vodka make you flirty? Does tequila really make your clothes fall off? LEO conducted a little experiment to get at the truth behind these age-old and quite possibly apocryphal beliefs about liquor and the human psyche. What we found wasn’t pretty — some stereotypes seemed to hold true, while others were exposed as blatantly false.Six brave volunteers were selected for this experiment based on their willingness to try and help unlock the answers to these myths … or maybe just because they could drink on an expense account. Each was assigned a liquor to consume all night long while The (sober) Scientist (me) observed their moods, behaviors and social interactions.Opine the ObjectiveTo determine if the liquor you drink has an affect on your mood.Congregate the ContestantsLEO’s graphic designer Jon Beazlie put his liver on the line and volunteered for bourbon. His trusty sidekick and fellow LEO graphic designer, Gina Moeller, took on vodka, while LEO freelancer Kevin Gibson braved tequila. Kevin’s girlfriend Jen Bidwell settled for scotch, and friend Greg Thomas sided with team rum. Last but certainly not least, LEO reader Laura Bowser jumped on the gin wagon. Scout the SettingThe Back Door has a reputation for strong drinks and fast service. It was the obvious choice — get ’em buzzed quick, get ’em buzzed cheap.Begin the BingeEach participant was asked the same five questions before the first drink was consumed and then again after the last one was choked down. While most answers remained about the same, some went in the completely opposite direction (gin) with what they originally answered. See results below.Kevin, Jen and Greg express their feelings on Oprah.The rest of the evening consisted of The Scientist observing the lab rats interacting with each other and with strangers around them. The evening began at 7:30 p.m., and everyone seemed to be in high spirits (again, they were drinking on LEO’s tab). As they sipped on their first drink, they talked about their jobs, laughed about their weekend debauchery and questioned the purpose of this experiment. “What I drink won’t change the way I feel,” Laura said as she quaffed her gin and tonic like a Dirt Devil. Another round was ordered.Greg seemed content with his rum and Coke, and Jon sat back and enjoyed his bourbon sour. Discussion about objects in and around a person’s “back door” broke out, as did a game of MASH. Gina drew the MASH board while she sipped on a screwdriver. “Name four boys … now what are your four cars? … tell me when to stop,” she said as she drew the circles. Laura ended up married to David Letterman, with two kids, a Viper and a mansion. Jen looked on with scotch and soda in hand. Kevin continued the ass talk with the subject of colonoscopies while he chugged his margarita. He’s had three of them in his lifetime — colonoscopies, not margaritas, that is. But he was sedated. Hopefully.shots: From l-r, Jon Beazlie, Kevin Gibson, Greg Thomas, Laura Bowser, Jen Bidwell and Gina Moeller prepare for their downfall — the shot.Three rounds later, Jen challenged Laura to a shot. It was then decided that everyone would do a shot of their designated liquor. Down went the booze, up came the emotions. Behavioral changes were finally starting to surface.Greg and his rum seemed pretty content and happy all night. He was like a B celebrity at the Oscars — he knew he was lucky to be here and would probably never be invited back.Jon was also content and quiet with his bourbon, but The Scientist detected some maligned sarcasm bubbling up every so often.Laura and Gina were noticeably relaxed and flirtatious. Laura mustered the nerve to approach strangers; Gina got touchy-feely with her husband. Laura switched to gin and ginger ale because she thought it’d be fun to order. And Gina stayed true to her vodka and orange juice.Kevin was getting a little sloppy on the tequila — his speech was a bit slurred, but he was overall in a good mood. And Jen was getting noticeably introspective and philosophical while she sipped her scotch.Kevin: Tequila may make your speech sloppy, but apparently it does not affect your ability to count. How many drinks have you had again, Kevin?As everyone’s speech became more slurred and their emotions exaggerated, it became apparent that some were feeling great, while others had a hard time masking their true feelings. “I feel like a fart in a hurricane,” Kevin mumbled with a goofy look on his face, while Gina quoted something unintelligible from “Strangers With Candy.” Jon was a tad withdrawn from the group, while Laura’s grand hand gestures and sharp pointing got a little out of control. “Life is good, my friend,” Greg said as he scoped the room. Jen was dictating a thesis on neoconservative foreign policy and establishing Western-style democracy in the Middle East.Query the QuestionsThe Scientist came up with these five questions with the hopes it would reveal a bit about the moods of her subjects. Some answers changed as her subjects’ BAC increased. Some remained the same. And some were, frankly, unintelligible by the end. The five highly regarded questions were:1) What do you think about Oprah — saint or sinner?2) Do you feel sorry for models with eating disorders?3) Fuck, Marry, Kill: guys — Britney Spears, Reece Witherspoon and Paris Hilton; girls — Justin Timberlake, Clay Aiken and Ron Jeremy.4) Do these pants make me look fat?5) If Jessica Simpson walked up to you right now, would you fuck her or punch her?Jon (bourbon)7:30 p.m.Oprah: “I guess she’s all right. If I was a lady, I’d watch her.”Models: “No.”FMK: F – Britney; M – Reece; K – ParisFat: “No.”Jessica S.: “Punch.”10 p.m.Oprah: “She’s a fraud! I’ve seen her without makeup.”Models: “No.”FMK: “I’d do them all and then punch them in the back of the head! … just kidding!”Fat: “No.”Jessica S.: “Punch!”Greg (rum)7:30 p.m.Oprah: “She does good things, but I’m annoyed by her.”Models: “Depends on if they’ll sleep with me or not.”FMK: F – Paris; M – Reece; K – BritneyFat: “No.”Jessica S.: “Fuck.”10 p.m.Oprah: “It’s like she wants to be human, but she never will be.”Models: “Only when they’re not in bed with me.”FMK: F – Paris; M – Reece; K – BritneyFat: “No!”Jessica S.: “Yes.”Kevin (tequila)7:30 p.m.Oprah: “I don’t have a problem with her. She’s well aware of her celebrity.”Models: “I don’t feel sorry for them; it’s just their situation. Society is to blame.”FMK: F – Britney; M – Reece; K – ParisFat: “No.”Jessica S.: “Fuck!”10 p.m.Oprah: “I don’t think Oprah’s a bitch.”Models: “Not as long as they’ll have sex with my friend.”FMK: F – Britney; M – Reece; K – ParisFat: “Yes! But I’d still do you!”Jessica S.: “I’d ask her to make out with my girlfriend.”Jen (scotch)7:30 p.m.Oprah: “She’s not a saint, but at least she’s trying to do good.”Models: “I don’t feel sorry for them.”FMK: F – Ron; M – Clay; K – JustinFat: “No.”Jessica S.: “Wouldn’t do either.”10 p.m.Oprah: “She does good. I’d love to have a free car!”Models: “No — they make too much money!”FMK: F – Clay (“because I don’t think he’s been with too many girls”); M – Justin; K – RonFat: “No … hell no!”Jessica S.: “I still don’t want to punch her. I’d offer her tuna of the sea, or pat her on the head.”Laura (gin)7:30 p.m.Oprah: “I don’t like Oprah. She’s a problem. Everything she does has to be in the public eye.”Models: “Yes, I feel sorry for them. It’s the business that encourages it.”FMK: F – Ron; M – Justin; K – ClayFat: “No!”Jessica S.: “Punch.”10 p.m.Oprah: “I still like Oprah!”Models: “I still feel sorry for them — they have an eating disorder.”FMK: F – Ron; M – Justin; K – Clay Fat: “Yes!”Jessica S.: “I’d punch her in the arm.”Gina (vodka)7:30 p.m.Oprah: “Who?”Models: “They get paid for having eating disorders.”FMK: F – Justin; M – Ron; K – Clay Fat: “No!”Jessica S.: “I’d hug her, she seems sweet.”10 p.m.Oprah: “I’m disturbed by the lack of a Q in her name.”Models: “I feel sorry for me because I can’t come up with a trendy eating disorder.”FMK: “I want to bring sexy back.”Fat: “No!”Jessica S.: “I’d still hug her — tell her Proactiv is fantastic.”Reveal the ResultsEach participant consumed nearly six drinks in two and a half hours. From observing their behavior drink after drink, and studying their answers to the test questions, I conclude that what you drink does in fact have an effect on how you act and what you feel. There are certainly factors we must take into account when analyzing the data — free drinks probably put the subjects in a good mood; what the subject ate prior to and during the experiment most likely had an effect on how their body processed the alcohol; etc. But for our purposes, we must make conclusions based on the research, and here they are: Vodka will break you out of your comfort zone — it makes you funny (or at least makes you think you’re funny), flirty and fun to be around. You can maintain all night on a mild vodka buzz and keep your wits about you.It’s no coincidence that Rum is often associated with vacation. Like the class clown in your high school, it’s relatively harmless and always fun to be around. Rum has a positive effect on your mood — its powers will relax you — it’ll transport you to Key West all night long.One must be careful when drinking Tequila. At first it exhibits the same tranquil feelings as rum — but instead of dropping you off at Key West, it throws you on the Mad Tea Party ride at Disney World. If you can drink it in moderation, it makes for a nice, relaxing cocktail. However if you reach the threshold — and there is no scientific data as to where that actually is — you’re fucked, to put it literally.Gin is tricky. Its reputation is of sophistication, but if you consume one too many, you’re anything but. Loud gestures, flirtyness and a strong desire for pine trees are all side effects of gin. Although you can maintain a good buzz all night long, the next day you’ll swear it off forever.Scotch is the drink for smart people — for professors, brain surgeons, rocket scientists and MacGyver. Scotch brings forth a desire to be intellectual, to debate the issues of the day in good company. A little too much scotch and you may become that annoying barfly who brings up religion and politics. Getting your ass kicked is a serious side effect.Be forewarned, Bourbon will make you mean. At first it’s quite pleasant. You get along with your group and everything is smooth sailing. And then the little sarcastic comments begin to bubble to the surface. And then you’re telling your best friend she’s fat. Like the Vortex at King’s Island, the bourbon buzz will take you downhill fast. Be careful — your relationships may end up just as twisted as all the loops on the coaster, too. Contact The Scientist at shavens@leoweekly.com