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Having a Few Drinks Makes You More Attractive to Others

According to a recent study by the University of Houston, it would appear that at least one instance of alcohol-induced hubris is accurate.
Photo via Flickr user Laura Thorne

It's rare that the things we feel when we're drunk are real.

Emotions are exaggerated, the most inane ideas sound brilliant, and impulses become difficult to control, all of which leads to the inevitable "What was I thinking?" moment the next day.

READ: Scientists Say You're at Your Most Attractive When a Little Buzzed

While the myth of "beer goggles," which can turn the ugliest of ducklings into pretty beer swans, has been repeatedly validated by science (and anecdotal evidence), there is a more interesting and less obvious rule of attraction emerging in dimly lit bars across America.


According to a recent study by the University of Houston, it would appear that the reverse of beer goggles is actually a real thing, which means that at least one instance of alcohol-induced hubris is accurate. Specifically, social drinkers who pace themselves but still get a good buzz going are apparently perceived as more attractive by members of the opposite sex.

The design of this experiment was straightforward enough. Researchers tracked down 594 heterosexual college students at an "unnamed" Southern college and had them look at 25 pictures of the opposite sex's faces with an accompanying label describing their drinking habits.

Those descriptions ranged from "this college student frequently drinks heavily" to "this college student drinks socially on occasion" to "this college student never drinks," and "this college student is a recovering alcoholic and therefore abstains from using alcohol," which pretty much covers the entire spectrum of college drinking.

The students were then asked to rate each picture on a seven-point scale for attractiveness, intelligence, likability, and approachability. Turns out that the group with the highest rating for attractiveness was the social drinkers, with a median score of 3.69, while less-composed heavy drinkers only scored 2.86, the Daily Mail reports.

READ: A Little Alcohol Can Actually Make You Age Slower

But the real revelation here is that the teetotaling "I'm always in control" crowd scored just as low as the heavy drinkers, meaning that consuming some alcohol maximizes one's odds as being perceived as attractive.

This study corroborates an earlier study from the University of Bristol in which 40 students agreed to be photographed three times each: once completely sober, once after a single drink equivalent to a glass of wine, and a final time after two drinks.

The results in that study also suggested that people who were lightly buzzing were the most attractive, leading researchers in that case to speculate that the cause could be the rosy glow of one's cheeks as being the main factor of attraction.

Whatever the reason may be, there is mounting evidence that having a moderate amount of drinks will make you more attractive to fellow bar denizens—and slow the aging process, lower the risk of heart attack, and make you generally happier.