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Thursday, April 18, 2024

If you still have not received your copy of the latest issue of "Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research" in the mail, allow me to give you an exciting sneak peek at what academics are doing to stem the advancing tide of beer in the United States. Get ready.

Graduate student researchers at San Diego State University studied the "environmental factors" of alcohol consumption by crashing 66 parties and interviewing as many partygoers as possible in 30 minutes.

In their case, "crashing" is when you explain the study you're doing to the host and offer him a ,20 gift card for admittance. The study is celebrated as one of just a few that offer data gathered in the field rather than from post-drinking surveys.

First off, as a friend astutely pointed out, someone has to make a movie about this with Jack Black. I can already see him jumping on the conference table in excitement, startling the research nerds as he pitches the idea. "Sixty-six parties would be so much … DATA!" Then hijinks would ensue, as the back case of just about every Jack Black movie ensures.

No hijinks ensued in the real study, though, just some good, old-fashioned science. Mostly the study provided statistics to back up facts everyone already knows. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's article about the study was entitled, "College Drinking Games Lead to Higher Blood Alcohol Levels." Not exactly groundbreaking.

I was interested in one finding though. Statistically, men get slightly more drunk than women with one exception - at costume parties with sexual themes the roles are reversed. Translated, if the girls are in lingerie, there are fewer guys passed out on couches and more girls stumbling into bushes. The researchers offered no speculation as to why that may be the case.

But of course we all know what causes the difference. College girls experience two opposing desires. One is to be dignified. This desire hates the idea of being objectified by a sleazy guy.

The other desire is to not come off as a self-righteous prude. This desire really wants the sensations that come with objectification, and above all, it does not want to be alone. This side would rather get the attention that comes from being used by a guy (or guys) than be classy and watch a romantic comedy solo. So the conscience gets drowned in some alcohol, and everyone has fun.

I have come to terms with the fact that I am in many ways a crotchety old man trapped in a 21-year-old body.

The guys use the girls and the girls use the guys - it's just everyone having some fun in college.

Maybe right now the only cost of that fun you can see is the occasional mystery bruise or embarrassing episode. But in a few short years the price will be felt more fully - and painfully - in marriages that seem strangely off, alcoholism, or in a sense of shame that next to nothing stuck that was briefly learned in college.

Yeah, I'm a walking, talking, writing buzz kill, but I'll try to end on a high note. There is pleasure in life that is far better than anything that intoxication - or even sex - has to offer. It's better not for its momentary sensation, but because it actually lasts. Where does it come from? Well, you're expecting a lot from just a columnist. This is college - go do some research.

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Gerald Liles is a history and religion senior. His column appears on Tuesdays.

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