Liquid Confidence


This weekend I said to Lauren, “I used to have a lot more confidence when I was drinking. I felt more attractive.”

She gave me a wry look and said, “Uh, yes?”


Duh. It’s not just me. It is one of the primary reasons people drink – to give themselves a confidence or courage boost. It is considered the number one reason college students binge drink (Shot! Shot! Shot! I’m Hot! Hot! Hot!), and it feeds the lineup at every open bar. An alcoholic drink gives you wings.


There is no neurological reason for this elevation in bravado, however. People drink because they think it gives them confidence, not because it actually does.


When I lived in The Bahamas, I remember strutting my stuff – my Louis, Alma bag over the crook of my arm, my hair extensions in a decorous wad, stumbling over cobblestones on stilettos and grabbing the arm of any pretty young thing for support, thinking I was so hot. I’m serious. Then I saw the photos… I will not share them with you here, because I do not want you to turn to stone.


Now that I look back on things with a clear head, it is possible that part of my attractiveness to the Bahamian people could have been my drunken largess. I mean I bought everyone in the Exumas a round. Just about every citizen in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas owes me a drink (as does everyone in Los Angeles, but that’s another story…).


“We know drinking habits can be influenced by what people expect will happen when they consume alcohol,” says Lori A.J. Scott-Sheldon PhD, of The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. “So if you believe alcohol gives you ‘liquid courage’ or that drinking helps you ‘fit in’ or be more social, you’re likely to drink more,” she said.


And because you believe you are going to be more charming and attractive, you will be more charming and attractive (until you knock over a chest of drawers at a house blessing or soil yourself) so the myth perpetuates itself.


Today I’m not drinking because I’ve seen the photographs…

How come you’re not drinking?