Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hair of the Dog: Valid Hangover Cure or Are We Just A Bunch of Alcoholics?

A Thursday Debate.

With many a drinking enthusiast planning to tie one on during the coming weekend, I thought it would be a good time to find out your thoughts on the Hair of the Dog idea. Does drinking more really ease a hangover? Or do you have a drinking problem?

On Sunday I was fantastically hungover. A real doozy. The kind I'd avoided having for months. I moaned, I groaned, I stumbled through the apartment. I tried all of the usual cures: Hydration, greasy food, bitching, taking a shower to wash off the residual booze and smoke stink. At one point I stood in the courtyard for 10 minutes, leaning against the gate by the pool because the cool metal and morning air felt soothing. Nothing seemed to be working.

At about 3, my friend Kristen called. She'd been out with me at the club the night before, also being really cool. After the bar, she, my sister and I had a Del Taco feast at 3 am that resulted in squished french fries all over my kitchen, lettuce all over the interior of my sister's car, and me waking up the next morning with hot sauce and refried beans still caked on to my face and fingers. She'd slept on my couch and, in true Kristen fashion, vanished quietly in the wee morning hours. Leaving a neatly folded blanket on the arm of the couch as a little message to me, "No, you didn't imagine that. I was here."

So when she called me at 3, I was surprised to hear she had already been up and about, participating, however slightly, in society. She told me that she and her boyfriend had gone out to lunch and she ordered a bloody mary. "Ah-ha" I thought to myself. Maybe that's what I should be doing. Drinking again. But here's the thing: she didn't exactly say it worked in making her feel better. And she still sounded beat up.

Later, I was having coffee and french fries (proven cures!) with my friend Amanda, when I got a text from my sister, inviting me out for healing margaritas. Never one to resist a margarita, I almost texted back something like "yay," but then stopped myself. Really? Are they healing, really? Or will I just be drunk again? You can't be two things at once. Hungry or full. Hot or Cold. Drunk or hungover (is there a 3rd option?).

It was revealed that she had left the bar Sunday night, still feeling exhausted and terrible. Healing margaritas my ass.

Doesn't seem like the Hair of the Dog theory is holding up so far, folks. And I have more examples.

I recall being on spring break in Acapulco my sophomore year of college. I was lying by the pool one afternoon, feeling like crap and shielding myself from the sunlight that seemed to be going directly through my eyes and punching my brain. I was tightly clutching a bottle of water. Though surrounded by friends, the act of communicating with them seemed too taxing. From the corner of my eye, I spotted a plastic cup full of pale beer. "Mwu mah mah wah" I heard in the muted tone of headphones not fully plugged in. "Mwu wu wah won?" I sat up straight. FOCUS. "Do you want one?" asked my friend. So I drank one, then another, then a relaxing pina colada. And then next thing I knew it was like 10pm. I'd gone from hungover, to nauseous, to hungover again.

Hangover cured? Or time wasted?

Last summer, I went camping with the boyfriend and a bunch of friends. I hate camping. And I was cold and afraid of yeti and mad ax murderer perverts. So while I sat around the campfire, I thought I better just get drunk. So I did, and woke up the next morning at 6am, right about the same time as the sun woke up and started burning into our tent and turning it into an oven. I unzipped the little door flap furiously, gasping for air, to find my cohorts already sipping bud lites and bloody marys. It seemed to be the consensus that these beverages would be just what we needed to be back on top, and also were the right way to prep ones self for a hike.

Hangover cured? Or napping on a rock at 12:30, wondering where your life went wrong?

Ok, enough of my examples here. I'm really not making myself look like a worthwhile human being. I think I've made my case. The Hair of the Dog does not cure a hangover. It's just an excuse.

So, what do you think?

22 comments:

A Lover and a Fighter said...

It's common knowledge that I have the alcohol tolerance of a chipmunk on dialysis, but I've never been able to drink to cure my hangover. Perhaps that's because I never have a mild hangover- I'm either fine or in full-body hurl- but I seriously can't imagine myself trying to ingest anything other than coffee the Morning After.

I hope I didn't reveal too much about my ridiculous party pooper-esque qualities with the above statement. Please, if you will, imagine me as some sort of wild east coast hamptonite who has been drunk since the late 90s. Because that's totally accurate. Also I am really tall. Huge boobs.

Inono said...

I have never tried the hair of the dog as a hangover cure. I'm too afraid because I can't even talk about what I had to drink the night before, let alone look at it, or worse yet, drink it. I have been able to start drinking the next day, but thats after much greesy food, rest, and water.

However, with regards to hangover cures, I had the quickest recovery ever on Sunday after our clubfest. I woke up to Fi and Jenn demanding brunch at Lulu's, but I could only make it from my bed to the bathroom. Not the upchucks, but the downchucks (mhmm). I had no clue how I could make it. Fi came over with some Dramamine and a coke. I swear, 20 minutes later I was feeling amazing! I could have gone out drinking again!

Julie_Gong said...

I've never been a strong believer in having more alcohol to cure a hangover. Usually because if I have a hangover not even death would make me feel better. I should say that I only consider having thrown up being hungover. Weird. I know.

survivingmyself said...

you know, i think it does work. Of course, someday you've got to stop the trend of being hungover, so you might as well get it over with right away.

Hollywood Sucker said...

lover/fighter- i am actually jealous of your intolerance. would save me a whole lot of strife.

inono- why didnt anyone bring ME the miracle cure

julie- Thank you for being on my side too! I've had no arguments against me yet.

survivingmyself- Thanks for your contribution to the discussion. Now, what the eff are you talking about?

percillamaymarshmellow said...

Here are some other things that work. (Well, nothing works, but my old roommate and I found that they help)
1) Pulling the trigger (as in making yourself puke up the leftover alcohol sloshing in your stomach)
2)Miso soup (special Asian healing powers)
3)Working out. Even though it's the last thing you want to do.
4) Sparkling water, like Perrier or something. I think the bubbles help oxygen get to your brain.

survivingmyself said...

hahaha - shit, sorry. Okay, take two:

I meant that I think drinking the next day does work, but then you end up hungover the day after that, and if you drink again, you end up hungover the day after that, and so on... So you shouldn't drink the next day because you'll eventually have to deal with the hangover anyway.

damn. you know, i always thought i was smart - but after these two comments, I'm not so sure.

Tia said...

haha! love that post, esp your examples!

in my experience, "hair of the dog" as a hangover cure has only a 35% success rate. the other 65% of the time i just feel like a bloated loser who has vague thoughts about wanting to die and end the misery in my head/stomach.

A Lover and a Fighter said...

I think the only thing it would save you is cash- I am wasted after 1.5 of anything containing alcohol. Including rumballs. And I still get hungover.

Karmen said...

a complex B-Vitamin (such as a B-12) before you go out to drink and then one the morning after will keep hangovers away for good.

i learned this little gem from my uncle who's a surgeon in Spain but loves to drink like a fish.

also, if you can stomach it, CHEW (yes, chew) an aspirin if you forgot to take the vitamin... chewing it will activate the chemicals faster.

J-Money said...

Again, I urge you to visit the infant aisle of your local Walgreens (just step over Britney's McNugget scented carcass) and pick up a bottle or two of Pedialyte.

It's all electrolytes and artificial flavoring and totally sets you off right, especially when paired with an Excedrin.

And maybe a fifth of Absolut.

Recipe courtesy of my excessive level of college drunkenness that resulted in semester-long hangovers and something called a "theatre degree".

Hollywood Sucker said...

percilla- Didn't we make up a new one when Becca was here?

survivingmyself- No, you're still smart. Just bad at expressing yourself. There, there. : )

tia- thank you for bringing percentages to this study. it makes it look more official.

lover/fighter- great. now I want rumballs. what have i told you about mentioning foooood?

karmen- I really want to try out your suggestion. But I'm putting off a drunken episode for as long as possible.

j-money- Sounds like a good recipe for disaster. I've never had pedialyte...and I feel uncomfortable in the baby aisle. I don't like people mistaking me for a mom.

arbyn said...

Hair of the dog is definitely advantageous if you need to postpone your hangover.

Denny's, I think, is the real cure.

mindy said...

It's true, Meg DOES have the alcohol tolerance of a chipmunk on dialysis. And her boobs are enormous.

I, on the other hand, seem to have the alcohol tolerance of a 300 lb man. Wait - is it still "tolerance" if you can't walk anymore?

Where was I? Oh. I think the hair of the dog does work, but it's only a temporary cure. You just feel drunk and happy again (and it takes fewer drinks to get you there) - but inevitably you're going to be hungover, so why prolong it?

Tomas said...

My fav remedy from a med student: A sleep deprived intern or two have been known to sneak into an empty hospital room with a severe hangover and hook themselves up to a saline drip, where they veg for about 60 min. That remedy reflects the home Pedialyte remedy of re-hydration.

B-12 theory: Being actually B-12 deficient, I'll debunk that noise. Sorry friend. I've had injections, sublingual, drops, pills...the B-12 will not prevent a hangover. Lord I wish it did. Try Milk Thistle - this is the best power herbal supplement for optimal liver function and detoxification. They actually use it in detox centers.

I think that the process of brainstorming a cure, reveals how American we are and brainwashed by pharmaceutical lobbying - these bastards control Western medicine, and our central focus on "treatment" as citizens proves it...we have been raised to focus on throwing a pill or a band-aid on an ailment. The far East on the other hand, focuses on Preventative Medicine, which centers on you not getting sick in the first place.

Guess who live longer healthier lives?

The infamous "hangover" comes from your liver doing overtime to cleanse impurities - impurities stick to sugar, among other things - avoid sugary drinks, wines, rums, fruity cocktaily shit, and low grade can beer - loaded with impurities. The aluminum in cans deteriorates over time from chemical reaction with alcohol - aluminum is an impurity to your body representing something called heavy metal toxicity. This kind of toxicity effects the brain and kills attention spans (do you feel like you were less ADD as a kid? I do)

Sakes, vodkas, gins (in that order) have the fewest impurities, though none are perfect. Cheaper can often represent cheaper distilling methods, and more impurities. Do the rich really have fewer hangovers?? :)

You get dehydrated because your liver's fuel is water. Liver doing overtime means faster water consumption by your body. When your liver uses all your available H2O, she takes a break and pauses her normal detox rate, and the impurities roam around your body making you sick, from head, stomach, muscles, etc.

I wouldn't recommend the greasy remedy for detox - fats are broken down by your liver and gall bladder - clearly during a hangover those two are already busy. Band-aid style, the grease may settle your stomach because it gives all that gross bile something to work on. Pulling trigger clears stomach and could likewise settle it by getting all that gross bile out. Stomach settled or not, hangover is still there (I recommend Pepto or Malox for the tummy-upset bandaid).

Lastly, stagger your liver's hard job, by giving it more time on the clock...carbonation allows your stomach to absorb alcohol faster, so don't start the night with beer or carbonated drinks - that quicker absorption rate will stay like that the rest of the night (beer before liquor anyone?). Likewise, pace the waters through the night - that liver never stops during a night of binging - the single water pound before bed is better than nothing, but 3 staggered waters over your last 3 hours of binging could save your ass 3-fold.

The no carbonation at the beginning of the night thing, is why Russians can drink so much Vodka...it absorbs slower without beer or soda, and has fewer impurities - turns out you kind of are "in the clear".

And eat dinner beforehand. Food will absorb impurities too and just get shit out rather than get sucked immediately with the alcohol into your bloodstream for the liver to take care of.

All that shit aside, you know me...I'll take a spicy as shit Bloody Mary any hangover morning. To quote Kemp, "I need something that hurts more than my body does. Make it extra spicy, Tomas."

Much Love, and Drink Responsibly, Kids...choose Baileys!!!

Dr. Tomas

Peter said...

We may never know the answer. It's like 'tastes great' vs. 'less filling.' It's the kind of question that pits brother against brother.

I'd like to go back to your camping story for a minute though...

Even when ax murderer perverts are in a good mood, they are no picnic. TRUST me.

mindy said...

Dr. Tomas- Holy shit, I just learned stuff on a blog. I am both confused and excited.

Corinne said...

My Australian friend, the biggest drunk I've ever known, showed me the way: Water throughout the night + Tylenol + ..erm, vegemite on toast. Honest to blog, it worked.

Hollywood Sucker said...

arbyn- Ah, Denny's. I could go for some Dennys food right about now. Then again it's breakfast time, so I guess that makes sense.

mindy- I too have a seriously ill-fitting tolerance. I don't know what's wrong with me. I can't afford it, that's for sure.

tomas- Look at you, smarty pants! Also, even if I don't believe in hair of the dog, I'd fake it for you to make me a bloody mary. Mmmmm spicy.

peter- Am I to interpret your comment as you are an ax murderer? It reads that way. Good thing you're all the way in Canada! Psycho killer, Qu'est que c'est, Fa fa fa fa fa...

corinne- Do they even sell vegemite in the US?

nicoleantoinette said...

I know I'm supposed to be answering some kind of question, but all you've managed to do is make me want to drink margaritas. Funny.

Corinne said...

Erm..I have no idea. It tasted like salt. And car grease. And it worked. Australians can really do no wrong.

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