You Can Binge-Drink Your Way to Happiness


Every affluent caucasian fraternity brother will tell you “Rich White Frat boys have more fun.” And for once, the words coming from their garish mouth holes might actually be truth. It is not just their wealth and assumed social dominion that earns them this declaration. Rather, their prolific abilities to binge-drink serve as a proxy for high status.1 A new study presented to the American Sociological Association by Carolyn Hsu, a sociologist at Colgate University says that collegiate binge-drinkers are happier with their lives than those who do not get plastered regularly.

This relation creates a curious circumstance: rich white frat boys seem happy and they drink a lot; therefore (based on this study’s data), people of lower socio-economic status can raise their happiness by participating in binge-drinking. This all really boils down to the perception of something as cool. If binge-drinking is cool, then one must binge-drink to be cool and therefore to be happy.

This study just represents one Northeastern liberal arts school and has not been subjected to extensive peer review, but it can serve one generally massive point. College students are exceptionally adolescent in their unrelenting desire to trade and acquire social capital in order to be cool.

It doesn’t seem surprising that college life is saturated with regular participants in Thirsty Thursday, but the claim that it leads to happiness is a bit bold. Social satisfaction is perhaps the more appropriate term, and one I expect can quickly turn to social dissatisfaction. The combinative make-up of a collegiate student body completely cycles every four to five years. Binge-drinking is common across the country, and doesn’t change when a group of students leave. It is somehow bound to the college experience in a way that suggests keg-stands are essential to the college identity. Therefore to live a satisfying social life in college, binge-drinking is required, right?

The most exciting and terrifying component to this as that this satisfaction we so desperately seek is completely out of our control and formed by standards none of us have personally developed, tested, or questioned. College students take the “I am, therefore I drink,” approach to the matter ensuring they spend some part of their formative (and most expensive) learning years hanging, half-naked, out of a window with cartoon images of male genitalia tattooed in magic marker across their chest.

What could make you happier?

There’s nothing wrong with binge-drinking. Students spend a remarkable amount of time acting like high-functioning adults which can be terribly stressful, when they have little idea of what they even want for their seemingly definite adult life. It’s no wonder they spend their weekends (and pre-weekends) trying to obliterate all consciousness from their bodies.

The study really points to nothing we didn’t know already, but could help bring attention to one thing: the happiness you reap from your drunken escapades is not your own. For those who do not care, stay thirsty my friends.


Attribution

1“Binge Drinking Apparently Makes College Students as Happy as Bros,” The Atlantic Wire


  • Rich White Frat Boy

    A lot of assumptions are made here with no support. Binge drinking is not an end in itself- many people binge drink, even in college, and aren’t happy. The manner in which “rich white frat bros” binge drink is in social settings, often at parties or bars, where being drunk serves as a catalyst for fun social engagement. Frat bros may be happier than other students, but they don’t become that way by sitting in their frat castles drinking alone all day. They host parties, go to bars, and are generally more social than the average college student. A chief idea in the field of cultural anthropology is that human beings are primarily social beings, and that our happiness goes hand-in-hand with social fulfillment, as you mentioned. But, you painted binge drinkers as mindless followers who are drinking because it is what college kids are supposed to do. I disagree with that notion. Drinking enables fun, engaging, and thought sometimes silly, often meaningful social interaction to take place, and this is what makes rich white frat boys happy. Though drinking and happiness may be correlated, you make that jump that drinking directly causes happiness, which I believe, as a “rich white frat boy”, not to be the case.

    • Man Lark

      @Rich White Frat Boy Welcome to The Airspace!  In case you didn’t know, this site isn’t really meant to provide any useful information.  It’s mostly an outlet for some kids from an affluent high school in the Chicago suburbs to get people to read their opinions.

      • http://theairspace.net/ Blake J. Graham

        @Man Lark While we thank you for promoting our production’s motto, your comment is off-topic and provides no conversational value. Feel free to express your disdain for The Airspace on your own twitter, facebook, or blog. Your IP address has been flagged. Any further off-topic comments will be deleted. 

        • LArk man

          Blake J. Graham I am terribly sorry if my comment came off as disdainful, it was an honest misinterpretation of The Airspace’s mission.  I would like to give you a friendly notice that flagging my IP will render most of the student body at a major university incapable of taking part in the wonderful discussion on this site.  I’m also somewhat curious as to why you think flagging someone’s IP prevents them from posting.

    • Man Lark

      @Rich White Frat Boy Welcome to The Airspace!  In case you didn’t know, this site isn’t really meant to provide any useful information.  It’s mostly an outlet for some kids from an affluent high school in the Chicago suburbs to get people to read their opinions.

  • Pale Asian Library Girl

    Maybe Rich White Frat Boy is relatively happy because he is being compared to Pale Asian Library Girl.

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