As you probably already know, socializing in pubs can improve men’s mental health. Here’s another piece of the puzzle: men are much more likely than women to exchange smiles while drinking.
A study published in Clinical Psychological Science has found that alcohol improves what psychologists call “emotional contagion”, but only amongst men. Emotional contagion is how your emotional state is changed by the people around you. If they’re angry, you might get angry too. If they smile, you can “catch” that smile.
Researchers had 720 healthy social drinkers hang out while being served drinks. They were divided into three groups—an group that drank vodka cranberry, a group that drank something obviously non-alcoholic, and a group that had a placebo drink, which was just water in a glass with a vodka coated rim.
As it turns out, the vodka cranberry did indeed work as social lubricant, causing more contagious smiles—but only when all-male groups were hanging out together. In mixed-gender or in all-women vodka cranberry groups, there was no more smiling than average. However, groups of sober women had more contagious smiling than groups of sober men.
So, there are two takeaways here: number one, it seems like men have to drink in order to enjoy themselves amongst strangers as much as sober women do. Two, it seems like men enjoy themselves more without women around.
Sorry ladies, we calls ‘em like we sees ‘em.