I only fancy my girlfriend after a few drinks…

17th December, 2005

Dear Economist,
After several years, I recently noted that I only really fancy my girlfriend after I’ve had a few drinks. Is this relationship worth pursuing?
David Pigeon, London

Dear David,

I know how you feel: I only fancy chips with mayonnaise. Sadly for my waistline, my relationship with chips has not suffered.

You are saying that like chips and mayonnaise, alcohol and your girlfriend are complementary goods. I am not sure this is a problem.

It might be a problem if your predicament were unusual. It is not. Many people have found that alcohol has aphrodisiac qualities, even if it occasionally dampens the ability to follow through. This Christmas, thousands of couples like you and your girlfriend will rediscover each other with the help of the Yuletide brandy. I’m a September baby myself, as is my father, my sister, her husband and their son. You are not alone!

Of course, it is easy to drink more alcohol than is good for you. Perhaps this is what is concerning you, but there seems to be no need for worry. The Government advises that the average man should aim to drink no more than three to four “units” of alcohol – about two pints of ordinary-strength lager – a day. Since the typical British couple claims to make love every three days or so, you should be able to lubricate yourself appropriately without putting too much strain on your liver. Just steer clear of prodigious feats of love.

It seems to me that there is one cause for concern: your girlfriend must never suspect that you need to don the beer goggles to find her appealing. Drinking is commonplace in our culture, so you shouldn’t find it hard to camouflage the limits of your infatuation. Just don’t do anything stupid, such as discussing it in the pages of a national newspaper.

Also published at ft.com.

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