The most iconic hangover in film (ignoring the depressingly real Days of Wine and Roses) comes in the 1958 movie, Auntie Mame. It starts with nephew Patrick, bounding into an elegantly decorated room with clatter, noise, and a certain amount of joie de vivre. Cut to a kimono-clad Rosalind Russell, greenish, looking on with an expression of sick dread. Her line, “Please, dear—your Auntie’s hung,” is uttered with a helplessness that we all should remember at this time of year.
It turns out that Mame’s remedy for six or twelve too many is the Shakespearean “hair of the dog that bit me” — a blast of booze to quell a classic hangover of headache, nausea and trembling. Does it work? Who knows – one can always find some study on the web to support any hangover remedy imaginable. We won’t be discussing efficacy here, because aren’t hangover remedies about faith? Kind of like Tinkerbell, but with more shame?
Here’s our digest of all the faith-based approaches to coping with a hangover. We’ll leave it up to you to pick your specific poison.
This prevention-based theory includes all “lining the stomach” practices, like drinking a tablespoon of olive oil before boozing, eating a slice of bread to ‘soak up the liquor’ (and thereby slow its absorption), or eating lots of fatty food to pro-actively line the stomach. Some drink cold, pink, nauseatingly thick Pepto-Bismol before going out on the town. Our feeling is hat if you’re planning ahead to drink yourself sick, then the problem isn’t in the lining of your stomach.
The Power of Positive Chanting
Remember the couplet from college? “Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, all clear.” This is all about the perceived power of the mantra, where if the drinker simply repeats this phrase while downing shot after shot of tequila (to follow with a sip or two of beer when the bottle is dry), then that drinker will be chipper in the morning. This notion seems highly dubious to us — but then, so does Mormonism, and lots of people believe in that, too.
This is the practice where the drinker imbibes a glass of water for every alcoholic drink. We like the science behind this system—since hangovers seem to be mostly about dehydration—but we also like the practice. With the Titanic, you’re spending so much time in the bathroom that you’re only geographically proximate to half as many drinks.
The Hail Mary
You know that football play? When the game is all but lost, the losing team drops back for a last ditch pass towards the end zone. The Hail Mary hangover approach is the same. To sidestep an inevitable hangover, the still-woozy drinker eats two ibuprofen tablets and downs a liter of water before bed. It’s hopeful, at best … sometimes the Hail Mary is joined by other gestures of tragic optimism, like new acquaintance-slash-bed partners.
Hair of the Dog
Too horrifying even to consider, though we once worked for a chef who could knock back a belt before starting a long day at the stove. We shudder to recall the sight, an entire decade later.
The Morning After Soft Drink
By far the most popular approach to hangovers, the Morning After branded soft drink is all about the mop-up. In general, you’re looking for sugar (for energy), caffeine (ditto) and sodium (to restore electrolytic balance), so Coke, Gatorade and the undrinkable, bubble-gum flavored Scottish soda Irn-Bru are popular. (BTW — CT’s Foxon Park Beverages does a locally-made version of Irn-Bru. Guess what? It’s as vile as the original.) Our feeling here is that we might be able to choke down a Coke, but Gatorade is simply out of the question. This stuff tastes like saltwater enlivened by a melted Jolly Rancher candy — we couldn’t face it un-hungover.
Hangover foods seem to be about salt and grease, with supporting theories claiming that the salt aids in electrolytic balance, the carbs lend energy, and the grease lines the stomach. Therefore, bacon-egg-sausage-toast breakfasts are perfect — but, if pressed for time — bacon is the key element. We like this one, because when does bacon not make you feel better?
This is our favorite. The next time you’re out on the town, ask yourself a few questions. Are you having more fun than usual? Are your companions more interesting than usual? Do you feel more amusing/pretty/smart/or like a better dancer than usual? Finally — and here’s the killer– have you had more drinks than usual? If the answer to any of the above is yes, then get home immediately, and start with the Hail Mary.