Efficient drinking technique?
December 29, 2006 6:20 PM   Subscribe

Frat boy wisdom(?) filter: When I was in college, it was common beer drinking wisdom that dropping by the lou too early in the evening was ill-advised and known as "breaking the seal", the idea being that you would be dashing to the bathroom all evening long as a result. Is there any physical or psychological reason why this would be true?
posted by B-squared to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
i've heard it explained as being due to your bladder functioning like a balloon. when there's little urine inside, the bladder is less stretched, its walls are thicker, and thus more pressure is exerted. when it fills up, it stretches and the walls get thinner, and it's unable to exert as much inward force. so once you pee, you start refilling at exactly the point at which you feel like you need to pee the most. then you fill up some, and you don't feel the need as much.

i'm not sure of this, though, because it seems so counterintuitive. not being tycho brahe, if i had to guess i'd say it has more to do with alcohol being a diuretic.
posted by sonofslim at 6:47 PM on December 29, 2006

Me and my mates had a drunken attempt at figuring it out once, and the answer with the highest votes was - when your bladder is full and you continue drinking, urine will back up in the renal pelvis in the kidney. When you next empty your bladder, aforementioned liquid will refill the bladder to an extent, thus needing less further drink to cause a need for repeat emptying.

p.s. none of us were doctors/nephrologists
posted by kersplunk at 6:57 PM on December 29, 2006

Mod note: please save witty "frat boys are stupid" responses for the restroom walls, or for metatalk. thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:27 PM on December 29, 2006

I don't know but I know of a bar (not in the states) that drinks were free until you broke the seal. That can't be good for said kidney.
posted by beccaj at 8:30 PM on December 29, 2006

The Gold Mine in the French Quarter in New Orleans used to have "Bladder Bust" nights. Beer was free until ANYONE went to the bathroom. They stopped it once people just started pissing themselves instead of going to the bathroom.
posted by ColdChef at 8:44 PM on December 29, 2006

I've thought about this as well and I think sonofslim and kersplunk are on to the cause. You don't start a night of drinking by downing liter after liter of water, or at least I didn't, therefore you're close to empty. Add a couple of hours of drinking massive amounts of what is essentially water plus a diuretic and you fill up pretty quick. Then you don't normally stop or even slow drinking after that first sweet soothing release nor do you completely empty yourself, so you're now filling up a somewhat full container just as fast as you were filling that empty one. Repeat ad nauseam this cycle of rapidly filling, but never fully emptying and it seems like breaking the seal is what started it all.

Plus take the time from first drink to first leak and add that to the time of your last drink for a very low ball estimate of how long into the evening this cycle will continue (Every drink you have has to be processed, the excess water has to be excreted and the alcohol has to act as a diuretic neither of which are instantaneous events, the first beers you have will still be affecting you well after your first release.). Then account for the water you will drink to avoid a hangover, or soda with your greasy late night meal which are even more liquids you've gotta get rid of along with any liquids you had earlier in the day which were part of that first glorious release and it really does seem like everything was fine until you broke that goddamn seal.
posted by Science! at 9:07 PM on December 29, 2006

I'm calling selective perception on this one. It doesn't exist, biologically, but because of "frat boy wisdom," the story keeps getting repeated and falsely identified as a causal relationship by drunk people that aren't thinking straight in the first place.
posted by frogan at 10:15 PM on December 29, 2006

From How Stuff Works:
When alcohol is consumed, it enters the bloodstream and causes the pituitary gland in the brain to block the creation of vasopressin. Without this chemical, the kidneys send water directly to the bladder instead of reabsorbing it into the body. This is why drinkers have to make frequent trips to the bathroom after urinating for the first time after drinking.
So you're not really "Breaking the seal" you're just delaying the first of many, inevitable trips to the can/sink/bush/back of the house. You'll piss the same amount regardless of how long you delay the first trip.
posted by Ookseer at 1:01 AM on December 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

frogan's got it. Also known as confirmation bias.
posted by Plutor at 1:12 PM on December 30, 2006

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