I’m a scientist.
I still love saying that. I don’t look like Einstein, I hopefully won’t die of radiation sickness like Marie Curie and I almost certainly won’t win a Nobel Prize, but I am a scientist. A biologist, to be exact. In addition to being really comfortable with percentages, really long words and things too small for anyone else to see, I’m comfortable with hypotheses. So comfortable, in fact, that I tend to consider normal, everyday occurrences from a “what is the trend here?” or “can this be proven?” perspective (some people find it annoying, I’d put a word in for endearing).
In light of this, I give you… The Okay Box. This particular theory was born of constantly hearing those supposedly-mitigating words: “I was drunk!” The Okay Box does not believe in those words, in fact, it is fundamentally opposed to them. What The Okay Box Hypothesis suggests is that, if you would do it (or them, as seems to be the most common manifestation of this theory) drunk, you want to do it sober, but some other factor puts you off.
Essentially, the Okay Box Hypothesis operates under the following metaphor: we all have a “box” of things what we do all of the time – consider this the “Everyday Box” which can be divided into compartments including “boring but necessary things that I do”, “responsibilities”, “choices”, “stuff I do for fun” etc etc. The Everyday Box itself, however, sits within a larger box – the Okay Box. Things that you are “okay” with doing, for example, things that you do when drunk. If you really don’t want to sleep with him, ever, you aren’t going to do it, irrespective of how friendly you got with a bottle of Absolut. If he really doesn’t want to call you, he’s not going to call you, one glass or two bottles of Jack Daniels’ later.
Seeing the trend?
The direct corollary of this is, of course, that the stuff that you do do when drunk (but wouldn’t do sober) is in your Okay Box. If you really weren’t okay with it, you wouldn’t have done it, but you did do it, so obviously it fits into the broader category of “Things that you are not opposed to doing” – even if actually doing them requires a bit of social lubrication.
What distinguishes “Things that you would/will/should do” from “Things that you are not opposed to doing”? A variety of factors. Extensive social research in to the topic (completed mostly by Addison and myself and a couple of our other friends, so not exactly great, peer-reviewed science but enough to pick out a trend) suggests that the box-allocation determining factor is… social approval. People are more likely to do things that they think other people have a problem with when they are drunk. This means that the guy who hits on you when he’s drunk probably actually does like you, but the Veil of Social Acceptability (that obscures the Okay Box most of the time, but is lifted when drunk) won’t allow him to do it sober. He doesn’t think you’re cool enough for everyone else to be okay with it, this does not make him a good person. In fact, he’s kind of an ass. You don’t ever want to be in this guy’s Okay Box – hidden from the view of sober society – unless you can move to the Everyday Box. You don’t want to be his dirty little secret hookup that can never be seen in sunlight, you’re worth more than that.
If you already know he likes you and he’s tried his luck but you’ve explained your lack of interest and he still hits on you when he drinks, honey you have a reckless one. On an academic level, he is aware that his chances are between -1 and 0, but when he’s drinking that all seems a bit abstract and he has to try and tell you again how much he likes you. While awkward, this is usually pretty easily resolved, unless you do something silly like sleep with him *, in which case he’s in your Okay Box.
That also means that when you’re upset and you kiss your best male friend (Just an example because I am straight. It applies equally to female friend or gay friend or whatever floats your particular boat!) you actually wanted to do it – at least on some level. Yeah, sure, your other friends might think it’s weird, so you don’t usually act on that impulse, but “I was upset,” like “I was drunk,” is not an excuse.
We have all done things that we regret and we have all done things for the wrong reasons (like keeping the tiny little fish you should have thrown back because you really don’t want to eat it, but it is evidence for your ability to catch something and that makes you feel better), but “I was drunk” is never, ever, ever a mitigating circumstance. The Okay Box Hypothesis is testament to that.
Lil’s Birthday Sex Boy really needs a new excuse.
*Cough Lillian cough*