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Best men’s night out
So what’s the secret of a great night out? According to a survey of 2,000 people for Guinness, the key for men is spontaneity.
The survey found that nearly two-thirds of men (64%) claim that they never plan their evening entertainment in advance, and prefer to simply turn up and see where their night out will take them.
According to Frances Drury, brand manager at Guinness: “These research findings come as no surprise... our drinkers love nothing more than spending quality time with mates down the pub, open to all possibilities of what the night may bring.”
So if spontaneity is one of the keys to a perfect night out, what are the others? We ponder the possibilities over a swift half.
The science bit
Perhaps surprisingly, boffins have actually uncovered the secrets to a great night out, or so they claim. Psychologists from the University of Birmingham produced an equation that they say identifies exactly which elements, added together, create a great night out. It goes like this:
Q = .14a(a.q) + [.09 (b.q) + .04(d.q)2] + [.06 f2 + .07an] - .35ar + k
There, we hope that’s cleared things up.
In fact, the equation reflects certain elements that, according to questionnaire results, young people consider vital to a really top night out. They include the presence and quality of alcohol, the amount of dancing during the night, some form of extra activity, the company of friends, the experience of meeting new people, and whether or not you have to rise early the next day.
So you might not understand the equation (who would?) but I think we can all agree that a combination of those factors, with a guaranteed lie in in the morning, could add up to a really good night out.
But what might that “extra activity” be? That’s where the spontaneity comes in. Doing something you don’t do all the time - whether that’s taking in a comedy show or just eating food you’ve never tried before - can really make a night special.
Dancing and new 'friends' can be key to a great night out
Chat and friends
The Guinness survey confirms the importance of good friends to a great night out. And what do we do when friends and alcohol mix: we gossip!
Apparently, that’s as true for men as women. A majority of people of both sexes (57%) said gossip was a crucial part of an enjoyable evening.
On top of that, many respondents thought that bumping into a long-lost friend could turn a decent night out into an evening to remember.
Booze, but not too much
It’s perfectly possible to have a great night out without drinking, but many of us do tend to associate nights out with alcohol. Science shows that the first few drinks make many of us more energised and more sociable.
But what experts like drinkaware.co.uk say is that it’s far harder to have a good night out if we drink too much. Get drunk and you’re more likely to get into a fight or have an accident. Then there’s the looming hangover to think about. Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that overindulgence tonight can lead to a real downer of a day tomorrow, something many of us are all too aware of even as we sink the drinks.
“The research shows that alcohol is associated with the square root factor in the regression,” says Professor Glyn Humphreys of Birmingham University, who came up with the equation mentioned earlier. Or to put it more simply: “There are diminishing returns of enjoyment from the intake of too much.”
In other words, you stop enjoying drinking after you’ve drunk a certain amount. Energy turns to sloth, and sociability to boorishness. Moderation is the key to a perfect night out.
So drink fewer but better drinks. Treat yourself to the good stuff but don’t have so much of it. Eat before you go out and drink water while you’re out. Intersperse alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Drink to enjoy the night and not to get drunk.
Too much booze can ruin a night out
Sometimes, make it men only
If you’re in a relationship it’s easy to fall into a cycle of dinner dates and couples’ night. But research suggests that boys’ nights out - even just occasionally - can be the best nights of all.
In fact, according to researchers at Cornell University in the States, boys’ nights out aren't just good for boys. They’re good for couples, too.
“A man’s ability to play a round of golf or to have a few drinks with a friend who has only a passing acquaintance to his wife or girlfriend is crucial to preserving some independence in everyday life,” said Professor Benjamin Cornwell of Cornell, co-author of the research.
“If he has to bring his wife along every time they meet, or his wife starts monopolising that friend, that’s when problems may arise.”
Co-author Edward Laumann, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, said: “He needs to have someone to talk to about the things that matter to him – whether its football, politics, what car he is going to buy or worries about his health or his job.”
Sometimes the best nights out are with your wife or partner. But experts suggest men need nights out with other men too, at least every now and then.
Doing something different - like taking in a concert - can make a good night great
A perfect night out
What makes your perfect night is entirely subjective, of course. You may prefer a quiet meal and an early night. You may love nothing more than a raucous night on the town with friends.
But the research suggests that certain factors converge to make a perfect night out for most men. They include the obvious - good company and good, but moderate, drinking - and the less so - spontaneity and gossip. And on some occasions a night out really should mean a boys’ night out.
After that, it’s up to you.
MSN's Charlene Campbell reports from the Vivienne Westwood show at Men's London Fashion Week.
Date 09/01/13, Duration 2:51, Views 693