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Cheesemares and Gin Tears – Myths Debunked

Maasdam cheese

Stephen King’s The Cheese. Rated 18.

Listen up people, I’m only going to say this the once. If I hear any more of you spouting ridiculous “facts” based on absolutely no science at all, I shall be forced to take drastic measures. That’s right, I shall call you “silly” to your face. IN PUBLIC!

For years now, my biggest pet peeve (besides all the other biggest peeves previously discussed) has been the utter twaddle people vomit into the atmosphere under the guise of factual information and worse still, the fact that their contemporaries not only believe them, but that they continue to spread this simpleton gospel like butter on toast! This is how some of the most ridiculous old wives tales and superstitions have continued on in today’s society, a society fully at one with the concept of electric lightbulbs and motor engines and (other than my father) the concept of electronic messages via a handheld telephonic device. We are allegedly intelligent lifeforms and yet somehow we still think cheese gives us nightmares and that gin, above all other booze, makes us cry.

If you’ve just read that last sentence and thought to yourself “but cheese does give me bad dreams and I always cry after drinking gin” then you’re in severe need of being hit round the chops with a science textbook and guess who’s the girl to do the honours? Read on, dear cheesy dreamer and all shall become clear.

For years I’ve been listening to sane adults caution each other at the dinner table regarding the consumption of stilton so close to bed time and for years I’ve been biting my tongue. Ok, the tongue biting part may have been more to do with the rate at which I stuff brie and crackers into my gob, as I certainly haven’t held back from challenging this ridiculous point, and it is a ridiculous point. Think about it, how can cheese, a simple honest dairy product (unless you’re lactose intolerant, in which case cheese is the devil incarnate and the reason you spent that romantic weekend in Paris with your face pressed against a toilet seat), cause your inner brain tickings to go all Stephen King after lights out? Where’s your logic and reason? Where’s your dignity?!

Brace yourself, you crazy believers of ancient female spouse stories, here’s some actual science. Don’t worry, I’ve broken it down into its simplest form as you clearly struggle with things that aren’t published by Disney. Here it is – Cheese, does not cause bad dreams. Fact.

Need more science? Ok, here it goes. You know how a glass of warm milk before bed has been used as a traditional aid for slipping off into a peaceful slumber? Well that one’s not a load of bull because milk contains tryptophan. I’m taking out the rest of the long words here like serotonin and melatonin and lots of other words ending in ‘in’ and will boil it down to this – tryptophan can help you sleep. Stay with me now, we’re going nice and slow so you can keep up, but feel free to have a grown up read the rest out of you find yourself struggling with the professory sounding big words like “science”.

Answer me this, you dairy doofus, what is cheese made of? Milk. What does it therefore contain? Tryptophan. What does tryptophan do (skim back up over the previous paragraph)? The answer is SLEEP! Well done, pat on the back, have a lump of emmenthal.

For those still of a skeptical nature (you really are a challenge to Charles Darwin’s theory, aren’t you?) just search the internet for the countless cheesy sleep studies that have been carried out and all the bespectacled men and women in starchy white coats will be able to tell you that this myth is about as debunked as Britney Spears virginity was after Justin Trousersnake was seen exiting her, I mean, exiting her hotel room. Sorry, Freudian slip.

Now, at the same dinner parties where idiots compare parmesan induced night terrors, I also have to stop myself from bashing them over the head with a bottle of Beaujolais when talk turns to the other delight at the centre of the table besides the cheese board. No, not the salt and pepper, left a bit, right a bit, there! The booze. I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve wanted to smash someone’s face into their soup when they have recounted to me the myriad ways that different alcoholic beverages affect their behaviour. Apparently gin makes them cry, red wine makes them sleepy, lager makes them violent… I’ll tell you what makes me violent, people talking utter bilge about things based on the same evidentiary principles as a witch hunt!

Want some more science? Well, you’re damned well getting it anyway. In order to produce gin, or ‘mother’s ruin’, as it’s often known in circles where mothers like to get ruined off their heads, you first make vodka and then tart it up with perfume. Gin, is basically vodka in drag, the transvestite of the spirits, the Ru Paul of the top shelf. Is vodka especially known for inducing severe blubbering? No, so what is there about juniper that causes tears? NOTHING! The consumption of enough alcohol (and having to listen to dull cretins at dinner parties) is enough reduce anyone to depression because (hold tight, more science) alcohol is a depressant.

Now, here’s the behavioural science part for you. People associate specific types of behaviour with certain drinks because of the circumstances in which they are consumed. Drinking alone? Gin. Drinking while watching a football match? Lager. Drinking in front of a roaring log fire? Red wine. Can you see how actually, the former dictates the appalling behaviour and not the latter? Still not convinced, are you my little remedial booze hounds? Fine, I have more simplified science to throw at you.

Here’s how booze works in its most simplest explanation: Ethanol (that’s drinking alcohol to you) is surrounded by liquid with flavouring to make one of any boozilicious drinks. You drink it, the ethanol makes you drunk, the rest doesn’t. The end. What is the thing in beer that gets you drunk? Ethanol. What is the thing in gin that gets you drunk? Ethanol. What is the thing in Pimms that gets you drunk? Ok, no one has ever got drunk on Pimms but the point being, it’s not the salt and vinegar flavouring on the crisps that makes you fat, it’s the fat!

Actually, while we’re on the subject of Pimms No1, never cried because you drank that at a picnic, have you? It’s gin based. Yeah, suck on that, you psychosomatic sap. Gin, in your glass of relaxed-sunny-disposition-associated fruit cup!

Now I shall sit back while you all mull this fact filled rant over and wait while you divide yourself into three camps. Camp one; those of you who see it my way and are feeling thoroughly smug at the fact you live in an age of modern science and televised documentaries. Camp two; those of you who don’t really believe me because you woke up this morning feeling “totally weird” after a night of gouda and Gordon’s, but who know better than to shame yourselves by saying anything, and the third camp; those of you who are still utterly convinced that you got into a fight last night because you tried a different brand of ale and are going to fill my comments section with your own “experience” filled arguments as to why cheese holds mystical properties capable of transporting you to a land created by David Cronenberg after the stroke of midnight. To this third camp, I have only this to say – you’re going to soil yourself when you find out the world is actually round.

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