A Trick to Kill Any Conversation: Why Women Are Less Prone to Drunkenness than Old Men

This is really, really strange. But, given the conversation, not all that surprising.

Plutarch, Moralia 650: Table-Talk, Book 3 Question 3—Why Women Get the Least Drunk While Old Men Are the Quickest

“Phlôros was amazed that when Aristotle wrote in his On Drunkenness that old men get drunk a lot and women do the least, he did not propose a cause of any sort when he is in the habit of making such proposals. Phlôros then suggested that the group present consider examine this question during the dinner of friends. Sulla said that one thing could illuminate the other. If we can correctly deduce the cause about the women, there would be little need to argue about the old men, since their natures are especially opposed—wet and dry, smooth and rough, soft and hard.

“And,” he said, “I accept this first concerning the women: they have a moist strength which also provides the softness of flesh as well as smoothness and, in addition, menstruation—therefore, whenever wine falls into a great amount of liquid it is overcome and loses its weight, becoming completely harmless and watery. In addition, it is possible to get some sense of this from Aristotle. For those who drink a lot in one drink, what the men of old used to call “chugging it”, he claims fall into drunkenness the least.”

Διὰ τί γυναῖκες ἥκιστα μεθύσκονται τάχιστα δ᾿ οἱ γέροντες

Ἐθαύμαζε Φλῶρος, εἰ γεγραφὼς Ἀριστοτέλης ἐν τῷ Περὶ μέθης, ὅτι μάλιστα μὲν οἱ γέροντες ἥκιστα δ᾿ αἱ γυναῖκες ὑπὸ μέθης ἁλίσκονται, τὴν αἰτίαν οὐκ ἐξειργάσατο μηδὲν εἰωθὼς προΐεσθαι τῶν τοιούτων· εἶτα μέντοι προὔβαλεν ἐν μέσῳ σκοπεῖν τοῖς παροῦσιν. ἦν δὲ τῶν συνήθων τὸ δεῖπνον. ἔφη τοίνυν ὁ Σύλλας θατέρῳ θάτερον ἐμφαίνεσθαι· κἂν εἰ περὶ τῶν γυναικῶν ὀρθῶς τὴν αἰτίαν λάβοιμεν, οὐκ ἔτι πολλοῦ λόγου δεήσεσθαι περὶ τῶν γερόντων· ἐναντίας γὰρ εἶναι μάλιστα τὰς φύσεις τῇ θ᾿ ὑγρότητι καὶ ξηρότητι καὶ λειότητι καὶ τραχύτητι καὶ μαλακότητι καὶ σκληρότητι. “καὶ τοῦτ᾿,” ἔφη, “λαμβάνω κατὰ τῶν γυναικῶν πρῶτον, ὅτι τὴν κρᾶσιν ὑγρὰν ἔχουσιν, ἣ καὶ τὴν ἁπαλότητα τῆς σαρκὸς ἐμμεμιγμένη παρέχει καὶ τὸ στίλβον ἐπὶ λειότητι καὶ τὰς καθάρσεις· ὅταν οὖν ὁ οἶνος εἰς ὑγρότητα πολλὴν ἐμπέσῃ, κρατούμενος ἀποβάλλει τὴν βαφὴν καὶ γίγνεται παντάπασιν ἀναφὴς καὶ ὑδατώδης. ἔστι δέ τι καὶ παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ λαβεῖν Ἀριστοτέλους· τοὺς γὰρ ἄθρουν καὶ ἀπνευστὶ πίνοντας, ὅπερ ‘ἀμυστίζειν’ ὠνόμαζον οἱ παλαιοί, φησὶν ἥκιστα περιπίπτειν μέθαις·

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Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 4.1192-1200: Sometimes Women Don’t Fake It

“A woman doesn’t always gasp with counterfeit passion
when she joins her body in embrace with a man
and holds his lips with a drawn, moist kiss.
Often she acts from her spirit and as she seeks shared happiness,
she incites him to race through the course of his love.”


Nec mulier semper ficto suspirat amore,
quae conplexa viri corpus cum corpore iungit
et tenet adsuctis umectans oscula labris;
nam facit ex animo saepe et communia quaerens
gaudia sollicitat spatium decurrere amoris.

Anacreontea, 24.8-13

Nature gave bulls horns
Hooves to horses
Swift feet to hares
A mouth of teeth to lions
Swimming to fish
Flight to birds
And wisdom to men.
What did nature give to women?
stronger than all shields and spears.
A woman who is beautiful
conquers both iron and fire.

Φύσις κέρατα ταύροις,
ὁπλὰς δ’ ἔδωκεν ἵπποις,
ποδωκίην λαγωοῖς,
λέουσι χάσμ’ ὀδόντων,
τοῖς ἰχθύσιν τὸ νηκτόν,
τοῖς ὀρνέοις πέτασθαι,
τοῖς ἀνδράσιν φρόνημα·
γυναιξὶν οὐν ἔτ᾿ εἶχεν
τί οὖν; δίδωσι κάλλος
ἀντ᾿ ἀσπίδων ἁπασῶν
ἀντ᾿ ἐγχέων ἁπάντων
νικᾷ δὲ καὶ σίδηρον
καὶ πῦρ καλή τις οὖσα

Yeah, it is more than a bit sexist. But a bit sweet too.