March 29, 2018

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The archangel of the psychological hangover is British wife-swapper and sometime novelist Kingsley Amis. His essay rightly outlines the psychological hangover as being composed primarily of guilt and shame. For this reason, he counsels avoiding “the act” unless you wake up alongside someone with whom you should be waking up (not wanting to make a window into men’s souls, I demur from comment). He similarly advises against taking matters into your own hands (I think perhaps he drank too much). He then prescribes various dreary pieces of musical catharsis, although the recommendations are not a patch on mine. Real catharsis can in any case only be provided by a good Russian pianist playing Scarlatti. Live.

But the point of Kingsley is not to listen to him; it is merely to know he existed. In vino veritas, perhaps, but there is greater truth in what comes afterwards. Hangovers are one of the naked shared experiences of Western man (although not to be shared in conversation, of course). One truth that forever remains a mystery is how women experience their hangovers. I feel sure the psychological hangover does not have the same tools at its disposal; indeed, it is quite possible that these are even more acute. If you know any women—or indeed you are one—please do write to Because I’m convinced that the one canyon of the sexual divide that the gender terrorists will never be able to bridge is the binarism of a proper, onrust-infused psychological hangover.

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