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"There is no such thing as ugly women... there's just not enough Vodka!"
The term "beer goggles" is slang for the phenomenon in which consumption of alcohol lowers sexual inhibitions to the point that the intoxicated man uses little to no discretion when approaching or choosing sexual partners. Subsequently, the trope name Ten With a Two
refers to the man (now sober) later regretting advancing on a woman that he knows (or realizes) would be inappropriate or unattractive while sober.
In some cases, the numbering scenario comes into play, with the protagonist rating his target (regardless of success) on a scale of 1 to 10. To a sober man, a "1" would be someone who is very ugly while a "10" is the perfect, most physically attractive woman. With the "beer goggles" effect in play, usually any woman-–regardless of perceived or actual physical beauty—will rate at or near the top of the scale.
The trope has found its way into the subject matter of several songs. While usually humorously applied, usually by a sober woman observing an intoxicated man approach his (usually ugly) target, it can have negative meaning as well.
Best way to get past a Butter Face
. See also But Liquor Is Quicker
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- One European beer add was from the point-of-view of a beer drinker looking at a dull-eyed, unimpressive-looking woman in a bar. His glass would come up every time he took a swig, obscuring his view of her, and each time it lowered she'd look Hotter and Sexier. Finally the glass lifts up and its empty, and she's suddenly back to her dull self. The drinker quickly orders another one.
Live Action TV
- On My Name Is Earl, Earl once drunkenly hooked up with a woman at the Crab Shack after several beers...and was shocked to find that she left her prosthetic leg in bed after she left to go make them some breakfast. So he stole some money from her purse and drove off in her car with the fake leg. Unfortunately for him, she had a shotgun. (Subversion because she's not ugly, she just has only one leg.)
- It also led to him sleeping with a friend's elderly mother in another episode.
- It was exploited by Joy and her Girl Posse when she was looking for a man to support her and her unborn child. They were Genre Savvy enough to know that very few men would willingly go with even an attractive pregnant woman on their own (most likely assuming that either a) she already has a partner who might beat him up out of jealousy and/or b) that she's "not the kind of girl you take home to Mom.") So in order to get him to be a willing participant, Joy gets her friends to talk Earl into drinking "upside-down martinis." They then introduce Earl to Joy. The next morning, Earl has a hangover and Joy has a husband.
Earl: "For a moment there, I wondered if (once again) I'd drunk nine months of my life away."
- Discussed on QI, with Alan Davies asking what the latin term for "beer goggles" is. Stephen Fry was baffled by the expression and had to have it explained to him.
Phill Jupitus: Stephen doesn't have Beer Goggles, he has Madeira Pince-nez!
- Mythbusters took a swing at testing this trope, and while it won't turn a Gonk into a Supermodel, they did discover that when rating the attractiveness of a lot of faces on a scale of 1-10, the numbers did skew a bit higher when they were drunk than when they were sober or tipsy.
- "Ten With a Two", the trope namer, most famously recorded by Willie Nelson and included on his 1991 album, Born for Trouble. The song describes a middle-aged man who, after a night of drinking at a corner tavern, approaches an ugly woman. Because of the beer goggle effect, the woman has passed for beautiful in the man's eyes, and he retires with her to have sex. As Nelson sings, "Last night I came home at 2 with a 10, but at 10 I woke up with a 2." When it was a single in summer 1991, the song gained some notoriety by conservative and women's groups for what they viewed as demeaning lyrics toward "less than perfect" women—in other words, that the song was really about a man disparaging ugly women as having no social, romantic or other redeeming values.
- Kenny Chesney recorded a cover of the song, and is a track on his 2008 album Lucky Old Sun.
- "Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On", a 2005 country hit by Neal McCoy, about a man who—after being dumped by his girlfriend—gets very drunk and starts approaching women at random, with every one of them the homecoming queen type (even if butt ugly). The song also humorously plays up the man's positive perception of bar fights and lights in the same bar.
- "Don't the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time" was a No. 1 country hit for Mickey Gilley in 1976. Here, a young man experiences the "beer goggle" effect as he becomes progressively intoxicated during a night at the tavern. At the beginning of his evening out, he only makes plays for the most attractive female patrons at the bar ("I'm lookin' for a nine, but eight could work right in"), but his standards become progressively lower as the night wears on ("A few more drinks and I might slip to a five or even four") before ending up waking up with an ugly woman (a "1") and swearing off alcohol.
- Carrie Underwood's "Last Name" has the singer marry a man while drunk, and doesn't even know his (now hers as well) last name. A trip to Vegas was involved.
- TG Sheppard's "Do You Want to Go to Heaven," a No. 1 country hit from 1980 where, in the last verse of the song, the main protagonist – drunk and down on his luck – strikes up a conversation with a woman sitting at the end of a bar. It is implied the woman is undesirable, but the two hit it off anyway and she invites him to her home to have sex. (The song itself is about a young man who remembers his baptism and Christian upbringing but falls farther and farther away from God once he has his sexual awakening.)
- "Nine Coronas", a parody of "My Sharona" (NOT by Weird Al), where the girl looks like various stars when drunk and like a Sasquatch / Pee Wee Herman / Mr Spock when sober.
- "Pequena Raimunda" (a Portuguese-language cover of the Ramones' "Ramona") by Brazilian punk rock band Raimundos, is about a Butterface, and the second chorus opens with what can be translated as: "Once I see her I go to the bar / get wasted so I can face her"note
- Och, Ziuta ("Oh, Josie") by the Polish swing/blues/satirical singer Shakin' Dudi recounts a sad story of an heir seduced and baby-trapped by a maid. He mostly laments the fact that "there are no ugly women, just not enough wine - but when a guy sobers up, his tastes change completely".
- Family Guy: The trope usually applies to Brian (the anthropomorphic dog) after he becomes inebriated, and it plays a huge role in the 2010 episode "Quagmire's Dad." In that episode, Brian has sex with a woman named Ida ... unaware that she had recently had a sex change operation ... and (even better) was once the father of Brian's arch-rival, Quagmire! Upon learning of Brian's new "girlfriend," Peter and Lois laugh so hysterically they are unable to tell him the truth, but Stewie is able to reveal Ida's past; upon finding out, a now-sober Brian violently vomits and quakes, shaken by finding out who Ida really is. (Of course, none of this comes close to having to endure a brutal beating by Quagmire, who is outraged that Brian "fucked his dad.")
- Subverted, as Ida is a fairly attractive woman, doubly so from the neck down.
- It's easy to imagine that Archer has no standards whatsoever, but he's pretty horrified when he gets drunk enough to sleep with Pam (not least because it's the best sex he's ever had). Although given how much they both Really Get Around, it was only a matter of time.
- At Duffland, a beer themed amusement park, Bart from The Simpsons tries on some goggles that read "see through the eyes of a drunk". He looks at his unattractive aunt Selma and sees a beautiful vixen.