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 former 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.
Completely unrelated to Goggles Do Nothing, which actually does something outside of aesthetic purposes, while this trope doesn't when sober. And not to be confused with Beer Googles, where you search the web while drunk.
- 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.
- Slogan seen on a shot glass: "I hope you're still hot when I'm sober!"
- Coyote Ugly: Discussed when Lil explains the meaning of the bar's name to a patron.
Lil: Did you ever wake up sober after a one night stand, and the person you're next to is layin' on your arm, and they're so ugly, you'd rather chew off your arm than risk waking 'em? That's coyote ugly.
Girl: My God. But, why would you name your bar after somethin' like that?
Lil: Oh, because Cheers was taken.
- Some Came Running: Bama has a rather unhealthy attitude towards women in bars. "I don't know what it is about them pigs, but they always look better at night."
- Lampshaded at the end of Deadpool. The title character spends most of the film letting his Love Interest think he's dead because the experiment that gave him superpowers also made him ugly. Fortunately she's as quirky as he is, so after the shock of his Dramatic Unmask...
Vanessa: After a brief adjustment period, and a load of drinks, it's a face... I'd be happy to sit on.
- 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.)
Earl: "For a moment there, I wondered if (once again) I'd drunk nine months of my life away."
- 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 knew 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.
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend had a musical number where Greg recounted his drunken exploits, which included having sex with a bush:
Greg: That wasn't a woman?Chorus: No, it was a bushIt had twigs, and leaves/Cuz it was a bush
- 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!Stephen Fry: You're all rotters and I hate you!
- 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.
- On Seinfeld, Jerry insists that only about 4-6% of all people are even remotely good-looking.
Elaine: So basically what you're saying is, 95% of the population is undateable?
Elaine: Then how are all these people gettin' together?
- Discussed in How I Met Your Mother by Robin on "graduation goggles", where one instantly reminisces bad times sentimentally as they leave, while playing Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You" in sepia filter.
Robin: The point is you can't trust graduation goggles. They are just as misleading as beer goggles, bridesmaid goggles and that's-just-a-bulky-outdated-cellphone-in-his-front-pocket goggles.
- "Ten With a Two", the former 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.
- "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.
- T. G. 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".
- Katy Perry explicitly mentions this in the spoken part of "This is How We Do".
This goes out to all you people going to bed with a ten and waking up with a two.
- Eminem experiences this in "Just Lose It" - he attempts to chat up a woman before "she" reveals "herself" to actually be Dr. Dre.
- "Beauty's in the Eye of the Beerholder" by Chuck Wagon and the Wheels references this in the title, as the song is about a man named Chuck who falls for an ugly girl while drunk.
- In Metro: Last Light, this trope appears in the bar in Venice station. Go up to the bartender, and a plain-looking woman will be sitting on the stool to your right. Order the local specialty, "the bullet", down it, and look again. She's turned into a much younger and more attractive woman.
- In Mass Effect 2, if you order the "Mystery Drink" at Illium's Eternity Lounge and then talk to the (elderly) bartender, her character model will have changed to look younger.
- In a Tex Avery cartoon called "The Plumber of Seville," the plumber drinks too much at lunch and sees an unattractive harp player as a beautiful blonde through beer goggle effect.
- 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.
- In another episode, Peter, Joe, Quagmire, Cleveland, and Brian keep drinking and measure their level of drunkenness by looking at a picture of a big woman. With each drink, the women gets slimmer and sexier (even her clothing changes), until she looks like a supermodel. Then they drink again... and the picture turns into a hairy guy in underwear. They quickly down hot cups of coffee to come down from that level of drunkenness.
- 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.
- Not that they're unattractive, but the Smith family get this treatment after Roger gets drunk off of moonshine, making them look like models◊.