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Drowning Our Romantic Sorrows

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Another shot of whisky
Can't stop looking at the door
Wishing you'd come sweeping in the way you did before
And I wonder if I ever cross your mind
For me it happens all the time
Lady A, "Need You Now"

So, The Hero and The Lancer are in a Love Triangle with the White Magician Girl or the Action Girl. They both love her, and they each know that the other loves her, but she doesn't know how either of them feels. They Cannot Spit It Out to their Love Interest that she is a love interest. Since it would take too long for either one to work this triangle out on his own, they decide to talk with each other first.

They do it over a few beers, of course. Or a lot of beers. Or something stronger. Anyway, what they do is get hammered and sloppily unpack their Wangst for the audience. This sometimes makes for borderline unintended Ho Yay.

Ladies do this too. They usually drink wine, but again, it can be something stronger.

An Always Male version is for the two romantic rivals to fight over the woman. Something intervenes, and they end up getting drunk instead. Especially common with a Worthy Opponent. They might come to a new understanding and appreciation of each other, but it's not guaranteed.

Sometimes—especially if they're female—the rivals will decide that it's all the Love Interest's fault and will present a united front against him. Usually, this united front dissolves before the end of the episode.

See also Drowning My Sorrows. A softer Always Female variant is Heartbreak and Ice Cream.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Maison Ikkoku: Godai and Mitaka are intending to fight each other, but due to various complications they end up just getting drunk together.
    • This actually happens twice. In the first instance, they come to an agreement that it's all Kyoko's fault for stringing both of them along, but afterwards, you just get a Snap Back. The second time is when they are trying to fight, and this time the aftermath results in some major consequences that end up leading to the Grand Finale.
    • Godai does this several times with Sakamoto over the course of the series, although usually, they are not after the same woman. Though that might be more Drowning My Sorrows.

    Fan Works 
  • Hefty Smurf in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Empath's Wedding", on the night before Empath and Smurfette's wedding, spends the night alone in Tapper's Tavern with a single glass of sarsaparilla ale, barely even touching it, wondering why Smurfette wouldn't even consider him as the Smurf that she would want to marry above all others, including Hefty's rival Empath. Empath sits with Hefty to discuss what's on his mind, although Empath doesn't order a drink. On the morning of the wedding, however, he is hung over on that single glass of ale.

  • This happens in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, between HB and Abe Sapien. Don't ask how a psychic fish-man and the Beast of The Apocalypse gets drunk on light beer, but they do. Afterward, they sing a duet of 'Can't Smile Without You'.
    Hellboy: You're in love, have a beer.
    Abe: Oh, no, my body is a temple.
    Hellboy: Well now it's an amusement park.
  • Tom and George empty a decanter of brandy this way in Design for Living.
  • Look Back in Anger: Helena and Alison drink together at the railroad station bar. After finding out that Alison lost Jimmy's baby, Helena decides to bow out of the Love Triangle and let Jimmy get back together with Alison.
  • Bill and Henry do this offscreen in Too Many Husbands when tired of Vicky's inability to make a choice between them, they both leave her and go out for a night of drinking.

  • In Kushiel's Legacy, Imriel does this with Maslin in fantasy-counterpart Russia in the dead of winter. Apparently, no one told them that alcohol can expedite hypothermia.
  • Alluded to in The Millennium Trilogy, explaining the backstory of Erika Berger and Mikael Blomkvist's relationship, which has continued even though she's married. After Berger's husband discovered her affair with Blomkvist, he came to the latter man's home to confront him. The two men spent the evening drinking at several bars before Berger's husband officially gave the two permission to continue their relationship out in the open.

    Live Action TV 
  • Can the scene in Battlestar Galactica be considered, where Anders is drunk over Kara's disappearance and falls off a Viper, and Lee comes to his aid? Anders and Lee both had feelings for the apparently dead Kara Thrace. Of course, Lee wasn't drunk.
  • Done in the first season of Roswell with Kyle getting Max drunk while Liz is on a blind date with someone else. Since Max is an alien hybrid who reacts rather strongly to booze much Hilarity Ensues
  • Done in an episode of Frasier. Too bad the brothers didn't say the name of their loved ones. If they had, they'd have known it wasn't the same person.
  • A one-sided and thus really awkward version happens in The West Wing episode "Commencement." Amy, Josh's on-again-off-again love interest, and Donna, his assistant and long-time Will They or Won't They?, are working late together. Donna has had one beer; Amy has had three or four. Early in the episode, Amy said something to Josh that bothered him and she doesn't know why, but Donna does, and they've been skulking around the issue all day. Amy finally brings it up. Donna says, "You have to get Josh," and explains at length. Amy says, "You said 'you have to get Josh'?" Donna, now in the other room: "I didn't mean to say that you don't... get him." Amy: "Are you in love with Josh?" Donna: "...." Massive Attack: Love you love you love you love you...
  • Angel and Spike attempt to do this over Buffy during "The Girl In Question," but their high vampiric alcohol tolerance prevents them from getting properly hammered on the relatively small amount of liquor they've brought on their plane.
  • Used to the point of being a Running Gag in Chinese Paladin 3. At first, the use of the trope is genuinely tragic (The Hero moping over his I Want My Beloved to Be Happy decision) but then becomes funnier when a pair of lovers in the midst of a Masochism Tango are competitively drinking each other under the table. By the end of the series, when a former antagonist struggling with What Is This Thing You Call "Love"? comes up, the hero merely hands him a bottle and sends him off.
  • In How I Met Your Mother Barney and Ted, both ex-boyfriends of Robin's, go on a drinking binge together and bicker about which of them is right for Robin. Ends in them both professing their love for her outside her window.

  • The Elvis Costello song "Blue Chair" is about this.
  • Played with in Robbie Fulks' "Parallel Bars", about a couple who both do this every time they fight. The problem is, they live in a town so small that there's only one bar to go to.
    ...So we take our chairs and we just pretend we don't know where the other one's at.

  • The musical Sweet Adeline built the male ensemble number "Some Girl Is On Your Mind" out of this, later joined by the girl's voice in Distant Duet fashion.

  • This Questionable Content strip begins a short example.
  • In this Shortpacked! comic Amber shows up to do this after dumping her long distance boyfriend Nathan for liking Carlos Mencia. Ethan, who had already started drinking because he had been dumped by Thad, complains that she could get any guy in this bar and he didn't have that option. They both end up sleeping with Mike, who just wanted to cause trouble between them.
    Amber: They have gay bars, y'know.
    Ethan: They have gay bars now?!
    Amber: [to the bartender] Excuse me, I'm not fucking plastered yet!

    Western Animation