The Truth About The Unusual Tradition Of Pantsdrunk

Plenty of fun things happen when people are drunk: passing out on subway platforms lip-first in a puddle of vomit, putting on a lampshade and going “wooooooo!!” while turning down for what, getting a Mike Tyson facial tattoo (no wait — that was The Hangover). Getting drunk, or at least tipsy, and putting on, or taking off, things, clothing or otherwise, is practically a universal human rite of passage (ok, religion and culture notwithstanding). 

Enter “pantsdrunk,” or kalsarikanni in Finnish, per Elite Daily, a habit apparently so curiously common in its native Finland that it has its own name. Yes — pantsdrunk — from the country where rolling in the snow outside after sweating it out in a sauna is still a fairly common practice (especially in the countryside), and where citizens’ preoccupation with alcohol remains their prime social in-joke.

But honestly, pantsdrunk is a practice so simple that it might induce a “yeah, so what?” shoulder shrug the first time you learn about. How to do it? Just sit at home in your underwear and get tipsy: done (otherwise maybe known as Tuesday). Is this anything strange or revolutionary at all? Grabbing a drink, heading home, plonking down on the couch and wading through Netflix while rubbing your ever-fattening belly is a rather standard, passé, even blasé facet of modern life at this point, especially during a pandemic. 

What about “pantsdrunk” makes it different, then, or exceptional? What do the Finns know that the rest of us don’t?

Drinking alone in your underwear at home

The key difference between pantsdrunk and plain old drunkdrunk is solitude: pantsdrunk is solitary and may have roots in Scandinavian notions of balance being composed of not too much, nor too little, per The Guardian. Pantsdrunk is considered a method of managing well-being, not a cause for concern among the mental health community if people aren’t “social drinkers,” as outlined by Rehab Center

Pantsdrunk might seem counterintuitive to a country where extroversion and social agreeableness is highly valued, like the United States. Aside from being a perceived gateway to alcoholism, drinking alone at the home in the U.S. is often regarded as the sad habit of lonely, pathetic misanthropes who consistently find excuses to reply late to texts from acquaintances who are “headed out u wanna come??” 

But during COVID-19, when people are spending much more time at home, many have rediscovered the benefits of a quiet, personal space. It may not be such a bad idea to take a cue from Finland, which consistently ranks as the happiest country on Earth, per the World Happiness Report. There’s an entire conflux of sociocultural factors at play in that ranking, of course, but Finland is also a country where folks are preconditioned to do quite well during a pandemic (Lapland in northern Finland is frigid and dark half the year).

So, grab a Finnish long drink (a citrus and alcohol blend), pop the top, and chill in your undies to your heart’s content.

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