Our Love Affair With Booze : Do Dating and Drinking Need To Go Hand in Hand?

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Despite 2019 getting off to a bad start with #englishrosiee FAILING at Dry January not once but twice, I’d like to have a phat brag about how I’m now almost 7 weeks sober (and my gin is well and truly in sight…Thank the blessed unicorns!!). This may not sound like a big deal to some, especially those that haven’t ever developed a taste for the good stuff but to put things in perspective, this is likely to be the longest I’ve been sober since I was probably 15. It really is quite remarkable.

Funnily enough, this extended period of sobriety coincides with a much-needed Tinder hiatus (more about that in another post!).  Being exiled, having to life in limbo teamed with experiencing a number of romantic setbacks within a matter of months, and bearing in mind that the UK in Dec/Jan is freezing AF, you really can’t blame a girl for hitting the bottle HARD. That said, if there comes a point when you feel like you are living life in a constant state of hangover, it’s probably a sign that its time to take a break from your love affair with gin.

Anyway, my booze-free life is soon to come to an end (yay for that! gin I missed you!). 10 days and counting. Something I’m slightly less thrilled about is that the realisation that unless I want to waste away the rest of my days as a sad spinster living out a sexless existence I’m likely going to have to reactivate my online dating profiles. Sigh. These two forthcoming events teamed with a chapter I read in a book called : ‘The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober – By Catherine Gray (horrific book title!) bought up some interesting questions about the synonymous relationship between booze and dating which I thought were quite blog worthy.

Do I Need Booze To Date?

Hell yeah! Nothing good ever started with a coffee date. Ugh, the thought of a coffee date reminds me of a job interview. And honestly, if you’d been on some of the horrific dates I’ve lived through you’d understand that alcohol is pretty much the only thing that made these encounters bearable (in the worst cases it also became a trusty weapon to be thrown in the face of a racist!). One thing that taking a long break from booze has taught me is that I have a very low tolerance for humans. Even among my everyday acquaintances, there are people that are just more pleasant when there is booze involved. Even when people don’t necessarily offend you, they just have more value when you’ve got a glass of bubbly in hand.

On the flipside, I also think I’m more dateable when I’m being boosted by alcohol. For a start, no-one can deny that there is nothing like a refreshing G+T to take the edge off those first date nerves. And of course, there are times when the conversation flows naturally and you meet someone with whom the banter just works. But booze does help one lose their inhibitions and get their flirt on more easily.

Each to their own, though. I actually really like the taste of booze, to the extent that chit chatting about the best wine estates is becomes a valid topic of conversation. As long as I don’t over-indulge, start crying and can successfully make it to the gym the next morning without smelling like brewery it’s all good. However, I know there are those that regularly turn into complete idiots when booze is involved and if you are one of those, then perhaps its best not to booze or at least hold back a little at the early stages of dating, at least.

Is Losing Your Inhibitions Such A Good Thing?

If you are one of those people that is blessed with a tonne of self-confidence and feel comfortable in all social situations, well good for you. For the majority though, socializing isn’t always easy. Its natural to feel a bit self-conscious when you are put into a new social situation. Booze helps take the edge off. I can’t say I care too much for the science behind it. But it helps us lose some of our inhibitions and make the interaction with our fellow humans somewhat less agonizing.

But of course, there is a fine line. For some losing their inhibitions isn’t simply a case of becoming a more engaging conversationalist. There are those who complete evolve into another species altogether when you add alcohol. Tops come off.  There are police escorts home (true story). Bar fights with bouncers (another true story!) Lots of meaningless casual sex. Losing your material possessions, waking up the next morning and having to change your locks/cancel all your bank cards. Having no filter, telling people what you really think of them, (in vino veritas and all!) , bringing shame on the family and generally causing offense wherever you go. The list of goes on…

Booze is fine in moderation. It can make dating easier for sure. However, have those beer googles on while essentially making decisions about your romantic future probably isn’t the brightest idea. Tinder (and the world in general is full of really #badhombres and their female equivalent) so its important to stay safe and keep your wits about you when you are out their playing the field.

Is It Possible For A Big Boozer to Date A Tee-Totaler? 

We live in an age where people marry their dogs so anything is possible. Jokes aside, I’ve dated them all. I once dated a guy who seemed OK with me drinking during the initial stages of dating. However, as the ‘relationship’ progressed his true colours were revealed by comments like : ‘Have a second glass, ALCHY! Go on!’. On the flipside, I’ve also dated a high-functioning alcoholic who thought it was normal to drink whisky for breakfast. Honestly, it becomes difficult when you spend your life worrying about a person every time they get into a car! It’s also worrying when you start to realise your ‘new normal’ is legit drinking a glass of wine after a 8am workout (to be fair though #balance!).

Sure, my experiences are extreme. I don’t really like drinking alone and honestly, wine is much more fun when you share it with someone who is attractive and enjoys it just as much as you do. I also admit to having archaic views about gender norms. I’d don’t want to date a guy I can drink under the table, the same way I don’t think I could date someone who couldn’t run faster than me (its not hard,  I’m basically a tortoise in peanut butter these days!). By the same token, I’m also too old to be dealing with the drama that comes with anyone who needs alcohol to operate.

As I said, that’s just me. There are plenty of couples where one person drinks gin like its a finite resource while the other knocks back kale smoothies every morning. Its not that different from a savage meat-eater dating a raging vegan, is it really? At the end of the day, I think its not really an issue of whether someone drinks or eats meat but much more to do about a persons attitude to the substance. If a teetotaler is completely happy watching the significant other enjoy a glass of champagne, then its all good. If however, the reason behind this person’s sobriety is that they are some sort of religious fanatic who thinks that drink is the devil’s work, well then you might have trouble on your hand.

What About Wider Society ? 

So you’ve decided to agree to disagree on your reasons for boozing/not boozing or you’ve found a happy medium that works for you. Well, your problems don’t stop there. The fact is, at least in western societies so much of our social lives feature alcoholic beverages. If you’ve given booze for whatever reason : perhaps you found god, maybe you’ve sacrificed gin temporarily because you want to be at your best for your next marathon or there was one of THOSE incidents where you made a complete twat of yourself, fell into a bush or woke up next to someone you’d likely not recognise if you were to pass them on the street. But then you start dating someone who does drink in moderation. It may be no big deal between the two of you but how about when it comes time to be exposed to their wider (most likely to be drinking) circles.

I recently hit it off with a someone who was taking a very reasonable break from the bottle (as I am now). However, I told him in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t going to survive Christmas with my fam unless there was alcohol involved. It was quite flattering how quick he was to call time on his booze hiatus. But in retrospect, even though what I said was 100% true, I do feel kinda guilty about being a bad influence.

Look, I’m not saying who your significant other mixes with with necessarily has to be a massive issue in the future of your happy relationship but it is something we need to bear in mind. I guess its also a matter of how regularly their wider circle features in their life too.  At the end of the day, relationships are about compromise. For instance, I’ve been to church before for the sake of a relationship  and it wasn’t a big deal (yay for free wine! Jokes!) but if they wanted me to be there every Sunday. Hell no! So I suppose, the same goes for the odd booze fueled/free social gathering – if there are two reasonable people involved it should be somewhat workable.

The Perks of Being Sober In A Relationship – Alcohol Fueled Sex vs. (Somewhat) Sober Sex

Finally, booze is great and all but there must be some advantages to being sober. Otherwise Dry January wouldn’t even be a thing. Right? Of course, life is generally more productive when you aren’t constantly hungover but there must also be repercussions for dating and relationships.

For a start, I definitely think I’m less likely to tolerate mediocrity on dates if there isn’t alcohol involved. Having a clear mind will also likely help one make better decisions when it comes to the type of relationships to pursue. And then there is also that all important bedroom factor in relationships.

There is lots of boring scientific reasons as to why sober sex is actually better from a physical point of view. But lets put science in the corner for a moment, surely bouncing around when your full of alcohol, the room spinning around you and being on the verge of pewking up that late-night kebab all over your latest conquest isn’t that much of appealing option. Waking up next to someone you don’t really find that attractive the morning after can’t be much fun either.

But the biggest reason why sober sex should be better than its alcohol fueled counterpart probably ties in with a lot of what I have to say about WISOs vs. Relationship Girls. I wonder how viable it would be to have a one-night stand stone cold sober?! Hmm…million dollar question, right there. But probably not going to happen.

******

And breathe. That dear rinsers is all I have to say. And boy do I need a gin after that rant. Clearly, the #soberlife is going to my head. So yup, we live in a world where alcoholic beverages play a central role in social activities, including dating. While its not impossible to date someone whose booze consumption levels are significantly different to yours, it is one of those things that one needs to consider when deciding how and who they date. All in all though, I think it shouldn’t really be about whether or not someone drinks but more about the reasons they are the way they are. For me, it’ll always be about moderation on one hand I genuinely love booze but I also love waking up early, functioning like a human being and make the most of my life. So here’s hoping I’ll be able to find a unicorn that feels the same.

Rinsers, Do you think there is a synonymous relationship between drinking and dating? Do you think its easier to date with a glass of wine in hand? Is it something people can compromise on or does the pressure from the world around us make it hard? And what about its relationship to sex – Is sober sex so much better? Is it really likely that people ever have one-nighters which can’t be blamed on the booze factor? Lots to think about there so go wild in the comments.

 

 

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7 comments

  1. As you know I haven’t been drinking for over a year and a half now. I must say it’s much easier than moderation for me but that may be because I already had a problem when I stopped. I don’t think it’s okay to socially pressurize people into drinking (I’m not saying I’ve never done it, I’m saying it’s not okay eg forcing you personally to drink the night before your runs) in the same way as it’s not okay to pressurize people to lose they virginity, have more casual sex, eat pick’n’pay cake at work or do whatever else you personally enjoy but may not be good or fun for someone who’s pressurized to do it. People often want a partner in crime, especially when they feel something they do may not be the best choice. We rarely pressurize people to have a glass of wine when we have only one – we’re happy with them having coffee. If however, we’re having a bottle or two…
    Anyway, I agree with you that tolerance for people is higher when lubricated. However, perhaps we would be all better off if more people drank in moderation and just made better life choices in general eg if someone bores them rather stay at home and work on a passion project or do something else they actually enjoy. As I always said, “When you drink enough, you can have a meaningful conversation with a cow”. Another thing is that alcohol is not great for your waist and people having a drink every time they go out (which is culturally encouraged) may notice picking up on weight (which is also something I noticed in my drinking days).
    Now, when it comes to dating I guess it’s much more difficult to make it a numbers game when sober. I also think many people you’d date would have a problem with you not drinking but I guess if someone doesn’t respect your choices, it’s definitely not a good dating material. Which brings me to my next point: not drinking (or making a similar unpopular choice of that sort) certainly makes you a person that can stand up for themselves. People at social gatherings can be truly relentless in their search for an answer “why?” and learning that you don’t own an explanation for your behaviors, particularly to strangers is rather liberating.

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  2. I can only recall ever going on one first date and being sober. It was during dry January. It was a surprisingly good date considering the fact I wasn’t inebriated. However, I do think that case was just an anomaly. In a way its a shame that my booze and Tinder hiatuses coincided…because it would have been an interesting social experiment to see how many decent dates I could have sober.

    Even among the moderate boozers, I guess there are different levels of indulgence. There are that do drink once in a blue moon and people that like a glass every day after work. Even then there can be a bit of disconnect I suppose. Its also probably the most acceptable of bad habits because its so intertwined with our social lives. We don’t hate of non-smokers, non-druggies, vegetarians/vegans (vegans, maybe actually!) but with booze – its got different associations.

    According to ‘Unexpected Joy of Being Sober’ – things are changing…. apparently in the UK at least, there are now sober parties, clubs and bars but I do think it’ll be a long while before society looks at drinking the way we now look at smoking – as a unnecessary, dirty habit. Lets see.

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  3. “However, as the ‘relationship’ progressed his true colours were revealed by comments like: ‘Have a second glass, ALCHY! Go on!’.”

    This doesn’t sound to me like someone who is truly comfortable in their sobriety, lol. He probably envied your ability to drink. I’ve been sober for almost two years and it is a common lament among my peers that social activities seem to revolve around drinking. I genuinely don’t have a problem with others who drink, I just hate feeling out of place when 8 people at a party say to me “come on where’s your drink?!” like I’m an alien invader and my latex mask has started to peel off. There are plenty of philosophical debates that could be had about the mental health of any society that requires intoxication to facilitate communication, but I’m not that smart or eager. Like I said, it’s all fine by me, I just wish drinkers were as accepting of those of us who don’t partake as we (excluding your date above, lol) are of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, thanks for reading and commenting!

      So I’m currently doing another sober stint for #dryjuly, again not because I have a drinking problem but because the combination of hiking injury and 6 weeks of eating McDonald’s because my kitchen was a mess resulted in unprecedented weight gain. And for me cutting out booze, is easier than cutting out chocolate.

      The last time I was sober for a few months, I also didn’t date. But this time around I’m trying to use it as an opportunity to see if dating is really so much harder without the booze. And I must say, I’m struggling. I’ll right a post about it when the month is done.

      But I get what you are saying, so much of my social life revolves around booze and then dating even more so, I’m much happier going on a dud date if there is at least a glass of wine in my hand.

      I don’t know where in the world you are but I’ve read a lot on the internet about the growing sober curious movement in the UK – and that there are sober raves and sober bars popping up all over the place. So that looks promising. I personally would rather go to a coffee shop if I want a non-alcoholic beverage, but if there is a market for it – it shows that more people are at least trying to cut down on booze, if not cut it out completely.

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      • Hmm, I could have sworn I wrote this reply already so I apologize if this comes through twice. lol.

        I live in the US which I’m sure most people can agree has much more of a problem with addiction than the rest of the world, so I can’t comment specifically on alcoholism in your country. Most of the people I know who are “social drinkers” are what I would call alcoholics who just aren’t ready to accept it yet. That could simply be due to the circle I am in, though. After I publicly announced that I was sober I was surprised at how many people from my life, at work especially, came forward to say they are worried that they have a drinking problem.

        Drinking on a date is perfectly acceptable to me, it does help people loosen up. I can testify that being on a date stone sober is, at times, an anxiety-fueled waking nightmare. lol. I have a tendency to get into my own head and second guess everything I’m about to say. When I was drinking, I’d just say it and even when you say something silly or dumb most people just roll with it. How many people actually pay attention to every word we say anyway, right?

        I think it’s awesome that you take time away from booze to reflect on how it affects you and your social life. More people should do that if only to understand what it is actually doing to their minds. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it does change your personality. I have read a lot about the “sober curious” movement in recent years but it’s not as big here in the States.

        Anyway, I love your site so far! I’m reading the article you linked now and will continue to read through your history.

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      • Aw! I’m glad you are enjoying the blog.

        I think lots of people could actually do with a little break from alcohol now and again which is why I think the ‘sober curious’ movement is on the rise.

        For my perspective, giving up the booze temporarily isn’t really an issue for me. But it does require some adjustment to my social life. My tolerance for BS goes down and I realise that me not drinking bothers some people, more than it does me. (I guess that says more about their relationship with booze, than it does mine).

        I love wine, gin and everything in between but the sober months also have their perks, I suppose!

        Keep reading, you’ve got over 4 years of catching up to do. We’ll reply to any comments you have as well 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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