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Sober dating

Date

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Tea, anyone?

Tea, anyone?

Ever been on a date sober?

I don't mean a catch-up-for-coffee or get-to-know-you breakfast but a full-on, let's meet at a pub or restaurant, at night, and I'm gonna drink mineral water. No lemon, please.

There are no slurred words to be playfully misconstrued, no crumbling inhibitions to trip over and into the first kiss; just a clear-eyed woman looking into your face, waiting to see what you can come up with next.

Having done it a few times recently, it made me reflect on just how many relationships I've had that began under the sheltering skies of inebriation.

And then you add in the one-night-stands and relationettes (lasting under three weeks) and I reckon you could probably write down a solid 60 per cent of my sexual history to simply being drunk.

This is not a slight on the women - it's just my better, sober, more reserved self would probably never have even approached many of them, let alone kidded myself I could "make it work" with a gal who lives 500km away or is 15 years my junior/senior or who really digs The Cat Empire.

Sober, you're apt to actually ponder "what really makes me happy?" and will continue to make you happy.  Surprisingly, without the effects of booze, you're able to separate that long-term concern from the pressing, primal, instant-gratification of sex.

These may often be the questions you ask of yourself six months into a non-sober relationship, when the glow has gone and the hard work of compromise and communism has started and you actually have to share your life with another person.

As me old mate Aristotle wrote: "There is always a difficulty in living together, or having things in common, but especially in having common property. The partnerships of fellow-travellers are an example to the point; for they generally fall out by the way and quarrel about any trifle that turns up."

Sound familiar, fellow-traveller?

Of course, another test of character arrives if you are sober on a date and they are not. Obviously if she is blotto or visibly impaired, you'd drop her home. But what if she's tipsy and significantly more playful and uninhibited than when she arrived?

How fares your better self now?

Without booze to summon your inner cave dweller, the implied call of sex can still work wonders on even the most abstemious of men; doubts disappear, misgivings meander to the rear of the grotto of your mind.

Shall we go back to my house?

No, no, no, this is what I was trying to avoid in the first place.

But it's just sex, have some fun, live a little, man!

And so goes the timeless internal debate and you end up pashing with her in your car like teenagers.

Thankfully (ruefully?) you admit your mother is staying for the weekend and your date demurs; you let her out in front of her parent's place, the airport or squat and drive home filled with wonder that a half-drunk woman still has more control over her sexual urges than you do sober.

Did you really suggest removing the baby capsule, and a tryst in the back seat?

So ended my Dry July.

You can follow Sam on Twitter here. His email address is here.

Please don't take it personally if I do not reply to your email as they come in thick and fast depending on the topic. Please know, I appreciate you taking the time to write and comment and would offer mummy hugs to all.

48 comments

  • As I was the driver more often than not I had to be sober. Besides the thought of some smart cop seeing me blow in the bag and fail was too much to think about.
    Going out with someone who does not drink also puts you on your mettle.
    Then again the conversation would be better or could be better even if the later result is not to your liking.
    What is worse is a dinnner companion or one of the group who really gets full and then you as the sober one is enlisted to drive them home, with their head out of the window and you silently hoping they have not been eating carrots or tomato.
    I remember a certain Christmas Party and having a new car and having to drive this work colleague of my then fiancee home hoping she would not chunder again over the expensive upholstery.

    Commenter
    The Old Guy
    Location
    Marrickville
    Date and time
    August 12, 2013, 9:43PM
    • Never having been inebriated in my life, and being completely drink free since my early 20s (now 52) I simply struggle to understand the desire to be inebriated ... or why not being inebriated on a date is worthy of note?

      I think I lead a normal, fulfilling, varied and rich life ... married 27 years with 4 great kids ... but I just don't understand society's love affair with alcohol ... or why being a non-drinker is so extraordinary.

      Commenter
      Farr
      Date and time
      August 13, 2013, 7:42AM
    • It's not extraordinary, Farr - it's boring!

      Commenter
      Scoby
      Date and time
      August 13, 2013, 8:32AM
    • + 1 Scoby What a sanctamonious bore.

      Commenter
      johnno cody
      Date and time
      August 13, 2013, 8:40AM
    • Farr many people suffer from some form of anxiety and use alcohol as a crutch in social situations. It is not a love affair per se, but more a form of self medication.

      Commenter
      Bob
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      August 13, 2013, 8:56AM
    • I'm with Farr and The Old Guy.

      Scoby, if you think not being drunk is boring, it is YOU who is boring.
      It means you have built your life around a bottle.

      Time to get out and get a life, live a little and travel - develop a personality!!!!

      Commenter
      why
      Date and time
      August 13, 2013, 9:01AM
    • Farr, the nicest beverages in existence are alcoholic. I put drinking alcoholic beverages in the same category as eating at an expensive restaurant. Sure you can eat a sandwhich at home to fill your stomach, but the experience and stimulation of your senses from a rich and unique meals is one of lifes great experiences, despite essentially being an illogical way to gain nourishment. Similarly drinking a nice red wine or craft beer with your fine meal is far more exciting to your senses than a glass of water.

      Commenter
      Mick
      Date and time
      August 13, 2013, 9:05AM
    • I've never been drunk on a date in my life. If a guy showed up for a date and I could see he was drunk, I'd leave and never speak to him again. Being drunk on a date is just rude and shows a lot about the guy's character - none of it good. I grew up with violent alcoholics, so a guy who can't hold his drink, or needs it to function, is an automatic fail in my book.

      When I go on a date, the guy usually knows beforehand I don't drink. Once the date is in progress, the disbelief starts when I decline a glass of wine. So many guys think that when I say I don't drink, I'm just being polite or trying not to sound like a lush. I can't tell you how many times I've had an argument with a man when I won't even take one glass of anything that he is trying to push on me. I tell him to go ahead and have some but then he says no and gets upset because if he drinks on his own it makes him feel bad about himself. Yeah, like that's my fault I don't understand how abstaining has become socially unacceptable.

      I don't drink because it makes me sick. My skin breaks out and the inflammation and water retention in my face and hands that occurs is painful and makes me look like I've gained a dress size overnight. And it takes two to three days for everything to go back to normal. Sorry, but I'm not putting myself through that for any guy.

      Commenter
      Audra Blue
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      August 13, 2013, 9:16AM
    • @Scoby
      From where I sit Scoby, it seems sad that you require alcohol to make life interesting.

      I have a wonderful wife and great kids; challenging and interesting job; high income; diverse interests ... a life that is far from boring.

      My wife and adult kids all drink ... we all make our own choices and I am not a 'wowser'. I just don't understand the inability to make life interesting or face social situations without the assistance of a lubricant.

      Commenter
      Farr
      Date and time
      August 13, 2013, 9:29AM
    • Being a designated driver, non drinker of recovering alcoholic are all valid reasons for staying sober for a date, expecially a first date. That is not to say that poo poo-ing those who do enjoy an alcoholic beverage is a nice thing to do.
      It is important to not turn up to a date slurring drunk or under the influences of other substances and with pants on, at least initially.
      There is something quite lovely about sharing a bottle of wine, or two with someone while having interesting and stimulating conversation.
      It is also important to not be dogmatic about your choices and how othe rpeople should fit into that view of the world. You can miss out on some very fun and funny people.

      Commenter
      M
      Date and time
      August 13, 2013, 10:26AM

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