I used to rely on a drink or two to survive first dates, but now I have a firm rule to always go sober and it’s vastly improved my romantic life. Here’s why I chose to do it (and you should consider doing the same).
I want to make sure I’m actually attracted to the person. Alcohol has a habit of making everyone seem just a little more beautiful and enchanting than they actually are. I’ve gone on plenty of dates with guys who I think I’m wildly attracted to only to find out when the alcohol has worn off that I’d been looking through rosé tinted glasses the whole night. I’d much rather be bored out of my mind and sober than slightly tipsy and captivated by someone who really doesn’t deserve my attention.
I don’t want to have sex and regret it. Anyone who’s hooked up while drunk knows that feeling of regret the next morning. I never want to compromise my body or let anyone be intimate with me unless I am clear-headed and fully onboard with the idea. If I’ve been dating someone awhile, tipsy sex is probably inevitable at some point, but I don’t ever want to have sex with someone for the first time without being fully present for the experience.
No first date is worth having a hangover for. Once you hit 25, hangovers become a real thing. Where you may have been able to get away with drinking all night and waking up crystal clear and bright-eyed the next morning during college, your late twenties will be a rude awakening. No date is worth a splitting headache the next morning. Not even if you go on to marry the person and live happily ever after.
I want to be totally clear-headed when we’re getting to know each other. How depressing would it be to not remember your first date with your future life partner? Your kids will ask you what it was like when you first got together and you won’t be able to tell them. I don’t go out with guys hoping that I’ll eventually marry them, but I do prefer to get to know people with as few filters as possible.
I don’t want the other person to get to know my slightly tipsy personality rather than my actual personality. Most people are more bubbly and outgoing when they’re a little tipsy. As a relatively introverted person, alcohol can make me seem a lot more sociable than I actually am and I don’t want any guys to think I’m someone I’m not. Yes, I’d love to be a little more confident and extroverted, but I’d much rather date someone who likes me for me and not for the person I am when I’ve had a drink or two.
I want to make sure I’m reading his social cues. Alcohol can give you a sense of false confidence and make you see things you want to see rather than what’s actually there. I trust my powers of intuition to tell me when a guy is interested and when he’s not, and when I’m a little tipsy, those powers are significantly dulled. I want to know where we stand at the end of the night, not have some vague fantasy about what he might’ve felt about me.
It’s a crutch. I spent a lot of my twenties thinking that I had to drink to help calm my nerves and liberate me from some of my social anxiety. I thought it made me more fun and attractive but it was actually just holding me back from learning how to love myself and grow confident on my own. Drinking is an easy way to fabricate a good time, but it never actually helps in the long run.
Part of what makes first dates fun is the nerves. Having a glass of wine before or during a date can do wonders to soothe your fears about the evening, but I actually love the butterflies in my stomach that first dates always conjure. The last thing I want to do is dampen that rush of adrenaline when you’re out with someone you’re really attracted to for the first time. I want to experience every second of it with heightened awareness.
It’s much cheaper. Newsflash: alcohol is really expensive. No matter what kind of restaurant or bar you go to, chances are you’ll be spending at least $20 on alcohol alone by the end of the night, even if you leave after half an hour. No guy is worth getting bankrupt over on the very first date. I’ll save that for after he realizes I’m priceless.
It usually makes the date a lot more interesting. You might feel more interesting after you’ve had a drink, but trust me, you’re not. Drunk people are usually pretty boring, simply because they’re way too easy to please. I like dates that challenge me, bring up unexpected topics, and involve a lot of witty banter, all of which is nearly impossible if one or both of you are drinking.
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