I Don’t Drink & It Makes My Dates Really Awkward

I’ve never been much of a drinker and it’s never really been a big deal. I definitely didn’t think it would be a problem when dating someone, but I was surprised how much saying “no” to that glass of wine over dinner can change everything.

  1. I’m immediately seen as an ex-alcoholic. The minute I say, “No thanks, I don’t drink!” when a guy offers to buy me one, his eyes widen. Some have asked me, “Why, are you an alcoholic?” to which I respond, “No, I’m just not into booze.” This, then, makes them even more shocked. WTF? Is it so hard to believe that someone doesn’t like alcohol?
  2. I get bored with a boozer. Once a guy has asked me why I don’t drink, he might launch into really “interesting” and “funny” drinking-related anecdotes. “This one time, my friend Mike drank so much he ended up punching me!” Or, “Once I got so drunk I blacked out and woke up wearing a dress!” Yeah, that’s uh, really funny… I guess I had to be there, huh?
  3. I suggest coffee, which makes me feel like a buzzkill. The guy suggests we order a drink from the menu, to which I say, “How about coffee instead?” and instantly feel like the biggest bore on the planet. It’s just easier, though, so that we can hopefully find some common — and most importantly, sober — ground. But it’s interesting how some guys get put off immediately, as though they need to be a little tipsy in order to have fun. What losers.
  4. I have nothing to ease first date nervesOn some really bad dates I’ve had, I must be honest and say I’ve really wished I liked drinking. It would have given me the balls to stand up and walk out when the guy was a total jerk. Or, it would have at least soothed my anxiety at being on a blind date to begin with.
  5. They laugh at things that aren’t funny. Once they start drinking, some guys are likely to mellow out and find things funny or become more brazen. Meanwhile, I’m sitting there wondering what’s so hilarious or getting angry by how they’re ogling other women. Ugh. We’re so on different pages.
  6. The bill can hit a nerve. When we both order something to eat, it’s easier to split the bill. But when one person drinks and the other doesn’t, it can sometimes feel awkward. I’ll suggest splitting it halfway despite the fact that he had three glasses of wine and I didn’t, and if he’s a gentleman, he’ll say, “No, I’ll pay for the drinks.” But sometimes guys aren’t like this and they make the non-drinker (me) pay for their boozing. Ugh.
  7. When they come to the date boozed up… No, just no. Worse than a guy getting tipsy or drunk during the date is the guy who turns up and it’s clear he’s already been throwing back beers long before he came to meet me. Or, he’s hungover because we’re meeting for brunch and he had a late night last night. That already puts me off. I think my anti-booze motto has actually made me fussier about guys. If they can’t even be sober for two hours, there’s no hope.
  8. “Let’s grab a drink” sounds nice and casual. I wish I could say, “Yeah!” and be excited at the thought of raspberry vodka while we get to know each other, but if drinks are off the table with me, that means our dates lose that casual, carefree element that first dates crave. “How about dinner?” sounds so much more formal than chilling out at a bar and immediately paints me as the type of woman who wants something serious right from the first date. Ugh. It means I have to think out the box for laid-back dating ideas, like going for a walk or taking a class, but that’s not always what the guy’s into. It’s sad, but going for drinks is often the easiest, most universal date activity.
  9. It’s worse when the party’s in full force by the time I get there. Say he suggests I swing over to the party he’s already attending. This is a clever way to keep the date super casual and allows me to check out the types of friends he hangs out with. The only problem is that if they’re all drinking, I’ll probably end up being the only sober one. It’s so awkward to stand there and feel like everyone’s on a different level of fun.
  10. I have to get through peer pressure. Some guys who like alcohol will try to change my mind about not ordering that delicious-sounding cocktail. They’ll tell me that it’s boring if I don’t drink or that I should just let my hair down because life is so stressful. This can just go on and on… Um, who said I was some uptight woman just because I don’t like to drink? Please, man!
  11. Dancing can be weird. A shot or two helps to ease the joints and make one feel less awkward about busting a move on the dance floor. But since I don’t drink, when the guy asks if I’d like to dance, I end up feeling like the biggest self-conscious idiot on the planet. No! Now I’m going to have to avoid drinking and dancing in the future. SMH.
  12. I have nothing to throw at the players. When a guy’s the biggest jerk on the planet, is there anything more satisfying than throwing a drink in his face? I could throw my coffee, but that’s hot and I don’t want to burn the guy. Somehow juice or water just doesn’t feel as satisfying or classy as throwing an alcoholic beverage that will make him smell like a cheap pub all night.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.