This post was originally published on July 10, 2014.
Anyone who’s tried dating in sobriety knows: That shit can be excruciating. The pregnant pauses, the idle getting-to-know-you chit-chat, the neurotic attempts to mind-read his true intentions over that shared bottle of Perrier…It just gets old trying to get in someone’s pants (or make them want to get in yours) without the mind-numbing social lube of substances. Regardless of how painfully awkward the whole dumb dating dance gets, though, trust us: Sober dating is better—like, way better—than the pathetic attempts at dating you used to try to pull off in your using/drinking days. Here are five reasons for that.
1. You don’t wake up in a bed that’s not your own.
Ah, dignity. Remember when you had some? No? Don’t worry, we didn’t have any either. It’s widely accepted that one of the pitfalls of regular drinking and using is how they can lead to random romps in the hay, often with someone you hardly know (sometimes with someone whose name you don’t even remember). Is there anything more embarrassing than waking up beside a stranger with only the haziest of memory of what went down in your bedroom the night before? We’ll answer for you: No.
2. You don’t have to suffer the humiliation of hangovers, puking, or alcohol-fueled migraines The Morning After.
Another thing you can kiss goodbye to when you give up the drunken dating antics: the awful sensation of waking up beside a virtual stranger with the overwhelming urge to hurl yourself into the toilet due to your incessant binge-projectile-vomiting. There’s nothing less sexy than morning puke or morning migraines—try feebly attempting to cook an omelet for your new insta-beau when your head is throbbing, your hair’s a bedheaded rat’s nest and smoky eyeshadow has morphed into clumpy smear-streams down your pallid face. Hot!
3. You actually remember the sex.
As mentioned in No.1, there’s nothing more humiliating than waking up with no memory of the bedtime action that went down the previous evening. Even more annoying: you can’t even remember if the sex was good! How are you supposed to know if it was hot or fun enough to want to do again? (Ditto on forgetting the dinner conversation, if that even happened; Was your date cool? Kind? Smart? Hilarious? Who the hell knows!)
4. You don’t wake up with strange bruises, a missing phone, or lost car keys.
Sober dating means remembering the details of your date—and not experiencing those annoying going out irritations that are near daily occurrences among heavy drinkers: losing your phone, your keys, your wallet, your purse, what-have-you. Because how exactly are you going to call or sext your new (potential) Special Friend when your phone never managed to make it out of your cab or the club last night?
5. You can actually choose—rationally, sanely—who you want to go out with again… and who you’d rather avoid.
Being picky isn’t a bad thing, especially when it comes to important stuff like who you’re going to spend the next evening, month, or forever with. Back when you were drinking, if you’re anything like me, you probably bed-hopped fairly indiscriminately, not noticing or caring when those one-night-stands inadvertently bled into months-long relationships with guys I wasn’t even that taken with. In sobriety, I am way more particular about who I’ll see again, call back or hop in bed with. Does this make for a lonelier existence? In some ways, yes. Does it also bring a heightened sense of self-protection and self-awareness—a vehement and ultimately positive refusal to settle? Yes again. Nowadays, I’d rather cut off my right pinky than trade my self-respect for something as mindless as an empty romp with some random guy I won’t remember the next day.