Dating while sober
One was from a successful businessman with silver hair. Having portrayed myself as the overthinking hedonist's Marilyn Monroe, I could not bear to disappoint them.The other was from an indie-rock type who frequented a burger shop less than two blocks from my front door. There was not a pair of Spanx in the world big enough to bridge the distance between the woman on that site and the woman who stood in my kitchen, pacing in jogging pants. This story was one of a thousand reminders that dating was never easier when I was drinking.
Now I realized what a sadistic game drinking played. We both baby-stepped toward each other, one refusal to lie at a time.After I got sober, I worried I'd never have sex again.This may sound dramatic, the kind of grandiose proclamation a teenager makes before slamming the door to her room.It built up your confidence at the very moment you were looking your worst. I went out with him again, but something crucial was lacking. He showed up in jeans and a '70s ringer shirt pocked with holes and said, "Look, I dressed up for you," and already I liked him. We sat in a bar that was delightfully sleazy, and he drank a beer and I drank water, and nothing was forced or uncomfortable about this arrangement, which was shocking in itself. When he walked me to my car, he said, "So I'm unemployed, I'm broke, and I still live with my ex.After the comical way I ducked the graphic designer's kiss, I was certain I'd never hear from him again. "I don't think this is going to work," I told him, which was a phrase I was learning to say. I understand if you never want to see me again, but you should know all that."I saw him the next week. We sat outside a gelato store with our feet kicked up on the railing, and we talked about pornography.But saying yes to everything meant repeatedly saying no to my own better judgment, or drinking myself to the point where I had none.Now my job was to sort out the possibilities with more caution: which risks are not worth it, and which ones deserve a jump.Those two men had nothing in common, except that they both wanted to meet. Alcohol may have turned me into Cinderella for a few radiant hours, but I would wake up in dishrags again, crying about the messes I'd made.This time, the process of finding the right person on the site was more honest, but it was also slow. A lot of dudes in camo posing in front of their giant trucks. Some days I thought about finding a random dude and just banging him. Why did I think sex was something I needed to get over with? When he offered to make me a lavish meal on Valentine's for our third date, I knew the only proper response was to gently fold up the tent on our time together.Booze had given me permission to do and say anything I wanted, but now that I was sober, the only thing I wanted most days was to watch Netflix.It's not as though every intimacy in my entire life had been warped by drinking.