Her letter, and my response, is below. So my question to you is, can I show up to the date at a bar and tell them THEN and just sip a water while they have a beer? So how do you even get them to meet you!? They are some of my favorite pen pals. Weird sober single women have to stick together, because we have something that bonds us in a world where so many people are the same. Most of the dating world looks like this: But before I respond to your questions, I need to assure you: You are not undateable.
Or rather, the only way you could be undateable is if you made yourself that way. I chose that for a while. I put up the force field and holed up on my couch with my documentaries and my creamy pasta.
Being undateable was magnificent. Nobody could hurt me. Women who drink are cool. Women who drink are fun. Some of my favorite women — famous and in real life — are drinkers, which is part of why it meant so much to me to be one of them. When I gave up drinking, I thought it meant that I became the opposite. I was NOT cool.
I was NOT fun. This is a lie. I have seen many women get sober now, and I know they only get better: Their hearts grow in surprising ways. They become more reliable friends, better listeners, kinder and more forgiving people. To him we say: They just saved you time and effort by telling you exactly who they are, which is someone who has no interest if sex is not on the table immediately, which is a small-minded, douchebag way to be.
Or maybe these hypothetical bar-only men are not douchebags. You are staring down an undisclosed health issue possibly a big deal and the major lifestyle change of no longer drinking definitely a big deal.
You need more from the men you date, not less. My standards were not always so high. The ones I sometimes met in a bar and banged. I liked the drama of having men around, even questionable ones, because it made me feel desirable and exciting.
When I quit drinking, I had to give up the idea of hanging out with those guys for three or four weeks, maybe-sorta seeing if my feelings changed, if something magical happened to make me like them more, or vice versa. When you stop drinking, you lose the luxury of such pretending.
This turns out to be a small sacrifice. I liked getting it out of the way; other people keep it under the hat. I can make arguments either way. What makes YOU comfortable? You are doing a very hard thing. You are not drinking in a drinking world.
Do you WANT to be in a bar? Comfort is essential to you now. You can no longer drink your way out of a bad date, which is how half the other folks on OK Cupid will spend their Friday nights. I get a seltzer, he gets a beer, and we talk. You are about I am lucky on this dating beat, because men I go out with have often been knocked around by life in a way that has beaten out the weaselly, asshole part of them.
They have had a divorce, maybe even two, a layoff, some hair loss. They have had their heart stomped on, which turns out to make them MUCH better dating material. Would you consider dating an older man?
Would you consider dating a sober man? Both of those guys can make very good dating material. Because the good news is — the way in which YOU are lucky — is that you are I spent a lot of my younger years worrying if men liked me. A roomy section of my brain was roped off for this purpose. Did I wear the right thing? Is he having a good time now? When I got sober, that question turned around a bit. Is he worth all this trouble?
I found that the answer was often no. I met a lot of interesting men, but they were not interesting enough. Often we wanted different things. Many of them wanted to date a woman who was drinking, which is a little bit like telling me you want to date a tall, dark-haired, exotic woman named Linda.
Not dating those guys freed me up to find someone who might be interested in a short, blonde, non-exotic girl named Sarah. Here is another truth.
Many people are comfortable not drinking — they can take it or leave it. They will be interested in taking walks, and laughing at how bad they are at bowling, and sitting in coffee shops for three hours at a stretch because neither of you was watching the time. Falling in love sober is the greatest. And the truth is, I fall in love sober all the time: With new friends, with new songs, with the blue sky, with Louis CK sketches and Joan Didion lines, and every once in a great long while, with a human person.
People who stop drinking have the opportunity to find calmness and acceptance in ourselves. But the truth is, dating was hard when I was drinking, and it was hard after I quit. What you are, however, is a person who is no longer like the rest of the herd. You are blue in a green world.
This can be terrifying, traumatizing — and it can free you up for a life that is better than you ever dreamed.