The title of this blog is going to get me 10,000 pounds of shit mail, but here goes.
I didn't drink until I was 21. I lived in Chem-Free housing at college and actually ran the Chem-Free college programming for the four years I was a student at my undergrad institution. I am not sure if Billy Bush or Anthony took part in the fun, but I offered up alternatives to the drinking lifestyle.
Oh my, how the times have changed. With many friends that are bar owners and bartenders, I don't go long with wanting a drink. I think one summer, I didn't pay for a beverage. Am I a lush? I don't think so. I still only go out like once every 2 or three weeks and I have 15 gay bars within a mile of my home.
This weekend, I'm spending some time in one of my favorite cities on a FAM tour, where hotel, food, entertainment, and drinks are taken care of. With what is basically an open tab, I'm drinking a little more than I usually do. One of the fellow bloggers on the trip isn't drinking much more than a drink a day. Is that normal? Is that unattractive? It brings me back to a comment many of my friends love to say ... "Don't trust someone who doesn't drink." Is that true? Should we not trust someone that doesn't partake in alcoholci libations?
So I thought to myself, who has the problem,, me or the non-drinker? Or is there even a problem at all? An article over on Greatist.com entitled "What Dating A Sober Guy Taught Me About Myself" kind of taps into my debate.
We were watching The Lego Movie. I remember it clearly, because it felt odd to be stressing out while listening to the movie's upbeat theme song: Everything is awesome; everything is cool when you're part of a team. But nothing was awesome, and I was anything but cool.
I was about to have sex with someone new, without being my usual three vodka sodas (at least) deep. While little Legos danced across the TV, I tried to ignore the panic starting to creep in.
The guy I was dating didn't drink. Up to this point, it had been a welcome break from the usual bar scene. But in those minutes before my clothes were about to come off, I actually thought about sneaking out of his bedroom and grabbing something from his roommate's liquor cabinet to calm my nerves.
I missed having alcohol as a security blanket during encounters like this—how a few drinks could dull my insecurities and make me feel like a catch. Now, sober during the act, I focused on positioning my body to look its most flattering, avoiding eye contact with my partner, and honestly, waiting for it to be over.
Later that night I took a hard look at how I'd ended up there. Why didn't I feel hot enough to sleep with someone new unless I was hammered? How have I managed to be sloshed every time I've had sex with a new guy, without ever having to go out of my way (or raid someone's liquor cabinet) to do so?
The answer: I was locked into a pattern—one that will probably sound familiar to any 20-something dating in a big city. The beginning of any new relationship went something like this: - Greatist.com
The post goes on to talk about dates 1 through 5 centered around meeting the other party out at bars, low lit environments and opening up after ingesting liquid courage. Does this sound familiar? Are you more apt or more comfortable meeting someone out at a bar or restaurant? Does it allow things to go a little smoother when alcohol is involved?
But what if that part of the equation for talking to someone was taken away? What if they are not a drinker? Do you not drink and be on their sobriety level? Or do you chug away making yourself more comfortable and open for discussion?
My parents don't drink and it wasn't until a couple of years ago when I was 38 that I had an alcoholic drink in front of them. So to be out on a date where the other person, a possible one night partner or life partner did not drink, would I belly up to the bar? Can you be comfortable drinking in front of someone who has chosen not to?
Yes, I do realize that this post is 1,000% judgmntal to those that are in AA, those that seek help for an addiction, or those that do not drink due to personal choice or religious belief and all of this makes me sound like a fucking lush. But you also must recognize that drinking and going to bars is a massive part of the gay way.
What are your thoughts?
If you enjoy a drink or two or more when going out, would you date someone that does not touch the stuff?
If you are a sober guy, would you seek out fellow sober men or would you date someone that enjoys the sauce?
Is drinking / not drinking a dating deal breaker?
Is the gay culture too centered around and too comfortable with all of the alcohol we injest?
Without alcohol as a crutch for conversation, I've had to learn how to be comfortable with awkward silences. Or take the time to fill them with something thoughtful instead of stream of consciousness babbling. I've had to own whatever stupid thing I've said that didn't come out right. I had always considered myself a good listener; I'd just blame my zoning out on the blasting background music at whatever bar I was at. But dating sober has made me better at having a conversation and actually paying attention to what's being said.
I'm not saying everyone should quit the sauce and plan an adrenaline-spiking first date. But I do think anyone who's out there trying to meet someone could benefit from a few dates that get you both off the bar stool. It's a way better gauge of compatibility than seeing who can shoot the most whiskey. - Greatist.com
Maybe going away from the bottle is a good thing. Maybe seeking out activities away from the bar or even meeting people away from the booze is a good thing. After all, my parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
intro photo from http://nomadicboys.com