Dating while sober

Yes to this party I don't want to go to, yes to this person I don't want to date, yes to this assignment I'm afraid to botch, because saying yes was the path to a remarkable life.

I needed to say yes, because I needed to push myself off the couch and into the swift-moving stream of hurt and jubilation.

I felt so sexy in those moments; it only followed I must have looked that way.

Now I realized what a sadistic game drinking played. We both baby-stepped toward each other, one refusal to lie at a time.

My only directions involved taking a glass of wine to my lips and letting the sweet release show me the way. It was the fate of all single women in their late thirties to stare down a personal profile, and as far as punishments go, this was fairly benign. It allowed me to inch toward intimacy with built-in distance. I understood that not drinking—and not drinking to such an extent that it was the first detail I shared about myself—would turn off certain guys. Those bearded eccentrics with their fluency in HBO shows and single-malt Scotch.

I was starting to learn one of the most important lessons of online dating: the wisdom of saying no. I was shy and ambitious, a terrible mix, and so I tried to dismantle my isolationist tendencies.Back when I was dating my college boyfriend Patrick, who was sober, he would pull away from me when I was buzzed and handsy."You smell like a brewery," he'd say, and I didn't get it.I'd had quiet sex, and giggling sex, and sex so delicate it was like a soap bubble perched on the tip of my finger. I didn't want to watch some guy's face fall when I ordered a Diet Coke and then endure the pecks of his curiosity.I knew such joy could exist between two people, but I had no clue how to get to it anymore. So my "About Me" statement began "I used to drink, but I don't anymore." I've had stronger openings, but this one was good for now.

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  1. Do you agree that we don’t even notice each other anymore? This may shock you, given what you’ve just read, but did you know that women are probably noticing YOU all the time?