Ever been on a date sober?
I don't mean a catch-up-for-coffee or get-to-know-you breakfast but a full-on, let's meet at a pub or restaurant, at night, and I'm gonna drink mineral water. No lemon, please.
There are no slurred words to be playfully misconstrued, no crumbling inhibitions to trip over and into the first kiss; just a clear-eyed woman looking into your face, waiting to see what you can come up with next.
Having done it a few times recently, it made me reflect on just how many relationships I've had that began under the sheltering skies of inebriation.
And then you add in the one-night-stands and relationettes (lasting under three weeks) and I reckon you could probably write down a solid 60 per cent of my sexual history to simply being drunk.
This is not a slight on the women - it's just my better, sober, more reserved self would probably never have even approached many of them, let alone kidded myself I could "make it work" with a gal who lives 500km away or is 15 years my junior/senior or who really digs The Cat Empire.
Sober, you're apt to actually ponder "what really makes me happy?" and will continue to make you happy. Surprisingly, without the effects of booze, you're able to separate that long-term concern from the pressing, primal, instant-gratification of sex.
These may often be the questions you ask of yourself six months into a non-sober relationship, when the glow has gone and the hard work of compromise and communism has started and you actually have to share your life with another person.
As me old mate Aristotle wrote: "There is always a difficulty in living together, or having things in common, but especially in having common property. The partnerships of fellow-travellers are an example to the point; for they generally fall out by the way and quarrel about any trifle that turns up."
Sound familiar, fellow-traveller?
Of course, another test of character arrives if you are sober on a date and they are not. Obviously if she is blotto or visibly impaired, you'd drop her home. But what if she's tipsy and significantly more playful and uninhibited than when she arrived?
How fares your better self now?
Without booze to summon your inner cave dweller, the implied call of sex can still work wonders on even the most abstemious of men; doubts disappear, misgivings meander to the rear of the grotto of your mind.
Shall we go back to my house?
No, no, no, this is what I was trying to avoid in the first place.
But it's just sex, have some fun, live a little, man!
And so goes the timeless internal debate and you end up pashing with her in your car like teenagers.
Thankfully (ruefully?) you admit your mother is staying for the weekend and your date demurs; you let her out in front of her parent's place, the airport or squat and drive home filled with wonder that a half-drunk woman still has more control over her sexual urges than you do sober.
Did you really suggest removing the baby capsule, and a tryst in the back seat?
So ended my Dry July.
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