In recent years, more young Aussies have become sober-curious, with Australians aged 18-44 years twice as likely to consume zero and low-strength alcohol consumption compared with those aged over 45 years.
When it comes to how this impacts dating, research done by Angostura Bitters found that over half (54%) of no-lo alcohol drinkers surveyed said they would be more likely to find a potential match if their date was also a no/-lo alcohol drinker. And, nearly half (48%) of Gen Z and Millennials surveyed, said they would be more inclined to go on a date with someone if they indicated their drinking preferences prior.
It’s something I’ve dipped my toe in. When I went on my first date without a cheeky bev, I realised how tired I was of the whole “drinks” rigamarole. Since the apps already suck the life out of you, why was I adding to that with late nights and booze? On my first sober foray, I was…soz to toot the old horn… phenomenal. I had never been wittier or more charming, which sounds hideously arrogant, but compared to all my previous dates, I won Most Improved at that one.
So, I’ve been testing things out a little more… I’ve tried a fancy sober date night where I had some Angostura Bitters non-alcoholic cocktails and have been opting for a good old Lemon, Lime and Bitters at the pub.
However, I am doing the classic Break From The Apps™, so while I plan to try out the full sober experience after my little taste test, I thought I’d rope in an expert.
For seasoned sober dater, Nat, the stats all ring true. She keeps her drinking preferences listed in her bio and is definitely more likely to date a no-lo drinker because they’re less likely to judge her. Unfortunately, she still cops a bit of flack from potential dates.
“The range is, if someone’s really accepting, I’m keen to go on a date with them. Middle of the range is like, ‘Do you mind if I drink?’ which I don’t. Sometimes the ‘why’ is not an inquisitive why, it’s like, ‘Why wouldn’t you drink?’ which I feel a bit judged for,” she says. “Or, it’s all the way at the other end, which is people being like, ‘Oh, you must be fun at parties’. And like, yes, sir, I am.”
If anything, all of this helps her weed out the duds early. She looks back on dates when she was drinking and sees all the red flags she missed.
“I always think I have a lot of fun and then I look back and see I looked past any sort of red flags. When I’m dating sober, I can pick up whether or not I’m having a good time,” she says. “And if I am, it’s usually me providing the entertainment anyway, but I can tell. I can identify whether or not I’m going to click with this person.”
“Now [on sober dates], I just sit and wait for the silence because I’m like, ‘I’ve asked you 100 questions, and I have not been asked one’. That’s one thing actually I really do pick up on, is whether or not I’m getting reciprocal questions asked to me at all.”
In terms of what to actually do, Nat doesn’t recommend going for drinks. Shocking!!! I know, I know, suggesting drinks is like a reflex but you can think outside of the box. I believe in you.
“Usually, I do a coffee, gigs or dinner. And then we’d go for walks in the park if it’s on the weekend, but it’s harder on weeknights because drinks is the default,” says Nat.
So, there you have it. Suggest a gig next time and chug a Lemon, Lime and Bitters and you’re golden.
Image: Emily In Paris