ROSIE GREEN: Hot dates and sober truths

ROSIE GREEN: Hot dates and sober truths


Styling Nicola Rose. Make-up Caroline Barnes at Frank Agency. Hair Alex Szabo at Carol Hayes Jacket, Wyse. Shoes, Jimmy Choo

Styling Nicola Rose. Make-up Caroline Barnes at Frank Agency. Hair Alex Szabo at Carol Hayes Jacket, Wyse. Shoes, Jimmy Choo

 Dry dating? Don’t be so wet… Lubricate. I said the above word on national television a few months ago. (This Morning, if you want to know.) Rochelle Humes nearly spat out her coffee. My children were so mortified they staged an immediate social media blackout.

But I wasn’t using the word in a sexual context. Instead I was referring to an old-fashioned dictionary definition of ‘making someone convivial with alcohol’. I was referencing the period of lockdown where pubs, bars and restaurants were firmly fermé-d and a ‘walk’ was about as good as a date got. And that meant, for the most part, no booze was consumed.

Thus no alcoholic lubrication. Unless you took a hip flask. And the optics of that aren’t good – veering into Sue Ellen territory, I’d say (google her, millennials).

My friend, who went on loads of walking dates, said that romantic assignations without booze were like Take That without Robbie or a vegan brownie – OK, but missing something crucial. I get it. Full disclosure: a date without a drink seems like an aberration to me.

I can’t think of anything worse, or less likely to lead to a positive outcome. Alcohol oils the wheels. Makes you more confident, more open, more… well, convivial. I mean, I think I’d still be a virgin if it weren’t for my teenage tipple of peach schnapps and lemonade.

Are you with me? Apparently millennials and Gen Z aren’t. They don’t think anything of ‘dry dating’. According to a survey by dating app Plenty Of Fish, 32 per cent of them always date sober, with 84 per cent being open to this idea. They like the fact that sparkling water equals a clear head, firm boundaries and a morning-after trip to the gym.

Whaaaaaaat? I need a vat of rosé to make me feel socially at ease. To bring my best self. On my first date with the boyfriend I’m pretty sure* we both sank more units than our weekly allowance. On the second and third dates, when lockdown meant there was a scarcity of restaurants with outdoor dining opportunities and temperatures were still Baltic, he drove. Chivalrous, but it took drinking out of the equation. Which made me question whether he fancied me at all.

 I’d still be a virgin if it weren’t for peach schnapps and lemonade

If he wanted to get cosy, would he not have engineered a meet-up that involved merlot? (Yes, I do realise this thought process – ‘show me you like me by chugging back five pints’ – is a bit messed up.)

All of which makes me sound like an alcoholic. Which isn’t true, I promise. In fact, anyone who knows me will vouch that I am a lightweight. And on this whole dating journey I’m confident I have always walked the right side of the line.

Not so a friend of mine who got so overloaded by nerves and negronis she tripped in the restaurant and knocked her head on the bar. Her date took her to A&E, where she dozed off, came to with a start, walked up to the counter, eyeballed the nurse and said, ‘What does it take to get a gin and tonic round here?’

I mean, there is nothing worse than morning-after self-loathing (did I really think it was a good idea to tell that story?). And the hang-xiety. And the tracking down of lost items. ‘Excuse me, did I leave my self-esteem at the bar?’So perhaps the youth have a point.

My friend tells me about her teenage daughter kissing multiple boys in a bar when stone-cold sober. Good for her. Cheaper and safer. But sober dating is only one of the ways Gen Z are switching up the rules. Apparently they are having sex even before a date!

My midlife brain struggles to see how that even happens. So I ask a suitably aged person, who explains that you meet online, see each other for a hook-up (distinguishable from a date because it doesn’t involve being out in public or doing any type of activity together except for the obvious one) and try each other out for size. A sort of sex interview.And just think – they probably do this sober!

That same survey says 17 per cent of millennials claim that sober sex is infinitely more sensual. Note to the young: Gen Xers call this morning sex.

*Oh, OK… I know






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