Saturday, Part 2.
Dates sure go a lot faster when we’re sober — or at least this one did. In and out in 90 minutes — AND he wants to do something again next weekend. 🙂
When the waiter came by and asked if we’d like anything to drink, he looked at me and said, “Do you want wine?”
Ugh, that awkward moment when I have to disappoint a date and not share a bottle. My worst fear.
I told him I was still not drinking (even since my cleanse) and I’ve been really cutting back the last five or six months. Playing with how much I can drink before feeling like crap. I told him I find anymore that I just feel better when I don’t drink at all and it’s been working for me.
“That’s cool,” he said, and he really seemed to mean it. “If you feel better without it, then don’t do it.” He ordered a glass of wine and I ordered a beet ginger shrub AF drink. He sipped that one glass for the entire meal and didn’t even finish it. Astonishing.
Sure, I wished I could have been helped to relax by a glass of wine. Sure, I would have liked to have shared a romantic experience with him, and moved into the buzz of the wine in sync with him. As nice as the meal and conversation were, I was aware of the absence of the wine. But I would be. I’ve only just begun.
But I was pleased and excited by the fact that we had great conversation and I was completely sober. I wasn’t blotting out my edginess, and I had to be in my body and be present. We laughed and teased a little, and even got a little vulnerable at the end talking about “what vulnerability means” — and all sober. I found myself admiring his smile and his hands, and his laugh and sense of humor, and being sober allowed me to admire that without crossing boundaries. Without getting sloppy.
A 90-minute date just never happened when I was drinking. In the past, my date and I might drink a bottle and probably order more, talking into the evening and then possibly going somewhere else for a nightcap. Sometimes, it might even lead to more, which I’m definitely not proud of, but it’s true. Looking back on it now, in the last couple of decades (except when I was married) I had a bad habit of moving too quickly into intimacy, and it was always aided and abetted by the bottle.
I think this is actually how grown-ups get to know each other. Not always — plenty of sober people and “normies” move quickly too, I imagine — but slow and steady is a good thing. Right now the thought of meeting him for 90 minutes once a week is a bit scary. I’m impatient. I’m restless. What if it fizzles out? What if he gets bored — or I do? What if I like him and I want to spend more time with him? That’s a lot of build up in between dates. What if I’m rejected?
But when I really think about it, moving too fast and forcing intimacy quickly (again, always with booze) never did me any favors. Maybe getting to know him sober, a little bit at a time, is best for both of us. When I asked him what being vulnerable looks like to him, he said it was being able to be honest about how you’re feeling no matter what. And that’s scary.
Sounds like being sober. 🙂
I agreed, that is scary, and for me, I can struggle with letting myself let go, for fear of being hurt. We stopped and looked at each other and he said, “That was intimacy!” And we laughed. But he meant it.
Maybe we both need to feel safe, in our own ways, and just maybe, doing things differently than I have done in probably the last 25 years — since before I started drinking — will lead to different results. At the very least I’ll learn something about myself.
He was cute and fun, and said he had a great time and asked me out again for next weekend. No games. No hedging. It was nice.
And when we parted, he gave me a light hug and he was off.
Now, it’s 10:30 on a Saturday night. I’m sober and home with my Bub. I’ll wash my face, get into my warm, clean sheets, and read a bit of something easy before falling asleep. And tomorrow, I’ll be up early and feeling proud of myself and excited for the week ahead.
Rachel. Day 8.