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. Makeup Caroline Barnes at Frank Agency. Alex Szabo, hair stylist at Carol Hayes Jacket Wyse. Shoes, Jimmy Choo

 Dry dating? Don’t be so wet… Lubricate. I used the above phrase on national television a few years ago. (This Morning, if anyone wants to know. Rochelle Humes nearly drank all of her coffee. My children were so embarrassed, they imposed 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. This meant that, for the most part no booze ever was consumed.

Thus no alcoholic lubrication. Unless you had 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 absurd to me.

I can’t think of anything worse, or less likely to lead to a positive outcome. Alcohol is a great oil for 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 still with me? Apparently millennials and Gen Z aren’t. They don’t think anything of ‘dry dating’. According to Plenty of Fish, 32% of them are open to the idea of dating sober. They love the fact that sparkling water equals clear thinking, clear boundaries, and a morning-after trip at the gym.

What the f—! 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. He drove when lockdown made it difficult to find outdoor dining options and temperatures were still cold. It was a great feat of courage, but it also took the drinking out of the equation. I was left wondering if he even liked me.

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

Would he not have arranged a meet-up with merlot if he wanted to get cozy? (Yes, I do realise this thought process – ‘show me you like me by chugging back five pints’ – is a bit messed up.)

All of this makes me sound like an alcoholic. Which isn’t true, I promise. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a light-weight. And on this whole dating journey I’m confident I have always walked the right side of the line.

My friend was not so lucky. She became so overwhelmed by nerves, negronis, she tripped in the restaurant’s restaurant and fell 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’s nothing worse than morning after self-loathing (did that really make sense?). And the anxiety. And the finding 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 that her teenage daughter cheated on multiple boys in bars when she was stone-cold sober. Bravo to her. It’s cheaper and safer. Gen Z is changing the rules in a number of ways, including sober dating. Evidently, they have sex even before a date!

My midlife brain is unable to comprehend how this could happen. 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!

The same survey found that 17 percent of millennials believe that sober sex can be infinitely more sensual. This is what Gen Xers call “morning sex.”

*Oh, OK… I know