Club soda is a drink, too, isn't it?
January 7, 2008 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Due to health reasons, I cannot drink alcohol. However, I still want to ask girls out for drinks because it's a good first date. What to do?

Typically, when I go out, I'll drink club soda and lime. If anyone asks me what I'm drinking, I tell them that it's club soda. Otherwise, I won't bring it up. Is this acceptable conduct for a date? Or do I need to go out of my way to let the girl know that I'm not drinking alcohol?

If I don't go out of my way to tell the girl that I'm drinking club soda, do you think she'll be freaked out when she finds out that I'm not drinking alcohol? I figure that there's a good chance that she'll find out, since she may hear me ordering.

I'm not embarrassed that I can't drink alcohol. It's just kind of an awkward subject. All of my friends and previous girlfriends drink, so I'm very accustomed to hanging out at bars with people drinking.
posted by Elmo Oxygen to Human Relations (72 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's a certain skeeviness to the idea of a guy asking a girl out "for drinks" but letting her do all the drinking. I would have no problem with it if that were made clear up front - "Hey, I don't actually drink, but there's this bar downtown that has a great DJ/really nice rooftop view/whatever..." but I'd be pretty creeped out if I realized after my second drink that the guy was faking it.

Would I feel the same way if genders were reversed? Maybe, maybe not - it's not fair, but there it is.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:54 AM on January 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


If the explanation for your health reasons is simple (and you don't mind sharing it), just offer it when asked. Or perhaps go out for a coffee date instead? To my mind, this shouldn't be a big issue and there's no reason to either hide it or announce it -- that makes it seem like a bigger deal that it actually is...
posted by Pantengliopoli at 10:54 AM on January 7, 2008


Offer to take her out for coffee instead.
posted by SansPoint at 10:55 AM on January 7, 2008 [10 favorites]


If you meet her there, try to be early so you can order and have it sitting there.

However, I don't think anyone should be freaked out if you aren't drinking alcohol. I wouldn't draw attention to it. No explaination should be necessary. If she asks, fess up. You don't need to go into details. I can't imagine it would be an issue with most people.
posted by beachhead2 at 10:56 AM on January 7, 2008


O'Doul's!
posted by afx114 at 10:56 AM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Good lord, that was poorly edited -- sorry. Restless_nomad has a good point about the skeevy factor, I suppose. Go out for a light snack and get a cup of coffee, so there's no "pretending" that your club soda is loaded with 151.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 10:56 AM on January 7, 2008


Sure, don't worry about it. It's perfectly normal. I think you should actually go out of your way to let the girl hear you order, so she knows it's not alcohol, but you shouldn't mention it unless she asks--then just explain the health issue. The reason I suggest doing it this way is that 1) bringing it up yourself will make it seem like an issue when really it's not, or shouldn't be, and 2) some people do treat drinking like a religion and won't want to be with a nondrinker--you want to flush those out early in the process. Anyone who rejects you based on your not drinking is, needless to say, not the girl for you.
posted by Enroute at 11:00 AM on January 7, 2008


I wouldn't be creeped out at all if my date wasn't drinking, unless he didn't tell me. I really don't care if it's for religious reasons, health reasons, or if he's a recovering alcoholic. But DO be upfront about it.
posted by desjardins at 11:01 AM on January 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't really get why you're worried about this.

Ask her out for drinks and order your soda and lime. If she asks why you're not drinking, tell her alcohol doesn't agree with you.

If she has a problem with that -- why would you want to date her?

And if it all just seems too awkward, then meet for coffee or tea instead.

As for the whole he's-not-drinking-she-is thing -- it's only creepy if you're trying to cover up the fact that you're no, or if you're egging her on to drink more. Otherwise, I would assume she's a grownup and can manage her own consumption.
posted by ottereroticist at 11:02 AM on January 7, 2008


I think its a good idea to bring it up because a lot of people might think you are an ex-alcoholic, or that you have some problem with drinking due to religious or other beliefs. One of my friends couldn't drink alcohol due to an ulcer, and whenever someone asked why he wasn't drinking (alcohol) he would say that he that he couldn't because of his ulcer.

I also agree with restless_nomad that you should also point out some valid reason for going to the bar other than getting drunk.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:02 AM on January 7, 2008


As a fellow teetotaler, I have to admit that if there's a good answer to this one, I've yet to find it. Drinks are the socially accepted thing to do when going out, especially here in Boston. This may require hardening up and accepting being a little skeevy. But overall, I think if you pay close attention to your conscience you'll make out okay.
posted by Ryvar at 11:02 AM on January 7, 2008


They're right. Don't make a big deal about it. Just mention it upfront, maybe in the asking: "This is odd, I know, because I can't drink alcohol, but do you want to get a drink some time? Maybe a club soda?" Funny, efficient, and to the point.
posted by koeselitz at 11:02 AM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I also agree with restless_nomad that you should also point out some valid reason for going to the bar other than getting drunk.

Going out for drinks is a good first date. It's pretty much the standard unit of social interaction in NYC. Also, let's face it, people get nervous about first dates, and alcohol is a natural social lubricant. For this reason, I think coffee may be a bad idea since it may actually make my date more jittery. Also, I can't drink coffee (for the same reason I can't drink alcohol), although I realize there are other things to order at a coffee shop.

I know there are other ideas for first dates, but drinks is probably the most common and least intimidating.
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 11:12 AM on January 7, 2008


You're asking her out for drinks. Your drink will be a Shirley Temple. So what? If she wants to drink or not drink, it's up to her. She's (presumably) an adult and she can make her own decisions.
posted by HotPatatta at 11:15 AM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would be a little creeped out by someone who asked me on a date to a bar and ordered a non-alcoholic drink all nonchalantly without mentioning why -- but only if I really didn't know the guy much at all.

Here's what I'd suggest. If/when you ask a girl out, give her some options. Tell her there's this great coffeehouse you could go to, or this bar you really like -- you don't drink, but you still like chillin' out in bars, and this one is great to grab a drink and chat in. Leave it up to her to decide. If she's not a big drinker and you're not going to drink, might as well go to a coffeehouse to chat, right?
posted by pazazygeek at 11:16 AM on January 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


I think part of the reason it's a good first date is because it feels like both people get to loosen up a little bit. I'd feel awkward on a first date that was specifically set up for drinking, and the guy wasn't drinking -- it'd make me nervous that I was acting funny or tipsy or something. It would make the playing field seem uneven.

It wouldn't feel this way to me if the date had focused on some other activity, and we happened to end up at a bar. But being asked out specifically for drinks changes that, I think.

One thing I tend to do with friends when I'm not sure whether I'll want a glass or wine or some tea or something else is saying, "Maybe we can grab a coffee or a drink," and then going out to those cafe/bar combos that serve both (as opposed to a bar that happens to have a burnt pot of coffee in the back). I don't know exactly where those places might be in NYC, but I assume they exist?
posted by occhiblu at 11:20 AM on January 7, 2008


I nth restless_nomad's advice.
I think coffee may be a bad idea since it may actually make my date more jittery.
This is a ridiculous statement. It sounds like you're looking for excuses to rule out anything but a bar.

Can you drink tea? If so, there are plenty of options thataways -- and it's different and quirky enough to be refreshing. Just because going out for drinks is a standard unit of social interaction (everywhere, btw, not just in NYC) doesn't mean it's the only unit. Going out to bars gets boring. Show a girl an alternative to that model -- show her a different side of the city -- and you'll give her a reason to like you for more than your taste in bars.
posted by me3dia at 11:24 AM on January 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you don't tell her that your drink has no liquor in it, and she finds out an hour into the date that she's had three rum and cokes and you've had three cokes, she's going to assume that you're trying to get her drunk while remaining sober yourself so that you can take advantage of her sexually. This assumption likely wouldn't happen if the genders were reversed, or if we lived in a society where rape were less common, or if any number of screwed up social factors were less screwed up, but unfortunately our society is what it is, and many women are going to make that assumption, no matter how much they liked you up until that point, no matter how good your reasons are.

Your best bet is to be honest. When you ask her out, play up the ambiance of the place. Tell her you know this great dive bar with an awesome juke box, or a neat place with a great roof deck, or a good jazz band that's playing, and would she like to check it out with you? Then, when you get there, order your non-alcoholic beverage openly and explain that you can't drink alcohol for a medical reason. If she seems uncomfortable, tell her she should feel free to drink whatever she wants. Tip big so that the staff likes you. You'll do fine as long as you don't try to hide anything. That just makes you look shady, which you're clearly not, and you want her to know that.
posted by decathecting at 11:26 AM on January 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


I think part of the reason it's a good first date is because it feels like both people get to loosen up a little bit.

I should mention that I'm a naturally outgoing person, and years of hanging out at bars without drinking has only magnified this facet of my personality. So really, even if I were to drink, it wouldn't make any difference in my behavior.

And here's something that I really don't get - how is it skeevy for a guy not to drink when the girl is drinking? I always thought that alcohol was supposed to make men more sexually aggressive. Wouldn't my not drinking actually make me a more considerate date?
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 11:27 AM on January 7, 2008


If she can't enjoy a date because the other person can't "share" her buzz, then she's definitely not the one for you. Some people are like this, and that's their right/choice. Be sure to find this out right away, so that you won't waste both her and your time on additional dates.

It might be helpful to be clear about whether you would like to drink but can't and might in the future, or whether you can't drink and are glad because you don't like to drink anyway, and don't intend to ever again. Again, it will be helpful for her to know exactly where you stand on drinking, so that if that's important to her she can exit gracefully, and vice versa.

For Ryvar: I'm in Boston too; I don't drink because I don't like the taste and because it does absolutely nothing except make me sleepy, which makes it harder to concentrate on a date. A few times I have had a drink and used that excuse to be more open about telling a guy about how I felt about him, thinking that if he didn't return my feelings, I could blame it on the drink. I regret that dishonesty now, but I'll bet a lot of people do that (there was some study a few years ago that showed how a lot of people were given placebo alcohol but acted drunk anyway). Anyway, I digress; when people show surprise that I don't drink and/or ask why, I make it a humorous situation and make my face in a scrunchy pout and say, "it tastes yucky." That usually makes people laugh and then forget about it.
posted by Melismata at 11:29 AM on January 7, 2008


how is it skeevy for a guy not to drink when the girl is drinking?
It might seem like you're trying to get her drunk, to take advantage of her.
posted by me3dia at 11:30 AM on January 7, 2008


I should mention that I'm a naturally outgoing person, and years of hanging out at bars without drinking has only magnified this facet of my personality. So really, even if I were to drink, it wouldn't make any difference in my behavior.

You're not quite getting this. It's not just about being outgoing; it's about assuming that the level of inhibitions (or lack thereof), of silliness, of flirtatiousness that I'm exhibiting is understood and shared by all those present. If we're drinking, I'm likely to be more flirtatious and silly with you than I would be otherwise, on the assumption that we're both a little tipsy and having fun and it's not going to be held against me or taken too seriously. If I'm drinking and you're not, I'm suddenly going to worry that what I'm judging as "appropriately open and flirtatious behavior" is going to be taken, by the sober person sitting across from me, as either inappropriately silly or a too-serious flirtation; I don't have the faith that he's being as silly as I am.

Which is not to say that you're in fact misjudging your dates' behavior; I'm just trying to explain why it would feel weird to me. I would want to know in advance (not after I'd already ordered a drink) so that I could decide whether or not to open up myself in that way when you weren't doing the same. I might still decide to get a drink, but I wouldn't feel tricked into revealing some part of myself that you're not revealing of yourself.

how is it skeevy for a guy not to drink when the girl is drinking? I always thought that alcohol was supposed to make men more sexually aggressive. Wouldn't my not drinking actually make me a more considerate date?

If I already knew you, yes. On a first date, see above -- if you haven't said anything ahead of time, it makes it seem like you're trying to gain an advantage in the situation.
posted by occhiblu at 11:36 AM on January 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I can't find it now, but there was a post recently about some douchebag guy who was all about how many women he could bag, and one of his "tricks" was to pay the bartender to serve him non-alcoholic drinks but call them Tom Collins or something. That kind of deception, particularly in the interests of making his date tipsy while he himself remained in control, was one of the (many) things that made him sleazy.

So while your intentions might be good, hiding the fact that you're not drinking alcohol (or that you don't intend to) might get you compared to a douchebag. As long as you're forthright about it before you get to the bar, you should be sitting pretty.
posted by stefanie at 11:43 AM on January 7, 2008


It's not just about being outgoing; it's about assuming that the level of inhibitions (or lack thereof), of silliness, of flirtatiousness that I'm exhibiting is understood and shared by all those present.

Yeah, I guess it's just massively unfair that I have to miss out on all that silliness and flirtatiousness because of a stupid medical issue. But fairness doesn't really have anything to do with it, and I appreciate the honesty of your answer.
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 11:45 AM on January 7, 2008


Sorry, I wasn't trying to berate you, and of course you can be silly and flirtatious without drinking. But we're talking about first dates here, presumably with people who don't know you well. Which means appearances and assumptions are going to be operating more than knowledge, and caution is going to be high. Which isn't really fair to either party, either, but that's just kind of how it is. (I do think all of these issues disappear by date two or three.)
posted by occhiblu at 11:49 AM on January 7, 2008


Elmo, are you a recovering alcoholic?
Because that's the first thing that comes to mind when I see a guy not having even a single drop in a social setting where everyone else is drinking. On the other hand, you said that you like to hang out at bars without drinking. That does not sound like a recovering alcoholic.

So if it is indeed a medical condition, I reckon you should be upfront about it, because having a medical condition is less stigmatized than being a recovering alcoholic with all the baggage that comes with it. Maybe emphasize that it is not contagious. (Unless, of course, it is...)
posted by sour cream at 11:53 AM on January 7, 2008


And here's something that I really don't get - how is it skeevy for a guy not to drink when the girl is drinking? I always thought that alcohol was supposed to make men more sexually aggressive. Wouldn't my not drinking actually make me a more considerate date?

The goal of the date is not for you to be as 'considerate' as possible while the girl uses alcohol to let down her own inhibitions.

Heres what asking someone out for drinks implicitly means (to most drinkers):

"Let's use alcohol to help us relax and let down our guard a little bit so that it's easier for us to just get to know each other and have a good time."

Here's what you are trying imply by asking someone out for drinks:

"I want to get to know you, and I recognize that drinking alcohol is a standard date in this city, so, even though I can't actually partake, I am going to arrange a situation where I sit there while you partake, just so you understand that I am acknowledging the legitimacy of the ritual that I cannot partake in. Okay?"

...in other words, you are putting yourself through social contortions that are unnecessary, counterproductive, and strange.

I'm a guy, but if anyone - a girl, another guy, a friend, a co-worker, a family member, whoever - said 'Let's go out for a drink' and then revealed at the bar that they never intended to consume any alcohol themselves, then my estimation of that person's ability to negotiate a social situation would go down a notch, and I would also be really suspicious about what their intentions were.

The part about the mutual letting down of the guard is crucial. Now, if going out for drinks is her idea, not yours, then you can say 'I don't drink, but I'll come with you and have something else if that's okay.' In other words: 'You can feel safe letting down your guard around me.' That might actually come across as sweet, if a bit square. (It also might come across as skeevy, depending on how you say it.)

Suggesting the drink yourself, though, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It basically says "of all the activities I could have suggested, I'm suggesting the one that will involve you ingesting a chemical that will pretty much force you to let down your guard, while I am not going to partake." That's why it's skeevy. You may not see it that way, but others will.

I didn't drink for the first six months of 2007, and I went out on a lot of dates during that time. The girls would often suggest that we 'have a drink,' and I *always* said 'I'm not drinking these days, let's have lunch or coffee.' Even to say 'okay' and then show up and not order booze would have been a little weird...and the situation you're suggesting is exponentially weirder.

Again, you have the right to disagree in principle...but what I'm telling you is the truth that you're going to discover in practice. Save yourself some angst and don't do it.
posted by bingo at 11:56 AM on January 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


What pazazygeek said. Give her options, including a bar, but note that you don't drink alcohol. If someone asked me out "for drinks" but didn't drink, I'd find it weird.
posted by desuetude at 12:06 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ok, so, it seems like the consensus is that asking someone out for drinks and then not drinking will come off as skeevy. I can accept this, even though I think it's unfair. However, even if it does *seem* skeevy, I refuse to believe that it actually *is* skeevy. I mean, really, how far do you want to take this? If I'm at a bar and I'm chatting up a girl, do I need to tell her halfway through the conversation, "by the way, this is club soda that I'm drinking." When you go out on a date, are you obligated to make sure that your drink is stronger than hers, just to insure a "level playing field?" Kind of preposterous. However, I understand that people aren't entirely rational, and I certainly don't want to give the wrong impression of myself.

So here's a follow-up question - what if I just drank very, very little? Like, say, take a couple sips every so often and maybe drain less than a quarter of the drink? If she asks, I can just say that I'm not a big drinker (which is true). On our subsequent dates, I could do the same thing, or just not drink anything at all.
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 12:06 PM on January 7, 2008


Ok, so, it seems like the consensus is that asking someone out for drinks and then not drinking will come off as skeevy.

That is not any consensus I am seeing here. Skeevy is being dishonest, like letting her think you are drinking alcohol just like she is, and really you are not. There are a bunch of really good, non-skeevy suggestions here (like pazzazygeek's of giving her an option, or everyone who said to just make sure to order your non-alcoholic drink openly, and be ready to tell her why you are not drinking the hard stuff).

I think you are overthinking this. What you are doing sounds pretty much ok; I would just urge you to err on the side of openness when there is a choice (eg making sure that she can hear you order your drink, rather than ordering while she is in the bathroom). Sometimes I drink in bars, sometimes I don't, because maybe I don't want to or I am driving home or I need to be up early in the morning. It has never been a problem (aside from having drunk people give me 20 minute monologues about how wasted they are, but that only happens once in a while). I see lots of people in bars ordering non-alcoholic drinks, and I've never seen anyone give them a hard time, or yell "hey you skeevy bastard!" It just isn't that much of an issue, except if you make it one.
posted by Forktine at 12:16 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


So here's a follow-up question - what if I just drank very, very little? Like, say, take a couple sips every so often and maybe drain less than a quarter of the drink? If she asks, I can just say that I'm not a big drinker (which is true). On our subsequent dates, I could do the same thing, or just not drink anything at all.

Why not just tell her the truth?? It's the crazy deceptions to make it look like you're drinking when you're not that come across as skeevy.
posted by Kellydamnit at 12:21 PM on January 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Fellow absolute teetotaler here, but I'm a girl. When I've been asked out for a drink as a first date sometimes I would say "Sure--if that's a drink of coffee you're talking about!" or something equally (un?)funny/charming and bat my eyelashes. The batting of the eyelashes might not work for you but the humor/charm thing might. Every other dude out there has the "Wanna go for a drink?" line. You can use this opportunity to stand apart from the crowd and find something more interesting/unique to do on a first date than go to a bar and have a drink. Find something interesting/quirky/light/not involving alcohol for either party to do and suggest that instead. That would score more points for a guy anyway, from my point of view.
posted by hecho de la basura at 12:23 PM on January 7, 2008


If I'm at a bar and I'm chatting up a girl, do I need to tell her halfway through the conversation, "by the way, this is club soda that I'm drinking."

I think that's a different situation - she was in the bar drinking, knowing she may or may not meet someone who may or may not have had as much, if any, alcohol as she. Eh.

Back to the original question for a moment... as long as you're not concealing the fact that you're not drinking booze (by, say, ordering first and in her presence) that should be a useful filter for you to screen out the kind of person you might not want to spend time with. One time back in my freely-drinking college days, I offered to buy my date a drink, at which time she told me she was a recovering alcoholic. (Surprise!) No problem - I drank Coke the rest of the night and we had a blast. Does that make me a saint? No. But I also wasn't the guy who made a big deal out of it and made her feel uncomfortable for the rest of the night.

If someone judges you poorly because you refuse to drink, as long as you're not appearing to deceive them about it, they probably don't have a whole lot else going on in their lives that would make them worth a second date.
posted by mikewas at 12:24 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


To clarify my original point - the skeeviness is in the dishonesty, not the not-drinking. The dishonesty is implicit; you say "let's go out for drinks!" and suggest a bar, which implies drinking alcohol, when in fact you have no intention of drinking alcohol at all.

Alcohol has a ton of social weight in this culture - there are a lot of assumptions, fears, expectations, and drama around it. It's probably safer to avoid the topic on a first date than to try to figure out how to make all that weight work for you.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:24 PM on January 7, 2008


It's the crazy deceptions to make it look like you're drinking when you're not that come across as skeevy.

Crazy deceptions? Really? Is that really what you see me doing here?

I think I'm going to leave this thread alone for a while. I feel like I'm commenting in my own thread too much, and it's hard to resist considering the charges being leveled at me.
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 12:25 PM on January 7, 2008


You seem offended by the fact that some girls might be a little cautious about the fact that they're drinking and you're not. Don't be. It's not a value judgment against you and your respect for the ladies. As someone who's been on enough dates with guys she doesn't know that well (i.e. the meeting for a drink would be the first chance I got to know someone), I am very cautious after meeting many unsavory characters whom I could not trust. You would do well to not be offended by women's caution in this regard, and try to understand it. It is not a reflection on you, in fact, I think a lot of women will sometimes put their safety at some amount of risk precisely because they're concerned that they will offend someone who is trustworthy.

Why should you drink very little? It's a health risk for you. Don't bother. Be upfront and honest and go somewhere that you can have a good time. Just, whatever you do, don't invite a girl to a bar and surreptitiously order a cranberry juice without mentioning why, particularly if she starts tossing drinks back assuming you are too. She may really like you, never notice, or notice and not care, but she may notice, and it may set off her warning bells. If she likes you, she's probably already wondering if you like her too, or if you're just being charming to get in her pants. It's just the way a lot of us are; there are lots of jerks out there on the dating scene who have ruined it a little bit for you, I'm sorry to say.
posted by pazazygeek at 12:29 PM on January 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I didn't read all the responses, but I'm sure I'm only echoing a bunch of people here. It is the definition of skeeziness to silently drink non-alcoholic drinks while your dates drink alcohol. There's an article about one such scumbag that does it here
What you do is, go on dates to non-drinking places at first, and tell her in a situation where you are both staying sober. If you go to a bar, you tell her IN ADVANCE. This isn't a minor issue, by the way. There are times when if I heard of a guy doing something like that with a female friend of mine, he and I'd need to go have a talk somewhere, like pronto. Silently Sipping Soda = Slimey and stupid.
posted by history is a weapon at 12:29 PM on January 7, 2008


If anyone asks me what I'm drinking, I tell them that it's club soda. Otherwise, I won't bring it up. Is this acceptable conduct for a date?

Yes. If she starts to go hog wild drinking, she may wonder that you aren't having a good time. Make sure she knows that you are. Its only a first date, so who cares?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:32 PM on January 7, 2008


However, even if it does *seem* skeevy, I refuse to believe that it actually *is* skeevy.

Someone who is just getting to know you doesn't know which scenario she's found herself in, and she doesn't know you well enough to give you the benefit of the doubt...that's something you have to earn. In fact, earning the benefit of the doubt is kind of the point of a first date in general.

So here's a follow-up question - what if I just drank very, very little? Like, say, take a couple sips every so often and maybe drain less than a quarter of the drink? If she asks, I can just say that I'm not a big drinker (which is true). On our subsequent dates, I could do the same thing, or just not drink anything at all.

Now that's skeevy. Seriously. It's essentially a lie of omission, and, again, unnecessarily strange. The point of a date with drinks is that you are going to drink enough alcohol to feel it.

If I'm at a bar and I'm chatting up a girl, do I need to tell her halfway through the conversation, "by the way, this is club soda that I'm drinking."

Yeah, I think you should, if "chatting up" implies anything more than "talking to," i.e. if you're trying to get her to go home with you, then yeah, that's kind of how 'taking advantage of' someone is defined. When you meet someone in a bar, the implication for most people (whether you like that implication or not) is that you're both drinking. That's an important part of why most people go to bars.
posted by bingo at 12:32 PM on January 7, 2008


There's an article about one such scumbag that does it here

Don't fucking compare me to that guy. If you actually read the article, and read the responses in this thread (You should read! It's good for you!) you'll see that I'm not doing anything like what that guy is doing. Nowhere am I trying to mislead the girl into thinking that I'm drinking more alcohol than I'm drinking. Even in the case where I order an alcoholic drink and drink very little of it, the girl could plainly see how little I'm drinking.

For me, ordering a club soda in a bar is normal behavior, it's what I do at least 3 times a week when I'm out with friends and such. You will not convince me that I'm a slimeball.

However, I do understand if my not-drinking would send the wrong signals. I don't think it's fair, but I'm willing to accept it as fact. I certainly don't want someone to think I'm a slimeball when I'm actually not.
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 12:37 PM on January 7, 2008


I can imagine that you do not assume it as skeevy because you are picturing yourself doing it. You can't see why it is, in your circumstance, skeevy for you to just not be drinking when they are.

However, from another persons perspective, who does not know you, you are just some guy at a bar misleading them by what appears to be a gin and tonic or vodka and lime, etc. Your actions could be interpreted as trying to position yourself to take advantage of your date (they are drinking and are under the influence of alcohol, you are not). Why would you want to take them to a bar and not drink booze while they do? It is a valid question that could easily be 'answered' with the idea that "well, he's just a skeevy guy, and he's trying get me drunk to get into my pants, but he can't handle or hold liquor himself." And they may not even bring up the subject, but just discount you and never return your phone call. I think it would be best just to tell them up front.

I've gone on dates with women who didn't drink / vegan / vegetarian / allergic to wheat / dairy, etc. and the cases where I was most interested in the women was when they were up front about their dietery restrictions, but the ones who would mention it but then ignore it because they didn't want to seem weird were the ones I didn't bother calling back, in part because they were so willing to try to see normal or not be difficult that I found them really quite unappealing. (Which may also happen when you order a martini and then proceed to not drink it the rest of the night, which would also cause questions).

Honestly, I think your best bet is to be forward that you don't drink alcohol, don't try to just sip at your booze (it's not good for you, thats why you aren't drinking the first place right?), and go from there. You can find other socially lubricating activities besides drinking (or them drinking) that would help start a date, such as shared physical activity, or really just conversations about a common topic, and if getting drinks appears to be happening later in the evening, you can still mention your dietary restriction. Just as someone who doesn't eat cheese might mention it before going to a pizza place, I don't think it would cause that much of an issue.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:43 PM on January 7, 2008


Elmo Oxygen writes "I feel like I'm commenting in my own thread too much, and it's hard to resist considering the charges being leveled at me."

No one is leveling charges: they're just giving you worst-case-scenarios for how you might be perceived. They're not trying to be confrontational or call you out: they're warning that some people might perceive your behavior as less-than-honest. Please don't take this warning (which is valid, even though it might be a rather extreme worst-case-scenario) as an actual allegation of dishonesty.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:44 PM on January 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just wouldn't offer to take someone somewhere where I couldn't partake in the main thing being offered. It'd be like taking a date to a hookah bar if I were allergic to smoke. It doesn't matter how comfortable you are with other people doing it; what's in it for you? It might make you look skeevy, as mentioned above, or it might make you look like you're trying too hard to please your date/too unimaginative to take her anywhere that both of you would equally enjoy. (If you mention up front that you don't drink, it will be the latter, but if you don't tell her up front, it will be the former.)

If you go out with a woman, and you end up seriously dating her, you have the entire rest of the relationship to be a good sport about hanging out in bars with her while she drinks and you don't.

So I'd go against first dates at bars (and really, it's not as great an idea as you might think - they're often too loud to carry on a good conversation, and the implication usually is that you're going to get wasted and take advantage of each other, even if that's not your intent). I'm not a huge fan of coffeeshop first dates, either. If I were on the market, I'd enjoy an interesting activity/concert/art exhibit followed by chatting over coffee or burgers at a greasy spoon... but that's just me.

On preview: everything mrzarquon said.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:48 PM on January 7, 2008


Some people go to bars for other reasons besides drinks, whether it's socializing or bar food or simply the atmosphere. I certainly did when I had an ulcer and couldn't drink. I guess the best way to phrase it is "do you want to go to XBAR/CLUB?" not "do you want to go for drinks?"

Depending on the nature of your condition you might want to inform the date. I always just ordered ginger ale, then grimaced and mumbled about my stomach. Sometimes I explained more, but I always assume people don't want to hear the details about stomach problems.

Other times I'd only drink a little and than say "yeah, I'm just not a big drinker." I don't really think that bothers most people.

Then again, I'm a woman. But I know if I saw my date not drinking much, I'd take the signal and not drink much either. I'd only be annoyed if he did something like brought himself a ginger ale and drank it up...and then another...and another without informing me it was ginger ale.
posted by melissam at 12:52 PM on January 7, 2008


Being invited out for drinks one-on-one then finding out my date didn't plan to drink would be a big deal-breaker for me. It would be hard for me to feel like it was anything other than being involved in someone else's performance piece without being asked if I really wanted to play the role. I'd feel a bit like the date was about watching me drink, even if that's not at all what my date intended.

The alcohol is almost a bit of a red herring, I think. It'd be no different from being invited out to a steak place, ordering the prime rib, then having my date tell me that he was a vegetarian, but just really liked watching people eat steak. That's not a great first impression to make; I'm going to wonder what the heck is going on, feel extremely uncomfortable and self-conscious, and probably never call the guy back for a second date. (By the fifth date? I'd probably find it an endearing quirk. So it's not like you'll never get to hang out in bars again.)

I don't drink in situations where I'm the only one drinking, even if it's just me and the boyfriend eating dinner in front of the television. It makes me feel a bit self-conscious, and I don't like partaking alone. I also don't eat meat in front of vegetarian friends; it doesn't have very much to do with them (I'm sure they probably don't care), but rather with the fact that it makes me feel weird and self-conscious. I think you should be sensitive to the fact that there are a lot of people out there who would feel strange in that situation, regardless of your intentions, and steer clear of a bar for a first date.
posted by iminurmefi at 12:53 PM on January 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's not skeevy. Tell her you don't drink - and why, if you want to - but you don't care if she does.

It seems like everyone's overthinking this.
posted by item at 12:54 PM on January 7, 2008


Ok, so, it seems like the consensus is that asking someone out for drinks and then not drinking will come off as skeevy.

No. The consensus is that you be honest. And you have nothing- NOTHING- to be ashamed of, so do it.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 1:01 PM on January 7, 2008


I agree with the majority of posters here. Elmo Oxygen, no one is accusing you of having unethical intentions or being a skeezy guy. You sound like a nice guy, in fact. What the posters are pointing out is appearances, which can be taken in many ways by people that hardly know you. I agree that the ideal first date for someone in your situation would be coffee, ice cream, dessert, lunch, or anything that doesn't automatically involve alcohol. It just simplifies the situation. If you are determined to invite your dates to bars, then just be upfront about the fact that you won't be drinking. Honesty is important, and since alcohol can create charged expectations and situations, it's particularly important to be honest regarding alcohol.
posted by bassjump at 1:01 PM on January 7, 2008


The consensus is that you be honest. And you have nothing- NOTHING- to be ashamed of, so do it.

Right. I should have added in my comment--I wouldn't have a problem if someone asked me out and said, "Do you want to grab coffee? Or we could get drinks at X, which has a really awesome rooftop bar in the summer, although I'll probably be sticking to the club sodas," and I might even choose the bar, because the weirdness is exponentially less if I'm choosing the drinking-venue knowing that my date doesn't drink. The weirdness would all come about from being put in the situation of being at a bar on a first date and not realizing beforehand that my date didn't drink.
posted by iminurmefi at 1:07 PM on January 7, 2008


If you can find a bar that is also a coffee shop, that seems like it would be the best of both worlds. The vast majority of people nowadays (at least, in my line of business, which is online dating) agree that a coffee date is a good first date because it can lead to something else, is cheap, and not too time-constraining.

Finding a bar that also has a nice selection of coffees and desserts (or a restaurant, or a coffee shop that serves liquor) is a great compromise.

Asking a girl out for a dessert date would probably be fun, too... maybe I'm projecting, though, because I love sweets.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:28 PM on January 7, 2008


Don't fucking compare me to that guy. If you actually read the article, and read the responses in this thread (You should read! It's good for you!) you'll see that I'm not doing anything like what that guy is doing.

OK, I realize you're feeling defensive about it, but if you calm down and (re)read what I wrote, you'll see that I didn't say you were a douchebag, but I did point out that someone who has no idea what your intentions are might easily come to that conclusion. I know that you're not a slimeball because I read your question; unfortunately, your first date doesn't have the benefit of that knowledge and has only your (perceived, perhaps) deception to go on.

Anyway, what we are trying to tell you is that pretending to drink when you are not, in fact, drinking, can be seen as deceptive and skeezy. Drinking club soda while being honest about it is perfectly ok. That is why douchebag guy is a douchebag, and why you won't be mistaken for him as long as you are honest about what you are doing.
posted by stefanie at 1:56 PM on January 7, 2008


stefanie - that wasn't aimed at you. I understood what you were saying. My comment was aimed at this guy, who did everything but threaten to beat me up.
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 1:59 PM on January 7, 2008


And please realize that it was never my intention to pretend to drink. In fact, if you read my question, you'll see that, all along, I was assuming that she'd eventually find out that I wasn't drinking.

For me, the club soda thing is part of my standard protocol for hanging out at a bar. Bars are places where people are happy and social, and that's why I hang out at them. My main reason for drinking the club soda is that I've found that people will feel uncomfortable talking to someone at a bar who doesn't have a drink in their hand. Strangely, this holds true even when they know that what you're drinking has no alcohol in it. Weird, huh?
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 2:04 PM on January 7, 2008


(Last sentence came out weird. Basically, what I've found is that people at a bar feel more comfortable talking to someone who has a drink in their hand, even if they know that the drink is nonalcoholic.)
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 2:07 PM on January 7, 2008


Elmo Oxygen, you have asked a question about how women might perceive a certain behavior of yours during a first date with a man they don't know well. There is a high correlation between this behavior and types of men who a woman will decide not to go on a second date with. It is therefore suggested that you avoid exhibiting this behavior on a first date, not because you are one of those types of men, but because you run a risk of your date lumping you in with a category in which you do not belong and rejecting you.

How about asking her out for boba tea? "Lets go out for drinks" is overdone anyhow. But if you must go out for drinks, don't put it that way -- say "lets meet at bar X for a chat/play pool/check out the new place that opened", and when you get there, tell her you are ordering a [name of nonalcoholic beverage] and ask her what she would like.
posted by yohko at 2:35 PM on January 7, 2008


I think the issue of having a drink (any drink) in your hand, is that it feels like a shared experience. When you go out to dinner, you both eat; when you go for coffee, you both get coffee (even if one of you has hot chocolate); it's the same with a bar - even one of us is drinking cranberry juice or club soda, it feels more like we're doing the same thing instead of just standing in the same building.

Particularly at a bar, if the person I'm talking to doesn't have a drink in his hand it likely means that he's finished his drink but hasn't ordered another because we're leaving soon. Which means he's standing around patiently waiting for me to finish my drink, and then I feel like I've got to hurry up. So if I see you at a bar without a drink, I might think you're about to leave (or at least that you're not committed to staying for the length of time it would take to finish a drink) and I'd probably feel a little awkward, like I'm keeping you from things you'd rather be doing.
posted by stefanie at 2:51 PM on January 7, 2008


I don't necessarily think that a bar is a good place for a first date, regardless of whether both parties drink or not. The volume in bars tends to be pretty loud, and I want to be able to hear what someone is saying when I'm trying to get to know them. Unless there is some sort of activity or entertainment you both enjoy - a good pool table, bowling, live music, etc. - I'd recommend going someplace quiet for conversation before doing something fun that doesn't necessarily involve a bar or club. If you go for drinks, you can casually mention that you don't drink, but certainly don't mind if she does.
I wouldn't find it skeevy if the person I was with wasn't drinking, unless that person lied about it or was obviously trying to get me very drunk very fast by plying me with multiple shots or very strong drinks. If anything, it would encourage me to moderate my own drinking, but I certainly wouldn't find it offensive, or even that unusual.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:53 PM on January 7, 2008


I'm a woman. I don't really drink. I have maybe one drink a year. I'll go out with others and let them drink, which is fine, but I would want to be aware of it.

Just be upfront about not being able to drink. Or alternatively, say -


"Let's go out for: coffee/tea/lunch/ice cream/frozen yogurt/brunch/ a movie.... "
posted by cmgonzalez at 3:57 PM on January 7, 2008


Just be honest. I'm in the same boat, though I'm a woman. I cannot drink with the medication I have to take for a chronic health issue. I've done a lot of dating in the past year, so this topic has come up a lot. It's kind of awkward to talk about one's medical condition on a first date (I don't get into specifics unless they really want to know), but I'm always honest about it, if the date does take place at a bar.

I tend to suggest lunch or dinner or coffee/dessert dates. Or a bar where there's a pool table or foosball or pinball, so you can do something rather than just sit around and drink cranberry and soda (my usual drink of choice).

Also, I've gone out with many men who didn't drink either, mostly just due to personal choice. Maybe you'll find such a gal and it won't be an issue at all?
posted by medeine at 4:22 PM on January 7, 2008


Eh, there's no skeeviness here unless the girl is dumb. And many women respect guys that don't drink; it's certainly a distinguishing feature and demonstrates a measure of self-control. Tell her the truth: you can't drink because of your health but you still enjoy the bar/club atmosphere. She'll know exactly what you mean.
posted by nixerman at 5:34 PM on January 7, 2008


Ditto nixerman.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:18 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I drink. I was married to a non-drinker for 9 years. Our first date was at a bar. When we went up to the actual bar to order drinks I ordered my (alcohol) drink, he ordered a coke. I looked at him and asked, "Not drinking tonight?" he replied, "I actually don't drink at all, never have." No problem, it wasn't creepy or "skeevy" or any issue at all. I would say it's not something to concentrate on, not something to be made a huge issue of, just let it come out as it naturally will.
posted by illek at 8:21 PM on January 7, 2008


Now, I'm in Seattle, where the default first date is coffee, so make of this what you will. But if I were asked out on a first date specifically to a bar by a guy who told me he couldn't drink for medical reasons -- well, it'd depend on exactly how he delivered that, but there's a pretty good chance that I would consider the possibility that he was actually a recovering alcoholic who hadn't lost his fascination with bars. I've seen that kind of thing, and it was swiftly followed by relapse; and I've heard "medical reasons" used as a medical-model quasi-euphemism for addiction.

Specifying a bar (and only a bar) in that situation would seem pretty weird to me, and I'd probably go all plate-of-beans on it. After all, an alcoholic in denial is more drama than I'm ever likely to pursue, and I'd be willing to make some Type I errors to avoid that kind of thing. I'd become unusually alert to further possible weirdness. So, no, it wouldn't start you off on the right foot with me.

On the other hand, If I knew you pretty well already, or if we had a good mutual friend, things would be different. Otherwise, by the third date or so I'd probably feel I had you sussed enough to be perfectly comfortable.
posted by sculpin at 8:47 PM on January 7, 2008


Ok, so I've done my best to tally the answers, in the hopes of coming up with some sort of consensus. And we have :

Won't come off as sleazy, don't worry about it : 11
Won't come off as sleazy as long as, when I ask her out, I tell her that I don't drink : 9
Asking a girl out for drinks and not drinking will come off as sleazy no matter what I do : 6
Won't come off as sleazy as long as, once we reach the bar, I make it clear that I'm not drinking : 3
My not drinking will make her feel nervous and weird : 2
Won't come off as sleazy as long as I tell her, at some point, that I won't be drinking (ambiguous) : 2
What I'm suggesting is "the definition of sleaziness" : 1
When I chat up some girl that I randomly meet at a bar, I'm supposed to tell her that I haven't been drinking, otherwise I'm "taking advantage of her" : 1 (WTF?!)

So, yeah, not much of a clear consensus here.

Lots of people seem to favor the idea of telling her that I don't drink when I initially ask her out. This sounds awkward and pretty much defeats the purpose of drinks as a date suggestion. The whole idea is that drinks is a common, simple, non-threatening first date idea. The girl pretty much knows right away whether or not she wants to do it. Asking someone out is awkward enough as it is, and I'd rather just drop the whole drinks idea completely than to complicate the whole thing. I feel the same way about the "giving options" idea. I think that asking someone out should be simple, and the more they have to think about it, the less of a chance there is that they'll actually do it. In the ideal case, asking them out should take the form of, "Do you want to do X?" Once again, I'd sooner just drop the drinks idea completely than to complicate things.

I still vehemently disagree with the notion that what I was proposing (going out for drinks and not drinking) was in some way sleazy or dishonest. The whole notion is absurd. When men drink, they are *more likely* to take advantage of a girl. Even if she does think that I'm drinking alcohol, that just means that she's drinking with someone who is *less likely* to take advantage of her than she may have thought. However, I understand that these things are not completely rational, and yes, I understand that, to some girls, I may come off as sleazy. This isn't fair, but hey, life ain't fair. It could be worse, I could have cancer or some shit, blah blah blah blah blah.

It really annoys me how this thread became a referendum on my alleged sleaziness, as that was really only a part of my question. However, this could have been my fault for commenting in my own thread. I should really know better.

And to all the armchair psychologists in the house - yes, I really do have a bona fide medical problem. Sorry if my unwillingness to go into the gory details makes me sound like a recovering alcoholic. I don't really understand why you think I would ask a question like this and then lie about my reasons for not drinking, but whatever.

So I said, not much of a consensus here, although, by my count, 24 of you think there is some possibility that I'll be taken for a sleazeball, whereas 11 think that I have nothing at all to worry about. So, if the world population resembled the AskMe community (which I doubt), that would mean that nearly 2 in 3 girls may think that I'm a sleazeball. So maybe the odds aren't so good.

I don't think that I'm going to chuck the drinks idea completely, but I am going to start thinking of alternatives. Coffee/tea shops aren't a terribly bad idea.
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 10:44 PM on January 7, 2008


It really annoys me how this thread became a referendum on my alleged sleaziness...

*sigh*

OK dude. Go ahead and take it personally. Apparently nothing anyone says is going to convince you otherwise.

Good luck on your date.
posted by ottereroticist at 11:30 PM on January 7, 2008


Perhaps you could order something that is more cocktail like than just a club soda.

If you are going to good bar (and if you are going "out for drinks", there is no excuse to go anywhere but a good bar), you should be abled to ask the bartender for a " non-alcoholic drink". Possible adjectives might include; sweet, sour, tart, bitter, refreshing, tropical, light, warming, heavy. Have some faith in the bartender, answer his questions honestly, and when you are made a good drink, ask what's in it so you can ask for that drink elsewhere if need be. Be prepared to pay a reasonable amount for the drink (I usually see the cost of a basic rail drink).

As I can count the number of good bars that I have been to on one hand, let's assume that the bar you are in is less than stellar. Here are a few simple drinks you could ask for (note that not all of these have actually been tested by me, but I am reasonably confident of them).
  • Half ginger ale half cranberry juice on the rocks with two squirts of bitters. It's a fine drink without the bitters, but the bitters really finish it. Note, bitters is alcoholic in the same way vanilla extract is alcoholic.
  • Half cranberry juice and half lemonade in a tall glass with ice. More cranberry if you like tart, more lemonade if you like sweet.
  • 1 oz each of OJ, pineapple, and lemon juice, top with club soda or 7up.
  • a virgin mary; made just like the alcoholic one, but with no alcohol.
  • Pineapple juice and coconut cream, shaken well. Serve in cocktail glass.
  • 3 oz apple juice, 1 oz lemon juice, dash of bitters. Shake well and serve in cocktail glass
  • club soda, dash of ginger ale for color, 5 squirts of bitters, on the rocks.
  • Half ginger ale, half cranberry juice, 2 squirts of bitters, on the rocks.
As a sidenote; I consider a good bar to be one that can both make classic drinks well as well as make modern drinks that are not all overly sweet. This means that they must have simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and bitters. For more information on good classic drinks, I would suggest Esquire Drinks: An Opinionated & Irreverent Guide to Drinking With 250 Drink Recipes (If you are interested in good drinks, it's worth $50).

posted by fief at 11:54 PM on January 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


When men drink, they are *more likely* to take advantage of a girl. Even if she does think that I'm drinking alcohol, that just means that she's drinking with someone who is *less likely* to take advantage of her than she may have thought.

You may honestly believe this. Many of the women you are dating will not. I'm a woman, and I don't. Many women may believe that if a man has it in his character to criminally assault a woman, he will do so regardless of whether or not he has been drinking. Many of the women you are dating may believe that if a man has deceived them about one thing, he may be deceiving them about other things, such as his character. Women are not monolithic; neither are men. Many different things are true of different men, and different women believe many different things about men.

Many women believe, based on good evidence (such as the article linked above), that there are some men who refrain from drinking in order to retain the upper hand in dating situations. You are telling us that you are not one of those men, and we have no reason not to believe you, because you seem like a nice guy now that we've gotten to know you a bit. But when you are secretive about your non-drinking on dates, you give people who don't know you, and thus have no reason to trust you (because they have no evidence about your character one way or the other), reason to question your motives. You give them reason to put you in the "questionable motives" category, a category you don't seem to belong in. They may ultimately conclude, as most of us have, that you are a nice guy. But why give them reason to doubt you in the first place? Why not just be up front about everything?

This thread is not "a referendum on [your] alleged sleaziness." It is a bit of advice from some women (and men) about how, upon meeting a total stranger in a bar and finding out something unusual about him, they might perceive his behavior in light of that information. No one is impugning your motives for not drinking, or calling you a rapist, or threatening your safety. We're telling you that women who date strangers are playing an odds game, and the behavior you display when you conceal your non-drinking tilts the odds against you. If you are open about not drinking, you tilt the odds in your favor, particularly with the women you are most likely to be compatible with.
posted by decathecting at 8:27 AM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Did you notice how the people in the "Won't come off as sleazy, don't worry about it" category are predominantly male? This should tell you something. For our own safety, women have to be on guard with strange men. On a first date, you are a strange man.

Extra data point, if I "found out" halfway through a first date at a bar that my date was totally sober and I was 3 drinks in, I would probably immediately start drinking water to sober up and call my friend to pick me up, because I wouldn't trust him at all. Up front is fine--mentioning it after I've started drinking is definitely a red flag.
posted by almostmanda at 8:52 AM on January 8, 2008


Cool down a bit Elmo -- apart from the one comment that you mentioned earlier (which has since been removed by the admins), no one is telling you that you're sleazy. They're telling you, as has been outlined many times already, how the whole scenario might be perceived by the women you're asking out. It's not a referendum or a verdict on your personality. Make it clear that you're not drinking alcohol at the start and just go from there. Or find another place for that first date.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 9:05 AM on January 8, 2008


But when you are secretive about your non-drinking on dates, you give people who don't know you, and thus have no reason to trust you (because they have no evidence about your character one way or the other), reason to question your motives.

And this is what gets me. This is why I'm saying things that you people are calling "defensive."

NOWHERE, ANYWHERE WAS I PLANNING ON BEING SECRETIVE OR DECEPTIVE.

Here, I'll say it again :

NOWHERE, ANYWHERE WAS I PLANNING ON BEING SECRETIVE OR DECEPTIVE.

Here, I'll put it in big, bold letters, just in case you missed it the first two times.

NOWHERE, ANYWHERE WAS I PLANNING ON BEING SECRETIVE OR DECEPTIVE.

Look at the text of the post. Look at my comments in this thread. All along, I was assuming that she would find out that I wasn't drinking alcohol. If you look at the text of my question, you'll see that, which is why I ask whether or not this will freak her out.

This has probably been the most frustrating part of this thread. Someone even accused me of making "crazy deceptions," and some people even favorited that comment!

So please, for fucks sake, if you don't want me to be "defensive," don't accuse me of being dishonest when I had no plans of being such.
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 9:15 AM on January 8, 2008


Elmo, you asked "If I don't go out of my way to tell the girl that I'm drinking club soda, do you think she'll be freaked out when she finds out that I'm not drinking alcohol?"

The idea of "not going out your way" to mention something, and then leaving it up to your date to "find out" something, is what people have been reacting to, because it comes across like you're hiding something. And if you ask "Do you think she'll be freaked out?", and people answer, "Yes, we think she'll be freaked out, here's why; maybe you could try this instead?", it makes little sense to go ballistic. We're answering your exact question.

Given that you will apparently freak out if your date freaks out, I'm going to reiterate the advice that maybe you shouldn't be putting yourself in that position to begin with.
posted by occhiblu at 9:23 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Elmo, I see you've closed your account and so I don't know if you're going to come back to this, but for what it's worth:

No one thinks you were planning on being deceptive or skeezy. There have been a great many comments in here that, while disagreeing on the finer points, agreed that your best bet is to avoid the mistaken perception of deception or skeeziness by being proactive/straightforward about your non-drinking up front. That's pretty much it. If you go with that, you're probably bulletproof on the subject and can move on to the other five hundred complicated details of dating.

Folks mentioned that Paul Janka douchebag not to compare you to him but to offer you a glimpse at the worst-case-scenario perception of not being straightforward. They weren't saying you're a douchebag, they're saying you could be mistaken for having bad or deceptive intent because of the greater context of the dating scene. You seem, in asking this question, to be very concerned about mistaken perceptions of your intentions: people here were trying to help you suss that out.

I'm sorry you were so upset by this. I've removed your final comment -- that's moving outside the realm of what's okay in AskMe, even if you're upset. If you want to followup in any fashion, let me know; my emails in my profile.
posted by cortex at 10:10 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


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