The first time I soberly kissed someone, I couldn’t stop laughing. Back then, it was so unnatural to kiss without having had one (or 10) drinks first.
Drunk, I could date anyone cute. The guy was 8 years younger than me when I was traveling to Statia Island. He was my friend’s ex. He told me he had a crush on me the whole time he was dating my friend.
Because alcohol impairs the frontal lobe of the brain – the part responsible for judgment – bad decisions can often do good. I’m not saying dating a younger man or your friend’s ex is always bad, but for me, at the time, it was bad choices.
Alcohol itself is largely about instant pleasure. So it follows that the more we drink and the more often, the more we live in the moment – to hell with the consequences.
Sober, I learned that the consequences are very real. I no longer wanted to date people who were totally inappropriate for me simply because I found the situations interesting, exciting, or electrically aroused.
As I kissed Tom, between giggles, I realized I was nervous and uncomfortable with what I was letting happen. I had nothing in common with this person other than the fact that we were both sober (which is why a mutual friend introduced us).
He’s worked on cars, so I can’t explain how windshield wipers work. I write for a living and I had to explain some of the longest words I used. I had the chance to travel the globe, while Tom had never left Florida.
Of course, if there were enough other compatibility items, we could have ignored them and focused on building a foundation. But I realized that I had no desire to do that.
I realized that I was done dating inappropriate people.
More importantly, I realized that I hate it when men rush over the physical aspect of dating.
Even when I first started kissing boys, I never liked how quickly the boys accelerated, grabbing my body while I was still deciding how I felt about them. Maybe they knew I was sizing them up. Maybe they were trying to see how far they could go before I realized I didn’t like them.
Over the years and through the power of alcohol, I have learned – to some degree – to accept the rapid physical advancement of modern dating. But even drunk, I often felt pushed too far too fast.
I remember once when I met a cute guy in a bar. As he walked to his car, I joined him intending to have a quick kiss or two. Instead, about 3 minutes later, he started forcefully pushing my head towards his crotch, which to me is one of the most disrespectful things a man can do to a woman.
Drunk or sober, we tend to know we deserve better, but drunkenness makes us more vulnerable and less resistant to what we know isn’t good for us.
But back to Tom. Tom was a great kisser, but he too seemed to be under a deadline to touch as much of my body as quickly as possible. He kept trying to get his hands under my skirt.
The fact that he kept cajoling me all the time only made it worse: “Relax. Let yourself go. Do not hold back.
If I had listened to him, I could easily have agreed that I was tense and had to “give in to my passions”. Although I didn’t feel much passion, just uncertainty – hence the uncontrollable laughter.
And that’s all: I didn’t need men to talk to me about my passions. I didn’t need my love life explained to me by a man, much less someone trying to get into my pants.
Before I got sober, I might have been flattered by the attention, thinking he was cute. But sober, I was fully using my brain with all of its discernment, which was telling me that I wasn’t sure how I felt about the person I was kissing.
Therefore, I realized that the question I had to ask was, “Should I date Tom?” not “How far should I let Tom go on a first date?” Sober, I was in touch with my instincts, more blunted by a drink, which told me that I didn’t want to be sitting on an IKEA sofa with Tom, doing something I would later regret. Damn, I regretted it even when it was happening. So I left.
Too often when I drank, I regretted what I had done because I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I started dating boys when I was 13. Back then, every wink and every kiss made me feel pretty. I wasn’t sure I was beautiful unless a boy told me to. This attention has become an addiction. Like alcohol, the attention of sex that attracts us is a short-lived high. I had to hunt him daily and it was never enough.
What we often miss is that attention and love are not the same things. Far from there. If we just attract attention, especially from men we ultimately don’t want to be with, we’ll fail to form a deeper connection with someone we truly care about.
Attention is like crumbs, while love is all the cake. Having it all, to me, feels like a relationship with someone who wants to help me achieve my dreams, vacation with me, and build a life together.
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