Dean Harrison started his health kick in early November. He bought a Peloton and started exercising more. He also decided to give up alcohol until the new year.
But none of that has stopped her search for a new romantic partner.
Harrison went on three dates in November, two walks and one at a restaurant, and did not drink during any of them.
“They’re more real,” she said of her non-alcoholic dates. “They are more raw. You get to know someone much faster than going to a bar when you don’t have the crutch of alcohol. “
The dating app Bumble has listed “dry dating” as a dating trend for 2022. According to a survey conducted among Bumble users, 29 percent of respondents in Canada said they drink much less and 34 percent of Bumble users say they are more likely to go on a dry date now than before COVID-19. TO Gallup Poll August 2021 reported that 60 percent of American adults drink alcoholic beverages, up from 65 percent in 2019.
Abby Goldstein, associate professor of applied psychology and human development at the University of Toronto Institute for Studies in Education, says that drinking has both pros and cons for dating.
“It can lead to disclosure of information in a way that a person would not be comfortable with if they weren’t under the influence of alcohol,” Goldstein said. “That can increase anxiety after the date.”
Goldstein also said that alcohol helps us relax, which could make it easier for some people to connect. “Alcohol is a social lubricant, so it can help people open up a bit more … That can be especially true if they are generally nervous about dating or have a hard time talking about themselves.”
But Goldstein said relying on alcohol to get comfortable on a date can be problematic. “What happens when you are on a date and you are not drinking alcohol?” she said. “In those situations, there can be heightened anxiety, the worry of ‘Oh, without a drink, I’m not going to be able to perform well on stage and it’s not going to go well.’
Instead, she wants single people to “feel as confident going on a date without alcohol as they would if they knew there was alcohol on the table.”
Goldstein recommends preparing some conversation starters and questions in advance. “Have some ideas of things they would like to share about themselves … But also have some ideas of important questions they want to know about the other person.”
For those new to dry dating, Harrison recommends that people inform their date in advance that they will not be drinking. “It can really surprise people if you don’t tell them ahead of time,” he said. “I’ve also been to the other extreme, where you go to a bar to meet someone on a date. They come there and they say ‘I’m going to have some green tea.’ It’s weird when you don’t know. “
Instead, dry daters can propose a time and place that lend themselves to not consuming alcohol. Harrison likes to suggest meeting earlier in the week, rather than on a Friday or Saturday when drinking is expected.
He also enjoys daytime meetings on the weekends.
“Taking your date out of a beautifully lit bar, where everyone looks dazzling, and doing it in the middle of the day in a park, takes away the facade of what to drink and a beautiful place will cover a bit,” Harrison said.
Choosing a place that has non-alcoholic options on the bar menu is another way to go, whether you’re the one who doesn’t drink or you’re not sure if this will be your date.
And as always, communication is key. Harrison said talk ahead about drinking preferences to help filter out potential mismatches. “If you tell them you’re not drinking and suggest a first date in the park, then they’re very quiet or indecisive or can’t think of other solutions, then don’t go ahead,” he said. . “That is telling you something right there. Maybe that’s not the right person for you. “
Without alcohol, Harrison admits that he feels a little more anxious about dating. “I’m the type of person that I think, ‘There should never be a quiet moment, never,’” he said. “I am always thinking about the next question. I was wondering if I would still be able to do that so charismatically without alcohol. “
But after his first alcohol-free dates went well, Harrison got used to going out without drinking and believes the benefits are worth it. “I definitely want to add more dried dates even when I start drinking again.”
Where to drink when you are not drinking
Danijela Kovac, founder of Toronto’s non-alcoholic wine company Teetotaler Wines, shares some of the city’s favorite bars and restaurants with non-alcoholic drink options.
Greta Solomon, 1118 Queen St E. “It’s a very cozy and sexy French bistro style when you want to do something romantic,” Kovac said. Greta Solomon serves a red, white and sparkling rosé from Teetotaler.
The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St W. The Drake’s main lounge and new lobby bar in its modern wing serve a selection of warm non-alcoholic cocktails, such as the Sapsucker Collins, featuring sparkling organic tree water, passion fruit liqueur, lemon and mint.
Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor St. W. Accompany your first date with a few laughs during a show at the Comedy Bar, which serves non-alcoholic Partake beers.
Grape Crush, 1166 Dundas St W. “They have their bar right on the patio in the summer,” Kovac said. While your patio is out of order during the winter, this is a favorite for warmer weather.