When it comes to first dates, is going out for a drink your go-to? Or are you finding yourself looking for ways to spend romantic time with people without imbibing? Whether it’s for physical or mental health purposes — or simply because you just don’t feel like drinking alcohol (or dealing with a dreaded next-day hangover) — more and more people are embracing “dry dating” in 2022. But what exactly is this new dating trend, and why is it more and more popular this year?
What is dry dating?
Unlike roaching or freckling, dry dating is a dating trend that’s pretty easy to decipher by name alone — put simply, dry dating means going on dates while sober-minded, and without drinking alcohol. While this may not seem groundbreaking, having a drink on a date has long been seen as a way for many people to “loosen up” and relax amid the potential anxiety of putting themselves out there. Dating while totally sober takes away that social lubricant, which can be scary — but can potentially lead to more sober conversations and real connections.
The trend appears to be on the rise in the past few years, as daters grapple with navigating dating during a pandemic. According to a survey conducted by Bumble, 34 per cent of surveyed users of the app say that they’re more likely to go on a dry — AKA alcohol-free — date now than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
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What are some alternatives to drinking alcohol?
One factor that could be driving this trend could be the rise of non-alcoholic alternatives available. While the motivation to drink on a date is often the perceived surge of liquid courage that comes with the alcohol, some people may order a cocktail for the social and ritual factors. Having a cocktail in hand gives you something to sip, hold and clink as needed, depending on how the date is going.
For those who want the drink in hand but not the alcohol in 2022, there is a growing array of low- and non-alcoholic drinks and alcohol-free beverages available that offer the charm and ritual of enjoying a “cocktail” — sans the spirits. If a glass of water doesn’t feel special enough for a dinner date, mocktails and non-alcoholic spirits can provide a happy medium.
Alternatively, not all dates need to involve consuming drinks of any kind. Dry dating can also lead to more creative date planning. When dates don’t revolve around drinks, they can instead open opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, share hobbies or just spend time together — no sips needed.