I'm not like most people.
On the outside, yeah, I look like any old Joe Schmo in the world.
I go to my job, I go to the gym, I have hobbies and I'm in the dating scene.
There is one thing beneath the surface that not only sets me apart from most of the population, but it also downright scares some people.
That's right, I don't drink alcohol, I don't do any drugs and I don't smoke anything.
I just go through life listlessly in the clarity of sobriety.
I remember pretty much everyone I've hooked up with, I can always drive and I won't be experiencing emphysema or liver damage any time soon (hopefully).
But for a lot of people — particularly the people I am interested in dating — this is an issue.
You see, in our society, it is the social norm to go out and have a few drinks to loosen yourself up when you go out on a date.
Well, I'm either constantly loose or constantly uptight because I don't participate in such actions, and that can make it hard out there in the dating world for a person like me.
So, if you are curious and want to gain some perspective on what it's like to date when you're a sober person, or if you are a sober person looking for some kind of commiseration, you've come to the right place.
Since few people know what it's like to be a sober person on in the dating scene, I'd like to tell you about how difficult it is and how strange this world can be.
First of all, it's nearly impossible to find a suitable first date spot.
Every date I've asked a woman out on, the first suggestion that comes out of her mouth is, "Yeah, let's go get some drinks."
But the problem is, I can't say yes and then surprise her at the bar with the information that I don't drink.
That's borderline creepy.
Forget the borderline, most people would consider that a huge red flag, especially women.
"You mean you want me to drink, and you're not going to drink?"
I'd come off as pretty date-rapey.
Whenever I drop the bomb that I don't drink via a dating app, it almost immediately ceases conversation.
People think it's weird, or they think I am a Mormon or something.
So, if you're a sober person and you want to get that first date, here is a trick I've learned to play.
When someone suggests getting drinks, say something like, "Oh, getting drinks is so overdone, let's do something different," and then I come up with a unique thing to do.
You can go bowling, see a comedy show or play mini golf.
You can do anything that doesn't really involve drinking, and then you can slowly ease into the conversation that you don't drink after you've already wooed your date a bit.
Another problem I've constantly run into while dating as a sober person is the label that I'm "no fun."
Many women I've been on dates with will say I'm not fun simply because I don't drink.
Hell, even my mother has said it to me a few times.
It's kind of sad that drinking is a requirement in order to be a fun person these days.
I think you can do a lot of fun things without the need of booze or drugs, but the perception is completely different.
Just because I don't want to drown myself in a liquid that could potentially make me puke my guts up, I'm apparently no fun.
Well, if you are one of the people who require drinking or drugs in order to have fun, you most likely aren't fun to begin with.
If you need some kind of magic elixir that turns you fun, you're not fun.
I don't need that stuff to be fun, trust me.
And most likely, you don't either, but you need to give yourself a chance and open yourself up to the possibility that there is fun to be had without drugs and alcohol.
Since I have never drank or smoked anything in my life, people just think I'm weird.
No one thinks I'm courageous person.
It's strange because the people who have had a history of alcoholism or drug abuse in their lives or in their families get some kind of badge of honor because of it.
People respect those who have recovered from alcoholism or drug abuse way more than they respect those who have never touched the stuff in their lives.
I find this baffling.
If you think it's weird that sober people have avoided stuff that has potential to ruin their lives, then I don't quite understand that logic.
Many women I've dated just think I need to give it a try before I can judge it.
Well, I've seen it ruin many peoples' lives.
People die in drunk driving accidents almost every day, people have their organs ruined by the stuff and some people lose family members due to alcohol and drugs.
I don't think it's too insane to avoid it.
Sure, I obviously know that not everyone succumbs to the dangers of alcohol and drugs, but a lot of people do.
That's enough to keep me away.
The crazy thing is you don't even have to officially have a "problem" with it in order for it to ruin your life.
You could just get a little too wasted one night, drive home and crash your car.
Then, your life is completely changed.
Personal injury, financial problems, the injury of others and jail time are just a few of the terrible things that can happen if you just have one crazy night of drinking or doing drugs.
Again, I know that this doesn't happen in every single case of doing drugs or drinking, but it certainly ups the odds of that kind of stuff happening to you.
So, when you're on a date with a sober person, and you say something to the effect of, "Just try it. Maybe you'll like it," know that sober person has already thought long and hard about his or her decision.
The simple suggestion of, "You might like it" definitely won't be enough to sway his or her decision.
Most importantly, if you come across a sober person in your life and he or she asks you out, just give it a chance.
You might find out something about yourself, or you might find out that you don't need that liquid courage to loosen you up.
You might find that you don't need alcohol or drugs in order to have fun.
You definitely don't have to give it up completely, but ease up a little bit and give the person a chance to show you a good time.
If after that first date you don't feel like it's a fit, at least you'll know you gave it a go.
But, don't shut someone out because of one aspect of his or her life.
This person might have wonderful things to offer you, and you won't know it until you go out with that sober hunk or babe.