Online daters say alcohol is a first date go-to in a new survey — so 10% of sober millennials pretend to drink.
Singles are thirsty, all right.
Online daters drink more than the average U.S. adult, according to a report released by the Zoosk dating site on Wednesday, which surveyed 8,793 of its members. It found that 72% of surveyed singles say they drink alcohol, compared to 65% of people on average.
Millennials were even more likely to indulge in a little liquid courage while looking for love, with 77% of young adults who drink alcohol claiming it’s a great first date option.
In fact, those who abstain says it makes first dates even more awkward; almost one-third (32%) of non-drinkers on average — and 38% of millennials — said not drinking can make things difficult. And 10% of millennial teetotalers even admitted pretending to drink on a date to keep things flowing smoothly, compared with 7% of sober singles overall.
That’s probably because getting drinks is a first date go-to, according to almost three in four singles in the survey, as 46% of them said it’s “easy and less formal” than something like dinner, and 27% think connecting over cocktails is “a good way to let your guard down and have a conversation.”
In fact, when Zoosk analyzed 133,175 messages exchanged between its subscribers, it found that even just mentioning “sparkling wine” in a dating message spikes your response rate by 29%, followed by “Long Island iced tea” at 15%. If your potential partner doesn’t drink, however, they will be 16% more likely to respond if you throw “kombucha” in the mix, the survey found, with matcha (a 12% increase) and LaCroix (10%) close behind.
As far as drinking etiquette is concerned, most singles (92%) have no problem if their date is already sipping a drink when they arrive, although 6% would tease them about it, and 2% would judge them for getting a head start. Most singles don’t want to get sloppy on a date, however, with 55% thinking both of you should stick to a two-drink maximum. Opinions on that vary, however; almost one in five (19%) thinks you’re still in the clear at three drinks, while 17% think you should stick with just one.
When picking their poison for a romantic rendezvous, most men (62%) stick with beer, followed by wine (42%), while women in the survey preferred wine (62%) over beer (32%) — although margaritas were also a hit with 29% of women and 23% of men. Virgin beverages like coffee (26% for both men and women) and tea (25% for women and 21% for men) were also popular picks.
Men are also more likely to consider kissing more fun after a few drinks (60% overall, and 70% of millennials) — although women are much less convinced (46% overall, and 57% of millennials).
Yet drinking or not drinking isn’t a dealbreaker. Although a third of non-drinkers say it’s hard to date while staying sober, 81% said they would still date someone who drinks alcohol. And alcohol drinkers were even more open to the idea of dating non-drinkers, with 86% saying they would go out with someone who doesn’t drink.
There’s no reason to lie about your drinking habits, however. Socializing while sober is becoming increasingly popular — especially as new research reported by Newsweek this week shows that 40% of American adults are consuming excessive amounts of alcohol (defined as four drinks during one occasion), an almost 10% increase from a 2014 study that pegged one in three adults as heavy drinkers. Drinking in moderation means that women should limit alcohol to one drink per day, and two for men, according to U.S. Dietary Guidelines. (One drink is defined as one 12-ounce bottle of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.)
The social sobriety movement includes the community Club Soda, which includes events like booze-free brunches. There’s also the sober dance party DayBreaker, and SobrieTEA, where you can sip tea and dance to live music — plenty of alcohol-free alternatives to get to know somebody over a first date.
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