The one where we give advice to an ex-Mormon.
ft. the inimitable Paul Town
Welcome back to another edition of… should we give this advice column a name? I kind of love just calling it “The Advice Column.” It has a certain self-assuredness to it, a masculine confidence. People are saying it’s the only one you’ll ever need, so why not just stick with what we’ve got?
I recently left the Mormon church and moved to Miami.
I want to date and get a feel for the landscape, but I don’t drink and don’t want to start. How do I get to know people whose primary drug for relaxing is alcohol?
Perhaps this is judgmental of me, but this seems to be a majority of people, and definitely when it comes to something as anxiety inducing as dating. There seems to be a wall between us, and we just can't connect.
Should I just write these people off? Filter them out completely and not date anyone who has touched the devil’s water? It seems hypocritical and like it would cut me off from a lot of great and beautiful people.
Should I stop being a wimp and start drinking and see if that will solve the issue? It would lower my inhibitions, which would solve the problem if “maybe it’s me.” But lower inhibitions is not something I generally want and the two times I've drunk I've done things I regret. Is there a middle ground here and how should I approach it?
Katherine: You know, the first person I collaborated on this advice column with was an ex-Mormon, who, at least at the time, was stuck in this purgatory of first dates. By his count, he’d been on at least a hundred first dates that went nowhere. It always boggled my mind.
I had never met someone as likeable as he was who struggled so much with dating. He was tall (well, he’s not dead, he still is tall), decent looking, worked in tech, had normal interests, was friendly—it was a truly rare case where it should have been a buyer’s market. And I’d seen the matches he’d get on dating apps, too: a dream for a single man and the platonic ideal of nightmare fuel for anyone who was romantically interested in him.
Finally, I think after we’d reached a certain level of friendship-intimacy ourselves, I realized that his problem wasn’t the dating market, it wasn’t dating apps, it was none of the stuff that usually troubles young men.
He didn’t feel the Holy Spirit in his heart anymore, but once a Mormon, always a Mormon. He kept experiencing culture clash. My suggestion to him was to date other ex-Mormons. People who’d be familiar with his very particular, very Mormon idiosyncrasies… things that read as absolutely psychotic in any other context, but to anyone familiar with the Church, was just regular Mormon guy stuff.
All this to say, my guess is that the problem is deeper than alcohol. It’s the culture around alcohol, something that is probably totally new to you. You might also find that non-members move a lot quicker sexually, too. That this might be fun at first, but fun in the same way going to Tokyo is fun—eventually that cultural disconnect creates that wall you’re describing, even if you really like the place that you’re in.
So, what do you do?
I don’t think you need to avoid alcohol-drinkers, but you should prioritize finding people whose values are more familiar to you, even if they aren’t as extreme as yours might have once been. As someone born and raised in South Florida, I’m sad to report that you’re not going to find many exmos. But you might find that you’re on a similar wavelength to Latin women, who, while they may drink, are more accustomed to a more traditional style of courtship.
Let’s say I’m totally off the mark here, though. My next suggestion is that when you ask women out, pick dates that don’t need alcohol. Where alcohol might even be out of place. A coffee shop; Knaus Berry Farm; a botanical garden. That might give you the opportunity to get a feel for these women without the temptation of drinking.
DT: Yes, go to Knaus Berry Farm, the amusement park that’s like Knott’s Berry farm dragged out in 6 exhausting parts. Knaus Berry Farm is run by a handsome European who looks cool smoking. So women don’t mind that it’s 6,000 miles long and nothing happens.
Alcohol is steroids for liking people. You can’t compete in sports without steroids. You can’t date without alcohol. Notice every culture that bans alcohol forbids dating.
What you want can’t be done. I’m 8 years sober myself. I used to always be with women. When I got sober my romantic life was annihilated. Drink alcohol. Use cocaine. Try meth, which is cocaine but you can still get hard. You’ve already forsaken your God. What are you trying to hold onto now. If you were apostate to the Amish, would you move to Miami for some crypto job but insist on keeping the Abe Lincoln beard? What did you leave Mormonism for?
Everyone around you drinks because alcohol is excellent. I have a disease where if I drink it I’ll crash my car into a school, so I can’t. You can. Your moronic peers are right and you’re wrong. You should be drunk right now.
We’re in an age of no outside help and no serendipity. No one will introduce you to a woman. That would be like giving away money. You won’t meet someone cool by chance and come to like them naturally. Romance is work, drudgery and hustling. Without something to take the edge off you’re fucked.
Paul Town: Drinking is something that requires practice to really get good at. This sounds a bit funny, but it is true. I grew up in an environment where I wasn’t drinking and wasn’t really around drinkers, so when I was in my early twenties my relationship with alcohol and moderation was unhealthy and sporadic in nature. Much like you, I’ve had a few experiences in which I drank far too much and said or did things which, in hindsight, seem quite unwise.
Most people experience this period of alcohol abuse, rather than alcohol use, in high-school. There are parties and get-togethers in which lots of people get far too drunk and puke or do something embarrassing, but then everybody moves away to college and forgets about whatever some high-school friend or they themselves did. There, in college, the same mistakes are made again with a different set of people. People puke on the floor, people say things which are horrible, people hook up with fat and ugly men and women, etc. High-school and college are essentially the time for ignoring all the rules regarding drinking and almost ruining your life repeatedly, because you don’t really have a life to ruin.
I would not swear off alcohol entirely, as it doesn’t really sound like you’re an alcoholic or at risk of becoming an alcoholic, and alcohol is a good sort of cognitive lubricant for navigating social groups and making connections with people you would otherwise not rub shoulders with. With that said, it is important to learn how to pace yourself and mix in water and other non-alcoholic beverages while drinking, in order to maintain a comfortable buzz without really losing control of yourself.
If you are still at the point in which drinking is something that you can’t pace yourself at, I would suggest drinking alone until you get the hang of how much you can and can’t drink before you’re openly weeping or threatening to fight somebody else. Buy handles of vodka and sit in the dark, and drink shots on a nightly basis until you find the sweet spot of inebriation where you’re having a good time and enjoying yourself, but not quite drunk enough that you’d be causing a public scene if you were around a bunch of people. This will take some time to get right, but by the fifth or sixth handle of vodka you should be able to know your limits.
As far as writing people off for drinking alcohol goes, you should realize that life is really a series of doing things you don’t want to do, surrounded by people you don’t want to be around, watching as time goes on and your hopes and dreams fail to come to fruition. We all need different mechanisms to cope with the disappointment of life, with the slow torturous psychological toll extracted on us, and for most people that is alcohol.
Drugs and sex are generally how most people deal with an existence which is largely not enjoyable. As time goes on, you will most likely see that being a teetotaler is no way to go through life, as life is not really kind to people who are sober minded. Instead of looking down on people who go out and get drunk on the weekend, you should ask yourself how they have managed to live life with their strongest drug being alcohol, rather than something more stimulating like crack cocaine or methamphetamine. If you think drinking alcohol is some horrid sin, you have never been around people shooting up heroin or snorting drugs in a bathroom to get through the day. Alcohol is a poison, it is a drug, it does make people stupid in the short term and annoying to be around if you are sober – but in terms of potential drugs to use, it is one of the least offensive. Those who are regular drinkers are not crackheads, and you should be grateful for that and think highly of drinkers because of that. Imagine if you were asked to do hard drugs to socialize. Suck it up and realize alcohol is relatively harmless, and as far as vices go, alcohol is hardly anything to be judgmental about.
How do I stop treating female friendships as potential sexual partners? Not saying that the sole reason I talk to them is because of their sexual attractiveness, but sometimes I catch myself thinking, “Why do our conversations drift towards sex, and is that on me?”
Katherine: You don’t. I say, respect their boundaries, but if they’re bringing up sex, there’s a good chance that they’re attracted to you, too. Or at a bare minimum, enjoy the attention. No harm in you having fun with it too, so long as they’re on board.
DT: Treat your female friends as potential sexual partners. Just be horny. Stop trying to not be horny for some stupid feminist reason. Jerk off to your friends, sniff their panties form the hamper, etc. Try to fuck them. Drink with them, try to get the pussy. Just don’t do anything actively harmful. That’s all you gotta do. Get ass. It’s OK. Jesus doesn’t care, Andrea Dworkin is dead, your mom’s not around. No one is chiding you. If she doesn’t want to fuck you she won’t.
You’re a man. Or a Lesbian, but I’m gonna say man. Part of being a man is being horny. Like part of being a dolphin is swimming. But the dolphin doesn’t have a pincers attack of horseshit from SSRI gobbling female dolphins and closeted gay religious dolphins yelling at him about the ways swimming is evil, and this specific moment in history is when he has to pay everyone back for millions of years of his ancestors swimming. Stop torturing yourself. Try to fuck your friend. If they won’t fuck you, make hornier friends.
Paul Town: A good way to get over this mental “hump” of seeing female friendships as potential sexual partners is by being a gay man. If you’re attracted to men, then you’re not going to be imagining inappropriate situations with women, because to you women will no longer be “potential lays” and will now be the people you talk about TV shows, fashion, and gossip with. A big bonus with regards to this arrangement is that you’ll find the amount of women who want to be your friend has increased greatly. While not having the same sort of cultural cache in 2022 as it once had in the early 2000s, a gay man still enjoys a large selection of women who wish to be around him at any given time. Even though you’re technically “one of the guys”, being a guy, you’ll be seen as “one of the girls” and even if the females you’re around have a husband or boyfriend, you won’t have to worry about those men getting jealous or upset that you’re hanging out with their significant other, as you pose no threat and they will just be glad to have time alone, where they can relax without being verbally accosted by whatever it is women talk about with their partner constantly.
Of course, being a gay man is something which is a hard mental switch to make. You might not succeed at it. I suggest having things like eggplants or bananas or sausages lying around your kitchen and staring at them for long periods of time. Even then, you might find that while being a gay man alone with some married or engaged woman, your heterosexual urges swim to the surface and you can no longer deny being attracted to women and not attracted to men. At that point, what you do is up to you. If the attraction is mutual, and if the woman you are with is well off or has connections you would benefit from, then I suggest letting the moment take you wherever it is the moment wants to go. In life, you cannot pass up opportunities when they present themselves. You must grab life by the horns, or even by the breasts, if life wants you to grab it by the breasts and life is related to somebody who can improve your situation in some material manner. Of course, consent is really important, so only grab life by the breasts if you are quite sure that life wants you to grab it by the breasts.
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