I said no to the smart guy who wasn't attractive to me. I said no to the graphic designer who tried to kiss me one night. I ran the pool table (twice), and his eyes roamed along my ass as I lined up my shot, and I was surprised to find I liked that.
But he slurped down three bourbons in 90 minutes, and when he leaned forward to kiss me, I was grossed out by the sour smell of his breath, the slump of his eyes, and I ducked. It was a revelation to me how unappealing men were when they were drunk.
I did it for my friend Anna, who'd logged countless hours listening to me complain about my ex. I bought a bottle of sauvignon blanc that night and sipped my way onto a plateau of cleverness.
I didn't want a profile that was drab and ordinary.
I wanted a personal statement that grabbed every guy by the collar and whispered each word into his mouth.
I swear I was in love with myself by the time I finished, a bottle having morphed into a six-pack of beer, and I posted the hottest picture of myself I had: a close-up taken by a professional photographer in which I appeared 20 pounds lighter than I was.
Booze had given me permission to do and say anything I wanted, but now that I was sober, the only thing I wanted most days was to watch Netflix.
It's not as though every intimacy in my entire life had been warped by drinking.
This wasn't the first time I had tried online dating.
About six months after I moved to New York, I signed on to
Back when I was dating my college boyfriend Patrick, who was sober, he would pull away from me when I was buzzed and handsy.
"You smell like a brewery," he'd say, and I didn't get it.
After I got sober, I worried I'd never have sex again.