You’re on a first date with a guy you met on Tinder. He’s as cute as his profile pic, he seems funny, he’s the right amount of nervous; you’re 80% sure that he’s not a serial killer. You make small talk as you look over the menu at the cute cafe he picked out and then the waiter comes over.
“Can I start you off with something to drink?” he asks.
Your date orders a beer and then looks to you.
“I’ll just have a seltzer,” you say.
Your date responds with a raised eyebrow and seems embarrassed for ordering booze when you’re sticking with the soft stuff. He gets flustered and asks, “Are you sure you don’t want anything else?”
And now things are just hella awkward because you have to have the “Actually, I’m sober…” conversation.
This is the exact situation that Antoine Nauleau and thousands of other people who don’t drink or do drugs find themselves in on first dates around the country. Only 21 years old, Antoine got sober when he was a teenager and started dating as a sober person. While he’s never hid his sobriety from his dates, he’s found that the topic is a little too heavy for a first date conversation.
His solution is Sober, a Tinder-style dating app that launches today for people who are sober for any reason, whether it’s a struggle with addiction or religious requirements or just because they don’t really feel like drinking. For folks who are tired of stumbling through that awkward conversation, Sober dating is a great solution.
But what does a sober date look like? Antoine told me that while a lot of first dates are in bars or restaurants, sober dates often include an activity like hiking, going on a boat, or taking a walk together. He clarified that there definitely are restaurant and movie first dates but a certain weight is lifted when you know you don’t have to explain why you ordered the seltzer.
“I don’t want to be judged at the first moment about my sobriety,” Antoine explained. “I’d rather you get to know me first and then formulate your own opinion [about it].”
His goal with Sober is create a space where the sober community can find not only romantic partners but also friends and a larger community who understand what they’re going through. And while everyone is lumped together in one big sober family now, future iterations of the app will include a “Sober Motivation” section, letting users filter for different types of addiction as well as clarify whether or not they’re on the site for religious reasons.
Sober is launching today in San Francisco and Antoine told me that they plan to expand into LA and Florida — two places with strong sober communities — next. Interested singles can sign up to be a part of the Sober dating community.
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