This is the number of drinks to have on a first date if you want a second one

“Wanna grab a drink?” is history’s most successful cold open. These sentiments are reflected in a new study of Millennial drinking habits by Alcohol.org.

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On balance, Millennials and Gen Zers are drinking considerably less than their elders did at their age. The reportedly self-obsessed generation, fear to have drunken lapses of judgment posted on social media so profoundly that they have surged the sales of non-alcoholic booze by 3.9% in only five short years. 

“Social media increases accountability for one’s actions. People like to control their public image on social media since it is permanent rather than ephemeral. Embarrassing ‘moments’ are no longer moments, but posted in perpetuity for all to see without engaging in damage control, ” reports Pamela Rutledge, who is the director of the Media Psychology Research Center in California.

This, in chorus with marijuana’s recent rebranding as the cure-all, personality steroid, contributes to a steady decline in boozing, barring a few specific occasions. In reference to the stuff, the late Christopher Hitchens once called it “the only worthwhile miracle in the new testament,” going on in the same breath to brilliantly note: “At Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied.”

From the portrait of the writer, sleepily burning the candle at both ends, to the urbane rock musician, to the cultivated bohemian, “Wanna grab a drink?” is history’s most successful cold open. These sentiments are reflected in a massive new study of Millennial drinking habits by Alcohol.org.


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One, too few

The researchers behind the new study began by indexing the practical benefits of choosing a bar for a first date location. The statistic heavy intro might have done too well to denounce boozing as an important and valuable cultural bedrock-viable too.  There’s nothing worse than finding out you’re conversing with a dud while locked into a four-course meal. It’s easier to manage time with alcohol; two drinks max then I’ll tell this truther that I have work early in the morning.

The survey of 1,002 participants establishes booze as the preferred social lubricant, as many respondents confessed to a little pre-gaming before dates. Twenty-percent of surveyees have at least one beer before meeting their date, with 13% admitting to chugging two. For most people, the volume flowed at higher volumes throughout the actual date. 

Although a modest, 10% of tee tolling dates ended up going all the way, moderation seemed to be the key factor for scoring second dates. If the survey is indicative of a larger trend, you might want to consider adopting a two-drink maximum if you want to see your paramour again, considering participants that occasioned this number dually evidenced the highest rates of success. One of the respondents, an unidentified male, aged 31, reported that this number seemed to strike the perfect balance between relaxed and level headed. 

It makes sense to apply a linear correlation between the number of drinks and the quality of the date, but further investigation unmasked this as precarious. For some this was true, 51% of dates that consumed five or more drinks ended up going home with one another. However, respondents would also increase their alcohol consumption if they were simply having a bad time. Thirty-one percent of male respondents reported doing so in fact, compared to the 43% of female respondents that reported decreasing their consumption.  These two ostensibly separate statistics meld to recall the dangerously uneven dating playing field. 

When I was hesitant about getting plastered on my 21st birthday, a female friend of mine hastened to remind me of how limited the privilege is. The authors behind the study seconded this goading with the following,  “Women’s inclination to curb their drinking may be attributed to a general effort to keep their wits about them in the presence of a stranger. Recent police data from the U.K. revealed a 450%-spike over five years in rapes related to online dating specifically, 85% of which were suffered by women. Meeting up with someone you don’t know can be risky – and the more sober you are, the better off you may be.”

The report went unto reveal that men prefer their dates to drink a little more than women did. This isn’t exclusively by reason of predatory motives, but there is certainly a long-established and celebrated game plan that includes sharpening the male appeal by dulling the female perception. The survey results accentuate five drinks as the maximum for consent-giving-abilities, this median being notably more nuanced among female responders.

CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.