THE BLOG

Dryathlon Diary Week Three - New Balls Please!

28/01/2014 17:20 GMT | Updated 30/03/2014 10:59 BST

After last week's post I spent the first few days of the week doing my utmost to convince a poor, helpless soul to go on a dry date with me in the name of Cancer Research's Dryathlon campaign.

My social channels were exploited, internet dating sites were joined, and I even revisited my little black book (NB: this book only has one page and is so old some of the first entries were written under candlelight using a quill pen and parchment).

Incredibly, I had a pretty good reaction. People seem to like the idea of setting up their friends with a stranger they've never met in the interests of a charity challenge, and a date was booked in with a lovely young lady called Alie.

Alie is a gorgeous professional dancer who is so far out of my league that securing a date with her was the equivalent of an FA Cup giant-killing.

Standard first date practice is a few quiet drinks in a nice little bar, giving both parties the opportunity to leave with ease should the conversation grind to a halt. However, sober dating requires a bit more thought, and we settled on a spot of ping pong at a bar in Holborn called Bounce.

After three weeks of sobriety, and without the calming, confidence-boosting effect of alcohol to rely on, my assumption was that I'd be a quivering wreck. I was almost expecting one of her friends to call her within the first half an hour so she could make up an excuse (dead dog, house fire, sudden change in sexual orientation) and leave.

However, within five minutes of meeting her I felt totally at ease. It helped that she was outgoing, really chatty, and wasn't drinking either, but our conversation rocked. I felt a weird sense of self-assurance which I've found comes with being in total control of your bodily functions.

We had the age conversation. She thought I was 25. 25! I'm a couple of weeks away from entering my 30th year and when I went home for Christmas my own mother remarked that my rapidly developing paunch made me look 'comfortable'.

And this is something I've gradually noticed throughout this journey. If you're expecting to notice instant changes, you'll be disappointed. But what I've found is that I'm slowly losing weight, I'm exercising more than I ever have done (no hangover excuses) and my brain feels like it's been given a spring clean.

Alie and I left three hours later, having had a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and plans to see each other again were made. My only regret was not having the bottle to kiss her goodnight, but to be quite honest if I was drunk I'd probably have tried to convince her to marry me or make babies.

So there you have it - a new found confidence in who I am, what I stand for, and far less of a reliance on alcohol to make me feel comfortable in social situations. I'd be loath to say I'm never going to drink again, but there's a time and a place for alcohol, and in my humble opinion first dates aren't one of them. If you want to really get under the skin of someone, then meeting them sober is the way forward.

1st February is soon approaching, and logic would dictate that I'll spend it getting so hammered I can't see. You'll have to check back in next week to find out!

Tom has almost reached the Dryathlon finish line, but anyone wishing to donate can still do so by visiting the following link: http://www.justgiving.com/Tom-Stroud-dryathlete

For further information about Cancer Research UK, visit: www.cancerresearch.org