Coffee dates. I don’t go on them. Ever.

I used to. I went because I was interested in the man who was offering, and I was worried he would think I was high maintenance or bossy or some-other-negative-descriptor if I suggested an alternative.

But I’ve always thought of coffee dates as The Bare Minimum Date. Minimal options to extend the date, minimal chance for romance, minimal investment of time and money.

Think about it. One coffee rarely turns into two or three the way a glass of wine can if the date is going well. And if the date is going really, really well, the first kiss will be coffee-flavored – not terrible, I suppose, but definitely not one of the sexier options. Plus,┬áit’s only a four dollar investment; if he was really intrigued by me, wouldn’t he be willing to invest at least ten bucks on a cocktail?

This could just be coincidence, but I’ve never found love over a latte. Or even a crush over a cappuccino.

Before the critics get going (*friendly wave*), no, I don’t mean to imply any strong preference for an expensive first date. I have found love over late-night beach walks (totally free!), pique over pizza (cheap!) and intrigue at an Irish pub (also cheap, and featuring whiskey-flavored kisses!).

Yes, I know there are those who fondly cherish their coffee-flavored first kisses (like these two). I guess plenty of people do like coffee dates – otherwise I wouldn’t keep being asked on them, right? If it’s love, I’m sure even the Bare Minimum is enough to kindle it. And if I bumped into a remarkable man while picking up my morning macchiato, I wouldn’t discount him because we didn’t meet in a classically romantic location.

But…

Dating is alternatively awkward, monotonous, disappointing, rattling, frustrating. It’s a gamble: will we find we’re compatible or look for an exit? Will we laugh and talk with ease or ask the cliche questions to fill the silence? Will we encounter romance or rejection?

There are so many ways for even a promising date to go awry – I figure why not pick a venue that offers a romantic setting, great food to share, darts to play, music to dance to, sand to scrunch your toes in… or any other ingredient that increases the odds of a win. Or at least a draw.

So, from one coffee drinker to all you others out there, I pose this question: why are you choosing a coffee date? (Don’t say it’s because you enjoy coffee; there are plenty of other opportunities to drink coffee.) Is it because it’s safe? Because it’s easy to keep it short? Because it’s casual? Shame on you. Since when does love, lust, flirtation, even a crush, feel safe or rushed or casual? Jump in. With two feet. Go on dates that leave plenty of room to talk for hours, roll up your jeans and wade into the water, order the decadent dessert or unleash your competitive spirit during a bowling match.

Go on dates that represent a little bit of what we’re all hoping to find. We’re not leaving the house hoping to find The Bare Minimum, are we? Of course not. We’re looking for The Total Package. True Love. The Best Part of My Day. I hope we find it, even if some of us do happen to stumble upon it in a coffee shop. But that’s not where I’ll be keeping an eye out for it, or where I’ll be going on dates.

Oh, and to the future Love of My Life, if the first time you lay eyes on me happens to be while we’re standing near the espresso, please, dear, do say hello – and I’m sure I’ll happily write a retraction post someday…

 

TALK: What do you think of coffee dates? What’s your ideal first date?

 

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