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The Coffee Date Generation

as some of you know, my little sister has the true writing talent of the family. she is currently in school for creative writing (how fitting) and after our short conversation regarding coffee dates yesterday, she sent this back to me a few hours later. she wrote it out just for fun and it’s definitely too good not to share. i was laughing so hard when i read it that my eyes were watering ha ha!
so, this one is for all of the single-twenty-somethings out there, cheers to no more first dates at starbucks my friends! enjoy!

The Coffee Date Generation | Written by: Steph Wise

Let me tell you something about being single woman in your early twenties. It is not easy

out there folks. Sure there are more ways then ever to meet people, there is the good ol’ fashioned bar, gym classes, work, school, mutual friends, and don’t even get me started on the plethora of dating websites and apps like Tinder, or even Cuddlr. But the real trouble is not getting the date, it is actually the date itself. My friends, I am sad to inform you that if you are single and in your twenties then you are the ‘coffee date generation’. Specifically you are of the age where first dates, first meetings, first anythings inevitably land you at a Starbucks in any given direction from your home. You might be thinking, well what is so wrong with that? I love coffee, I love croissants, I love the little green mermaid on the cup, and the fact that they have free internet. Oh how naive and innocent you are my little turtledoves. The truth is, first anythings at a coffee shop are engineered to fail. Let me explain…

So you meet a guy and give him your number (so far so good right?) And then it happens, he texts you how ever many days after and asks if you would like to get coffee sometime! Great right? No, not great and here is why. He asked you for coffee, so is this a coffee date? Is this a date where you drink coffee? Is it just coffee with the intention of getting to know someone? I mean the ambiguity here is endless. The meaning of “would you like to get coffee sometime?” is entirely subjective; it is based on the not-yet-known feelings, of both the person asking and the person answering.

Furthermore, it is an intentionally ambiguous query, I am convinced that men know exactly what they are on about when they ask a girl for coffee. They know that for them it is risk free, they have nothing to lose. I mean if she says no, they are simply spared the time and expense of getting coffee with a stranger. If she says yes and it goes well then it is a perfect opener to get drinks sometime (except it really isn’t). If she says yes and it goes badly then they can say that it was never a date at all, just coffee, and there is no reason they need to feel bad about not asking to see her again.

Reason number two coffee dates suck. Coffee shops are literally the least sexy places ever for two people who don’t know each other. Now I know what you are thinking, what about the barista effect? (For those of you who don’t know, the barista effect is the statistical phenomenon of men and women baristas who are, for no specific reason, sexy as hell. My answer to this is that the barista is in a position of power; they are confident and in control of the situation around themselves – two things that nobody ever is on a first date.)

Coffee shops are designed to be platonic. Sure, the occasional non-chain hipster coffee joint will be full of couches and comfy pillows. But your average Starbucks, Blenz, or Bean Scene is full of hard leather chairs that are weirdly low to the ground, bar stools that are weirdly high up, and desks for aspiring writers. The floor plan is totally open; there is no sense of intimacy. There is you and a person you don’t know, struggling through a conversation about what you each do for a living while every other person (including the hot barista) is listening in and judging you for not having more hobbies. It is an environment designed to encourage you to be more pretentious then you already are.

Finally there is the actual drink of coffee. Coffee is not a social lubricant. It makes you talk too fast, it stains your teeth, it is usually too hot, and it’s the wrong kind of digestive aid. Coffee doesn’t make you look cooler and it definitely doesn’t make you think anyone else is cooler. The fact is, coffee is not a sexy drink unless you are drinking the morning after you have..well, you know.

In addition to these facts, what are people really hoping to get from a coffee date? I mean, lets get real. Nobody is getting laid after a coffee date. We all know that. Which basically translates into no spark. The ‘spark’ as it is called, depends on anticipation. What is there to anticipate after coffee? There is no adventure in coffee, you meet grandparents and estranged aunts and uncles for coffee. Coffee is a relatively risk free date.

Speaking from a psychological perspective there is good evidence showing that being scared on a first date is a good thing. Fear means fight or flight response which means adrenaline which means basically the same feelings you get when you have ‘the hots’ for someone. You know, accelerated heart rate, sweaty palms, all that fun stuff. Even though it may be uncomfortable at the time, studies show that the other person will probably respond more positively to your sexual advances and vice versa, if you are both a little scared. To feel scared you have to feel risk. Not the risk of looking like an idiot because you have no idea why tall and grande are both small sizes, but the risk of inviting someone to participate in an activity that has some accountability, better yet a slightly risky activity. Like ice skating. I realize that this argument might seem like it also discredits going for alcoholic drinks in a bar, but since that is usually done at night in the dark, a time when we are biologically programmed to feel a little fear, I argue it still qualifies. Also there is nothing ambiguous about someone taking you out and buying you a drink which lowers your inhibitions.

And right about now, I bet you are squinting at the computer screen and saying, “Maybe I am just looking for good conversation?”. Ok Maybe, but if that is the case, then (please for the love of god) just call up somebody who you already know you can have a good conversation with, and go for coffee with them. Because really a first date is just two people trying to sell the other person on a second date which as we all know, is a lot harder than it sounds.

In addition to that, there is no way to tell anything about a person from a coffee date. Because for most of us, we just started drinking coffee and nobody knows anything about what kinds of coffee we like, if we even like coffee at all, what the difference is between different coffee based drinks, and (most importantly) this all adds up to not knowing what your coffee drink of choice says about you. If he orders an americano is it because he likes the taste of just simple coffee or is it because it is the only thing on the menu he recognizes? If he orders a carmel machiatto is it because he heard his sister order it one time and it sounds delicious, or is it because he drinks them regularly and just loves sweet stuff, or is it because that is what you ordered and he has no idea what is going on? If he orders an espresso is it because he is a hipster, or is it because he wants to get things over with, or is it because he thought that just meant regular coffee and is now wondering what to do with the shot-sized glass of pure caffeine in front of him?

Not to mention, all coffee shops are pretty much the same. Any other first date activity will give you some kind of clue as to what kind of person you are dealing with. Is it a picnic date? Well, then they probably like nature and value fresh air. Is it a yoga or tennis date? You are dealing with an active person. Is it the kind of bar where they have a 5 page wine list? This person is sophisticated or at least trying to be sophisticated for you. Also potentially a foodie. Is it a McDonalds? Run.

Finally, there is the fact that coffee dates are finite by nature. Nobody (that I know) has more than one coffee on a coffee date, or even has more than one coffee within the space of an hour (unless they are the ones making the coffee and/or writing a paper and it’s 3am in the morning). Coffee dates are bound to end; and usually awkwardly because this is where the ambiguity, effects of caffeine, and non-anticipation becomes glaringly apparent in the bright sun outside of the coffee shop.

The situation is that you are both standing outside the Starbucks, drawing out the conversation past all reasonability, as your brain is going through a caffeine induced race to figure out what the appropriate closing move is. Because it was just coffee so no kiss, but it was a coffee date so maybe a hug, but it was also a first date so maybe use the hug to lean in for a kiss, because you like to kiss on the first date, but if you don’t usually kiss on the first date and you don’t kiss her will she think it was just coffee, and isn’t a hug a friend zone move? Handshake is way too casual and weird but no other option is presenting itself, but then does she know that it was a date, did you mention it was a date? You weren’t even sure you wanted it to be a date until now so now you think it was a date but maybe she is just thinking it was just coffee so she sticks out her hand and now you are giving her hand a two handed, was gonna go for the hug, handshake, and she is wondering what the hell you even invited her for and because you bought her coffee does that mean it was a date, even though you closed with a handshake or maybe you didn’t buy the coffee so why are you holding her hand with both your hands because that is just a really strange way to shake hands. And then you part ways both thoroughly confused as to what social ritual you both participated in. Congratulations. You have experienced the most dissatisfying form of date there has ever been. You have officially joined the coffee date generation.


2015-03-10_0002****if you enjoyed this post, be sure to click “like” below and leave this talented young lady some love in the comments section below! i hope you have a beautiful day and thanks so much for being here!!
(PS: proud of you steph! xo)

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  1. Jackie Gannon says:

    This is one of my favorite things ever!

  2. Erin Jm says:

    This article is awesome. I love it!

  3. Peter TwoStep Bradyhouse says:

    You just described my entire life Steph!

  4. Julie Yanitor says:

    You are so right! And I am a long way from 20! It happened to me in my forties…



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