The First Date?

Does coffee count as a date? I mean as far as I’m concerned it does. But for some reason conversation over cups of espresso is lower stakes than over dinner plates. Probably because the tab at the end of it is substantially lower with coffee than it is at dinner. Which isn’t the reason I chose coffee, but at the end of the day its easier to stomach spending $7 to find out someone has the worst personality of all time. Which she doesn’t. Im just saying if spending time with someone is going to suck you might as well just be out a few bucks as opposed to stifling your disappointment as a waiter brings the dessert menu’s around. Another question, when did coffee get so expensive? I guess I haven’t been around the cup of Joe scene in a while. But it feels kinda like after I’ve purchased the 5 coffees to get my free one on the punch card. I could have flown to Columbia, harvested the beans myself, and saved a few dollars. Where was I going with this? It definitely wasn’t to the place where we all realize I’m the cheapest person on the planet. Isn’t that the way to everyones heart? Pinch pennies and grimace when she asks the barista for extra whipped cream, fighting the urge to ask if theres an up-charge for extra whipped cream. There really shouldn’t be.. I mean its just aerosol and dairy right? This is getting off topic. She didn’t even order anything with whipped cream. And if she would have thats a red flag. We are adults about to fire up a work day, not high school girls on their lunch break making a Starbucks run. I digress.

So as you could probably figure out I went on a coffee date today. Dates. Always so nerve racking. The pressure we put on ourselves to make a good impression can be crippling. After all we are selling ourselves right. Hoping that the person you’re out with finds you interesting enough to want to buy. Or at least rent. And to be clear I’m using buy as a metaphor. I don’t sell myself. Everybody always wants to haggle. Im always very firm on price. And quite frankly I think I’m worth more than the 37 cents and the sticky jujube that you just offered me…. But there is a lot at stake when we put ourselves out there and hope that some part of us is appealing enough to another person that they want to stick around for a while. I think too many times people try to be someone they think other people will like, that they forget to be who they actually are. Which is okay if you’re a terrible person. But ultimately unfortunate for whoever you pretended to be a not terrible person for. Because sooner or later they’re going to find out that you suck. And when they do its going to be sad to know how much time they invested in you. But if you’re not the worst then theres nothing wrong with being who you are. Even if it doesn’t mesh with a particular person doesn’t mean you can’t find happiness.

So I get to the coffee shop, because I lack the originality or creativity to think of anywhere else to invite someone and there I wait. And in the interest of honesty this was the 3rd coffee shop I invited her too. Because nothing says working with a few cards short of a deck quite like trying to meet someone at not 1 but 2 venues, outside of their operating hours. Which in my defense the second place was closed on a Monday. I don’t know if thats a common thing for coffee shops to be closed on a Monday, and if it is thats disgusting. If I’m being honest I don’t imagine I would be this disgruntled about their Monday closure if it weren’t for the fact it directly impacted my life. But thats just being an American. Don’t care about something until it impacts us. So I sit down on the patio at coffee shop number 3. And guess who’s running a little late. Which is okay. It kind of put me at ease. Helping it to feel less like a job interview that I couldn’t find the building to twice and am not qualified for and more like a casual meet up. Which I think is the most important part, to feel comfortable. When you get all worked up thats when you can’t get the words out. And the most interesting thing you can think to say is how about this weather? Super fine weather. WEATHER. So I am sitting on the patio, because I mean you can’t beat this weather….. And then it comes, the ding of the phone, I guess its more of a bing than it is a ding. Doesn’t matter. Then I read the message “I’m here.”

I dont do a bunch of stuff. I mean I’m a really boring guy. So the rush of a first date arriving was pretty intoxicating. The only thing that really captures the full range of emotions would be when you just get seated at Olive Garden, and a basket wielding super hero drops off a bundle of buttery breadsticks and asks for nothing in return. So my breadsticks get out of their car. Sorry not my breadsticks. My DATE gets out of her breadstick. I am so sorry. This always happens with breadsticks….. She gets out of her car.  Looks stunning. I walk over and wouldn’t you know that the first words out of my mouth are “Is it okay if we sit outside because its such a nice day.” All this time, the 2 changes of venue, the days of planning and I lead with a question about the weather. For what it’s worth she fielded that one hopper ground out straight to the first baseman of a question with a level of grace that was a sight to behold. “Sure.” She said.

But believe it or not. My slow start was not a death sentence. Fortunately I have the capacity to have a conversation, and was able to recover from my four star flusher of an opening. Which in reality I think it was courteous right? To ask if the location was satisfactory given the environmental circumstances. So we go on to have a lengthy conversation, highlighted by several hearty laughs, a few inquiries to establish a relationship baseline. And ended with a marriage proposal as most first dates do. That last one was a joke. Ive only asked for someones hand in marriage after a first encounter once. And apparently they give the breadstick to “everybody” and she was “not hitting on me sir.” But where I come from breadsticks are legally binding. So I’ll let you decide for yourself on that one.

Sooner or later though everything has to come to an end. And this coffee date was no different. All the anxiety you feel leading up to something and when its over. You kind of want to do it all over again. And I’m sure thats a sign that it went well. But there are two sides to every story and we can only ever hope that someone else enjoyed meeting you as much as you did them. We place so many expectations on ourselves to be perfect, or be irresistible. Playing every situation out in our heads hoping that we’re going to be good enough. Embrace what makes you who you are. And whether it’s a match with this person or not. It’ll be enough. Because theres never been a happily ever after without a “well the first time we met” story.


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