One of my girlfriends started dating online. I have not quite ventured into online dating yet, but I do support anyone who chooses that path. It really wasn’t her preference either, but hey, what does a single woman have to lose? After all, online dating just gives you more options than you already have, right? Well, one of the first young men she met online asked her out for coffee to which she quickly declined. She & I discussed the whole coffee date “epidemic” and what a tacky choice it is for a first date.
Now there are a lot of people out there who feel like meeting for coffee is a good idea for a 1st date especially if you’ve never met that person face-to-face before. Supposedly, it’s an easy way to determine if there’s enough chemistry to move forward with a second date without fully committing to a “real” date in the first place. The problem with this concept is quite simple: It’s cheap.
Making a pre-date (which is really what a coffee date is) can get really old after a while, particularly if you’re doing it over & over with all the new people you meet. Coffee (or any other coffee shop beverage) is nothing to get excited over. If I’m going out on a bunch of coffee dates, it gets harder & harder for any one man to stand out & make an indelible first impression on me. There is just nothing memorable about sipping on a mocha latte.
As a woman it takes me at least an hour to look really cute for any date but especially a first date. So for me to spend an hour (or more) getting myself together, get in my car, drive across town, search & pay for parking all for a 30 minute coffee date is simply a poor investment of my time – simply said, the ROI is bad. Where I live gas costs upwards of $4/gallon but a Starbucks cup of coffee only costs $3.50, so any man who wants to meet me for coffee is basically saying I’m not even worth the gas it took for me to drive to the coffee house. And of course, I’m worth more than that.
Setting up a coffee date also shows me what kind of guy you are – Not big on commitment, casual, and I’ll say it again, cheap. Why can’t you ask me out to lunch and not coffee? What, you don’t have the extra $10 bucks to buy me a salad or a sandwich instead? Casual is not the place to be on the 1st date; maybe the 5th or 6th date, but not the first. It certainly won’t impress me enough to go out with you on a second date.
Besides, if you are really trying to get to know me then shouldn’t you be doing that over the phone before even meeting me? You certainly won’t get to know me any better of a cup of coffee than you would investing a little more time in a substantial phone conversation. Sure, you want to see if there will be any physical chemistry, especially if it’s someone you met online. You want to make sure that your date actually looks like their online photo. Well men, that’s just the chance you take with anyone when you meet them for a date for the 1st time. I could meet someone at the gym, the grocery store or wherever but by the time we go out for a real date I’m still not going to look the same way I did when we first met. So what’s the difference?
Let’s be real – restaurants were designed for eating, mingling, talking and dating. Starbucks was designed for grabbing coffee in a hurry on the way to work, for quick bathroom breaks on road trips, for college students to study or to host informational interviews but not for dating. The chairs are hard & uncomfortable, the music is zany and there is no seclusion. I have no desire to sit next to some nineteen year old studying for college exams, trip over somebody’s little dog they decided to take out for a walk, or look at the back of a Mac book while a group of kids listen to Pandora or hear random coffee orders being yelled out by the barista. There’s just nothing intimate about a coffee date.
Now some men might be reading this thinking, “Hey, a coffee date is short, it’s casual and I’m not spending a lot of money on someone I don’t even know if I like. Besides if things go well, we can still do something else afterwards.” Well, I think that’s a horrible way to think because again it reinforces that non-committal attitude and rings of sheer laziness. Casual is “cute” when you’re in your twenties but a grownup man should be making grownup dates. Besides, if things go well with coffee then I’m probably not appropriately dressed to go on a “real” date afterwards anyways.
To me a coffee date basically says “I think you look good online but I want to check you out in person before I spend any real money on you.” And I understand how that might make sense to a man, especially if you’re meeting so many women all the time. But you must bear in mind that any “good woman” knows that she’s worth a lot more than a $3 cup of coffee. Men, if you are looking for a woman who is confident, attractive, self-respecting and just overall appealing, trust me, she will not be looking for you at the coffee shop. A good woman knows she can hold out for a “real” date and will (just like me).
So ladies what do you do if a man asks you out for coffee? Don’t be afraid to tell him N-O and suggest other viable “first date” options – like going to a park, bowling, an arcade, going to an interesting museum exhibit museum or a reading at a bookstore. There are just so many other options that don’t require a lot of money but are still fun, interactive and more creative than drinking coffee. What happened to actually planning your date and making it special for the person you’re with? Men you get what you give, so no effort & no planning on your part means a no-show on mine.