Monday, October 10, 2011

The Coffee Date Pt 2: The Casual Date

The Gist:  Tips for enjoying a casual coffee date at a local café.

In the second part of our exploration of the coffee date, we’re going to look into what I call “The Casual Date”  This date is comfortable and easy to plan, as it involves meeting a girl on a weeknight evening at a nearby café, like a Starbucks or Coffee Bean, without the fuss of ordering at a restaurant and having a waiter serving you.  You can checkout the previous post on a coffee date at a restaurant here:     

The following describes an actual coffee date that happened recently. 

The setup
My buddy and I were playing tennis one evening and I saw two women playing a set next to us.  One of them caught my eye and after some flirty exchanges we exchanged phone numbers.  We didn’t know each other that well, so I called her up and suggested we go out for a cup of coffee at the Starbucks in Downtown Culver City, which is close to where we both live.

The day of, she texted me to ask what time to meet, and since I get home from work around 6:30 p.m. from work, I said that 7:00 p.m. would be good. 

At Starbucks, I was excited to see her off the tennis court.  She arrived and soon we were in line to order our drinks: for her a green tea and for me a coffee.  As I eyed the desserts, I offered to get something that we could share.  She was interested, but wanted only a small bite.  I decided to indulge and get a cookie as we sat down together.

In conversation, we had a good time chatting, but I noticed that from the questions I asked her, her responses were rather short.  I couldn’t tell if she was a little nervous from the first date, or if there wasn’t much chemistry.  As we talked I noticed a few silences, and by the third one it felt like it had been a while and so I decided to end the date.  As we left the café, I checked my watch and noticed it was 8:15 p.m.

I walked her back to her car, we hugged and I bid her goodbye.

Continuing my walk to my apartment, I randomly saw her from across the street walking in the opposite direction.  She waved and I asked where she was going.  She said she was heading to a nearby Indian market to get some food.  This whole time she had been hungry and I hadn’t even known!  As I headed home that Thursday evening …

Here’s What I Learned

1)  Choose a time to meet AFTER dinner.  Having a late night coffee on a weeknight is a perfect reason to get together for a first date, but emphasize in your conversation with her that you two are meeting for coffee and dessert.  A good time to meet is 8:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m., so you can meet for a hot drink and it’s implied that both of you have had enough time to get home from work, relax, have a bite and then meetup.  This way you’re not caught in the awkward situation I was in of seeing the girl you were with go out for a quick dinner after your date.

2)  Enjoy the coffee in a real cup.  A lot of people don’t know this, but you can elevate your coffee experience at Starbucks, Coffee Bean or any coffee chain by asking at the register for your drink to be poured in a porcelain cup.  This way you can hold a real, hot mug with tea or coffee and besides making your drink taste better than sipping it through plastic, the experience feels more at-home and enjoyable.

3)  Go Decaf.  I made the mistake one time of having coffee on a first date at 9:30 p.m. on a weeknight and later could not fall asleep until 1 a.m.  Just because you’re “meeting for coffee” doesn’t mean it has to be an espresso, and I recommend choosing decaf or tea so that you can get some sleep later that night.

4)  About an hour is ideal for a coffee first date.  We left the coffee shop at 8:15 p.m., meaning we had been sitting and drinking for almost 75 minutes.  It felt a bit long and I realized it’s best to keep the date a little shorter and even ending it early while it’s still fun so that you’re both excited to get together for a second date.  Plus, if you’re drinking coffee from a mug, it will naturally cool down in about 20 minutes, so once you’ve both finished nursing your beverages, make that the reason to end the night, rather than sit there with two empty cups.  Even if it’s going really well, an hour is enough.

I highly recommend this more casual experience for a coffee date as most women will agree to meet for coffee on a first date because it’s easy and comfortable.  Also, it’s not a strain on your wallet, so you can take her out for something more exciting the next time once you’re sure there’s a real connection.

The final blog post on the coffee date will synthesize everything I’ve experienced from my own coffee dates plus what I’ve learned from insightful conversations with my female friends.  I call it “The Ideal Date.”  Check it out next Monday…but in the meantime meet a girl for coffee and let us know in the comments what you learned from the experience.  


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