Do Coffee Dates Work?

starbucks-coffee-cupThis morning I read a post titled, “The Worst Things to Do on a First Date“. What is number one on the list? Getting coffee!

Naturally I read this article shortly after scheduling a coffee date with a woman I’d really like to impress. [Murphy’s Law strikes again!] My date is scheduled for Starbucks no less, which the author poo-poos as depressing.

The quality of dating advice on the blogosphere varies tremendously. [By “varies tremendously”, what I really mean is that most of it is complete and total garbage.] But I have to say that B lays down some sage wisdom on itsnotamatch.com . I generally pick up what he puts down. But I’m questioning his opinion on the coffee date.

The coffee date, to me, is used to screen women that can’t be prequalfied via email and phone. For example, many women list their body type as “average” or “athletic”. What does that mean? — It typically means whatever they want it to mean in their head with no objective definition at all.

The best solution I can think of  for this dilemma is have a quick date. Like–grabbing coffee during the work day. You have a built in excuse to get out of there, namely, having to go back to work. If it doesn’t work out then you have had to endure 15 minutes of awkwardness. But you have minimized your losses by not spending too much time and money with someone that you know isn’t going to pan out.

Coffee dates are the sorties of dating. Get in, get out, mission accomplished.

Granted, I like to have some liquid courage when meeting a stranger. Things seem to go much smoother with adult beverages involved. But who grabs a quick beer before they head back to the office? There is no built in loss mitigation with a “just grab a drink after work” date. It’s after work. You can’t look at your watch and say “Oh look at the time” and act like you are late for something important. If you do, you will look like the BSer you are.

Ladies, When the guy says he is 5’9” on his profile, does that mean with his Al Pacino-like shoes, or without? There is only one way to find out. You need a quick sortie date to check him out with your own eyes.

The bottom line is that many times I need to see people with my own eyes before I am confident committing to a “real” date, such as dinner. The coffee date is the best quick date idea I’ve got. If there are better sortie date ideas out there please share the wisdom!

What are your thoughts on the coffee date? Has anyone discovered a better quick sortie date alternative than coffee?

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13 thoughts on “Do Coffee Dates Work?

  1. I read that same post you’re talking about and I think I’m with you on the coffee date. I think they can work! I’ve had successful coffee dates and I’ve had coffee date duds. I agree with you that the first time meeting somebody offline should be quick and painless (and preferably low in cost). You don’t want to spend all that time, effort, and money on a date that doesn’t even end up working out. The first date is to test the waters and see if you’re even attracted to the person and if they end up being who they say they are! haha. With all that being said….I have not discovered a “quick sortie date,” but if you do…please let me know!

    Also, when it comes to guys and their height…I generally subtract an 1-1.5 inches of whatever is stated on their profile lol. That rule of thumb has proven to be pretty accurate.

    • I will definitely let you know if I discover a good alternative. B had a point that adding jittery caffeine to an already tense situation probably isn’t the best–so I’m thinking there is room for improvement. Some cleverer person than me will have a good suggestion I predict.

      I don’t know what to say about the height issue. Having a rule of thumb where you assume most men are lying—that is pretty damn depressing if it turns out to be true. There are some of us men who report our actual height. Just as there are some women who are brave enough to disclose their actual body types–imperfections and all. So I would hate to punish the few who are being honest due to the sins of the masses. If a rule of thumb such as that turns out to be true, that is depressing indeed.

      • let me correct myself….men who are at least 5’10 and above usually list their correct height and guys who are below that height I’ve noticed usually add on an inch BUT…. I don’t want to say anybody and everybody because that would be depressing! LOL.

      • Correction noted dsantos! That is definitely an interesting trend.

        cotsworldsgirl…I’m sure there are different items on the menu LOL. Even if you order decaf tea or hot chocolate at Starbucks, you are still “meeting for coffee”. The question is, is there another non-threatening activity that has low risks in terms of money and wasted time?

  2. I like the idea of a coffee date – I’m with you completely on that – its a chance for a quick squwizz to see if someone is all they say they are. It may not be the chance for fireworks but its a damn good precursor and you can always drop a hint that you will look even better glammed up for an evening date.
    If my job allowed me that luxury I would indeed take it!
    As for the caffeine – decaff or hot choc!

  3. Smooth: I think I read this same article – as I’m spent the last day or two preparing to jump back into “The Dating Game”.

    I can certainly understand the pros of the coffee date: they allow both parties to keep it relatively short. It can be done during daytime/work hours. there’s less pressure, etc…

    But I still prefer dinner and/or drinks. To me, dinner lets her know you’re a little bit more serious (Though I don’t think a first date dinner has to be or even should be anything too fancy) and an adult beverage or two does wonders to ease the tension. IMO

  4. My philosophy on the coffee date is this: short and simple.

    1) The place shouldn’t matter, nor should how much you are spending. This is about whether you have a connection to warrant a second date (or the first date proper)
    2) Conversation is the most important aspect. With a coffee date you are not distracted by the decor of a restaurant, who chooses the wine, whether he/she likes the food, who pays, etiquette etc
    3) Keeping it short means if you have a connection it leaves you wanting more (you won’t be able to wait to see each other again) and if you don’t have a connection you haven’t wasted an evening on somebody you’d really rather never see again

    Of the six first dates I’ve been on in the last five months, four have been coffee. Casual, relaxed and successful.

  5. I nearly always start with a coffee date! I think you know pretty quick if you are going to hit it off with someone or not. I usually have something I have to do after too, so I can leave, and it’s relaxed and easy and you don’t have alcohol making you think funny things about the other person. You can always have dinner next time.

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