Grasping at Straws: “Getting Coffee”

Welcome to Grasping at Straws, the weekly blog where the unheralded, the underappreciated, and the long forgotten get their time to shine! Each week, I will “make the case” for an unpopular opinion regarding any topic or category of culture and life. Suggestions for future topics will be taken and considered at any of Sour Power’s social media channels, but please, keep it classy.

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Image result for coffee date


“Hey, it was a pleasure to meet you. We should see each other again and grab some tacos. Are you free next week?”

While potentially delicious, you would never hear someone ask another person out like this. It just doesn’t happen. Taco meet-ups are more of a fourth date type of movement. Instead, for the first attempt, we as a society tend to stick to two tried-and-true vehicles which serve as excuses to further get to know someone romantically or platonically: “get a drink” (alcohol usually implied) or “get coffee.”

I fully understand the reasoning behind “getting a drink.” Alcohol is a cornerstone of social gatherings, and are often helpful (sometimes necessary) in loosening people up and allowing them to be freed of inhibitions. This can lead to more honest, substantive exchanges. Or it can lead to unwanted revelations and fantastic disaster. Either way, it’s an expected and logical stepping stone in the beginning of many relationships, and has been for a long, long time.

On the other end of the spectrum is “getting coffee.” How did we get here, people? I’m well aware that coffee is a thing, an irreplaceable and even joyful part of many people’s daily routines. My gripe with this hot beverage is how it arguably became the go-to way to ask someone out. There’s no real reason this is the case, that’s what makes it so frustrating. Besides “coffee drinkers” being an increasingly large group of people, there is no distinct benefit to “getting coffee” as a means to socialize over “getting” anything else.

I’ll concede that coffee’s versatility as a drink that is acceptable to be consumed at virtually all times of the day helps its case. But after that, I just don’t see it. It’s exceedingly hot, which opens the door for some embarrassing, possibly deal-breaking, mistakes. Also, the type of coffee you drink could create a rift between you and the other person from the jump. For example, what if you take the person to a Dunkin’, but he or she is a devout Starbucks customer. Now there’s going to be all these unspoken, pre-conceived notions that develop in both of your minds over the type of person the other is.

Even worse is if your date is one of those people whose coffee order is longer than an acceptance speech. You could become uninterested in the person in a matter of minutes after you hear him/her ask for, “one teaspoon of sugar, three-quarters 1% milk, one-quarter skim milk, only French roast, the cocoa beans had to have been imported from the northeast coast of Columbia, vegan whipped cream, and two mini marshmallows on top…please.”

Where and how someone gets their coffee can speak volumes about his/her character, and all of that might be a little too much for a first date.

Really, my point is that the choice to get coffee is entirely arbitrary and doesn’t actually improve the date in any meaningful way (unless you are both really hungover, maybe? I don’t know, I’m grasping at straws here). Therefore, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to replace coffee with some other arbitrary activities and see if we can find any that could actually make some sense as the new standard “ask-out.” Worst case scenario is they’re all ridiculous and it turns out to be really funny. Seems worth it to me. Without further ado:

“I’d love to get to know you better. We should grab some ice cream.”

If you’re in 9th grade, this one could possibly be really effective. I mean, who doesn’t like ice cream? The only problem is if you’re 32 years old and the first place you ever go in public with someone is Carvel, it’s going to be difficult to be taken seriously. In fact, I’d be careful bringing a prospective significant other around Fudgie the Whale. Fudgie is just dripping with charisma, even more than chocolate and icing. If there was ever such thing as a home-wrecking cake, that has to be it.

“I think we would have a fun time together. How about we meet up for soup tomorrow night?”

Soup just doesn’t carry any sort of significance with it. It’s not very romantic, it’s almost never impressive-looking, and it’s not going to satisfy you on its own. The other person will most likely ask, “Just soup?” or something along those lines in a very disappointed fashion. Even someone who loves soup isn’t out there thinking, “Why doesn’t anyone take me out on a lentil date?” If you take someone out, order soup, and then ask for the check, it better be A+ soup. That’s all I have to say about that.

“Would you like to meet up tomorrow afternoon? My neighbor’s kids have a lemonade stand and it has received great reviews.”

The kids angle has some potential I suppose, but more realistically he/she is going to start wondering pretty quickly about whether or not you have a job. I’m not saying a first date should be extravagant, in fact it should certainly not be extravagant. That being said, no lemonade is refreshing enough to make a good impression on a first date. If you are employed but went through with the lemonade stand idea anyway, you better buy him/her lemonade until she can’t look at anything yellow for the next 3 weeks. If he/she was still thirsty enough to consume any other liquids the rest of the day, you have no chance of seeing that person again.

“I’m so glad you’re interested in seeing me. Let’s meet at Costco at 2:00 or so this Saturday.”

This one has a chance, hear me out. Subtly showing off that you have a Costco membership is a bold start that could be really impressive. Also, it would be pretty financially irresponsible for the other person to not go to Costco and at least stock up on napkins or batteries or something. Then once you have him/her there, let your charm and the food court seal the deal (this is where ice cream could actually come into play).

“Let me take you out to the Apple Store around 7:30, it’ll be a great time.”

This one feels like an automatic yes just on the off-chance the person asking you out buys you AirPods while you’re there. Even if/when that doesn’t happen, there’s no way an Apple store first date is the worse one in this list. You can play around on all the devices, interact with the employees who are usually good for some solid conversation, and often there is good material to be had while walking around and eavesdropping. There is nothing funnier than overhearing an elderly person trying to communicate what the problem is with their phone to one of the Geniuses. You walk out of there with perhaps a new phone case on top of all that, and I’d say a second date is on the horizon.

“We should go out sometime. Would you like to meet up at the park?”

Something that was probably a lot more popular decades and centuries ago, I’m making the case that we should go back to dates in parks. It’s just you, your date, and nature out there. No distractions. No obligations to buy the other person something. It’s the best opportunity to truly get a feel for someone else, because you have nothing else to do but talk and appreciate each other’s company. The park bench deserves redemption as the quintessential meet-up spot.

“I know a place that has some delicious Sour Power Straws. You’re in? It’s a date.”

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What do you think? Are any of these worthy successors to “getting coffee?” Let me know @sourpowertheoriginal on Facebook or @SourPowerOrigin on Twitter.

I’m positive there’s a winner somewhere, between what I had here and what you could come up with. It won’t be long before people look back on the “old days” and reminisce on when they used to get coffee while intimately socializing with someone for the first time. They’ll laugh, and then proceed to take a sip of their soup or check out the retina display on the new Macbook Air. They’ll be so glad they left “getting coffee” in the past.

Or maybe, I’m just grasping at straws.