Girl Talk

Coffee Date

heartAfter batting around a few impersonal emails with an on-line dating prospect, the coffee date is what you do.  It may seem old-fashioned, but I miss the blind date.  There you had a genuine connection.  A good friend would fix you up with her husband’s old college roommate.  Two things were guaranteed: someone who knows you and knows him thought you might just hit it off – and he’s not a sociopath.  Even if you didn’t find your soulmate, it was safe to let your guard down, and maybe even enjoy yourself.  Not so with the coffee date.

We met after work at Starbuck’s.  From our emailing, I knew he was a financial analyst and although I didn’t know his last name, that he was Italian-American like me.  I was hoping for a Renaissance man…

My date was tall and attractive in his charcoal gray suit.  And he was all business.  After we sat down with our coffee, what I can only describe as my interview commenced:

“So you mentioned that you like to cook,” he began.

“Well yes, I do.”

“You make your own tomato sauce?” he prompted me.

“Ah huh.”

Then he fired off a series of follow-up questions:

“What do you put in it?  Do you slow cook it?  How do you make your eggplant parm?  You do make eggplant parm, don’t you?  And stuffed artichokes?  What about steak pizzaiola?”

I was on a job interview all right, and the job under consideration was wife.  Turning the tables was tempting.

“How are you with plumbing and electrical work?  Can you unclog a sink?  Install a ceiling fan?  Do you do your own house painting?”  I could ask.

But I didn’t.  I knew he wouldn’t get it.  Instead I just smiled and sipped my latte.

red poppy

Pop Culture

The Coffee Culture

cup of joeOn an early morning train bound for DC, I made my way to the café car.

“How’s the coffee?” I tentatively asked the guy behind the counter.

“It’s hot, brown, and there’s plenty of it,” he replied with a hint of irony.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but I smiled because his reference to the movie City Slickers wasn’t lost on me.

“I’ll have a small one.”

“You’ll be back for more,” he warned.

How’d he know I come from a family of java junkies?  That my dad’s addicted to his Keurig?  That my grandmother always started her day with a pot of espresso?  She’d say it wasn’t strong enough unless the spoon stood up by itself.  As for me, I started drinking coffee for medicinal purposes.  The caffeine was my first line of defense when a migraine hit.  Now, of course, I’m hooked.

As I drank what was, at best, a serviceable cup of joe, I recalled the luncheonettes of the forties and fifties where patrons sat at a counter with a proper cup and saucer and a piece of pie, and the smoked filled coffee houses of the sixties where young people congregated to talk politics and listen to folk music.  When did cars start coming equipped with cup holders so commuters could drive-through their favorite coffee chain in the morning on their way to work?  Today, teenagers are more apt to hang out at Starbucks than to try and get into a bar and, for most of us, “let’s meet for drinks” has been replaced by the “coffee date.”

The coffee culture is not only thriving – it’s taken over.  Did our 24/7 mentality cause it?  Maybe it’s because caffeine is an acceptable and legal drug.  Or because coffee just tastes and smells so damn good.

There are 30 coffee shops within an eight-block radius of my apartment.  Seriously.  I’ve counted them.  And I’m not complaining.  After all, it’s nice to have options.  So whether you like French roast, espresso, or Turkish coffee, prefer it hot or iced, frequent one of the big chains or a small indie like Thinking Cup or Wired Puppy – coffee is a must.

red poppy