In this world of online dating, people are forced to take a few guesses about the people they are going on a date with. Unfortunately, the profiles and short emails before the first meeting usually cover only the vague interests like whether or not you like to read, you enjoy museums, or you fancy a walk in the park. Many people have often found themselves on that first meeting at the opposite end of an uncomfortably tense dinner table with awkward silences, or in the middle of a risqué museum of artwork that is sure to give them nightmares for a year.
Sadly, this diversity in characters is more common than people realize, and our manners and social expectations of online dating tell us that we must suffer through these awkward encounters politely, and then calmly and gently say goodnight at the end while hoping that the person is not a complete lunatic. Then, you have to spend the next days to weeks vehemently ignoring them while secretly praying they don’t stalk your address and social media sites. These first dates can last anywhere from 2 to 5 torturous hours, depending on where you go and whether you rode together in the same car. This is why coffee dates have become so popular with online daters. They’ve become all the rage in this new era of dating that our culture has traipsed into, and with good reason.
Over the last few years coffee houses have soared with business and profit margins. This is because coffee is the easiest and most neutral way to get to know someone you’ve only met through vague profile reviews and simple, short e-mails. It’s a way to sit down and have an interesting and intellectual conversation with a person without any major financial or time investments. A coffee date gives you the option to sit with them for an hour, or extend it to four. The laid back, comfortable feeling helps first-daters to loosen up, while sipping a cup of Joe.
If we really think about it, coffee houses have a history of being a special place for social gatherings and good, friendly conversation. All throughout Europe during the Age of Enlightenment (starting in the late 17th century), coffee houses were where people went to discuss politics, religion, philosophy, art, and culture. Some people went in for a few minutes, and others stayed for hours. The magic that happens inside a coffee house is that there are no extraneous expectations and you can be you without having to make an unnecessary commitment to your first date.
Basically, coffee is cheaper than dinner and more intimate than a movie. It’s common ground for both parties and allows for an easy, carefree ambiance. Even if you don’t like coffee, most coffee houses have teas and other beverages that you could choose from. There are snacks and small lunches sometimes as well if you decide that the date should go longer.