Timberlake: Coffee shop dating: What you’re doing wrong


Photo: Megan Wolff/Iowa State Daily

Although an easy option, going to a coffee shop is neither an ideal nor fun choice for a first date.

Ian Timberlake

You and your bud sign up for a coed softball league in your local town. At the same time, his girlfriend and her best friend sign up for the same team. All of you show up to your first practice ready to get down-’n’-dirty when you meet her for the first time. She’s wearing shorts and a three-quarters sleeve baseball tee with a baseball cap. You play third base, she plays second base and for the entire hour and a half both of you share glances and smiles with one another… until, you get hit a grounder, and it goes right through your legs while you’re caught looking over at your buddy’s girlfriend’s best friend.

Now what? You can either (a), make a fool of yourself even more and make an excuse like, “The sun was in my eyes.” Or (b), say you were “distracted.” After practice you both exchange glances and finally you say with a big grin, “Hi, I’m (insert name).” She smiles and says, “Hey, I’m (insert name), are you always bad at third base?” You talk a little while longer as you walk towards your cars, and then you finally close off with, “I’ll see you at the game tomorrow. It was nice meeting you.”

The next day at your first coed softball game, both of you show up. You talk throughout the game when you can, not really paying attention to the score. She has everything you desire — she’s intelligent and witty, has a beautiful smile and is funny as well as charming. After the game you pack up your things, walk her to her

car and then the make or break moment happens: You say, “I’m really beginning to like you. Can I take you out for coffee sometime?” And with that comes the biggest shotgun blast to the foot if I ever heard one.

Asking somebody out for coffee or to a local café is oh so cliché it makes my stomach turn. Why is it the generic approach to asking somebody out? Is it a cop-out because you’re too afraid to do anything else? Or is it because you’re too boring to think of anything better? This is what happens when you ask somebody out. Usually, more often than not, you have already been “shootin’ the breeze” with him/her before you actually get to asking somebody out. 

If you then backtrack to a coffee shop, what will you talk about? Most of the small talk and getting to know each other has been taken care of. Unless both of you are really open to expressing your deeper selves on your first official date, there is potential for a lot of awkward silence.

Aside from that factor, what is so exciting about going out to a café anyway? 

What makes this first date memorable? 

You’ll be just another person who went on a date to a coffee shop. Why not a stroll through the park? Especially if you own a dog. Or a walk through a local museum. Skiing, if it’s the winter months. An introductory pottery class. 

But please, please, please don’t be another Joe Schmo and ask a date out for coffee.

In case you were wondering, a movie is just as bad. 

If you’re caught up and can’t think of anything on the spot, just say that you’ll find something special and let them know what it is at a later time. It’ll at least give you time to think about a proper first date idea.

I am not advocating going back to the early 20th century where men woo swooning women in an effort to show off their sexual prowess and masculinity. 

What I am advocating is making yourself as memorable as possible, male or female. You should show off your fun side and not the boring side that you shouldn’t have in the first place.