turn that mule around, juan valdez

for the last year and a half i’ve refused all coffee dates.  i’m too old for this half-assed coffee date nonsense.  what are we, in high school?  they are the antithesis of romance.  let’s review reasons to go to starbucks/coffee shop:

  • you’re addicted to some weird, complicated drink
  • you’re meeting the kid of a family friend who just moved to LA and is having a hard time
  • you’re staging a domestic showdown with a female room mate (assuming you’re also female)
  • you’re a tv/film writer in LA

none of these, you’ll note, are remotely fun, let alone inspire lovey-dovey feelings.  plus, you’ll inevitably be forced to negotiate around a nut-so middle-aged woman yelling into her flip phone, which she’s charging at an outlet, the rest of her possessions strewn everywhere.

instead, when a guy suggests one, i say i’d love to meet but for a drink drink, or something entirely different, not coffee.  one of them called me “harsh” but otherwise it works.  every.  time.  it’s almost like they know it’s a sub-par offer.  when we meet they grill me over drinks about the bad dates that led to this rule. 

there are two, primarily.  but the real issue is the attitude behind asking someone out for coffee.  it’s so low-risk and tentative.  we’re going on a date, but it’s not a real date, it’s just coffee.  go big or go home, i say.  if you can’t ask me on a real, grownup date, then get out of my life.  maybe the guy who called me harsh was right.  anyway, back to the dudes. 

one had gained about 15 pounds, 10 of which went to his face, between the time his photos were taken and when we met.  he walked in and i wanted to cry.  after a long week of work i’d skipped Friday evening yoga for this?  he’s already lied to me.  i momentarily considered saying i’d forgotten something in my car and fleeing.  but i gave him a chance.  and it totally sucked. 

he went ahead of me in line, took my scone, either by mistake or deliberately, and didn’t even offer to pay.  when we were seated i discovered he was also hopelessly boring.  honestly, there was nothing to work with, conversationally.  when we said goodbye he made some overture about getting together again but i was already halfway across the street to my car.   i’d refused to let him walk me.

the other guy suggested my local starbucks, which i knew was the most pathetic offer ever but i agreed because otherwise what will i write about later?  he was a cater waiter/actor whom, he confessed, his father routinely beat, along with his brother.  it was a painful conversation to say the least. 

i recently suspended my no coffee rule and met a guy for chai at urth caffe in Beverly Hills for three reasons.  strangely, this was the only urth caffe location i hadn’t been to but it’s the one closest to my apartment.  so that needed to be fixed.  plus, the longer i go without dating, the scarier the prospect of beginning again becomes.   and i wanted to check in with the old rule and see if it withstood the test of time.

i got to chat with a super late bozo who parties like he’s still in college.  what does that mean, exactly?  why, just the night before he was so drunk he didn’t remember getting home.  but don’t worry, he also lost his wallet over the course of the night.  some rules are meant to be followed. 


i’m not dating right now, and once you read some of my stories you’ll probably understand why.  here’s my first installment in a little retrospective of guys i’ve known (briefly) and loved (not at all).

i met a brazilian guy for drinks at a snazzy bar in downtown santa monica.  he wore a baseball cap, which stayed on the whole time, and a hoodie.  the sweatshirt was nice and euro chic, but this was our first date.  as a lady i was not impressed.   

we were seated at a great table in the front window, which seemed miraculous thanks to mr. sartorial splendor.  the introductory chitchat was going well and he clearly liked me.  his body language made it obvious and he said so outright, as foreign men occasionally do.  i thought he was ok.





and he answered

it was his dad in brazil, calling to check in as he does every sunday evening.  i was appalled, of course, but kept cool.  the two of them chatted on facetime a bit, and before i knew it, my date turned the phone around and i was suddenly confronted with a man best described as not my future father-in-law.  “see? that’s my dad!” i gave him a little wave and smile, the kind you do when you’re ostensibly saying “hey there!” but inside you’re dying to yell, “you raised an idiot!” 

they hung up shortly thereafter and he apologized profusely.   i just stared at him in silence, emanating ‘you are really dumb’ from every pore, forcing him to restart the conversation, and noting he did not silence his phone. 

sure enough, it rang again a few minutes later.  this call was from the son of friends visiting him from brazil.  everything was fine. the kid just called to see where he was.  

by now i was wondering how he treats women he dislikes.  i wasn’t included in this call, so i spent their conversation scanning the bar for reasons to cut this date short.  was a robbery underway?  had menus caught fire?  any excuse would do. 

then i wondered, “what if i’m being punked?” and immediately modified my search to include poorly disguised crew members of ‘candid camera,’ but no one fit the bill. 

back in iphone land, the brazilian portuguese conversation seemed to be winding down.  if i was going to run, this was my moment.  i didn’t need an explanation for leaving, especially at this point.  and the traditional taking-care-of-myself approach might have been to call him out on his bad behavior and storm off.  

but i didn’t.  

doing what was best for me in that moment meant sticking it out, for a few reasons.  i’d already accepted the evening was shot, but if i left now what would i miss?  clearly, nothing was off-limits.  anything outrageous and inappropriate could happen.  i already had a front-row seat.  might as well stay and watch.   

i didn’t want to make a scene or inadvertently give him a bad date story by leaving abruptly.

and, since he was an interested brazilian guy, making out at the end was essentially guaranteed.  so, yes, at the end of the day i’m just an animal.  sue me.

and we did make out, an activity that yielded another gem.  “i knew you’d be a good kisser,” he claimed, “because of how you talk.”  ‘like on facetime?’ i wondered.