I remember once getting stood up for a coffee blind date. The person felt awful and re-scheduled. But instead of coffee, we went for lunch. I remember thinking that I was upgraded. And the fact that I thought that, made me aware of the hierarchy in dates. Now, I am in no way an expert when it comes to the dating world. Even though I’m in my thirties, I still often feel as though I’m catching up on this mysterious realm. While not being a master, I do find myself noting trends, etc. One of the most obvious trends I see is the act of “going for coffee.” As I think back over courting trends over the decades, I can’t help but see” going for coffee” as a relatively new development.
Somehow, going for coffee has become the pre-date. It’s dipping your toe in the water, instead of cannonballing into the lake. It’s more casual. More ambiguous. Going for coffee is saying, “we’re on a date, but not on a date.” A date itself seems to have become this big deal, almost signifying that I am ready for a serious relationship with you. Coffee keeps things in the realm of casualness.
I think back to the 1950’s. Well actually, I think back to movies that take place in the 1950’s, and see teenagers at the drive-in and the malt shop. There was no coffee for them. They just went on dates. I wonder though if dates were not as high pressure. From what I can tell from older generations, people just dated. Nothing was necessarily determined pre-date. Do we overcomplicate dating when we create hierarchies so early on?
Today, we live in a strange world, where there are pre-dates and musings on “the one.” To be honest, I have come to blame the courting movement for some of this confusion and anxiety. I was in a few communities where the implied message was that dating was not great, unless the relationship was very serious (i.e. moving towards marriage). You just spent times in mixed groups and eventually a guy would start paying more attention to you. Maybe. Dating stopped being casual and became tantamount to pre-engagement. However, we are such complex beings, that I wonder how many of us are really able to determine if a person is “the one” (if there even is a “one”) based on one or two meetings. The more I become acquainted with my heart, the more I see how messy and changing it is. I don’t always know what I want. At least for me, it takes time.
I don’t think it is possible to complete eradicate the anxiety in dating, without the help of your local pharmacist, but I wonder what it would look like to normalize dating (which I think is happening) so that a date doesn’t necessarily have to equal a serious relationship.
Being a coffee fan (which the blog has proof of time and time again), I will never pass up an opportunity for coffee, but maybe we can skip the charade and just call it a date.