Why do we get 9-5 desk jobs just to be miserable all the time? Is the money and 60" flat screen LCD TV worth the cost on our souls and dignity? Rob Hicks muses on work, happiness, and how we place value on the world around us.
May 10, 2013
Have you ever kept something bottled up inside, afraid that letting it loose would scare away the people you love? Perhaps a useful analogy can help you work through why this is a bad idea.
Apr 26, 2013
This week, Rob Hicks examines the role that morality plays in good and bad deeds and their intentions. Like most things in life, there may not be an easy answer.
Apr 19, 2013
Are celebrities worshipped because they're better than the rest of us? Or is there something else behind how we idolize them and their lifestyles?
Apr 8, 2013

ADVICE: Is A Coffee Date A Real Date?

What qualifies as a real date? The Horn's Rob Hicks addresses this issue in this week's advice column.

Dear Rob,

I recently met a guy and after talking for a while, he asked for my number and said we should “do coffee” sometime. What is the significance of a coffee date? If a guy asks me on one, does that mean he doesn’t want to spend the time and money on a dinner date?


Dear Tressica,

We go on scouting missions and test the waters before we jump in. It’s a simple way to get to know you better, and it suggests and forces you to do little else than just that.

Since our grandparents’ time, dating has evolved from a long, drawn-out singular courtship into a fast-paced shotgun approach of meeting women. We, both male and female, are no longer expected to follow the steps of tradition, starting with nervous knocks on parents’ doors and progressing into dinners of flowers, wine, and a kiss goodbye at the doorstep. Instead, with faster communication, the current acceptableness of stalking (Facebook), and a town full of people who never seem to work, we meet people faster than ever. With an influx of new faces almost daily, it’s difficult to filter through the bullshit and find someone we actually enjoy. There’s no time to date everyone, even though there is still the desire to find true human connection. We need options that require small investments from us and provide low-risk returns. Hence, the coffee date.

Coffee dates are the lowest-risk option any male can choose when meeting with a woman for the first time. They are meant to defuse any misgivings a woman might have (like “this guy picked me up at a 7-11, he’s probably a creep” or “it’s impossible to get kidnapped at a well-lit, grubby coffee shop”) and also a way to force relaxed conversation between the two prospective daters. If everything goes wrong--and it’s likely that it will a few times--either person can stand up and leave. It’s a win-win for both parties. The female isn’t expected to do anything but show interest, talk about The Hunger Games, and sit quietly while the man fumbles over his words, and the man hasn’t lost $100 dollars while worrying about whether he’s spilled food on himself, if he’s going to kiss her at the end of the night, or if the crazy ex-boyfriend that lives next door is going to kick his ass when he drops her off. The coffee date is a cheap alternative to a more formal courtship outing, but it is no less potent in its ability to kick start a relationship. With such low stakes involved, the pressure is almost non-existent. It rarely takes more than a few hours from nervous arrival to promising departure, and because no real planning is involved (man’s greatest fear), we are able to be more candid in who we are and who we present ourselves to be. Additionally, with such a small investment required of either party, we can afford to go on more of them.

So, in the end, it’s not really a matter of whether a guy is interested enough to take you on a real date. It’s more of a survival mechanism as we’ve all been burned one too many times by girls interested in free meals and not much else. We go on scouting missions and test the waters before we jump in. It’s a simple way to get to know you better, and it suggests and forces you to do little else than just that. Don’t be scared of the coffee date. It’s the gateway to the wider world of dating. And don’t worry, once we men find the girl we like, we’ll take you to dinner and tell you about our parents. And ask for dessert, because we won’t be able to tell you no.

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