This Is Why Coffee/Activity First Dates Don’t Work



Jesus, this girl.

And then I had a revelation that would forever change the way I approached the dating scene: If you get drunk enough, you can get along with anyone. Your worst enemies become your best friends, the ugly guy becomes the hottest thing since sliced bread and the people you once wrote off become people worth giving second chances.

Alcohol, you dangerous, dirty, little devil.

Why would you want to get to know a random stranger’s drunk self before knowing his sober self? That don’t make sense to me.

What are we actually doing when we get too drunk on a first date? Are we really just trying to lighten the mood, or is it more than that? Are we trying to escape reality altogether?

I love how she doesn’t seem to realize that not getting drunk on a first date is an option. Her solution to making bad decisions on a first date isn’t to drink less but to get the guy to take her somewhere where she can’t drink. Apparently controlling her impulses is not a thing for her. I see AA in somebody’s future.

Here’s why I always opt for the cocktail hour first date:

1. There’s less pressure – Mini-golf? Bowling? An art show? No. Here’s why: because all of those things require that you stick around for a certain amount of time. You want an easy exit should you need one. You don’t want to be this woman.

2. I like to dress up for first dates - I’m not wearing a curve hugging pencil dress just to ruin it with ugly bowling shoes.

3. I like getting to know someone without constant interruptions – Activity dates involve a series of stops and starts. It’s hard to maintain momentum when it’s your turn to putt.

4. I’m a god damn delight after drinking a cocktail - Most people have at least some apprehension walking in to a first date. I’m not saying you should throw back shots and start dancing on the bar, but one or two drinks does ten to lighten the mood and cut the tension.

5. Coffee dates are for cheapos and bores – There. I said it. Guys who suggest coffee dates are the ones who’ve been burned too many times and refuse to be taken for a sucker. Fun.  Coffee dates, to me, scream cheap, paranoid,  and rigid.

I honestly don’t know why anybody (other than people who don’t like to drink or are sober) would choose not to have a drink on a  date.




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23 Responses to “This Is Why Coffee/Activity First Dates Don’t Work”

  1. Eliza Says:

    Unfortunately, most men today – suggest Starbucks, yes, “El Cheapos”, at least not El Chapo! lol…I know, rather cheesy. But true in many cases…not that I would spring for my own cocktail…since plenty whine about buying a glass of wine for someone they may not “get anything out of”, in other words…lamely put by many “their return on their investment”. So sad. This is why I comply to the lame Starbucks suggestion…and only go in knowing that I have 20 min. – perhaps 1/2 an hour tops to spend…unless they say/do something completely offensive…in which case..I take the coffee I purchase for myself to go! lol. That’s right. No apologies either. Geez…if a person can’t even handle 1 drink? Then I guess they are limited to a café. And if that man or woman get intoxicated on the first few dates…yes, they may need a local AA group to consult with.

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    • Eliza Says:

      I meant to type–“not that I wouldn’t spring for my own glass of wine/cocktail”. It’s only $10-$15. Not going to break my bank.

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  2. fuzzilla Says:

    I agree. I always thought activity dates too soon were kind of try-hard and distracting.

    I dunno if it was this website or another one, but I remember someone saying a first date with someone you meet online isn’t so much a first date as date zero or 0.5 or whatever. Because you’re still doing your basic due diligence to see if they’re who they say they are, if you have any chemistry in person, etc. Don’t be paranoid and weird about the fact that they’re a stranger, but yes, do give yourself an easy out. Which means no bungee jumping or safari trips or whatever.

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    • PGH_Gal Says:

      Agreed. I never call an online first meet up a date unless it’s going well. It really is just a chance to feel out whether we want to schedule a real date or not.

      Plus, as Moxie said, you relax while sipping a fave beer, wine or cocktail. Sometimes, I think, guys are suggesting coffee because they think that’ll make us feel less pressured. If a guy suggests coffee, I usually reply that I don’t enjoy coffee (100% true) and that I’d much rather grab a drink after work. If he’s not into that, well, it probably wasn’t meant to be.

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  3. BTownGirl Says:

    I wouldn’t do a coffee date either – I mean, there’s no less sexy atmosphere than a Peet’s Coffee where you’re tripping over people’s cords and sh*t. No ma’am!

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    • Goldie Says:

      I’d say that I would not do a first date at a national coffee chain; just like I would not do it at a sports bar. Sure, there’s alcohol, but with all the noise and distraction from the TVs, that hardly helps. I’ve had good luck with local wine bars, breweries, and (gasp) coffee shops. Of course, it helps a lot if at least one of you has been to the place before, and knows that the atmosphere is indeed sexy.

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      • Eliza Says:

        I actually don’t need a “sexy” environment with a total stranger…and that’s basically what a very first online date is…can be considered a blind date to a certain degree…as some people tend to post irrelevant or dated info/photos…and it’s just a meeting to do one’s “due diligence” – as posted on here by someone else. Case in point, the last “coffee date” I went on…I’m so glad it was a very nearby Starbucks…it turns out the man was not even divorced…he was indefinitely “separated”…that’s all I had to hear. Some people tend to leave out or glaze over the truth and important details. They know the truth may hinder the end result. So as lame as it may be, I prefer to keep it ultra-short and convenient – only when it comes to online first dates with “virtual/cyber strangers”. Otherwise, a nice wine bar is best.

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        • Goldie Says:

          I cannot, of course, know what you mean by ultra-short and convenient, but I prefer to have a good time on a first date. Just because it’s a meet-and-greet, it doesn’t have to be tedious or feel like work (which “due diligence” sounds a lot like to me). Let’s face it, the number of first dates we’ll end up going on is probably at least 5x the number of second, third etc. meaning we’ll spend a good deal of our free time on first dates. Might as well enjoy them. The way I see it, I’m going to meet a new person, who has a life that I know nothing about, and there’s probably at least something exciting about that person and his life. Yes the odds of us meeting again are probably in the 25% range, and the odds of us becoming a couple, probably somewhere just above zero. Doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy meeting this guy and hearing what he has to say.

          One first date that I went to, the guy decided to go with the job-interview format. Meaning he sat across the table from me and asked me one question after another. I tried to deflect and get him to talk about himself, nope, he was on a mission. “What do you like to do?” I said I liked to read. “What have you read last weekend?” I kid you not. He went on like this for about fifteen minutes, then I gave him an answer he wasn’t happy with. Don’t remember what it was, but he got on my case about it and I said, “well what would you *like* to hear?” He thankfully “remembered he was late for class” and left. Wasted my evening (the place was a bit of a drive from both my work and home, and he got lost on the way there and was late as a result). I would’ve been better off at home with my dog and Netflix. Let’s all of us maybe not be that guy.

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          • Eliza Says:

            Goldie – case in point. This is precisely – why I choose a location – extremely convenient to ME..and around my schedule, and make it short, but sweet…yet considerate, not rushed, and don’t interrogate…not a detective that way. When I mention “Due diligence”–you can be very diplomatic, and inquisitive yet engaging too…and charming with great conversation…not all the questioning. And by the way, as SOON as a man get confrontational and inappropriate (as you state above)–that’s my que- to get up, excuse myself and LEAVE! lol. Yes, no apologies. No need to be subjected to that nonsense. You say–he went on like that for 15 minutes? And you tolerated that horsecrap? Wrong move, my friend. No time for that. And no regrets either.

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            • Goldie Says:

              I live and work in the suburbs. There’s nothing of interest close to where I live and work. And to be completely honest, I don’t want my first dates coming out to my neighborhood where I live. Who knows how things might turn out. But mostly, like I said before, if I’m going out after work to meet a new person, it might as well be someplace I like to be, vs a Starbucks. So the location was actually my choice.

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              • Eliza Says:

                That’s the beauty of working in Manhattan…plenty of nearby places…and neither party has to get an idea as to where you live/breathe! lol Just saying. I also do schedule an initial cyber date (AKA blind date in my book) – after my classes, or appts.-do not cancel my plans…this way if they are very late, don’t show, or it’s a flop – so be it. No worries. Keep it simple, don’t expect much, and go with an open mind/heart…and take it at face value.

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          • fuzzilla Says:

            I agree on the sexy atmosphere (cocktails trump coffee) and having a good time. Most of my first dates went nowhere, but I generally at least had a pleasant enough time chatting with a new person.

            A first date (or date 0.5 or whatever) shouldn’t feel like a job interview, but it should be uncomplicated and easy to bail from if need be. Not too expensive, and nothing where you can’t remember where you parked and you’re covered in goo from Paintballing, etc. Don’t be stingy, but don’t put yourself in a position where you’d resent the effort put in if it doesn’t work out.

            Basically, just suggest cocktails and don’t think too hard about it. ;o)

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      • BTownGirl Says:

        #MustHaveTheSexy haha! I personally love hotel bars (GOOD LIGHTING Y’ALL) – I live near Boston and The Bristol Lounge at The Four Seasons, Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental and The Liberty Bar and Alibi at The Liberty Hotel are awesome.

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    • The D-man Says:

      I don’t drink, so I tried to find funky places that offer booze, but that’s not all they offer. Where I live there are quite few bohemian places that offer coffee during the day but booze at night, perhaps with some low-key live music.

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  4. Katie Says:

    Is it odd that I usually would be the one to suggest coffee dates for a first date? I always preferred them to drinks (not that I don’t drink, I just don’t like to a lot), I felt it was easier to talk to the guy during them, and (yes) they are cheap – that way I didn’t feel bad for the guy if things didn’t work out, and if they guy wanted to “go dutch” at coffee I didn’t feel like I was out a lot of money. Plus there are zero expectations after coffee, while I feel that drinks can make a guy think things may lead somewhere that they won’t on a first date (at least for me). I freely admit though that I am unusual when it comes to dating lol ;)

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  5. Robyn Says:

    One problem with “activity dates” that involve sports (indoor or outdoor) is that they can very quickly turn into a competition more than a “getting to know you” meeting.
    And if (as a woman) you happen to be a lot better than the guy at the activity/sport in question, it get very awkward very quickly.
    Yes, it is the 21st century, but when push comes to shove, very few men like to be bested at sports / a physical activity by women (even when they say they want a fit / athletic woman!).

    I live across the street from a big park and pond area, so doing a walk around the pond (1.8 miles) works well for an “activity date” – but it’s best done in daylight, and since most dates happen in the evening, I find meeting for a beer or a glass of wine at a local pub/wine bar (where I know that the prices are reasonable & the wine/beer are good) works the best for first dates/meetings.

    But if a guy suggests the Bristol Lounge (yes, I also live in Boston), I won’t dissuade him from that location for a date – it is a lovely spot (and I really should go there more often on my own too!).

    BTownGirl – wanna get together for girls’ night out some time? ;)

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    • BTownGirl Says:

      Giiiiiiiiirl, I will knock a few back with you at Four Seasons any damn time! ;)

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      • Robyn Says:

        Hey BTownGirl,

        Let me know your contact info & we can make a plan for some classy cocktails.

        talltegweni at yahoo dot com


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  6. coffeestop Says:

    I would say almost all of my coffee dates were with guys who I was either somewhat ambivalent about meeting, or they turned out to be duds, no connection, bad conversation. I am not actually opposed to the concept, it just has not worked out in reality for me. I do not see the problem with meeting for a drink at a local brew pub or place known for decent cocktails. The problem is now when somebody suggests the Starbucks dates I go in thinking hmmmm this will be a waste of time so I guess I have turned into the problem.

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  7. Nia Says:

    I have to say, vote for the drinks date.
    I went on a 0.5 level date with an online date and when he showed up, it was an immediate no. Sometimes when it’s only kind of a “no” like you’re feeling “Oh, he’s not really my type but maybe…” you can roll with it and warm up to them. There was no way with this guy. Well, I didn’t want to be rude, so I just ponied up and tossed back a drink. And another.
    I them stumbled on my strategy for making a no-chemistry date/meeting about 500% more fun: play word games combined with drinking.
    We played “yes or no” which is:
    You throw out a word–could be anything, person, place, thing– like “Oxford shoes: yes or no” or “Madonna: yes or no” the other person answers as quick as they can, no qualifiers or hedging. It’s a super fun, light hearted way of getting to know someone OR pass the time until it’s cool to be like “oh, look at the hour, I must fly”.
    So: yes, alcohol and word games. #nerdz4lyfe!

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  8. Goldie Says:

    Fun fact about activity dates: I love to hike and tell people so, and have that information, along with the pictures, on my profile, whenever I have a profile up. Somehow on several occasions over the years, this led to people suggesting a hike for a first or second date. No, random person, I am not going into the woods alone with you!

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  9. D. Says:

    Three thoughts:

    1. Coffee date = coffee breath = nobody wants to kiss you.

    2. Activity dates can be fine if (A) you KNOW the other person is really, really into the activity, and (B) you already know them. Activity dates are a terrible way to get to know someone, though. There’s a reason why drinks or dinner are so common as dates: because they offer ample opportunity to get to know someone so that you can decide whether you want to spend 4 hours hiking or playing minigolf or tennis or whatever with them. Also, game-based dates (e.g. bowling, mini-golf, darts, pool, whatever) are a terrible idea because you never know just how competitive someone else can be. If you want activities like that with a social component, join a meetup group or some adult sports team or whatever.

    3. If you’re at a point where you’ve decided that you need to do less expensive dates because you’re tired of wasting your time/money on people who aren’t worth it, guess what: you should take a break instead. The issue isn’t how cheap you are (although that’s not going to help matters), but rather where your head is at. If you’re doing this, chances are you’re already burned out and frustrated. You’ll approach dating from a “defensive” stance, rather than going into the date from the mindset of “this is gonna be fun!” So, even though you think you’re saving money, you’re probably still wasting it because you’re already much more likely to have a crappy date when you’re going in expecting to have a crappy date.

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  10. BostonRobin Says:

    Sheena’s a train wreck anyway. Is there nothing in between barhopping with a total stranger and coffee? YES: a drink or two in ONE place.

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