Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Coffee Problem

I used to collect crushes on baristas like frat boys collect vodka bottles: As souveniers of days gone by that look much better after the glossy sheen of time has polished away reality's harsh sting. Yes former frat boy, I know it seems impressive, but trust me, to everyone else, your wall of shiny bottles once filled with cheap, flavored booze conjures up pretty clear images of projectile vomit and date rape. So you should recycle that garbage, clean up the kitchen, buy some clothes without a little golfer or a boat or an alligator on the chest (or at least UN-pop your collar) and you might meet a nice girl who likes you for your personality. Or not. But seriously, un-pop your collar. That shit was annoying three years ago.

Frat boys aside, sure, baristas are a bit dark and mysterious and often pretty. They can make espresso and they listen alternately to punk and indie rock. They smell of flowers and scones and coffee grounds. But they also listen to emo crap and moody experimental new world jazz and shit, so in reality, it's a bit of a wash. Plus, you know, they're still just people, so many of them are probably crazy bitches. Watch out for that.

As I have never, ever, in any way received anything more than a polite smile from a coffee lady (Doris at the greasy spoon included) and having long ago outgrown my own moody, brooding, angsty, cigarette smoking phase, I suspect I am intensely qualified to give a dissertation on romancing baristas to my single friends in the hopes that they carry on the torch. Or carry the torch anywhere, or pick up the torch off the floor before it sputters and goes out.

Should you wish to pursue one of these denizens of coffee-house culture, let me lay out a few guide rules gleaned through my moderately keen powers of observation (looking at stuff and writing it down): If you don’t have a Mac, you should probably get one. Or at least hide your PC. Macs are pretty awesome anyway, and baristas/everyone are not impressed by anything that smells even remotely like Bill Gates. Also, you aren’t picking up ANYONE, EVER if they see you with a netbook. It's like showing up for a first date in a Yugo. I know its convenient, practical even and I’m sure it works well for whatever you need it to… Facebook stalking your EX and surfing tiny-sized porn at a moment’s notice or whatever. But trust me, at first blanch, you probably don’t want to encourage that smaller is adequate association, "Vaguely sufficient for my needs" is not sexy. iPhones are good, as are ratty artists notebooks with clever or ironic phrases scribbled on the cover. Act disinterested if at all possible. And, if you are capable of projecting an air of tortured douchebag with the hint of a nice guy lurking just under the surface, you sir (or madam), are in.

I should note that D. (the chick I date) once worked as a barista, and while she's pretty far removed from her brooding punky days as well, she makes a mean pot of moka, and I still felt it bore mention.


  1. I love baristas. A lot. All of them. Thank you for caffeinating me. Now, please, talk dirty about differential calculus to me.

  2. 1. Poppin' collars was annoying 20 years ago too.
    2. Kevin worries me.
    3. Is that Garmin schwag your lady friend is wearing?