Ah, millennials. Singlehandedly supporting the coffee industry in skinny jeans and the propagators of $30 artisanal chocolate bars.
Chocolate, I can get behind. Coffee, I can (always) get behind. But asking someone, “Hey, want to grab a coffee?”, instead of asking if they would like to go on a date sometime? That’s where things get a little sticky.
I was having a discussion with my boyfriend the other week, and he seemed to think that anytime you got asked to coffee with someone you didn’t already know, it was a date– like an actual date, where someone picks you up at a certain time and stammers for an awkward compliment. (So apparently we’d been on at least three dates I was unaware of).
Listen: She’s the reality TV star we need right now.
But it got me thinking, how many coffee “dates” had I been on without realising it? When did “let’s grab a coffee sometime” become a replacement for actually asking someone to go on a date with you? And how the hell are you supposed to tell the difference between “I want to date you,” “I want to f**k you,” and “I want to be your friend” when all they say is “let’s go get coffee?”
If you check in with your local 20-something, “getting coffee” has become a euphemism for hooking up. (As your resident middle-aged-woman-at-heart, I have recently learned this.) Going for coffee is the new grabbing after dinner drinks, and anything other than informality is considered “extra.”
We’re in this place where the “winner” is the person who cares less – because apparently, human interaction is now something you can win. We don’t go on dates and discuss our dreams, we chat about our aesthetic over coffee and list our achievements like a walking resume.
You can argue that everything you need to know about someone’s intentions can be gathered from context clues and insinuations; a good bit of it probably can. But that can lead to a web of second-guessing and misunderstandings and somebody ending up with a wrong impression. I have a close friend who’s been seeing a new guy for a while, and still has no idea whether he’s into her or the sex.