But one night in particular stands out in my mind as the defining moment when my core beliefs duked it out with my 19-year-old sex drive. I’d been dancing at TI with a cute girl I knew and — without really thinking about it — found myself walking back with her from the Street to her place. After sitting on a bench and talking for a half hour, she gave a little shiver and asked if I wanted to come inside to her room. As I walked up the stairs with her, my mind on our conversation about tennis or Vermont or something, it gradually dawned on me that she probably didn’t want to go inside just because she was cold. The reality of the approaching hookup really hit home to me when she offered to kick out a friend sleeping on her couch so we could have the room to ourselves.
The choice was clear: go at it with an attractive, available girl or refuse my desire and head home. I remember blinking once or twice, scratching my head and thinking about my next move. As I stalled and pondered, something inside told me that the hookup just wasn’t right. I shouldn’t kiss her. I shouldn’t put my hands all over her body and use her for my pleasure only to go back to being mere acquaintances the next day. I shouldn’t make promises with my body that weren’t backed up in my heart and mind. As tempting as the potential hookup was and as much as my body burned for it, I felt deep down that there was a greater satisfaction in restraint than indulgence. So I hugged her, said goodnight and left.
My interactions with girls shifted dramatically soon thereafter. I no longer went out looking to grind or DFMO with the hottest girls. I no longer wanted to be just another guy on a nighttime prowl looking for his next kill — a conqueror looking for a victim. Instead I wanted to be the knight with a streak of dirt across his face who puts his life on the line to save a girl from her distress. I wanted to be the guy girls could trust, the guy who protects girls rather than taking advantage of them, the guy a father would want his daughter to be dating.
Those new desires pushed me to go old-school to find my new favorite way of interacting with ladies: the coffee date. Instead of snogging them on a beer-soaked d-floor, I began taking the interesting girls in my life to Small World Coffee to get to know them. And if you’re a single who is not in on the secret, let me tell you: Coffee dates will radically improve the quality of your interactions with the opposite sex. They’re fun, easy and low-commitment, yet still give you an opportunity to explore a connection with someone in the context of a real, sober conversation. Getting to know a girl’s personality, background and interests before becoming acquainted with the curve of her butt somehow feels closer to the way things ought to be.
Coffee dates also encourage clear communication in a way that ambiguous make-out sessions do not. Simply telling girls whether I’m interested in them has been freeing for me. I no longer have those awkward freshman-year experiences of sitting in precept across from a girl I’d made out with on the dance floor a few nights earlier. And straight talk is kinder to the girl. It’s helped me avoid leading a girl along with kisses that express an interest I never intended. Open lines of communication have helped me show my respect for the gal, that I value her enough to tell her what I’m thinking.
So in my book, coffee dates are ultimately far more satisfying than dance-floor make-outs. I’m not here to tell you that Witherspoon Cafe is where you’ll meet your future spouse. But I will say that, in my experience, hooking up hasn’t helped me find the real intimacy and relationship I was hoping for.
After all, we get what we pay for. A cheap hookup on a drunken Saturday night often buys us a cheap reward: temporary gratification followed by hollowness and superficiality in our search for intimacy. On the other hand, a slightly heftier investment of time and energy with another person can lead us to the precious reward of a deep relationship built on trust, mutual respect and joy.
So why not start with paying for a couple medium coffees? Only $4.25 at Starbucks.
Dave Kurz is a 2012 graduate from Maryland. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/10/10/31447/