Drawing My Dates: Chai Tea, Doughnuts and Water

Dating without drinking

Drawing by Jay Boucher. Print available.

A date doesn’t get much less expensive than a small doughnut and a paper cup of water from the pitcher at the end of the coffee counter. Going out with someone who doesn’t drink, either alcohol or caffeine, makes things pretty good on the wallet, but it does make planning early dates a bit of a challenge.

I have a friend who told me that men sometimes get offended when she tells them she doesn’t drink. “What do you do then?” they ask. “Not even just a little? C’mon!” Those dates don’t last long. She gets completely turned off by their pestering and lack of imagination, while they get thrown off their game and can’t handle either not drinking or being soberly watched while they throw back cocktail after cocktail.

Doughnut Plant on 23rd street in Manhattan is a fun place to meet for an online date… if you can manage to get a seat on a busy Saturday afternoon. Like most coffee shops in the city, the tables are packed pretty close together. While it’s already awkward sitting down for the first time with a stranger you met online, it’s especially unsettling doing so when there are people at both your elbows. It can feel like you’ve got a snarky audience for every clumsy utterance you make… and they’re probably tweeting about it too. I usually just plow through those first few minutes and hopefully come to a decent topic of conversation pretty quickly. After all, we’ve been online pen-pals for a brief period already so we’ve got something to talk about, right? We did and wound up carrying our conversations together for the next couple months.

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