Brushing shoulders in some hip cafe making small talk that we'll forget in a week, a vibrating tension hovers in the inches between us. They always offer to get my drink so that I can find somewhere to sit, but they'll most definitely get the order wrong and then I'll feel guilty about them paying for it when I throw it away.
He grabs a coffee, black, and the order reaches into my memory, pulling every similar moment to the forefront of my mind. The Greek tragedies from the first cup of coffee to an explosive demise play in loops over each other to the soundtrack of a falling ACME bomb, and I wonder:
How many guys have I dated who take their coffee black? Does that even mean anything?
Answers: 1) A lot. 2) Yes and no.
Through the combination of a very unsettling trip down memory lane and even more terrifying, random contact with my exes, I managed to gather some data. Most guys took their coffee black (with a couple admitting to an occasional drop of cream) and one guy was all over the place.
But I just couldn't be satisfied knowing that I had been disproportionately attracted to guys who didn't mess around with their coffee. Because I felt like opening myself up to some classic Internet slut-shaming, I dug up some more data:
The trend seems to be that I have longer relationships with people who take cream/sugar in their coffee and spark a lot of flings with those who take their coffee black. For correlation purists wondering why the 24+ weeks bar is so low for latte lovers, that tiny bar represents six years.
I also noticed that the guys who reportedly drank lattes were better communicators and I was still on good terms with most of them.
But what the hell does this mean?
Luckily, so that I could sleep at night, clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula conducted an observational study of 1,000 people and extrapolated personality trends based on how people took/ordered their coffee. Here are her findings:
Oh, man. I'm having some pretty intense flashbacks right about now. In these relationships, I often felt like I was dating brick walls (albeit, very attractive brick) and my emotions weren't always taken into consideration. The guys were, however, very decisive, which is a quality I prefer in most people in my life.
There's also a noticeable streak of arrogance in this group. It was the only group where guys re-propositioned me for sex. Auto-response: Do I look like a time machine?
These guys weren't as decisive. Guy B's indecision culminated in me crying in the streets of San Francisco on a birthday trip. Plus, he was probably the most unhealthy vegetarian I've ever met (mozzarella sticks for days). In general, it was the easiest to get to know them and they were more likely to make time for me.
This guy actually responded in most categories (the spontaneity probably fueled his coffee-making decisions) and this was the biggest roller coaster of a relationship of my life. From the breaks to the make-up sex to my first threesome, Guy C was definitely the most exciting.
So, this is me. Really. That's a picture of my Starbucks order in the background. I created multiple spreadsheets to write this article because it was very important for me to understand the patterns in my love life so that I could make more informed choices in the future, regardless of whether this got published.
I know, this survey is so off-base, isn't it?
I don't trust anyone over the age of 25 who drinks instant coffee. Get a Keurig and grow up.
Obviously, there's overlap in both myself and the gentlemen callers in question. I filled my days of blended drink bliss with reckless, surprisingly consequence-free choices and have grown into a strict, elderly millennial who can taste the difference between one pump of hazelnut or two.
I completely acknowledge that correlation doesn't equal causation and that, as Dr. Durvasula states in her book You Are WHY You Eat,“we are no more defined by our coffee orders than we are by our astrological signs.”
But I can't ignore how my personality has changed along with my coffee preferences and how eerily accurate this survey was in categorizing my past relationships (yes, for some, I'm using the term relationship loosely). It's pretty obvious that a sensitive control freak wouldn't mesh well with an abrasive purist, but that our mutual appreciation of order could draw us together in the first place.
I completely acknowledge that correlation doesn't equal causation.
Even the most introverted people leave breadcrumbs about their personality in their external choices, but we're not immovable creatures.
Yeah, this is totally an article that a drinker of green tea lattes with one shot of espresso, two pumps of vanilla and soy would write.
But sometimes, I just take my coffee with cream and sugar.