His piercing eyes, razor-sharp jaw line, musical laugh, and swept-back hair leave you stunned every time you lay eyes on this mythical creature. He knows everyone and anyone. Why can’t I know him?, you cry out in your mind. He high-fives and shakes the hands of frequent customers and friends. His hands look big and strong, ravaged by twenty-eight years of life.
He was probably a blacksmith in a past life, you dream-think to yourself. (What?) You long to touch palms with him. (Again…what?) It’s easy to be lulled into this “barista crush” trend. There is something so sexy about the coffee-stained apron and the way he misreads the name of your order. But speaking from experience, you should never meet this guy. Never hang out with him. It’s best not even to find out his name.
Why, you ask? Because there are a number of different scenarios that could take place if you do, and they all end with you having to find a new caffeine outlet. So read on, ye infatuated, obsessive girls and boys, read on…
1. It will most likely ruin the joint fantasy future you have constructed for you and him.
In your daily fantasies, he introduces himself. He has an old English name such as “James” or “Henry” or “Archibald.” It is the same name you will call his and your firstborn son, continuing family tradition.
Soon you are going out on dates where he pays and takes you to the best restaurants in town. After three years of blissful partnership, he proposes to you at this very same café that you met in and sit at now. You cry real tears as he bends down on one knee. You know this is a dream because you don’t look ugly when you cry. The entire café cheers as you say “yes.” The wedding is beautiful, and because you are unoriginal, you honeymoon in Paris.
In the horrible light of reality, he introduces himself as “Howard” or “Barry” and you shudder violently and uncontrollably. You go out on one date to a Mexican joint. You order quesadillas and he warns you grossly with a wink: “Chili doesn’t sit well with me.” Again, uncontrollable shudder. You pay the bill. Five margaritas down, and no measure of alcohol could make that experience any better.
Result: You avoid the café for six months.
2. Or he’s an imbecile.
While he sits there at the café on his break, he scrolls through his iPhone. You like to believe that he is reading the latest news on the Middle East via Al-Jazeera, watching the latest Ted Talk, or whatever it is that smart people do. In reality, he is uploading selfies or latté art to Facebook, tagging photos of himself in club promo pictures from last Saturday night, or sending a well-angled image of his tiny member to his latest idiotic, fake-tanned, female counterpart. As you get to know him, you think it’s endearing that he confuses the Arabic dip hummus with the Palestinian nationalist group Hamas. By the end, you’re like, “Don’t speak, baby” for fear of what senseless shit will come out of his mouth next. Finally, he embellishes his chest with a pro-White slogan tattoo and is arrested for getting into a fight with a bouncer on a night out. His night in jail, recent body art, and absence of intelligence confirm that you should cut ties with him.
Result: You don’t return to the café for minimum eight months.
3. Or he’s gay/taken.
You tell all your girlfriends about your sick obsession with this barista at the café. You use descriptions such as “kind aura” and “Brad Pitt-esque.” One day while getting coffee with one of these girlfriends, the love of your life walks in on his day off (yes, it’s weird that you know that), and you point him out. Your friend knows him and you’re introduced. Your heart flutters because you’ve watched far too many romantic comedies and are as basic as Katherine Heigl. “THIS IS IT,” you shout-think.
Later, your friend confides in you that he is gay/taken. Your heart sinks and every time you see him from now on you give him a dramatic, sad, knowing wave. A few weeks later, that same friend that introduced the two of you calls to tell you that she may have drunkenly let it slip to him about your enormous crush. Thunder rumbles as a dark cloud settles overhead. HOW COULD SHE? SHE HAS RUINED EVERYTHING, you scream-think. Two days later, you run into your café crush, and you see in his eyes that he knows about your pathetic infatuation. Too embarrassed to face him again, you lock yourself in a dark room, crying, and probably watching reruns of Sex and the City. The only light in your life comes from the scented candle you burn to mask the scent of despair mixed with body odor.
Result: You take a nine-month sabbatical from the café.
4. If he isn’t an idiot/gay/taken, you will hook up with him and ruin EVERYTHING.
It’s a Saturday and you’re out on a girl’s night with your three best friends. You are rocking to this horrible Jason Derulo song. You think, This is my next big summer anthem. (You’re everything that’s wrong with the world.) The strobe lighting illuminates the room for a split second and across the dance floor you see him. You convince your gal pals to come with you. You hitch your skirt up a bit and venture over. The several vodka, lime and sodas (0 calories!) you have been drinking give you the confidence to introduce yourself, and he does the same. He mentions that he recognizes you from somewhere but doesn’t know where. You drunkenly blunder out that you see him at the café “like every day.” He gives you a look like “OK, WTF, creepy.” You ignore the look. I’m not creepy, nor am I a stalker; I’m just really observant, you tell yourself. The night moves on and you continue talking and drinking. You end up on your front doorstep; he’s walked you home. You make out. He’s good. He’s very good. You drag him inside.
The next morning, he wakes up early and is dressed before you even have a chance to roll over. It’s probably because he’s used to getting up early to open the café, you tell yourself. As he goes to leave, you kiss him, morning breath and all. What you mistake as a look of pleasure as you pull away is actually irrepressible nausea at your halitosis. You give him your number and tell him to call you. He doesn’t. It’s been a week since he left you sprawled naked in bed at 6:30AM, and he hasn’t called you. You hang around the café; he doesn’t. You realize what’s happened. Did he quit because of you? Embarrassment swallows you whole, as you lie in the fetal position on the bathroom floor, choking back tears. The cold, tiled floor and dramatic sobbing is your only haven now.
Result: You can’t go back to the café. You can never return.
The answer to your crush and café curiosity is to let it remain that way. Despite the seconds of flirtation you have each day with this barista, he undoubtedly goes through the same routine with scores of other women/men that same day. You are better off looking for love elsewhere. Maybe try a bar? Just don’t fall for the bartender.