Wednesday, 11 April 2012

... On Coffee Shops

So... This coffee shop doesn't exist any more...
OK, so I'm sat curled up in my favourite coffee shop, my regular Americano far colder than it really should be, having been bought probably over an hour ago and my laptop balanced precariously on my knees, a very picture of manliness, or content childishness, probably the latter, and want to write about what it is I love about coffee shops.  What's that? You don't care what I think about coffee shops? My blog, my rules, so stuff it.

Considering that my coffee is now reaching room temperature it's clearly not the coffee that keeps me coming back, although it certainly influences my choice of venue to start with and it's certainly not the seating; however comfortable that may be, it's generally the clientele. Coffee shops are a great place to watch the various subsets of humanity pass by and ponder what it is they're doing, are they stressed out working on a last minute design document for a lousy boss?  Are they escaping an uncomfortable argument with a spouse or partner?  Are they just their to meet a friend for a quick coffee in between getting important things done?  Or, are they, like me when I'm alone, merely there to feel closer to the general hubbub of daily life and the potentialities presented in such a place for chance meetings with new people that could develop beyond those of an acquaintance or friend, perhaps to that of lover or loved one.

And that's where we really get down to it, I love sitting in coffee shops watching the people go by; in particular the beautiful, intelligent young women that frequent such places (at least in a university town), hoping that they might choose to sit somewhere nearby so I have an excuse to talk to them and learn a bit of what makes them tick.  The truth is I love humanity, warts and all, but what inevitably most catches my attention are the women in my "age-range", those with whom, assuming a compatible personality, may choose to spend more time in my company than is really necessary for something so simple as a friendship.  As a single man in my mid 20s, busy writing up a boring PhD, interesting women are a bit of a vice of mine, especially those with a hint of their sexuality without being so open as to be a little scary to someone such as me with only a couple of long term "relationships" to my name.

I tend to read a number of feminist blogs as I consider myself an egalitarian and some such sites demonise heterosexual men who allow a small measure of our sexuality out in the way we notice women around us and the way we choose to interact primarily with those we find attractive, which does worry me at times, as I am more guilty of this than most (hence coffee shops), but I'm not entirely convinced that it's a bad thing.  I don't think I objectify the women I notice, generally on seeing someone I consider very attractive my first thoughts are of trying to find out what makes her who she is, what she considers her flaws to be and what I can do that will brighten her day somewhat, much as I do for nearly everyone I meet, but I will admit that there are also slightly less innocent thoughts kicking around too; however, the former are not considered as a means to successfully bring the latter thoughts into being.  I'll probably have to write something more in depth about my views on misogyny and feminism in a later post as it's an area I've put a lot of (probably misguided) thought into.

So, in the strictest sense I visit coffee shops for the beautiful and intelligent members of the opposite sex that tend to while away hours in such places, and, to date I seem to have a lot of evidence in favour of such places being a good place to get numbers and Facebook contacts.  I have met a number of close friends in coffee shops and the last person I dated, unfortunately, my personality does sometimes get in the way of forming a deeper connection, and my "knight in shining armour complex" can sometimes lead to me growing close to someone for all the wrong reasons.  I'm not arguing that coffee shops should be the centre of interaction with those I am/could be attracted to but they certainly help me when I'm feeling disconnected from humanity as a whole reconnect with that side of myself and remind myself that maybe being a sexual being isn't really all that bad.


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