Meet Cute: Gym Gents and Coffee Cuties

Art: Rui Pinho

Art: Rui Pinho

Welcome to Meet Cute, where Professional Match Recruiter, Freyja, catalogs her personal, live from the trenches dating adventures (and misadventures) with the express purpose of improving your IRL dating game. 

This month, IRL, my goal was to slowly push outside of my comfort zone — do things that are beyond the scope of my normal patterns.

After all, if we’re being honest, getting stuck in the mundane, and the usual patterns of day-to-day life is probably one of the biggest factors inhibiting us from meeting people out in the real world.

That, and just, being completely oblivious to the people around us — you know, when we’re distracted by technology, enveloped in our our thoughts (and stressors), that we don’t even notice the attractive passing strangers around us. 


Verve Coffee
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday at 2:00 pm

The vibe in here was refreshingly different than Madison and Park from last month. There was a mix of people on their laptops working and pairs of friends catching up over coffee, making the overall energy feel noticeably more social, and inviting.

It may have had something to do with the loud(ish) pop music playing, the beautiful 75 degree weather outside that day, or the open, airy layout of the place, but I felt like it would be relatively easy to go up to someone and strike a conversation.

And so, for the sake of experimentation, I decided to take the plunge and try it.

It’s pretty easy for me to approach someone at a bar or party, when I have a wing-woman nearby, or when people have adult beverages in their hands, but I have less experience in approaching people in places like coffee shops. I was sitting inside, co-working with a friend, when I decided to scope for someone who looked normal, relatively attractive, and approachable. I spotted a guy sitting outside by himself on his laptop, and so, I decided it was the perfect time to take a little work break.

I brought my coffee, but ditched the laptop, and plopped down right next to him, sipping my cappuccino and enjoying the sunshine. He kept glancing over at me, probably wondering if I had a question, and I found myself suddenly nervous! Would he say something? Would I have to? It was such a low pressure situation, and he seemed like a perfectly nice, normal guy, but for some reason, I really felt myself clamming up.

I finally decided to ask,  “Do you get wifi out here?” It turned out to be a good ice breaker, because he was able to very smoothly lead that into a friendly conversation. We mostly chatted about what we do, and what we were working on that day.

Work conversation is really easy for people to fall into, but I generally like to avoid it initially.

Given the nature of what I do (working with a matchmaking company), people are often unsure of what my goal might be — ie, am I trying to pitch to them? Am I being friendly? Am I interested in them? — and I definitely felt things shift a bit as I spoke about my job. Even if you don’t work for a matchmaking company, I recommend trying to keep the focus away from work when meeting someone new, or while on a first date.

If only because it tends to be a crutch for many of us, and can hinder the ability for a romantic spark to form, or for someone to be able to get to know the kind of person you are outside of the office.

VERDICT: If you see someone interesting at a coffee shop, just say hi! It’s not a big deal, as I discovered this week. An innocuous question asked in a casual way to break the ice allows for the person to turn back to their computer if they don’t want to chat, or continue the conversation if they do. It’s certainly something I’d like to start getting in the habit of doing more often. I’ll continue to report back!


No Vacancy
N Hudson Ave, Los Angeles, CA
Thursday 11pm

I’ve been to this bar a few times, and it tends to have a pretty good assortment of people. I’ve only been on weekends, so I wanted to see what the vibe was like on a weeknight. I enlisted a friend to go out with me as my wing-woman to scope out the scene.

We had fun — talked to several different groups of people and had some good laughs — but neither of us had any luck finding a mutual spark. Though I’d be open to checking out a different week night at No Vacancy, I’d say weekends are preferred.

Thursdays, commonly known as ‘college night,’ often brings out a younger crowd at bars.

Even so, I felt open, social, and positive, so it was disappointing to walk away feeling like it was difficult to find a connection. I found myself having to go on the offence, striking up conversations, while my friend and I were only approached once. It was interestingly up to us to break the ice and introduce ourselves. I had chemistry with one guy I spoke with, but he was much younger, and I don’t think either of us were comfortable with it. Another guy I found attractive and tried to speak to just seemed incredibly closed off, like he didn’t want to be there at all.

VERDICT: Thursday nights at a bar may not be the best place to meet other single adults. Try weekends, or other week nights.

Surly Goat
Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood
Friday at 11pm

This one was another experiment for me. I decided to hit up a casual, fun dive bar solo to see if it would lead me on any fun adventures. The first thing I noticed upon entry was that the bar seemed relatively quiet for a Friday night. I thought I had arrived late enough in the evening for some fun and craziness to have started, but the environment didn’t feel as social as I needed it to be for the purposes of my experiment.

There were several groups of friends catching up, or playing games, but as I walked around, I felt mostly invisible. I found myself wondering if the experiment would have gone differently if it had been, say 1 am, with everyone loosened up, or if I, myself, had had a couple more drinks in me. But as it were, it was an unsatisfying experience.

VERDICT: While I can be charismatic and confident, I’m a relatively shy introvert. Someone super outgoing, extroverted and social, may have had a completely different experience. For those who are more on my speed of things, I recommend trying this experiment in a different way.

Next time you’re meeting friends after work for happy hour (or drinks on a Saturday night), show up to the location 30 minutes early — grab a refreshment, and be open to whatever may come your way before your crew arrives!


24 hour fitness
Mountain View
Tuesday 4pm

From time to time, I will be sourcing IRL stories from Meet Cute guests. I asked my sister, C, if she had any interesting IRL situations occur recently, and she shared this story with me:

I had just finished at the gym, got into my car, started the engine, and started backing out of my space, when a man starts running after me. I wasn’t sure if I should pay him any mind, but I started to worry that maybe something had happened. Had he hit my car, or was something shifty going on with my car?

He signaled for me to roll down my window, which I did, and he said “I saw you leaving the gym and thought you were most beautiful girl!” I thanked him, and told I was just leaving. Regardless, he tried to have a full on conversation with me — asking me where I live, when I go to the gym, if I wanted to work out with him.

I was giving one word responses, my car was still running, and eventually I continued to slowly back out of my parking spot, but he just wouldn’t take the hint. When he asked for my number after all of that, I gave it to him. He proceeded to call me right away, Face-timed me, texted me. I texted him back once, and then ignored him.

Freyja: Did you find him attractive at all?

C: No, I was not at all attracted.

Freyja: Then why did you give him your phone number?

C: I recently made a new rule. Typically, whenever I’m approached, even if it’s by a guy I find somewhat attractive, I always say I have a boyfriend, even though I don’t. I don’t know why I tend to do that. It’s a bad habit — so I’ve made it a point to not do it anymore.

Freyja: I appreciate that rule, but what’s the point if you have zero interest?

C: It was more to get in the habit of doing it. This was a practice run.

E: I see. Then why not text him back that you weren’t interested?

C: I knew I would probably see him at the gym, and I just wanted to avoid a future awkward situation.

E: Would you have appreciated his approach if you had found him attractive?

C: Oh, yea, definitely. I think it’s great for a guy to come up to me, because not many people do.

“I’ve never had a guy physically chase me down. I mean, every girl wants the guy to chase them, but…I didn’t mean LITERALLY!”

See you on the next Meet Cute!

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