“Quo Vadis”, Coffee and First Dates

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by Maria Grazia Swan 

Quo Vadis is Latin for “Where are you going?” It is also the title of a 1951 with Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr.Taylorplays Roman General-hero Marcus and Kerr is Lygia, a slave of noble descent. When Marcus falls for Lygia he just pays a visit to Emperor Nero and the object of his desire is sent to his mansion, pronto. No need to decide: “Where shall we go for our first date?” Since then, life in general and dating in particular have gone through drastic changes. Yet, sooner or later we face the dreaded first date.

Most cyber dating sites ask you to describe where you’d like to go on your first date. Given that dating profiles are aimed to impress, you’d expect a variety of exotics, imaginative trysts, if for no other reason to get more attention. It is with great disappointment that I report to you that one of the most widely proposed places for first dates is…drum roll…a coffee shop. Now, I understand the appeal of a coffee shop: safe public place, convenient, easy to cut things short if need be, great place to linger if the chemistry is good. But, please, there are many places that meet these criteria that are far more interesting.

I’m not saying that you need to leave a trail of rose petals in a public parking lot leading to a bench by the park pond where you are waiting with a bottle of champagne and finger food (though if the park is well populated, why not?) but there are some creative and practical ways to make a great first impression and no, you don’t need to spend a fortune. When you plan your first date, cyber or otherwise, think back on some of your most memorable dates, the ones that left lingering “good vibrations” even after the person you spent it with sauntered off into the sunset. Think about what made it so special. Was it the place, the ambiance, the time of the day? If you answered “the person” stop and clear your mind. If you are still with me, why not pick a theme? You could start with a song that you and the object of your cyber affection both like, or even just a song you like and suggest it as a date theme. Remember that song “If you like pina colada…?” That’s an easy one to build on: suggest pina coladas at a roof-top bar and tropical cruise clothes.

A friend of mine discovered that she and the man she had been corresponding with shared a love of Jimmy Buffett. For their first date they went to a restaurant called  Margaritaville. She wore a flower in her hair so he could pick her out of the crowd, and he surprised her by wearing a striped Mexican poncho. He also had her favorite drink waiting on the table. Okay, that was their only date because they didn’t like each other at all, but what a way to discover that! By the way, he played the old phone call trick to get out of there fast….how boring, predictable, and transparent! She spoke to the Maitre d after her date left, and he told her that the man used Margaritaville for all his first dates, poncho and all. What have we learned here? Well, for one, he probably owned the poncho, since it would not be financially smart to rent it.

Another friend always meets new dates at a movie theater. He tells me that if he doesn’t like the date, at least he can be quiet, watch a good movie, and say goodbye when the lights comes back on.

Of course, this isn’t the most imaginative date either; it works for him because he tends to judge by looks only-an approach I don’t advocate.

 As for myself, I like my first encounters to take place at the airport lounge. I carry a briefcase with me and if I like the person, I confide that my flight as been delayed and we can spend more time together. If the opposite is true, I apologize and say that my flight was cancelled and I have to get on an earlier flight. Because of the tight security, I can ask my date not to walk me to the gate, so they don’t know I am leaving, and if we really, really clicked, we can kiss goodbye in a big way and no one will be disturbed by the public display of affection. And I am safe and secure in a big busy place. Think I’m despicable? Try it sometime, you may like it.

“Kissing is a means of getting two people so close together that they can’t see anything wrong with each other.”  ~Rene Yasenek

Maria Grazia Swan Maria Grazia Swan is an author and motivational speaker who shares relationship advice and guidance for mature women re-entering the dating scene. Maria empowers and encourages single women to be bold, fearless, and sexy in their pursuit of life and love after age 45.


An award recipient from the Women’s National Book Association, Maria Grazia Swan is the author of Boomer Babes: True Tales of Love and Lust in the Later Years (Leisure Books) and Love Thy Sister (Zander Books). Her short story, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is included the anthology, Medley of Murder (Red Coyote Press).

Maria is working on her new book, Old Flames Burn Hottest. If you have a story to share, she wants to connect with you! Join her Facebook page and learn more.






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