Ladies and gentlemen, fellow members of the Chosen People, and fellow JDaters®, I come to you today with a confession and a request. My confession: I have experienced approximately 750 coffee dates. That’s right—I have had a one-date connection with 750 women. My request: Kill me now.

Remember the controversy the U.S. endured over its practice of waterboarding political prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to force confessions out of them? How it was said to be cruel and unusual punishment? Well, as a result of that controversy, waterboarding has been discontinued. Instead, political prisoners are now forced to go on coffee dates. Which I personally believe constitutes even crueler and more unusual punishment. But the Obama Administration didn’t check with me before instituting that policy.

As a result, often when political prisoners are informed that they will be made to go on a coffee date, their typical response is, “No, please! I’ll talk! I’ll tell you everything! Here’s a map indicating where the weapons of mass destruction are hidden! Here are the home addresses of the most powerful Al Qaida leaders! Just, please, no coffee dates! I beg you!”

Before proceeding, perhaps I should define coffee dates for those of you unfamiliar with them. And why would you be unfamiliar with coffee dates? Perhaps you’ve never had to go on one. Damn you! Perhaps you met your soul mate in high school or college and have been in a committed relationship ever since. Damn you! Perhaps you’re a member of a religious order where you’re in a committed relationship to God, who apparently requires no coffee dates. Damn you!

But back to the definition. A coffee date is simply a first-time, in-person meeting with a potential romantic partner (PRP), usually over coffee, usually resulting from initial online contact, and usually resulting in the Three D’s: disappointment, depression and despair. A coffee date is not unlike a job interview, except your date doesn’t validate your parking and usually doesn’t ask for an example of how you prioritize and deal with multiple deadlines.

As you might imagine, having logged 750 coffee dates, I have consumed what scientists refer to in technical terminology as “a buttload of caffeine.” Consequently, I’ve been unable to fall asleep for the past nine years. I am exhausted.

In addition, because I live in Los Angeles, one encounters a number of women desirous of money, fame and power. Since I have none of those, I’ve been forced to rely upon the poor substitutes of intelligence, personality and charm—which for some L.A. women, clearly marks me as handicapped. But I’m not bitter.

Of course, you may be wondering, especially those of you who’ve never been on a coffee date, “Mark, these coffee dates of which you speak—frankly don’t sound so bad. After all, they’re just a half hour to an hour meeting with someone who could very well turn out to be your LRP (Lifelong Romantic Partner), your Beshert, your soul mate. Sounds exciting and romantic, Mark, so why are you asking us to kill you now?”

“Exciting and romantic”? Oh, you poor, misguided creatures. A typical coffee date is exciting and romantic in the same way that a colonoscopy is soothing and carefree. But allow me to preface my complaints by saying that obviously they’re coming from a person who has experienced the entire gamut of coffee dates—the good, the bad, and the ugly. In terms of dating, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen coffee dates that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times where I could not find a friend without paying $4 for an iced coffee.

Okay, I can see it in your eyes. You want specifics. You want the specifics? You can’t handle the specifics! But I’ll give ‘em to you anyway. I’ve had dates who’ve never even showed up. They forget the day or time, or something or someone better comes up. Or she shows up looking more like the mother of the woman in her posted photo. Some spend the entire coffee date talking solely about themselves without asking me one thing about myself. Please explain that one to me!

One woman actually took out a small digital food scale and proceeded to weigh each item of her lunch. When I expressed surprise, she assured me that all of her girlfriends do it. Even when they go out to eat in a group with their various boyfriends and husbands, she told me, the guys will be at one end of the table talking about their guy stuff and the gals at the other end, just chatting away and weighing their food.

Granted, some of my dates have been considerate enough to present their red flags right from the start. One of them lived with her mother, had no car, and suffered from about five unusual medical conditions. Another admitted she was fifteen years older than the age she’d stated on her dating profile. When she saw that that bothered me, she accused me of being superficial.

One date showed up in her forest ranger uniform and appeared stocky enough to bench press me and 500 pounds extra. Another woman made out with me for half an hour and the next day emailed me that she wasn’t interested in meeting again because she didn’t feel the chemistry was there. Another woman with deadly food allergies carried a hypodermic needle for me to inject into her should she go into anaphylactic shock.

I don’t want to give you the idea that all the weird and negative stuff came exclusively from the women I dated. Because I’m equally guilty and would like to confess to a number of sins:

  • I’ve had sex way too soon, before really getting to know them
  • I’ve given up on relationships way too soon
  • I’ve stayed in relationships way too long
  • I’ve coveted my neighbor’s wife (And that’s one of the Ten Commandments, so I’m not counting on getting into Heaven)
  • I’ve also coveted my friend’s wife, my neighbor’s daughter, my friend’s daughter, my first cousin, my second cousin, my third cousin, and a woman in the Macy’s catalog bra ad who was definitely one half to one third of my age and I should be ashamed of myself

You’d think with all the dating experience I’ve had, I’d get better at it, show steady improvement; at least not repeat the same mistakes. You’d be wrong. The only conclusion I’ve come to in matters of the heart is that you just never know. Every person is different. Every relationship is different. And if you’re lucky, you’ll meet someone with whom you’ll just click. And that will make all the rejection, all the chase, all the disappointment, effort and heartbreak of the past worthwhile. The romantic payoff.

So, on second thought, if I may, I’m changing my mind. Don’t kill me now. Give me some encouragement. Tell me a love story of your own—or about someone you know. Give me the push, the strength and the inspiration to continue the quest.

That way, the next time I’m seated across the table from my JDate coffee date whom I’ve already realized in the first ten minutes is completely wrong for me, I’ll smile, realizing I’m one person closer to finding my soul mate. I will be patient. So, even if she turns out to be a forest ranger with a broccoli allergy who weighs her food and lives with her mother—so be it. I won’t complain. She can even bench press me. As long as she likes the Beatles and chocolate. I mean, a man has to have some standards.

Mark Miller is a marketing specialist, Facebook fanatic and comedy writer who has performed stand-up comedy in nightclubs and on TV, written on numerous sit-com staffs, been a humor columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and is a current humor columnist for The Huffington Post. But he says he’d trade all his success away in a minute for immortality, inner peace and limitless wealth.
  1. LOL… …I mean I was literally LOL. 😀 Amen Laura. And Angie… it isn’t all true (mainly the coveted stuff… so please just realize that and chill. It’s called comedic license.). But the rest of it is spot on. That’s why it’s so funny.

  2. Bro- I can’t believe you get away with coffee dates in LA! I never go on coffee dates, women at least expect a full meal out of you. Consider yourself lucky you only have to have a bad date and it cost you 20 bucks rather than a bad date and it costs you ONE HUNDRED and twenty bucks!!

  3. Is it a coffee date if it’s at a wine bar? I want to know if I count as one of the 750.


  5. I guess I met my match! The difference is that I dont “do coffee” but lunch or dinners, so Im not wasting my time. Had all types as well but the best way is to think like u said, one step closer to meeting “the one”.

  6. The right woman for you will have one major disadvantage…she won’t make great material for you skits, can you accept that? 🙂

  7. Dear Mark Miller,

    What’s wrong with being a forest ranger?


    P.S. Everybody likes the Beatles and chocolate.

  8. That was one of the funniest dating articles I’ve ever read. You are a brave man to plod ahead with these mismatched dates. Perhaps you continue to subject yourself to food weighing torture for the benefit of your writing. You’re very talented. Where can I find more of your columns?

  9. If you’ve gone out with that many women and haven’t been successful in striking up a relationship I’d say that either you are WAAAy too picky ( or are doing something to repel the majority of women away… since you are a handsome guy and are intelligent, I imagine it’s the first … I feel like the majority of guys on here are and it’s a problem… you guys expect perfection. Well hate to break it to you but no woman is going to meet all your standards. Instead of looking for a 10 bombshell, why not try a woman with a kind heart and a warm smile and heart who is attractive enough?

  10. LOL…laughed, smiled and enjoyed your banter. Just keep going on those jdate coffee dates and you will find your LRP when the time is right. These things happen for a reason, even if it is just so you can make us laugh with you.

  11. First mistake, my dear, you are in L.A. It is the land of plastic. No one is real in L.A. We joke about how the women speak in L.A. We joke how the women flip their hair back in L.A. I am surprised that more of them don’t have whiplash! You have to kiss alot of frogs before you meet “the One.” Good luck.

  12. Oh man,right on ! I laughed my ass off and can not only totally relate but admit I am jealous-jealous that you have been able to get away with just a cup of coffee. I, on the other hand, usually spring for dinner. Yes, it costs 20 times more but at least I get a decent meal for the day 🙂

    Oh the tales we all can tell… Just one more, just one more .. and I just know I’ll find her .lol

  13. several red flags here. first is how can you not know these things about the women you meet after several emails and phone conversations? secondly, any woman who gets all fahpitzed just for a cup of coffee isn’t worth your time. buy her a meal and be serious about the date. and lastly, look at yourself and see what is going on that you are such a poor picker of women.

  14. Try alcohol instead of coffee. Think of the possibilities of AA if it doesn’t work out..

  15. We all know … went through it.. I give credit to the ones who can continue… I am not one of them.

  16. Whoa… Instead of women, you might have a problem with coffee. Try a beer next time, number 751, and relax a bit.

  17. Hi, Mark.

    Don’t leave your day job; you’re too good at it. James Taylor would be honored – and you’re so right about colonoscopies.

    I think you covered just about every forbidden relationship listed in the 613 Commandments:

    Finally, images of Annie Hall danced in my head as you described your experiences – which leads me to my recommendation – move to NYC. I don’t think there are any forest rangers there.

    Good luck and don’t give up. (By the way, if you think you have troubles, try being a 50 something widow who’s job hunting. Any takers out there??)

    Oh, and to Angie, the website asks that posters be nice.

    Southern New England

  18. You are hysterical! Thanks for the laugh, I needed it. I’ve only been on 3 coffee dates so far, but experienced one guy who had bad breath and finger nails longer than mine! That is a deal breaker. Wish you were in my area … I’d love to go on a coffee date! I look you in the eye and love to ask questions.

  19. Hi Mark,

    Don’t worry, nobody is perfect. Actually cofee is good for your heart but no more than 3 times during the day 🙂 I think women spoiled you.
    Or maybe you didn’t find yet the right one for you. Ask yourself who are you looking for exactly.You keep “resigning” from your relatioships because something wrong with them, they are not for you for some reason, or you are not for them. Keep looking, she is still our there looking for you too.

    And, enjoy your life!

  20. went on quite a few …..decided to stay single and happy in Balt.

  21. Hi Mark – Thanks for the best laugh I’ve had in a while! I have what I think are some helpful thoughts I’d like to share with you in a non public forum if you can write me via the email I listed above & that I use for jdate. Take it easy – Karl

  22. Hi Mark,


    I wonder if your checklist isnt slicing opportunities out before they have a chance to form. Are you honestly looking at what you have to offer in return fairly and adequately reviewing the rapid checklist you have created now after all of those repetitive dates.

    I don’t think that your method of speed dating can accurately tell you anything about anyone. Its simply not fair to them or your mission. With all of the questions in ones mind, the other person may well be churning on your last response or the way you sit or bite your nails before registering your next probe.
    Maybe you should try to be more honest with yourself about rational expectations and speed of service…. and your nieghbour if not his daughter and your cousin..and please, do go to shul this Yom Kippur! please!

  23. Oh boy. Yes, I did laugh. I did online dating for about 13 years before marrying. Now after 11 years being thankful I didn’t have to do that anymore, here I am again. It was hard then, it’s harder now. Isn’t it amazing though that people keep going back for more? It must be the hard core belief that the right match is possible despite the disappointing experiences. I do think one can become very jaded though by doing this for too long. Perhaps you are there? It might be easier to live in a far off village where you would join the only single woman there and live in imperfect harmony, like most of our ancestors did. Having too many choices causes anxiety.

  24. This made me laugh so much! I think we can all relate just a little to some of those dates 🙂 If you are every in the UK and want to try a ‘Tea Date’, I’d be more than happy to get out my best teapot 😉

  25. I have to say u made me laugh!! And made me happy to hear that for u men it’s has hard :)) lol. Cause let me tell u I am a widow it’s been a year and a half that I am on jdate and let me tell u that from thousands of messages I don’t meet one decent men!! Married lie about there age don’t look anything like there pictures…. The worst do is all the games, men don’t invest anymore guess its much easier seating behind a computer asking for pictures and that’s not enough they want u to get undressed on Skype… What happened the last 15years ??? About your coffee dates lol were do u meet those women?? I strongly believe in destiny so the wright one will come along!! Maybe it will be the 999 coffee date don’t give up! Galith :))

  26. I find it interesting that it seems to be only women on here who complain about “coffee” dates and suggest you take them to dinner. Here in NY we almost always meet the first time face to face over coffee or a drink. These are quick meetings so you can determine if there is chemistry. If there is then a real first date, usually dinner, is planned and if not then you can have a quick get-away instead of being uncomfortable over a long dinner.

  27. Alcohol is a 100% necessity on a first meeting. Why? Because alcohol loosens everyone up in an awkward social situation. If the woman started pounding down shots, that would be a turn-off. But a glass of wine or a beer creates a social mood and gets everyone more conversational. If the woman wants dinner, I say “I’ve already eaten.” If she insists, I’ll offer to share an appetizer or two. That’s it. The woman is not there to take advantage of your AmEx card, especially if she’s not interested and just wants a free meal in exchange for an hour with a guy she’s not into. You’re both there to sit and chat and see if you get along. Next date: dinner. If we make out, great. I’m fine not making out, especially if I feel there might be something there. Third date: making out, or I’ll wonder what the problem is. Notice I didn’t say, “Third date: sex.” I just said, “Third date: making out.” That tells the guy, “I find you attractive and would like to keep going.

    Anyway, I’m done being bored at work! God I hate dating online, but I have no other choice. I’m not a pick up artist and I never get set up by friends.

  28. Maybe you should consider relocating. Arizona is beautiful!

  29. Your anticipation of what is going to be like is what you’re going to get. Plus I hate to tell you this women want protection shelter and money because they have it Now. We have it..So if you have to go back to school or whatever you have to do to be better then us women you have to do it. We’re smarter richer healthier and we need our mates to be the same or better so we can feel like women not like men.

  30. I think, you need to check with your doctor, if it is healthy for you to
    drink that much coffee.

  31. I love and totally get your sense of irony and humor!
    I am 57 and divorced. Back in my day you didn’t have coffee dates. A bunch of friends, boys and girls, hung out together, studied together, you know. High school, college, and after. You met someone you liked and knew a bit. It actually was easy.

    I joined Jdate two days ago ( wine consumption played no part in the decision). My only thought on the matter was ” let the games begin”.

    If you ever get to Ft Lauderdale, I’ll take you out. Not for coffee and we will have a good time talking!

  32. So… could you at least let us know who does have the best coffee in LA. With your creative and curious nature no doubt you explored every discreet, hidden cafe within a 50 mile radius.

    Or you went to the same place 750 times. If that’s the case could you please let me have the name of the cafe. I would really like to purchase a few shares. I would even happily set you up with another 750…. I have a hunch you’ll meet the right one within the next 7,500 cups.
    Do you take sugar?

  33. Starbucks: “Providing cheap caffeine and sh***y dates to single people since 1979”

  34. Hi Mark,
    You are a very talented writer and comedian. And it’s a sense of humor that helps us get through some of these torturous experiences. I am right there with you for some of my nightmare dates–but I will say they made for a great story afterwards! Yet, I do still enter J dates with an open mind and see the encounter as an opportunity to meet a new face and learn something new. If it leads to a friendship or that special someone–even better. I can only imagine some of your challenges with West Coast women (not all of them of course). You may meet more down to earth women in the Midwest.

  35. My sides are hurting from laughing so much. Great writer! and … so true. Thanks for reminding me I’m not in a club with just me for a member.

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