Tuesday, March 1, 2011

THE COFFEE BEAN AND THE GRAPE



I recently received some hilarious advice from a dear, dear friend:
“Men are like fine wine: They start out as grapes; and it's our job [as women] to stomp them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you'd have dinner with.”

For every woman who is giggling and nodding her head right now, let's break this down:  

Man (Raw vine fruit) + Woman (diligent grape stomper) = Relationship (sophisticated alcoholic beverage). 

Now, the desire to refine, elevate and motivate a man feels very [natural, nurturing, maternal, feminine… in short] right.  But does this equation really add up?  And if so, are some men simply “unstompable?”

Following your advice readers, I did decide to give Barista Boy a chance.  Through a few short conversations I learned that his true passion is graphic design.  As it turns out he works free-lance doing projects for local businesses while barista-ing on the side for some extra cash. 

“Once I have enough saved up” he said “I’m goin’ back to school so I can really do it full time…  By the way, here’s your latte.”

Okay, okay… so maybe there is something deeper beneath the green apron.  But before you toast romantic optimism [Seymour!], keep reading…

We arranged to meet for a late Friday night drink.  As planned, I called him to confirm the details once my dinner let out.  But shortly after sending me to voicemail, Barista Boy informed me (via text) that he was in Connecticut.  Why?  Because that’s where “his ride” wanted to go.      

Nice Alex:  “Oh, huh… that’s happened to me.  I mean… not since high-school, but I can see it.”
Cynical Alex:  “I’m sorry---does your friend have a gun to your head?  WTF?”
My actual reply:  “No biggie, it’s getting late anyway.  I’m sure we’ll talk soon.”

I suppose he took that literally, because the following Monday…

Thirteen text messages?!   

“When R U coming to get coffee?”
“I reallu wanted to do something with you, I just have dumb friends.”
“R U mad @ me?”
“Come in to Starbux… im hear rite now”
“U can call me if u want”

Etc, etc, etc.

Is it possible that this wayward grape has the potential to become a liquid delicacy?  Sure, it’s possible… but I fear that (much like the coffee he prepares) Barista Boy may need to be ground, not stomped.

On the other side of the coin---I’ve been conversing with a 25-year-old investment banker from New Jersey.  He has a full-time job and is also up-starting his own business.  He was a runner in college and is now training for his third marathon.  He loves old music, plays jazz guitar, and isn’t too rough on the eyes either. 

This is the closest I’ve come to butterflies, readers!  Assuming he shows up for our date and is everything he says he is---this could actually be quite promising.

-BUT- if a man is already wine---does this upset the equation?  Must I be able to refine, elevate and motivate a man for the relationship to work?  Or is it possible for two people to just fit effortlessly?

We’ll see…

13 comments:

  1. (JS)

    You shouldn't have to take a person and shape him into what you want him to be. Either he will try his best to be his best for you and you will accept his shortcomings (as he will also accept yours) and things will work out, or it just isn't right. Maybe I'm just tired of the joke/cliche that women try to turn their men into something they want to be with, but this post comes across as being quite a bit condescending towards men. And since I know from conversations with you that you are quick to say that women don't always do everything right either, I know (or think) that you truly don't feel that way. But, from a guy's point of view, it's not great to read that we need to be stomped on by women before we are acceptable/deserving of a relationship.

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  2. (JS)

    And, also, I have a feeling that your settings are posted in the Pacific Time Zone since I just posted at 5:09pm and it comes up as 2:09pm.

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  3. JS-If you think that at the "vine-ripened" age of twenty-something you are fully bloomed, this mature grape is here to tell you, that is not so. The love of the perfect woman, society, children, the death of someone you love, these events will change and shape who you are. Posted at 5:40 EST

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  4. Some relationships just intertwine like the grape vines. Sometimes the people are stomped, and sit for a while in the dark, unsure of what they will taste like. Until they sit together for a while and either have a bitter or sweet ending.... As for someone being a wine already, I doubt it. Noone can be a wine until they find their soul-grape.

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  5. (JS)

    I did in no way saying that, at my 20-something age that, I am now as mature as I will ever be. What I am saying is that it is not a requirement in society for a man to be "stomped on" by a woman before he can become mature. Perhaps things that are experienced with a spouse will further his maturity or understanding of the world, but that is not the female's responsibility to do this to him.

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  6. Dearest Al,

    As per our conversation regarding this video, I present "The Grapes of Wrath":

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhyZn2DGY-0

    Love,
    You know who

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  7. JS, it was a joke...I am sure no woman is going to "stomp" on you like a grape, we have laws against that.

    I am sure you are a mature young man, relax and enjoy the blog for its' entertainment value.

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  8. (JS)

    Let me start by saying that I must have been cranky after a long day, so I apologize. While I understand that this is done for entertainment's sake, I forget that it is more often used for the purpose of comedy than meant to be taken to heart. I admit that - by the end of the post - I had forgotten that the "theory" was in fact a joke. Possibly because - after the second paragraph - the fact that the theory is indeed just a joke becomes blurry. Probably because I know that some females do indeed believe this to be a fact and not a joke. I don't pick Alex to be one of them, but nonetheless, it ruffled my feathers. My bad.

    And in trying to really answer the question from the end of Alex's post, I still stand strongly by the fact that a female should not need to mold a male into what she wants him to be. If a female has the inclination that she needs to do so, then he really just isn't the one for her. If you feel the need to change the male at all, then it's not what he IS that you have feelings for, but rather what you WANT him to be. For one thing, the male might gradually resent the female for doing this to him. Secondly, it just shouldn't be that much work. Relationships do take work and energy, but it should be with someone who you respect and don't feel the need to change. Despite the roles I gave, this should work for both genders. I can't seem to find the right words to make this clearer at the moment, but I think that if you're trying to change someone then you need to find a new person. The grapes you are trying to stomp might already be someone else's wine.

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  9. After the "ha,ha's" the writer ends by saying,
    "Must I be able to refine, elevate and motivate a man for the relationship to work? Or is it possible for two people to just fit effortlessly?".

    I believe, JS, you two may just agree.

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  10. Thank you for the feedback, readers. Be they critical, supportive, or humorous, your comments inspire me with new ideas and theories every time!

    To address some of your concerns:

    Grape stomping is a harsh visual. What I meant to say is that some women feel a natural inclination to help their partner mature.

    Just as men are said to be more spacial, physically strong and straight-forward---women have special strengths hey hope to bring to the relationship as well. It can range from "don't ever wear those pants again" to "I really won't judge you if you stop for directions" to "it's okay to cry."

    It's biological. Nurturing female apes pick the bugs off their mates and children. Wanna know one of the number one signs a woman is interested in you? She'll pick the lint off your shirt.

    Coincidence? I think not.

    I believe in most cases, this kind of 'picking' comes from a helpful place---not hurtful. To a woman, (or to me at least) being able to say these things is a sign of trust and intimacy.

    JS, you are correct; sometimes two people do not fit, and in those cases, stomping will accomplish little more than resentment. BUT---if you find someone worth the emotional investment, what's wrong with helping them deal with their edges in a considerate, sensitve manner?

    The questions I truly struggle with is: If you don't feel you can in some way enhance someone with your presence, what ARE you bringing to the table?

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  11. Suddenly SeymourMarch 2, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    Dear Alex,

    I'm really happy that you decided to give Barista Boy a choice, granted he may require to be put through a grinder a couple of times, things don't always appear as they seem when it comes to people. :)

    I detest the word "molding", when applied to relationships. It makes me think of Play Dough. People should date Play Dough molds of their perfect dates and save the rest of us tossed aside the therapy.

    Helping someone mature and complimenting their personality I think is what we strive for Scarlett, in a relationship. Altering someone's personality not because it's bad, but because we don't like it or it drives us crazy goes against the natural order of things. Our partners are suppose to drive us crazy.

    A better a analogy would be finding a diamond that needs buffing.

    Diamond (potential suitor) + (you) = fabulous diamond ring.
    (you get the matching studs when kids come into the picture)


    I wish nothing but the best of luck with the gentleman from NJ.

    Sincerely,

    Suddenly Seymour

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  12. (JS)

    Yeah, I suppose the grape-stomping was a bit harsh of a metaphor for me when it turned from a joke to a serious question. I understand the entertainment value, but I could just very easily see myself getting attacked by a female audience if i said the same things and switched the gender roles.
    Alex, I liked your response to the posts. I never really looked at women trying to help men with their flaws. I think the grape-stomping visual gave me no choice but to think that the women were changing the men in ways that the men themselves had no intentions of changing. But now that you took that back and explained that you see women (or perhaps members of both sexes) trying to fix the other person in ways that the other person openly accepts and wants/needs is very honorable (for lack of a better word). I often looked at people entering relationships and being better people because they wanted to do so on their own and became a better person as a reaction of wanting to be better for their spouse. And it's reasons like this that I come back to read more: giving certain insight to the female psyche that I am not very aware of. Well done.

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  13. Alex,

    I always thought of a maintaining a relationship as an exercise in compromise, but even with that being said you're too young to be worrying about "grape stomping". It seems like you're just beginning to even understand what you want out of a relationship; my advice is for you to find someone you connect with from the start.

    Leave the "projects" and work for the men you're willing to spend the rest of your life with.

    Mister Right is out there, he's just waiting until you've come across enough "Mr Wrongs" to appreciate him before he reveals himself.

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