Brooding guys who hang out in coffee shops and smoke cigarettes were much cooler when I was sixteen. It was a total high to walk into the "cool" coffee shop in the neighborhood (all dressed up of course) and scope a handsome, dark-haired boy. He'd have a box of American Spirits splayed on the table next to a stained coffee cup. You could tell he'd refilled it several times in the course of the four hours he pretended to read a Bukowski novel slumped in his chair. He'd feel me staring at him and occasionally look up from his book and smile and then walk outside for a cigarette. And, yes, I'd follow him and bum one off him because even back then, I wasn't really a smoker.
I'll admit it; coffee and cigarettes do, in theory, go well together. Otis Reading wrote a song about it and Jim Jarmusch named a film after the infamous combination. But once you hit your 30s, the allure is over. You've kissed too many guys with coffee and cigarette breath with too much time on their hands camped out at a table by the front door, greeting every young lady that comes in with a twinkle in her smile. He looks like Johnny Depp's understudy. If he got in a shoving match with a bum. And lost. But, in a good way.
I no longer go to the coffee shop to hang out and see cute guys. I'm there for one of the three following reasons: because it's early in the morning and I may or may not be hungover, I ran out of beans, or I need a quick caffiene fix. I just threw on whatever clothes were close to the bed and I don't want to see a cute guy sitting by the door with his coffee and book. Dude, it's 9am. Don't you have somewhere to be? And what are you doing up this early on a cold day in January without a job? My theory is this: his home is a shithole. It reeks of microwave burritos and Febreze and the dishes haven't been done in months. Even roaches and mice turn their nose up at it. He feels like a loser in his vacant studio apartment, so the coffee shop I like to occasionally visit before fully entering into the real world is his adopted home.
Brooding coffee shop guy, there will always be a sweet, innocent young girl out there who will fall for your mysterious ways and smooch your smoky lips despite the putrid smell, but that girl will never be me.