In 2008, I was offered the lucrative position as a barista at Starbucks in downtown Montreal, though I would soon learn that pressing buttons and yelling at people does not actually qualify as being a barista, but that’s neither here nor there. I learned this when a small, independently-owned cafe opened a few streets over, and it was there that I observed that being a barista takes some serious skill and a meticulous attention to detail, among other things.
They also have great arms.
Which leads me to a recent phenomenon that’s been creeping up on us, that we’ve all experienced and cannot deny – the barista crush. So what is it about baristas? Because I know none of you can look me in the eye and honestly say that you haven’t had at least one inappropriate thought about that special espresso-tamping someone who smiles, you’re sure of this, at only you. They could smile at anyone. I mean it’s their job, but there’s something special, something real about they way they pour your latte, specifically.
Most of the allure is contained in the fact that this interaction will most surely lead to absolutely nothing. You are not required to make any moves, there are zero expectations, and every time they say “Hi” it’s the best sounding word to ever escape anyone’s mouth. You don’t even need them to say anything else. Actually you probably hope they don’t say anything else because then you’d have to think of some super witty, off the cuff comment to convince them of how goddamn cool you are, which is hard. Basically it’s all the fun stress of a high school crush with none of the shitty stress of worrying if they’ll text you back or what you’ll talk about on a date or how many shots you should take before leaving the house for said date.
All my social anxiety aside, the fun in a barista crush is knowing that the extent of your relationship begins and ends with sexy glances all the while trying to not spill anything on yourself. Or it should, anyway. I’m inclined to recommend not actually acting on a barista crush, lest you be severely disappointed when they are not the king-among-men/queen-among-women super-human you’ve constructed in your head based on the three facts you know about them. (One, they work in a cafe. Two, they make coffee. Three… Did I mention the arms thing?) Regardless you’re sure they’re good to their mother and can make a mean burrito and probably know a lot about wine or something similarly classy.
But listen, customers, the baristas can just as easily flip the game on you. I can say from my time as a barista-inspired coffee employee, we talk about y’all the same way you talk about us. You know when our shift starts? We know when you come in for your lunch break. If we want to talk to you a little longer, we’ll take a little longer pouring your coffee. We don’t know your name, but we know your drink, so yeah, we’ll probably call you “Small Latte with 2% Milk”. To legitimize this phenomenon, I conducted some research. So I asked a barista friend of mine about whether or not they have had a recent a customer crush, but all I got as a response was, “Mmmmm so hot”.
That being said, you must take care to never actually ask out said barista. There is a careful balance that has been struck – both parties being just creepy enough that it’s charming, and it provides just enough excitement to get you through your otherwise boring workday. The second you breach the customer-barista relationship, you risk never being able to visit said cafe ever again. And re-routing your coffee break can be a serious pain, because you might end up at a Starbucks.
Featured photo courtesy of adbeus.com