Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Auntie Seraphic & Shy in Cafe

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

Can you give me some tips on appearing more approachable to men?

Today I did not have to work so I went to lunch by myself at our local Catholic cafe. The young man behind the counter was new, and I got the sense that he thought I was cute as we chatted briefly and he took my order.

The cafe was fairly empty, but over the next half hour he walked past my table multiple times. He even left the counter to bring my food to my table, which was sweet and is not usually how they do it there. I may be reading way too much in to things, but I am wondering if there is anything I could have done to have made it easier for him to talk to me (if he even really wanted to).

I was pretty self-conscious the whole time because he is a nice-looking fellow, so I chose a table facing away from where he was standing and kept my nose buried in my book. I think The Rules say that a woman shouldn't even initiate eye contact with an interesting man (though I may be remembering incorrectly). I might be too shy to do so anyway.

I'm great at striking up new friendships with girls, but I just get nervous around boys. I probably appear to them to be stuck-up, but really I would love to talk to them if they would just go first. Any ideas for me?

Shy in Cafe

Dear Shy in Cafe,

Well, you know, it's not all up to us. Men have to do something, and if they don't, do we really want to get to know them anyway? (Well, I suppose we do, but that's a bit silly.)

I am not sure I agree with The Rules on that one. If a man might be TRYING to catch your eye, you should certainly look up and SMILE. Then put down your book. Books say, like nothing else, "Leave me alone, all men." This is very useful, but not when you actually WANT a man to approach.

The next time you go to this cafe, or feel a sense of connection with another nice young man working in a cafe, don't open your book at once. Take out a notebook and write or doodle instead. Look around the cafe and describe it or draw it. And don't turn your back on the nice man at the counter.

Looking alert, not hiding behind a book, smiling, and facing the company (not turning your back on it) should all convey a positive message. Obviously you should not do all this in a dodgy place, but really, the Catholic cafe is NOT a place where you should be reading books but MEETING people!

I hope this is helpful.

Grace and peace,


some guy on the street said...

I'm... confused?

... What, pray, is a Catholic Café? Are there Œcumenical Cafés? If I suspect a particular café of being Catholic, should I visit it? Or should I inquire whether the Ordinary has granted a tostatur, first?

That is all.

Seraphic said...

There was one underneath Toronto's Newman Centre for a few years, as you might not remember, as I think it was closed by the time you arrived. There is also a nice one in Frankfurt!

Usually it's part of a Catholic youth-and-young people outreach program. I think they're a brilliant idea, as they serve as a place for Catholics to hang out, have a cup of coffee and generally feel safe enough to talk about God, religion and Catholic life to strangers in public.

Maggie said...

We have one in Appleton :-) It's wonderful, although I've noticed most of the men who hang out there tend to toddle off to seminary within a few years... probably because the priest who owns/operates the cafe has such infectious joy for the priesthood. Which is beautiful, but isn't helping us find husbands! Ah well. God's timing is perfect, I know.

Kate said...

Anyone know of any of these Catholic cafes in NYC?? They sound lovely - especially after braving Starbucks for years.

Ginger said...

This weekend I had to have my brakes done and was at the auto repair shop for THREE HOURS, before a nice looking man who had hit a deer (as he would explain to me) struck up conversation.

Incidentally, I *had* had my nose buried in a book, but made sure to look up and make eye contact as he sat down in one of the chairs near me. He seemed rather interested, and he was quite nice, and as I said, he was the one who initiated the conversation, but he never did anything further, which was disappointing. There was the huge temptation to give him my number, but following The Rules, I did not. Alas, I honestly wish they could be dispensed with. It seems silly to me to pass up the chance of at least a friendship based on following this sort of thing.

Seraphic said...

Ginger, think of it as practice! Enjoy having a conversation with an interesting man just for its own sake. Keep squelching that old handing-out-the-phone-number impulse. If he wants it, he'll ask.

Steve T. said...

Eye contact is how we men know that a woman is open to being approached. Avoiding eye contact is the best way to rebuff a man.

One hint: if a man and a woman make eye contact, and she looks away, to the side, that's a signal to the man that she's not interested. If she drops her gaze downward, then looks up again and resumes eye contact, that's a signal to the man that she's potentially interested. If she gives a shy smile as she drops her gaze, and keeps it as she resumes eye contact, that's a very strong signal that she's open to a conversation.

I don't know who wrote these "Rules", but that one at least is sheer nonsense. How are we supposed to know that a woman's potentially interested if she's studiously avoiding our gaze? Telepathy? Come on, work with us here. Throw us a bone.

Anonymous said...

There is a lovely Christian Coffee Shop on University of Florida's campus called Pascal's. It has lots of books and journals and though it isn't Catholic, there are lots of wonderful Catholic writers featured like Flannery O'Connor. Definitely check it out if you are ever in Gainesville.

Jen D said...

We have the Magnificat Cafe in my city, which is not directly affiliated with a church, as far as I know. It is located in the middle of downtown and a popular place walk to for lunch after weekday Mass! :)

Christine said...

On the Jersey shore there was a place called Holy Grounds (I think?) in Howell that had a cafe and a Catholic bookstore. I never made it there, but I heard good things.

Shy - thank you for posting your question - it's something I want to know too.