While researching taboo language (I like to pretend I'm a linguist so I can read dirty words as a scholarly activity), I came across this quote from Lenny Bruce:
"Would you come to my hotel? And every clean comedian has given hotel such a dirty connotation that I wouldn't ask my grandmother to a hotel....Christ, where can you live that is clean? You can't say hotel to a chick, so you have to think, what won't offend? What is a clean word to society? TRAILOR. That's it trailor. "Will you come to my trailor?" "All right, there's nothing dirty about trailors. Trailors are hunting and fishing and cigarettes. Yes I'll come to your trailor. Where is it?" "In my hotel room." "Why can't you say I want to be with you, hug you and kiss you." No, its Come up while I change my shirt or Let's have a cup of coffee....
In fifty years coffee will be another dirty word... "
Oh, man! We are so close to that fifty years having passed. More research revealed this:
SEEKING MALE, 50 to 60, 5'11" plus, who wants to be treated like a king. Are you him? call me, let's have coffee together and let fate take its course. Mailbox # 17195
ONE MAN WOMAN. 46 year old Single white female who is pretty, real and very feminine. Seeking a kind gentleman who is educated, christian and has a good sense of humor. Looking for someone who is 47-58 and 5'10' and up. Lets meet for coffee and talk. Spiritual union desired. Mailbox # 17239
LET'S HAVE COFFEE Attractive SWM, 25, relaxed, enjoys sporting activities, shooting pool, guitar, seeking outgoing SWF, honesty a must, for possible relationship. Ad # 1570
LET'S HAVE COFFEE DWF, 50ish, young-looking, full-figured, easygoing, many interests. Seeks WM, who is honest, sincere, possible LTR. Reply to ad #2912
ENERGETIC, attractive, bright SF looking for man, 49+, who is self-assured, active and a professional mensch. Must be fun-loving, sense of humor and spontaneous. Golf anyone? Let's have coffee? 73220
INDIGO GIRLS FAN Sensitive, outgoing, intelligent SM, 23-30. Sought by bright, witty, artistic, spiritual SWF, 26, graduate degree, for coffee, hiking, intense conversation. Reply to ad #3484
"...I would like to say that I am looking for a personal relationship and not interested in some sort of 'cyber space' pen pal relationship. I am pursuing something far more human. So...give me a test drive and let's have coffee."
LET'S HAVE COFFEE SF 5'2", 114 lbs., red hair, hazel eyes. I would like to meet a tall man that works & is honest. I like to dance, stock car races, NASCAR, walking in the woods, Sunday drives. I would like to have coffee with you CALL Extension: 140
Rule: Don't Talk to a Man First (And Don't Ask Him to Dance)
"Not even 'let's have coffee,' or 'Do you come here often?' Right, not even those seemingly harmless openers...."
What does all this mean? You tell me!
Dick Molitor, a linguist who has the misfortune of being my friend and mentor, took a look at this page and said:
"Ain't semantic shift great!"
November, 2006 update:
I still think about coffee a lot. In fact, I've just finished reading Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast, a great history of my favorite drug. Found this interesting note on page 420:
"Inviting a woman for coffee in Finland is a sure sign of romantic interest. Finnish personal ads seeking a "day-coffee companion" are understood to be ads for casual sex."
Finns drink more coffee than anyone else in the world. I figure they ought to know.
When I showed this page to local coffee roaster, Owen O'Neill, he related this story:
It's 2008 now and here's more proof that coffee is the #1 way to come on to someone:
December 2009 update:
Coffee guru and friend Owen O'Neill sent me this one:It's not just coffee! It's not just an aphrodisiac! It's an INCOME OPPORTUNITY!