He's smiling but he's dead inside

He’s smiling but he’s dead inside

Ah, the Hungarian Pastry Shop. Everyone’s favorite problematic (cash only? seriously?) hideaway spot. Except recently, the peace in this small Eastern European oasis is being threatened by a new species of customer – the Tinder folk, anxiously embarking upon their first dates. Does this anger you as much as it angers us? Either way, join our Editor-in-Chief Britt Fossum in the fight to make Hungarian great again! 

There are very few quiet and warm places to study near Columbia that will tolerate a student lurking in a corner hunched over a textbook for hours without buying more than a cup of coffee. In fact, only one comes to mind: Hungarian Pastry Shop or, as a friend regrettably calls it, “Hungz.”

But this sugar-scented haven has recently been scourged by an unforeseen menace. Though the Shop itself eschews internet, it is not immune to the effects of web-based dating sites. On the average weekend afternoon and weekday evening, many of the tables are occupied by couples meeting uncomfortably for the first time after matching on Tinder.

So, a simple request. Please don’t take Tinder dates to Hungarian. Or, really, any local coffee shop. It’s true, Hungarian lends itself much more naturally to a cozy-but-awkward meet-cute than the corporate atmosphere of Starbucks, the sterility of Joe, or (god forbid) ButCaf. But just don’t.

First, the selfish argument. No one else wants to hear your attempts at conversation: not the older couple who have been coming for years, not the small child making a mess of their tiramisu, and certainly not the frazzled looking undergraduate who has now read the same paragraph five times thank to your inane chatter. Maybe you’re talking about how you like your salads prepared, or maybe you’re apologizing for how bad you are at coming up with fun facts about the book of Job (but you can at least explain the origin of the word “khaki!”). Even your date would like you to shut up, as demonstrated by their frequent attempts to change the conversation back to commentary on the weather.

But if you refuse to let the judgement of others move you, just think of the inevitable embarrassment you’ll feel when the time comes to pay and you don’t have enough cash to cover your date’s Viennese Coffee and TWO whole almond horns. What are you going to do: ask for your date to chip in? The gesture of buying them coffee is somehow lost if it requires a Venmo transaction. Sprint to the nearest ATM and belie the claim you made entering the shop that you came “almost every day”? Or just avoid the problem entirely by going somewhere that will take your cash, credit, flex and spare yourself the embarrassment.

Finally, don’t ruin Hungarian for yourself. The same way you would never plan a break-up for your favorite park bench, you should never plan a Tinder date for your favorite coffee shop. Should your Match turn out to be somewhat creepier than their profile conveyed, you don’t want to risk running into them again at what they now know to be your favorite place to study. And god forbid some memory of the disastrous conversation links itself to the place! Just please, please, never make a habit of taking dates to Hungarian. Ever.

But you should take my advice with caution. Although I have decided to delete Tinder forever after writing this rant, I am currently attempting to communicate via the bathroom wall with a David Foster Wallace Fan. I’m planning a date for next Monday.

“Thanks for ruining this for me” via Shutterstock