Photo: monkeybusinessimages (iStock)

Admittedly, it has been a couple years since I’ve been in the dating scene. Having shacked up with my significant other, I find I’m now devoting the time I would have spent dating to listening to all of my friends complain about dating. (It’s like reverse FOMO.) I listen to stories of false advertising on Tinder, ghosting, ghosting then reappearing, ghosting then reappearing then ghosting again, all of which serve to reinforce my opinion that modern dating seems rather broken. I don’t claim to know how to fix it entirely, but I do have a small suggestion: breakfast dates.

Yes, breakfast dates—dates that are planned around the meal of breakfast. I’ve been on maybe three breakfast dates in my life, and I found they offer advantages that coffee dates, dinner dates, happy-hour dates, etc., just can’t match. Before I outline those, I’d like to clarify that breakfast dates are not the same as brunch dates; both can take place on any day of the week, but breakfast dates should be short, casual, non-trendy, and commence before 11 a.m. (No mimosa bar, no chambray-ed waitstaff.) Here are their merits:

They’re booze-free.

I’m sure a greasy-spoon diner would be glad to whip you up an Irish coffee any time day or night if possible, but there’s less pressure to drink during a breakfast date than there would be during happy hour or dinner. While it may feel daunting to go into a first date stone sober, doing so keeps your mind clear and—in my experience—makes it easier for me to trust my judgments about a person. If you’re not interesting while sober, I don’t care how fun you are after four beers.

They’re quick.

At a true breakfast restaurant, eggs and waffles get served up promptly. There’s no expectation of multiple courses. No one’s getting dessert or lingering over a drink. So if you’re on the fence about your compatibility with someone, rest easy knowing you can be out of the date in 45 minutes if you choose. Because they take place early in the day, you always have the “sorry we can’t hang out after this—I have other plans/errands” excuse available to you. And if you do want to keep hanging out with your date, you have the whole day ahead of you to make plans.

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They keep it real.

It’s hard to be pretentious over breakfast. It’s not a meal that requires a trendy outfit or deep pockets. No one has to worry about choosing the “it” restaurant. The menu is fairly standardized. Breakfast cafés cut through the pomp and circumstance and let you get down to the basics: talking, eating, talking about eating.

They’re coffee dates, but with pancakes.

Coffee dates are a totally accepted convention these days. So what makes the breakfast date so different? Just the addition of pancakes. And who doesn’t like pancakes? Not anyone I want to date.

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