A typical cafe meetup is a communal get-together, like one of those monthly meetings in the center of the jungle. It is that one big party of vampires racing through the moonlit forest, each one of them competing for the freshest, juiciest dinner.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the scene that you would find in any one of Lahore’s uber trendy cafes should you ever choose to frequent them. Honest advice though: don’t. And, if you do, stop.

There is no regret worse than the one that follows the realization that you’re broke because you squandered all your money on social gatherings that you didn’t even enjoy.

You think I’m exaggerating when I draw the parallel between a cafe meetup and a mystical creatures’ gathering? I’m not. We can easily separate groups sitting at various tables into vampires, werewolves, and regular wolves (who don’t even get mentioned anymore because werewolves are apparently the “cooler pack”)

Here Are Your Typical Characters at a Cafe Meetup:  

At a typical cafe meetup, you have your alpha and their cohort. These are the ones who laugh and talk the loudest. And, at times so loud that the quieter underlings contemplate death by the fork. They also apparently crack the best jokes. Jokes that are, more often than not, so un-funny that even faking one’s laughter becomes physically impossible.

Then there are the aforementioned underlings aka the regular wolves. This group is the eternally bored, socially awkward, utterly unamused, why-do-they-even-show-up crowd. They can either spend the entire affair getting comfortably ignored by the werewolves and vampires. Or, it is their painfully obvious awkwardness that can become the brunt of all jokes for the meetup’s duration.

But what is it that actually goes on at these places that creates such a predatory atmosphere towards the underlings? After a thorough observation of this cafe-hopping business, we were able to separate it into two major processes:

The Meet-up

Don’t you just love that moment in the beginning when you’re standing in the middle of the cafe, pretending to do extremely important work on your phone? When you’re actually just surreptitiously trying to look around for the people you’re supposed to meet? You’re also simultaneously trying to dodge waiters who are annoyingly eager to find you a table. It is almost as if you’re planning to treat them to lunch and they can’t wait to get started. Standing around seems like a better option than sitting at a huge table alone. Or even worse, sitting down and trying to make conversation with those couple of randoms who showed up because they know you as their cousin’s khala’s friend’s sister.

cafe meetup awkwardness
The best part is, you might spend the entire time conversing with someone but realize at the end that you don’t even know their name.

The problem with today’s cafe meet-ups is this exactly; instead of facilitating and simplifying the act of socializing, they actually just make it ten times harder. You are constantly on the look-out for unwanted advances. Even though you are trying to come across as a fearless, socially adept individual. In the end, however, you just end up looking constipated.

The Game

What goes on once everyone has arrived and is seated is no simple affair. It is like a game of tennis, only this time around literally anyone can come up and play. But here’s the kicker: there are only two rackets. So if you want to play, you need to wait your turn because no way is anyone going to give it to you.

It’s not hard; you say something funny, I’ll try and say something even funnier.

Meanwhile… this is funnier than the actual joke.

Then there is always that one person who absolutely has to contribute something to every little conversation. So, they’ll put in a comment as well, which will usually be painfully dimwitted. The comment can face the following possible fates:

(a) get lost in the melee if you and I are loud enough

(b) be politely ignored if everyone allows it to be

(c) be made so much fun of that the poor person who made the mistake of opening their mouth, does not do so again

Do you want to stop getting roasted? Attack the person next to you. Keep passing the parcel; the game isn’t over yet!

You see, anything can happen. It can either turn out to be semi-fun with a dash of painful awkwardness. Or one of the most failed experiences of your life, again, with a dash of painful awkwardness.

Should We All Just Stay At Home?

Once we had seen how these cafe gatherings were actually endorsing a rather alarming, “every man for himself” kind of ideology, the most logical conclusion seemed to be to attend a movie night happening at a friend’s house instead.

But maybe sometimes cafe meetups are a million times better.

Why? Because at least that way you can make your excuses and leave. But at home, everyone just lingers on endlessly.

Perhaps then this victimizing cafe culture is actually our silver lining. It allows everyone to get their vindictive kicks and act stupid to their heart’s content. All the while still letting you bail out early if you want to.

Well go on then, the next cafe meetup awaits! Don’t hesitate to send an invite to all your favorite group chats for another evening of unparalleled enjoyment!





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