Back when I was teaching college in Alabama, I used to go by Starbucks every Tuesday and Thursday before class and get a venti vanilla latte. I always went to this one particular Starbucks that was not exactly on my way to the university; however, the hottest guy worked in this particular Starbucks. I always went there to flirt with him. I’m pretty sure he was gay. No straight man back then wore designer clothes to work at a Starbucks in Alabama. He has that southern gay boy sense of fashion. He wore designer accessories with his uniform (Gucci belt, designer shoes, etc.) He was really cute—dark hair and eyes, tall and skinny, with a cute little butt that I knew would look fabulous out of his tight-fitting pants. He always seemed so happy to see me when I would go in, more so than many people that come into the café. I’d seen him interact with other customers, and I never saw him wave hello to anyone else or smile when they walked in. He always gave me a big wave, smile big, and say, “Hey man, how’s it going?” I was probably imagining that he seemed nicer to me, but I can have my little fantasies occasionally. It probably meant nothing; he just saw me every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon on my way to teach. He was always friendly nonetheless, and if he was able to do so, he always struck up a conversation, though it was mostly about how beautiful the weather was that day. I always just wanted to say, “So, what time do you get off work? I think you are really hot and would love to get to know you better.” However, just like now, I was a shy person and would never do that.
He always made the very best vanilla lattes. I know it is a Starbucks after all, and their drinks should usually taste the same no matter which location you bought it, but there was definitely something different about the way he made mine. I miss those vanilla lattes. I never did ask him out or do anything beyond being just mildly flirtatious. Eventually, a new chair took over the history department at the university, and he hired a whole new group of adjuncts to teach the lower level history classes. Since I wasn’t going to teach anymore, I quit going by Starbucks twice a week, and I don’t’ remember ever seeing that guy again. I wonder where he is now.