Love. Lust. Friendship. Or maybe, as Pharrell says, “we’re up all night to get lucky.” The list of why people go on dates is as endless as there are people. And, unfortunately, so is the list of meaningless dates where people spend an hour watching a movie, throwing back drink after drink to muster up some liquid courage or, worse, asking each other pointless questions that is more reminiscent of a job interview than a date.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Everyone has different definitions of what constitutes, “the perfect date,” but, if you’re aim is to get to know someone, see a fragment of who they really are, and assess whether this is someone you’d like to spend more time in the future with, Yerba Mate is the perfect first date.
“Yerba Mate, really?” You may ask in disbelief. “Isn’t it just a drink that is healthy for you, gives you energy and is nice to share with family and friends?” Well, yes, that’s all true. But, it’s more than that. If alcohol is a social lubricant, Yerba Mate, in its own way, is a spiritual lubricant. And, when going on a first date, there’s no greater gift than being able to glimpse into the spirit of another.
But, here are a few other reasons why Yerba Mate is the perfect first date:
Preparing Yerba Mate takes time and care
The traditional way of preparing Yerba Mate require a gourd, loose-leaf yerba, a bombilla (filtered metal straw), cold / hot water and, ideally, a thermos. There’s no need to go into how to prepare Yerba Mate the traditional way here, but it’s important to know that it takes time. When one is pouring the yerba in the gourd, a certain amount of focus and care is required, which is extended to placing the bombilla inside, as well as pouring the cold, then hot, water in.
Preparing Yerba Mate this way isn’t a fast process, and it’s because of this calm, measured act that instead of being quick, feverish and full of nerves, your date will also adopt this laid-back atmosphere, allowing you both to relax and settle into one another. The act of the cebador (server, which is whoever is preparing the mate) preparing the gourd will also show your date that you are capable of thinking about someone other than yourself, because to be cebador means to think of others and serve them.
You’re exchanging germs immediately
If you’re familiar with Yerba Mate, the fact that you’re sharing a straw (the bombilla) with everyone else who drinks out of the mate (name of herb, drink and gourd – a bit confusing) is something you become used to. But, if you’re not familiar with Yerba Mate, surprise! When you share a gourd with another person, you’re also sharing the same straw, which means the same germs. Same germs, huh? Sounds a bit like kissing. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The simple reality is that there’s a certain level of intimacy when you’re sharing a gourd of Yerba Mate with another person. Think of grabbing a drink and then giving your glass to your date to have a taste of whatever is in it; it’s the same thing. And, when two people become open enough with one another to share the same drink, boundaries are instantly crossed, and a greater depth between two former strangers, or possibly acquaintances, is achieved.
The stimulants in Yerba Mate break down barriers
Quick health lesson about Yerba Mate. Aside from caffeine (sometimes referred to as mateine, in the case of Yerba Mate), Yerba Mate has two other stimulants: theobromine and theophylline. Now, we all know caffeine gives you energy. Theobromine, which is also found in chocolate, affects your body in a dozen ways, but the most important one here is that it’s the compound in chocolate that makes it known for being an aphrodisiac, which means that it puts you in “the mood.” Theophylline, on the other hand, is found in tea, as well as chocolate, and is responsible for, among many things, increasing blood flow, helping you breathe better and stimulating your central nervous system.
So, what does all this scientific jargon mean? Well, what do you think happens when your energy raises, your libido increases and your blood flows easier? People feel awake, slightly euphoric and very open to one another, regardless of if you’ve known each other for a few seconds or a few years. In a way, your true spirit becomes open and it’s up to you how much is shared with the other person.
Yerba Mate focuses you on the person you’re with
It’s important to note that Yerba Mate isn’t a drug. Despite all of the “spiritual lubricant” and “openness” talk, Yerba Mate is a practical beverage made from the crushed up leaves of a holly tree native to South America. But, I say all of this as a segue into what I’m about to say, which is that when you drink Yerba Mate, time becomes irrelevant.
“Time irrelevant? Sounds like a drug to me, man!” I know, but you just have to sit down with a gourd to understand what I’m saying, which is that when you drink Yerba Mate with another person, your focus becomes on the conversation you’re having, on the person you’re having it with and on spending quality time looking to understand someone else versus just trying to speak over someone else, or rush out of a situation. All rushing ceases to exist, and what remains is the one thing that reigns supreme when getting to know someone else; meaningful bonding.
In Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari writes that people who go on an “adventurous” first date, meaning something beyond coffee, dinner, drinks or a movie, are more likely to be attracted to one another, and go on a second date. Grabbing a gourd, filtered metal straw, water and some loose-leaf herb isn’t as adventurous as skydiving, but it’s a step in the right direction.
If you’ve ever gone on a Yerba Mate date, or just have some comments / questions, let us know what you think in the comments below.
And, if you’re looking to grab some Yerba Mate, head to Yerba Mate Land and use the code “mateo10” for 10% off your entire order. Or, head to Circle of Drink and get yourself a gourd / bombilla using the same discount code.