Today at Starbucks, which I go to because of proximity, I walked in and ordered a Very Berry Coffee Cake and before I could order my coffee the barista said, “You get bold roast, right?” Feeling proud that this morning I must have that “bold roast kinda guy” look, I tried to deepen my voice a little and said, “Yes, please.”
All was going well until I got into my car and… saw that there was nothing “very berry” about my coffee cake. In fact, it was offensively barren of berries. I couldn’t help but take it personally. I was one of the first customers this morning and saw other Very Berry coffee cakes –and Bountiful Blueberry muffins– in the case that had many more berries than the slice I got.
I thought about going back in and –assertively but not aggressively–asking for a different piece that was more “very berry.” But then I worried if I walked back in to complain about not having enough berries in my Very Berry coffee cake the barista might rethink his view of me as a “bold roast kinda guy” — and think I was more of a “mild roast” type.
I decided it was better to be viewed as masculine and be non-assertive (and have fewer berries in my coffee cake) than to be viewed as milquetoast and be assertive (and get a piece of coffee cake that lives up to its Very Berry name).
Tomorrow I am going to Heine Bros. a few miles farther away. I don’t face these challenges to my masculinity when I order things there. Most of their baked goods are unisex. And it’s safer to be a “mild roast kinda guy” there without feeling self- conscious–which is what I really am anyway.