Cole Foss exited his last relationship about two years ago, a move made out of necessity rather than differences.
“The last relationship I had was in college … and, I don’t know know. We were just young,” he said while seated before coffee and breakfast at Sasha’s Baking Co., close to his apartment in the Library District.
Logistics did the breaking up for them. He studied in Spain while at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and his former girlfriend transferred away from the state college.
Foss, 22, has dated casually since then, although nothing has turned into the serious commitment he’d like to share with the right person.
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And right now, the timing is perfect.
Behind him is a chapter of intense college study, which earned him two college degrees a semester early. Ahead of him is graduate school this fall, on top of his full-time job at Kansas City architecture firm HOK.
“I feel like now is a pretty good window to start something,” he said.
The T-shirt he wore showed off sculpted arms, the result of a dedicated gym habit.
The girl he dated in college — a fair representation of his future interests, he said — played on the school volleyball team. One of the points of connection between them was the fact that she was one of the few players shorter than he was, he joked.
His college girlfriend: “brunette, athletic, and that’s pretty much my type.”
Foss said he’s the type of guy who goes to a coffee shop to read “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” and a self-identified introvert, though he reports finding himself frequently around and attracted to extroverts.
If not for good friend and radio personality Carrington Harrison — “CDot” as he’s known during his afternoon broadcasts on 610 AM — bachelor Foss would have remained in obscurity and never appeared in “Datelines.”
“I don’t know if I would have signed up for this myself,” he said, laughing. “I just am not that kind of — like, I don’t really seek attention?”
At moments where it feels like he’s exhausted the most comfortable ideas he holds about himself or is still trying to figure out how to answer questions, he smiles broadly and his eyes disappear behind lids that close nearly completely.
You know that thing where some people’s smiles require almost their entire faces? That’s Foss.
“I guess deciding ‘Hey, I’m going to be in a magazine and announcing I’m looking for a relationship’ is a little different, but yeah this started as a joke,” Foss said.
“I need someone that I enjoy spending time with and — not to sound cheesy,” Foss says pausing, disappearing behind the smile, “just someone I don’t feel like flaking out all the time on? Because sometimes I’d just rather sit at home, hang out with my cat and not do anything.”
Nor should every night be looked at as an opportunity to be together.
“The most successful relationships, you aren’t one another’s top priorities.”
Foss will say something like that, something with acute emotional intelligence or something casually brilliant about religion or philosophy that you might find it hard to size him up. Not in a secretive or conniving way, but there just always appears to be more to know about how he operates.
His tattoo sleeve on his right arm alludes to some of that depth.
Just a few days before, artist Noah Moore of Old Souls Tattoo Parlour and Gallery completed the next installment of the sleeve — a pocketwatch done in a traditional American art style. Above it sits an elegant flower. Above it, a tiger appears.
The pocket watch at the bottom has the time “10:22” because his parents were married on Oct. 22. They were remarried on the same date after Foss’ mother’s struggles with cancer brought his parents together again.
The flower is borrowed from Buddhist iconography, referencing balance.
The tiger is visual shorthand for strength.
Partly hidden from view is ink written in cursive script on his bicep: “When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you,” a quote that for him encapsulates his mom’s struggles with cancer and the collective effort required to weather that storm.
In the not-near future, Foss sees himself as someone’s husband and possibly a father, probably a West coast resident to be closer to his family.
In the near future, he’s a Kansas City resident, a familiar sight at recreational sports leagues.
Date one: Sasha’s Baking Co. for coffee, Milwaukee Deli for dinner and drinks, “nothing too fancy.”
Possible date three or four: Foss prepares a home-cooked meal. His specialty is chicken piccata.
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