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The Free Drink Dilemma

October 20, 2010


It happens to all of us. We’re out with our friends, or alone, and a guy comes up to you and says, “Hi my name is so-and-so, could I buy you a drink?”

Sometimes they are polite enough to make conversation, or even ask for your name, before offering you free liquor like you’re a 19-year-old college student. But usually they interrupt your conversation, single you out, and ask if they can buy you a drink (in some of the worse cases, they have already bought the drink).

Now before you jump down to the comments section to angrily write about how you’re doing it to be polite, or its a good way to spark a conversation, or some other excuse – please read on.

The Free Drink is a bad idea on all sides, from all angles.

Basically, we can all agree that giving someone a free drink means that person is wanting to connect with the other person on some level (sexually, in conversation, etc). This is a problem for all parties involved:

  • Ideally, women could accept a drink from a man, chat, and then move on if she so decides to without feeling pressured or obligated to sleep with him, give him her number, etc.

Unfortunately that is not usually how it goes. I cannot count the number of times myself or my friends have accepted a free drink, made polite conversation, and then were made to feel uncomfortable and awkward when the guy would not leave/began pressuring her for her number/asking if she would come to another place with him.

  • Ideally, women could reject a free drink without being called a bitch/frigid man-hater.

A real damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t  situation. See where the problems arise? It’s not just for us ladies, either.

  • Ideally, a man would never feel obligated to buy someone a drink just to engage them in conversation.

Yes! There are women out there who believe that a man is not worth talking to unless he brings her a free drink. Yes! That is completely fucked up. No, men, you should absolutely never be “obligated” to buy anyone anything for the sake of simple conversation.

  • Ideally, men would not be led to believe that a woman accepting a free drink is an obligation to ANYTHING.

Look, I get the argument that if you don’t want to talk to a guy/go home with him, you should not accept his free drink.

Actually no, I don’t get it at all.

When you take that free rap music demo on the street, you aren’t obligated to listen to it, or call the guy up and say he was awesome, or have tea with him.

When you’re short on change and the woman in front of you at Starbucks covers that $1.50 you aren’t obligated to sleep with her or give her your number.

So why is a drink offered to a person any different?

Because society has made it that way. By accepting “Well that’s just what a free drink means and you know that” as an appropriate reason for why women get harassed for not sleeping with Douchey McFreeAlcohol you are simply reinforcing it and making it okay.

Men, stop expecting anything because you gave a girl a free drink and she said “okay”. Don’t bitch about ladies not giving you a chance if your first interaction with them is offering them booze. Don’t feel that a drink is the only way you can talk to a stranger,

Ladies, stop accepting the drink if you don’t want to. Stop feeling obligated to anything when accepting the drink other than expressing your thanks. And please, stop being offended when a guy doesn’t buy you a drink.

And everyone – stop making a free drink a dilemma.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeanine permalink
    October 22, 2010 1:00 am



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