Last weekend, I went on a school-sponsored pub crawl (I love Europe). I went with seven euro in my pocket, got a nice buzz and came back with the same seven euro. I achieved this using four methods ranging from beginner to expert schmoozing.
1. My friend owed me a cocktail so I cashed in.
2. A boy asked me if I wanted a beer, I said yes, so he bought me one; after the drink, we didn't talk again for a couple of hours.
3. I offered to hold half a beer for a guy going to the bathroom and he ended up offering me the rest of it.
4. I stole a straw from the other side of the bar to chew on (I don't know why, ask Freud) but when I approached boys with the straw in my mouth, they just offered me their drinks to try.
Let it be known that I was very careful with the drinks I sipped and there was no chance of me getting drugged.
As I was drinking my free full beer, I talked to three guys, each from a distant corner of the world from each other. I mentioned that someone bought this beer for me and the guys all uttered the most ignorantly whinny and tired sentence known to single people around my age: "It's not fair that girls get free drinks and boys don't."
I am not one to get high and mighty about little comments like that. Everyone starts at some level of ignorance and it's a long journey to enlightenment on social issues and I believe that patience is the best way to get people to see what you see. So instead of belligerently or condescendingly telling the boys why their comment was unnecessary and innappropriate, I decided to write an article patiently explaining the girl's point of view on this matter.
To be honest, it was unfair that I went the whole evening without ever paying for my drinks. My argument does not bring to question fairness but rather validity. Is complaining about women receiving more free than men a valid complaint? (Spoiler alert: the answer is no).
There are about four reasons a guy will buy a drink for a girl.
1. To repay a debt.
This reason is extremely gender fluid and as innocent as it gets. No problems here.
2. To help out a friend.
A person is low on cash so you spot them and buy them a drink. This again crosses gender lines easily. It is possible that guys spot for girls more often because of a sense of chivalry on the guy's part and a lack of pocket space on that of the girl. However, the difference is negligible, if it even exists at all. No problems here.
3. Because sometimes drunk people are just generous.
The two boys who collectively gave me one and half beers were already a few drinks in and fairly gone— not at an alarming level but still noticeably drunk. These boys happen to be generous drunks; they gave me beer because they were in a good mood and felt like there were no strings attached. In fact, I didn't even talk to these guys immediately after their generous gifts.
Girls do this, too, though possibly to a lesser extent. The difference lies in the typical recipient of the generosity. From my observations guys typically give their gifts to girls. This is probably due to the traces of chivalry that still remain in today's society and possibly the latent impulse to attract the opposite sex by proving their financial abilities. But that's a little too technical and scientific for this writer to get into without references so I'll just leave it to coincidence.
Girls will typically direct their drunk generosity to other girls. This is also partly due to coincidence and heavily influenced by the girl's surroundings. There is also another very important element to this phenomenon: If a girl gets another girl drunk, the worst thing that might happen is that someone ends up with puke on their shoes. If a girl gets a boy drunk, the consequences can be a lot more severe.
A drunk woman is not an enemy of neither other women nor men. A drunk man is the enemy in almost any horror stories told to young women.
4. To get a girl drunk.
The idea of buying a woman a drink stems from the fact that the more a girl drinks, the lower her inhibitions become. A drunk girl is vulnerable and therefore desirable to a certain type of man who will perform certain types of heinous acts.
I'm not saying all men who offer drinks to girls are like this. I'm not saying no women have ever been guilty of the same things I'm referring to. I'm not saying all women who accept free drinks are automatically at a high risk of something happening to them.
What I am saying is that when drinking, girls have to think about so much more than their male counterparts. What seems like an unfair free drink to a guy is a well-monitored and thoroughly deliberated choice to a girl. The girl sipping her free drink watched the drink from the bartender's hand to her own. She weighed the intentions and subsequent implied expectations from the person buying. She was sure that her cognitive functions would not drop to an uncontrollable level before accepting the beverage.
In short, it is not fair that I pay for less of my drinks than a male peer. But the added dangers and precautions I have to take before drinking as are even less fair. So, to you guys out there wanting to complain, I kindly and patiently suggest you choose your battles more wisely.