When I was eighteen – like, literally on my eighteenth birthday – one of my closest friends at the time took me out to celebrate. It was a Thursday, and I wasn’t having my real birthday celebration until the Friday. However, Jamie, one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever known, wanted to ensure that I got to at least go out for my actual birthday, even though he had work the next day.
I was thrilled at the idea. He took me to a club half an hour away from my home town (and stayed sober so that he could be a responsible designated driver. This was also important as my home town’s only club that they did have at the time was only open on certain days).
Anyway, for the first time ever, a man bought me a drink (probably because it was the first time I was allowed into some form of pub or club as an adult). I was so excited because, in my mind, this was just like in the movies! (I was still naïve and a hopeless romantic at this age.) And I had every intention of buying him a drink (I can’t remember if I did or not … I remember struggling with the drink he bought me. It was a UDL and I don’t like sugary drinks, so I found it hard to drink).
Anyway, after this man bought me one drink, a dilemma developed.
Jamie and I needed to leave because he had work early in the morning.
The guy said I should spend the night with him (something I think I’d only ever done once before, in any context, so the idea was seriously shocking to me. I have nothing against one night stands, or people that participate in them regularly or only on occasion, but I was a virgin and rather inexperienced and naïve with any type of relationship experiences of any kind).
I explained to him that I couldn’t – that Jamie was my ride and I lived in a town half an hour away at least (I was too mortified to respond with a more eloquent “Hell no!”). I wanted to be polite. Respectful. The way I believed a woman should behave. (Again, naïve.)
“Oh, no baby. Just take a taxi in the morning. Come on, I bought you a drink.”
Firstly, even a few years ago, do you have any idea how expensive a half hour taxi ride is!? A uni student does not have the money to blow on a half hour taxi ride.
Hell, most uni students can’t afford any taxis in any circumstance.
Secondly, how dare you suggest – anyone suggest – anyone be so arrogant to believe that, an hour after meeting someone, another person should essentially pay a large amount for the “pleasure of that person’s company”. Because he wasn’t suggesting to pay for my cab fare, or half of my fare, or organising any sort of ride home for me. He literally wanted to have sex with me and then leave me to my own devices, in a place that wasn’t even close to my house. I mean, yes, I was and still am in independent woman and all that bullshit, but I find such behaviour to be incredibly entitled and arrogant.
Thirdly, a drink – one drink – does not equal the cost of a taxi ride. Seriously.
However, most importantly – and I’m just using one example – I could tell hundreds (metaphorically speaking) of guys who felt entitled to have sex with me simply because he bought me a drink.
A drink, or even several, does not mean anyone owes you sex. Or a phone number. They owe you nothing. However, this seems to be a huge male entitlement problem (and I can’t believe I even have to state the fucking obvious).
And the worst thing is, so many men try and use this as an example of sexism and privilege that women have.
Sure, there are some women that deliberately and intentionally target guys to buy them drinks so they don’t have to spend any money.
I’m not entirely sure if that’s actually sexist behaviour, but it does kind of make those women a little dicky.
But hey, I guess they aren’t forcing the guy to spend his money on them. But, for the most people, a drink or two is a great way to get to know someone and decide if you like them (in any context). It does not necessarily mean that the woman is using you – and I’ve found many women, including myself, are happy to go dutch.
However, it’s not a privilege when men ply you with alcohol in the hopes you’ll sleep with them.
It’s not a privilege when men try and ply you with alcohol in the hopes you’ll get too drunk and sleep with them because you can’t make any informative decisions anymore. (Seriously – I’ve been in situations where I’ve been vomiting from drinking too much and I’ve still had guys try and give me more alcoholic drinks. As this is not possibly good for anyone’s well-being, and any decently kind human being would give that person a glass of water instead, I am seriously led to believe that the only purpose for such an action is that the man is hoping you’ll get so drunk that you’ll sleep with him. He’s either a) hoping to take advantage of you or b) is hoping you’ll be so drunk, you’ll be up for anything. Which is still taking advantage, and not necessarily consent, by the way.)
So please, men. Stop saying women are privileged because they get “free drinks”.
Those drinks often come with strings attached, and are rarely free.
And it’s not a privilege when someone tries to get you hammered so they can get laid.
That’s still sexism against women.