Guys Buying Girls Drinks
The first time I went clubbing was at the now-defunct Butter Factory. That night was the beginning of my six-month-long clubbing rampage.
Every Wednesday and Friday, my friends and I would go out. Usually, we’d have a table, but on the rare occasion we didn’t, we’d play the game “Let’s see who can get more drinks from guys”.
We’d flirt with boys, dance seductively near tables laden with alcohol, make friends with the DJ to access their stash, or bargain with the bartenders. 10/10 times, we were successful.
Sometimes, the men who supplied us alcohol were NS boys. Other times, they were men older than my father. Always, they’d try to wrap their arms around our waists or get us to dance with them.
Laughingly, we’d bat our eyelashes and slip away, with false promises to return after a ‘quick bathroom break’.
But after one unpaid drink too many, I got sick of pandering to these men. One night out, I decided: I’d never try to get strangers to buy me a drink again.
Manipulating guys to get drinks is wrong
Part of the reason why I stopped was that I knew actively making use of men was wrong.
I understood the currency a pretty girl in a club possessed. And I understood the more they liked the way my ass moved, the more willing they’d be to give me drinks.
The reason why I can ‘make money moves’ is because I learned to use my body as a tool to get free drinks. The men probably knew what I was up to, but it didn’t stop them from plying me with drinks.
But I enjoyed getting drinks from men this way because it was flattering and exhilarating and it made me feel wanted.
Feeling like you owe them something
While you’re not obliged to go home with someone simply because they bought you a drink, you are bound by social contract and owe them a certain courtesy.
A positive response could range from an easy “thank you” to an enthusiastic, appreciative kiss. But to flatly deny or refuse any interaction would be considered rude AF.
Knowing this, I was also acutely aware I was allowing these men to ‘buy’ my time with 30ml of tequila.
This is also why some people feel girls are ‘asking for it’ if anything happens when they accept free drinks.
It’s like my mum said, “You should know better than to take free drinks. Nothing comes for free.”
In clubs, drinks become bargaining power for the payee to hit on you or touch you.
When I took drinks from these men, I’d engage them in conversation, or put up with their drunken attempts at flirting. I felt the need to entertain those who paid for my drink.
Putting myself in a compromising position
To do this ‘entertaining’, I’d usually split up from my friends.
Men would less likely give you alcohol if you were in a large group. On our quest to guzzle as much alcohol as possible, we’d only regroup after a certain hour.
But taking drinks from random men meant I couldn’t keep track of how much alcohol I was consuming.
Furthermore, it put me in a compromising position where no one was there to watch my back.
While I’ve never drunk till I was completely intoxicated, or been roofied, I’ve seen what happens to girls who become incapacitated.
At best, they’re left ‘abandoned’ by the street when the club closes. At worst, they’re at the mercy of a total stranger who would take advantage of them.
Now I shudder when I think of how stupid I was. All I wanted was to get drunk, and safety was the least of my concerns.
Encouraging sexism by using my looks
But as I got older, I realised I was getting away with free drinks 10/10 times because I understood and was making use of a system which encouraged men and women alike to objectify women.
When using my looks to ‘earn’ free drinks, it was always in direct competition with, and at expense of deeming another woman less pretty, and hence, ‘less worthy’ of this resource. Instead of supporting other women, I was putting them down to gain approval.
In addition to the obvious danger I was putting myself in, I let myself be pawed at and put up with unwanted advances for drinks as I thought it was ‘expected’.
I was signalling men were entitled to my body, a woman’s body, for a whiskey coke.
Boasting to my guy friends about how much I saved on a night out wasn’t ‘feminine power’ or ‘girl privilege’. It was a verbal endorsement of a system which reduced women to things.
Pushing For Gender Equality
I’m not saying how all men are simplistic chee ko pehs. Nor that women are a collective group of vixens out to steal a man’s overpriced Belvedere.
I’m saying I disagree with this clubbing practice and some individuals, both men and women, validate such behaviours as it affords them a measure of personal gain.
Pushing for a more gender equal society isn’t as easy as identifying one obvious problem and removing it; inequality is entrenched deep into our social systems and institutions. But addressing visible symptoms is a start.
Perhaps I’m idealistic, but I do feel change starts with me. I try not to back certain actions which place a good half of Singapore society at a greater disadvantage.
So, the next time I’m out of alcohol and someone offers me a drink, I’d accept, but not because I’m trying to get free alcohol off of them, but because I’d genuinely want to know them.
Maybe this way, guys in clubs will no longer have to worry about girls stealing drinks from their tables.
Cover image: Source