Despite the rampant takeover of dating apps and those awkward first encounters where you reconcile your date's textual personality with his or her real one, the elusive art of buying a girl a drink at a bar exists. Yes, I'm referring to the old-fashioned, impromptu attempt at romantic engagement via alcohol with a real-life, living and breathing woman.
In fact, just last month — for the first time in a long time — a random man did just this. I've spent so much time going on Internet dates that I forgot what it felt like to have a human approach me.
Yet suddenly, I felt compelled to continue our conversation, even past the point where my interest waned. A half hour (and admittedly one tequila shot) later, the same man attempted to kiss me while still at the bar.
I instinctively turned away, but to my dismay, I felt a twinge of obligation to kiss him back, despite the fact that I wasn't interested. Was I feeling physically indebted to a stranger due to free alcohol?
This got me thinking. If I feel like I owe men something when they buy me a drink, then what exactly are men expecting when they do it?
As one does while seeking answers to strange, personal and semi-awkward questions, I asked this of everyone I knew, from longstanding male friends to Facebook acquaintances and recent Tinder dates. I posed the question, “What do you expect when you buy a girl a drink?”
Not surprisingly, most of them relayed they hardly did this anymore. Regardless, they did have solid opinions:
If I buy a girl a drink, I think of it as a conversation starter. If she sips slowly and engages, awesome. If she downs it and leaves, that's cool, too.
— Erik, 25
If I were to send a drink, I think it would just be to get a woman's attention or acknowledge the fact that she's interesting. I've never thought buying a girl a drink would get her to like me.
— Anshel, 26
When I buy a woman a drink and she accepts, I expect a second drink. I'm not trying to sleep with you; I'm just looking to relax and enjoy your company. If you don't want to spend time with me, then don't accept.
— Ben, 35
Buying a girl a drink isn't always about picking her up or making a move. Sometimes, you just want her to have as much fun as you are in that moment, and that is as deep as it goes.
— Ian, 26
If it's one drink, I would expect conversation for half the drink. But, I would like conversation for the entire drink.
— Jordan, 29
We buy drinks for girls who interest us. But understand that regardless of the situation, I'm buying you drinks because I want to have sex with you, not just because. There are caveats to that, but obviously, that is largely the end game.
— Jay, 27
I honestly have never approached a random girl in a bar because I was a bartender, so they came to me. I am actually super shy, and I feel like that move just screams, 'creeper.' But if I were to do it, I would hope that she'd give me a fair chance at conversation without judgement. I feel like the assumption is that [the guy] is just trying to get laid. But there are still guys out there, like me, who would legitimately just like to get to know someone and see if there is something organic there.
— Brian, 28
There you have it, folks.
Moral of the story? The next time you're approached with the prospect of a free drink, tentatively accept, ask the fellow his intentions, make the encounter noticeably awkward and then write an article about it.