Sunday, March 30, 2008

A One-sided Conversation

Sometimes, when I go to a bar to order a drink, a man will insist on buying it for me. I really hate that. Don’t get me wrong, I like free stuff as much as the next person. But I don’t like feeling obligated to “pay the guy back” by talking to him or giving him my number.

To prevent this awkward situation, I try to respectfully refuse free drinks from strangers. It has never worked. Not once. I have NEVER told a man, “No, no thank you, I’ll get it myself,” and had him back off the way I want him to. Instead of feeling flattered, I feel ignored.

So here is my voice. This is my half of a conversation held Friday at a bar in St. Louis.If I can't be heard in person, I'll be heard here. (The stuff in parenthesis is what I’m really thinking.):

(Oh, shit.)
Ya, I like this band, too. They’re pretty cool.
My name? Lindsay. You?
(Maybe I should have told him a fake name?)
Hi Randy, nice to meet you.
(Hi, 45-year-old man sitting alone at a bar. I’m not sure why you’ve chosen to hit on me, but I can’t see this going well for you.)
Um, I think I’m gunna order a Coffee Stout. I’ve never had it, but I thought I’d...
(Shit, that was a mistake. He thinks that was an invitation. I was just trying to make conversation!)
Wait, oh, no, you don’t have to order it for me.
(What the fuck, you just turned your back on me to “do me a favor.” Get out of my god-damned way, sir, and I’ll get my drink myself. I’ve done this before!)
No, if you’ll just let me by, I’ll order it myself.
Oh, they ran out?
(Thank god. I’ll move up now and get something myself.)
Oh. OK, well, I’ve been drinking Wheach beer tonight, I’ll see if they…
Wait, no, I can get it.
(Oi! Loser! Move!)
No really, I’ll order.
Oh, thanks.
(Fuck. Now I have to awkwardly talk to you till my drink comes.)

My boyfriend?
(Really? You wanna ask about my boyfriend? I have a feeling you’re hoping I don’t have one. Why are you pretending to be interested in me?)
Oh, he’s down at the end of the bar. Our friends are playing tonight, so…
What? I’m very beautiful?
(Of course I’m beautiful. It’s dark, you’re drunk, and I’m half your age. It’d be hard for you to NOT find me beautiful in these conditions.)
Oh, um, thank you. That’s really nice. Oh, look here’s my drink, I’ll just…
(If I pull out money, he’ll back off.)
No. Here I’ll get it.
(He’s not backing off. Maybe if I shout.)
NO! Hey, no, no thanks man I can…
(What is this idiot deaf? Does it sound like I want this, dude?)
Um, thanks. Well.
(OK, there’s no way he’d go to all the trouble to get me a drink while I’m shouting at him unless he wanted something. So now what? Do I owe him something? Would it be rude to walk away, the way I want to? After all, I didn’t choose to interact with him this way. This isn’t what I wanted.)
Ya, ya gotta get back to the boyfriend. Um, thanks for the drink.
(Thanks fo’ nuthin, sucker.)


Golden Silence said...

I am glad that you have a forum for your frustration, but it worries me that you're not standing up for yourself and standing up to these ridiculous men!

If I weren't interested in talking to some loser in a bar, I'll let them know and walk away. It's a waste of my time to cater to someone I have no interest in.

No woman should be afraid to stand up for herself. Gauge the situation, say "Not interested," and walk away. If it gets threatening or physical, then get an authority figure involved.

Please stay safe!

Lilith said...

I'm so glad I stumbled on this. This blog is a great idea, and so needed. I'm going to link to you on mine if you don't mind. (BTW, the blog I have listed here isn't the one I'm talking about, since I don't use it anymore. Now I'm at

Amelia said...

I found this blog linked on the above blogger's site. It makes me sad that these sorts of incidents are numerous enough to make up an entire blog, but I guess recognizing them and pointing them out for others to recognize is a step in the right direction. Nice work.