Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?

20 Mar

Don’t worry everyone, I’m here to lay down some rules for uncharted territory. Actually, this territory is not uncharted at all unless you live in a dry county, which you might. I want to talk about bar etiquette. I want to talk about men and women interacting in bars specifically.

Men are encouraged by our culture to pick up women in bars. To buy them drinks and tell them how pretty they look.

Women think that a guy buying her a drink or flirting with her is affirming in someway.

But let’s step back and think about this whole situation for a minute. This is the part of the blog post that I make a short disclaimer that all the feelings and assumptions you are about to read are completely my own and relate directly to my life as a 22 year old. You may not relate to me at all, I am sorry.

So I hit the town on Friday or Saturday, or maybe even Thursday if I’m feeling crazy. I’m going out with my friends because I do not drink alone as a rule. I also don’t go out alone because I would get bored and wish that I was on my couch in my nightie watching Say Yes to the Dress anyways. Also, that’s unsafe.

But back to going out. I’m wearing my jeggins, I might have on a little makeup even, I’m ready for a drink or two and then I want to dance. Maybe I’m meeting some mutual friends or friends of friends or maybe I’m catching up with old friends or something like that. Catch the key word there: friends.

Now I’ll be the first to tell you I am not a super attractive person. I’m a decent attractive person. My parents think I’m pretty (because I look like them) and the guy I date tells me I’m attractive (because we’re dating and that’s a nice thing to do). No one approaches me for modeling contracts. I’ve never been an extra in a music video. But on the other hand, I have relatively normal facial features and I smile a lot which makes me more attractive than a scowler. I have nice hair and I’m not weirdly shaped. I blend into a lineup. There’s a picture of me on this blog if I’m not being clear enough.

Still, I’m out with my friends and some guy leaning on the bar starts talking to me. Sometimes he buys me a drink. This doesn’t happen all of the time, but it has happened more than once and less than a hundred times if that helps paint the picture.

Sue me, I like free drinks (not the roofied kind). Don’t say I’m taking advantage of my girly charm, because you know who else likes free drinks? Everyone. My boyfriend included, and he’s a boy.

Here’s the thing, men/boys/dudes: I don’t like to be hit on by strangers in bars. Let’s step back for a minute and analyze.

I doubt I find prince charming at a bar. Just because we are at the same alcohol-serving establishment does not mean that our eharmony profiles are matches. Maybe they are, but not likely. So guys are going to strike up a conversation based on how I look or how I seem from across the room. Creepy anyone?

Why does this feel like the wild African grasslands? I am a athletically built antelope just getting a drank with my antelope gal pals and this big ole lion sees us from the tree line and approaches. Yes, I feel hunted, preyed upon if you will. I also watched Lion King often as a child.

So, we’re both at the bar. Me trying to get another Bud select, you trying to talk to me even though you don’t know anything about me. Let’s say you pay for my beer. Then I say “Thank you” because Mark and Lynne raised me right, and sit down with my friend in our booth.

Yes, that’s it. I do not feel like accepting your drink means I have to talk to you all night and pour my deep dark secrets. I do not have to introduce you to my friends. I certainly do not have to go home with you or give you my number. As the Beatles said, “Can’t buy me love.” They really meant, “Can’t buy my love with a $3 beer (or anything else for that matter).”

My wise friend Justin Yeater once said, “Buying drinks for girls is a terrible investment.” He could not be more correct. There should be absolutely no expectations of a return on that investment. Same goes for buying flowers. Drinks are not currency we can exchange for anything else. They are a friendly gesture. Think of them as an expensive hug except you don’t get to smell my perfume.

I’m not saying don’t buy drinks. I’m all about free stuff. I’m the kind of person who takes hotel shampoo because it’s free. I’m just saying, think of it as being friendly, not luring women to do anything for you.

I’m also not saying you shouldn’t talk to people you don’t know at bars. That’s fun. I love meeting new people and making friends. That’s why we’re not buying a case of beer and drinking it on the couch. We want the social atmosphere. We also probably want to get dressed up. I want to chat with you. I want to know where you bought those weird shoes or why your friend is wearing 3-D glasses at On the Rocks.

Two weekends ago I chatted with a girl about her psychology degree and living in Texas. I also met a French foreign exchange student. Neither interested in me as a love interest, but both cool conversations.

That’s not getting hit on and I appreciate that. I feel like I speak for all young, semi-attractive women when I say please don’t talk to me with the same look I’d give to a quarterpounder with cheese. Be nice, be friendly, no expectations.

Also, not to be rude, but I’m not attracted to the kind of guys who try to pick up girls at bars. Just not my thing, you know? Let’s become friends at a bar, maybe someday we can hang out without booze and then maybe this could go somewhere. I’m sure some people find their soul mates at McNallys. Maybe Rihanna wrote a song about it (We found love in a hopeless place). For  every one of those songs, there are 60 songs that should go like this, “Get me out of here, this guy is a creep” or “Why won’t he stop talking about all of his failed relationships at the bar?” Those would both be hits.

I think the best solution to this problem is to create a sub culture. Some people want to be social without being preyed upon. Let’s establish that and all hang out in the same places. I imagine there are some people out there that are looking for love/hook ups at bars. Maybe they could all go to the same bars (or the Craigslist personal section). Perhaps this is already happening around me and I’m going to the wrong places. Please let me know if I’m missing out.

You might be thinking, “But Shannon, what about love at first sight? You don’t get to pick where that happens.” To you I’ll say, good luck with that.

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