Picture this: You're a single, twenty-something guy hanging out in a bar. You run into a young woman, and the two of you start talking. Things seem to be going well, and you're sitting right at the bar, so it's only natural to offer to buy her a drink just to grease the wheels (so to speak). A couple of hours (and more than a couple of drinks) later, you're both pretty tipsy (all financed out of your pocket) and things are looking good. Leaning forward, you suavely request a kiss (your drunken mind already plotting several 'kisses' ahead), to which your lady friend replies: "Sorry, but I don't think my boyfriend would approve," as she collects her coat and exits stage right. All you're left with is a fat bar tab and a very poor ROI (Return on Investment).
...The situation above happened in a bar a few weeks ago, although it's almost indistinguishable from countless others just like it. I don't know the poor schmuck who got taken to the cleaners for seven gin and tonics, but I am good friends with the young lady who drank them. For me, the whole fiasco is a perfect example of why, when single, I never buy girls drinks when I go out, or fawn over them in general. I think it's a ridiculous waste of time and money.
Why do women get perks like line bypass, free cover and half priced drinks? Owners know that a little estrogen inside their establishment will guarantee long lineups of guys, most of whom are prepared to spend in the hopes of scoring a phone number or (much better still) a friend for the cab ride home. The fact that the male-to-female ratio inside most spots is a little uneven (read: sausage fest) is immaterial as long as there are a few pretty girls on the dance floor. A little eye candy creates the potential for interaction and/or copulation, which is good enough to get most guys reaching for their wallets.
So guys are horny and buy drinks as a means of flirting. What's the problem with that? Nothing, if you expect it to work. I'm well aware that people meet (those under 30 currently refer to it as 'picking up') members of the opposite sex when they go out, and obviously it pays dividends for some. Unfortunately, for the majority of guys, this isn't the case. Most nights, due in part to the special treatment used to attract them to clubs, as well as the overabundance of overtly friendly guys within, ladies can afford to be picky. Extremely picky. Some adopt a rather unappealing attitude along with their discerning taste in the male sex, as if dressing up and going downtown transforms them into God's Gift to Men. While I don't find it particularly appetizing, I can certainly understand it. I'd think I was hot shit and refuse to settle for second best if I had legions of girls following my every move and making sure I always had a fresh drink. Unfortunately, as it stands many guys get attitude if they try to strike up a conversation or (worse yet) are unwittingly exploited for the drink-buying machines some girls see them as.
I invite you to step inside any bar, club or lounge of your choice and watch the hilarity ensue. Without fail the male majority will fall all over themselves to impress the female minority, at considerable cost to their dignity and bank account. To be completely honest, I think the entire thing boils down to a lack of respect. From the female perspective, the laws of supply and demand pretty much make clubbing a seller's (read: female's) market. For their part, most guys attempt to maximize their chances by flirting with everyone they're even remotely attracted to (and, towards the end of the night, some they aren't), and some guys are admittedly pretty rude and/or painfully honest in regards to their motives.
For my part, when I go out I don't spend much time looking for girls or starting conversations, and unless it's for a friend, any drink I purchase goes towards my own intoxication. Naturally there are a few generalizations in this piece, and I want to make it clear that I'm not some lonely or bitter guy who's trying to lash out at Every Woman for the injuries She's inflicted on me (real or imagined). It's possible to meet really great people in a bar or a club (and that goes for both sexes) but in general I find the whole thing a little too superficial and ridiculous. I've met all of my significant others in low-pressure, personality-based environments like school and work (i.e. I like to talk and get to know someone first). It's not terribly exciting, but it's effective, and that way we both have a better idea of what we're getting into before the clothes come off.
Nonetheless, I wish my fellow guys the best of luck out there on the local bar or club scene. However, if you happen to find yourself in one of the university watering holes in Ottawa over the next four years, and a certain young lady asks you for seven gin and tonics, you might want to consider spending your dollars elsewhere.