Can I buy you a drink?
The ‘can’ in this question is deceiving. It only has one response (unless you’re driving or abstaining), and that one response entails far more than just a simple “Thanks!” upon receiving. The drink is not just a drink. You cannot accept your complimentary Coors and then skip the scene. You have to at least feign interest to repay for your freebie. Turning down a date is easy; turning down a drink is excruciating.
There are some token types who often make this offer: 1.) There’s beer-breath Brad, who also brags alot. 2.) There’s touchy-feely Tim 3.) Won’t-leave-you-alone Will, who finds you in a crowded bar even after you’ve escaped to the bathroom. Twice. 4.) There’s Ancient Arnold, who should probably be playing Bingo before spending his Saturday buying SoCo limes. 5.) There’s those unfortunate few who are all of the above. Regardless of your purchaser, they all have the same purpose: To prolong that drink as much as possible.
I love freebies and random conversations individually, but not put together. I am fully incapable of giving out a fake number, and therefore I have a list of people in my phone that I have met in bars by their first name and location (aka “Joey Oyster Pub”). I’m also terrible at cutting the conversational cord, so I end up talking to the purchaser for nearly the entire night, finding my friends as the lights come on (and desperately try to ditch my nightly “date”).
My friend and I were in downtown this past Saturday talking to two guys a bit, when we were asked the ever-so-awkward question. We responded “Yes” without a second thought, actually happy because neither of the boys fit any of the aforementioned types. They were actually interesting and normal. Sharing a drink seemed harmless.
Until one friend had a proposition while other friend was buying the drinks.
Bar Friend: “When he gets you your drink, just say “Thanks!” and move on.
My friend and I: “No way! We can’t do that.”
BF: “Oh, come on! It will be hilarious.”
MFAI: “No way. That’s so mean!”
BF: “Please? I just want to see his response!”
We obliged—and felt awful. We felt so awful, in fact, that we returned to the conversation in less than 30 seconds. We all shared a laugh, and moved on with the night. But it got me to thinking: We couldn’t bear to ditch the buyer by faking a bathroom break. Luckily, they were nice. But if they weren’t, we would have likely still been on an (unagreed upon) version of bar Blind Date.
Drinks can lead to first dates, second dates, and even beyond. But, oftentimes, you’ll leave the bar with an extra beer or two, but not visions of future babies dancing in your head. You may be lucky enough to land Mr. Right when you’re swigging shots of SoCo, but you’re probably more likely to encounter Mr. Stuck-up/Stalker/Senior Citizen/.