By Tracie Mugisha
I dgaf who buys my drink
Ever since I started going out, random men have tried to buy me drinks in clubs. I’m not saying it happens all the time, to be honest it doesn’t happen very often at all when you’re going out on campus nights and everyone is 1million in debt, but it still happens.
Luckily, I’ve never been contacted by any of the guys who have bought me drinks two weeks later, demanding their money back, but the fact that these people exist is a pretty shitty part of life.
The thing is, I don’t need a man to buy my drinks. But occasionally I say yes. Maybe because I can’t be bothered to argue, maybe because I haven’t got any cash and I know the minimum card spend is a fiver or maybe because I just feel like making a small dent in the gender pay gap that means I effectively work for free from November every year. Or, I might even accept because I actually fancy the person that’s offering. I bought this one
But whatever reason I accept the drink for, it doesn’t mean I then have to spend time with the person who bought it for me.
Sadly though, there’s still always a little nagging voice at the back of my head that makes me feel obligated to him.
Years of boys shouting after you angrily or scowling at you from across a club when you thank them politely for buying you a drink and then walk off have made an impression on me. In my first year at uni I bumped into a guy from one of my seminar groups in a club and he offered to buy me a drink. He wasn’t someone I knew particularly well at the time and I instantly assumed that he only had one intention in buying me a drink so I explained politely that I had a boyfriend and he didn’t need to buy me a drink.
There was no explicit need for me to do this, he hadn’t said ‘I’m going to buy you a drink and then you have to come home with me’, but let’s be honest, we all know this was kind of what he was getting at. To his credit, he kindly bought me an obligation-free drink anyway.
Sadly though, this kind of behaviour is rare. The experience of Tasha, who received a text from a guy she had met in a club two weeks earlier asking for her to transfer him the money for a drink he’d bought her, is much more common. Although most boys don’t go to the extent of sending a text several weeks later asking for a refund, they are generally a bit pissed off if you accept a drink and then disappear because they think buying you a drink buys them your time.
The comments of Mark, events manager for Koko Bar in Ntinda where Tasha met her potential suitor, make this abundantly clear as he says: ‘We always see people ask for money back from buying drinks on the night if it doesn’t go their way’.
Buying random girls drinks in clubs is one of the strangest mating rituals in our society. Why do men expect you to spend time with them because they spent 30K on a double vodka and coke that you didn’t even really want them to buy you? They wouldn’t walk up to you in the street and present you with a gift and expect you to spend time with them in return, so why do it in a club?
Because you didn’t ask for them to buy you a drink, they bought it for you as a gift and since a gift is defined as something ‘given willingly to someone without payment’ you don’t owe them anything.
Contrary to popular male opinion, if girls go to clubs they don’t go to stand near the bar and wait for hapless men to buy them drinks before disappearing into the sunset (or the cover of the CO2 cannon). They go out to have a good time with their friends and fully anticipate buying their own drinks while they do it. If a man wants to buy a woman a drink then that’s his decision. As far as I’m aware, there is no unwritten rule that a girl must give a boy a certain amount of attention in return if he buys her a drink. Is a single worth five minutes of attention and a double worth ten minutes? If a guy buys me a drink in an expensive Kampala club am I more beholden to him than if he buys me a round of drinks in some Kafunda in Banda? No, I’m not. But sadly, boys don’t seem to get this and there is still a transactional expectation that comes with buying a girl a drink.
When it comes to it, I don’t care who buys my drink. I’m not advocating rudeness here though, if you’re a guy that wants to buy me a drink then that’s very kind of you and I will be grateful, but it doesn’t give you the right to expect my company. I might choose to spend time with you after you buy me a drink, but that’s my decision.
I didn’t need you to buy me a drink and I certainly didn’t ask you to do it, so please don’t ask for a refund if I decline to shag you.