I never knew I had so much power as a woman. The concept of going to a bar and having strangers buy me drinks has always made me a bit uncomfortable, basically because I don’t know what the expectations are. What kind of sign does a woman send when she accepts a drink?
‘Yes, I’ll give you some attention’
‘Yes, you’ve sparked my interest’
‘Yes, if you’re offering, I’ll take it’
‘I’ll dance with you’
‘I’ll be your dedicated dance/flirt buddy tonight’
‘I’ll consider leaving with you, 4 drink minimum’
I am plagued with all the possible signs of accepting a drink so to make things easier I stick to purchasing my own drinks. That way, we can spark conversation, dance and I don’t have to feel bad if I rather talk to homeboy next to you. The thought of men wanting to procure some sex in exchange for drinks disgusts me, and I never want to send out that signal.
However, I was in a bit of a dilemma in Bocas del Toro, Panama. I walked into Barco Hundido (Sunk Ship) bar on Sunday night with a dollar to my name. I unsuccessfully tried to find the ATM at about 10:30 at night, and after walking off the main street for about a block and not finding it, my antennas advised me to turn around and figure something else out.
I walked into the bar to scope it out; see what kind of folks were there, listen to the music. I realized when I sat down that I was one of about 8 girls to 20 men there. First time I ever seen that in a bar. The music was popping, so I sat around the bar chilling. The bartender came over to me so I just confirmed that they indeed did not take cards and that there was only one ATM in town. So I sat. I figured I could take a cab to the ATM, for about 50 cents, and come back. But I didn’t move.
Eventually, a Panamanian Man who was sitting across the bar left his spot. Moments later, he’s standing next to me.
Panamanian Man: Hola.
Globe Tracer: (shy smile while trying to size him up) Hola.
PM: De donde eres? /Where are you from?
GT: Soy Tica/ I’m Costa Rican.
PM: Quieres tomar algo?/ Do you want a drink?
GT: No, gracias./ No, thanks.
PM walks away.
PM wasn’t really my type, and so I learned that maybe he felt if I wouldn’t take a free drink, then I probably wasn’t interested. Got it.
I decided to see where the whole drink scenario would go, so I stayed with my dollar in my wristlet and began lip-synching and dancing in my bar stool. One of my songs came on (something about Put it down on me, Put it down on me) and a group of young tipsy white boys were talking stuff and standing in front of me. One made blurry-eyed contact with me and when he saw me lip-synching in English he came over to me. When he gets close enough so that I can see his face, I approve mentally.
White Guy: Hey girl, you here by yourself?
GT: Yes… I came out to the bar alone, sometimes you just have to be open to meeting new people.
WG: Well, that was a mistake! A pretty girl like you shouldn’t go anywhere alone. You want a drink?
Score! Over the span of 4 drinks we begin conversing, shared a couple of dances (surprisingly he had ‘some’ rhythm) and he tells me that he’s a 23 year old ‘Intelligence Communication Specialist’ with the US Coast Guard. The military is in Panama for a couple of days. Then it hits me as to why there’s so many men in the bar, and that most of them are not even locals.
I feel pretty confident leaving the bar that morning when the music ends around 3am. I had me a good time, but most importantly, I left with my dollar bill intact.
Now I’m opening up the floor:
LADIES, what are you giving up (dance, company, convo?) in exchange for accepting a drink? Do you just go with the flow, or do you think about the verbal or non-verbal signs you send out?
MEN, whats the least you expect when a woman accepts a drink? Do you get upset if a woman ends up only flirting with you and then moving on to another man for another drink?
Accepting drinks (from either gender, lol),