A Case of Flirt and Run
We’ve all met someone like that. A person who’s in a bar, or perhaps a club, for the sole purpose of having you buy drinks for them. Preferably, several different you’s, as sharing too much of the sunlight that is their perception of their own life, would be wasted on the sort of tools that are meant to provide refreshments.
A man being expected to buy a lady a drink is a conventional social norm. The transaction is an oft-expected form of recognition and appreciation. Even as some feminists liken dating to a form of prostitution, the ancient act of sending over the drink is simply accepted even in militant political camps. Still, dating as a form of prostitution is a bit more sincere than stumping for drinks. At least the ground rules are a known quantity if you subscribe to that philosophy. It’s not just women that do this, although such games are notoriously the province of sorority initiates in college towns. Men are capable of it, too, some of whom even graduate to marrying retirement-age starlets.
Consider an acquaintance of mine. He’d taken a young lady out to the theater. At intermission, he’d started to get a bad feeling as she could do nothing but complain about the play, while prompting him to go get some refreshments. He’d had half a mind to cut his losses and run after that, but he decided to stay the course and take his companion to dinner. He watched in stunned disbelief as she managed to insult nearly the entire wait staff while running up a bill in excess of $100 at a Mexican restaurant. He would have been relieved when she ditched him, except when she made him sit in the lobby while she allegedly changed into something more suitable for a trip to bar, only to come down in pajamas and declare herself too tired, the doormen immediately started laughing at him when he sat down. You know it’s bad when the doormen regard you as part of a running joke, or perhaps what Aretha Franklin would refer to as a link in a chain of fools. The poor fellow was still trying to figure out how someone that weighs less than 90 pounds could put away that many servings of food, let alone the avalanche of drinks, when I ran into him.
Flash forward a month. I’m sitting down for a pint, bellied up to the bar, and who should walk in, but my acquaintance’s power-eating former date. His was not the only story I’d heard of her, and I wasn’t particularly thrilled when she took the empty seat next to me. I spent a good five minutes ignoring her stare and the flipping of her hair before she decided to take the offensive and break the ice with quite possibly the worst pick-up line I’ve ever heard.
“I’ve seen you in here before,” she said with too much of a smile. “Aren’t you friends with the owner’s son? What’s his name?”
Now it just so happened that the owner’s son, who I am friendly with, was tending bar not 5 feet from us when she asked the question.
It wasn’t bad enough that she was marking me for an open wallet, no, she wanted me to bring management into the game. After all, what’s freer than the boss providing your booze?
I answered in vague and unspecific terms and spoke with a tone of malaise, only responding to every other comment.
Eventually, she turned to the fellow at the bar on the other side of her and started chatting him up. She got a drink or two out of him and then left, predictably, alone. Perhaps the fellow figured out he’d been effectively fleeced, and maybe he didn’t.
When the bartender who wasn’t related to the owner came by, I told him about the amazingly bad pick-up line she’d used. He rolled his eyes and replied, “She’s just fishing for drinks again.”
Truly a known quantity, this woman. At least she’s made a name for herself.
I wondered how many establishments she frequented when she went out trolling for saps to provide her beverages. After all, she might need 2 or 3 donors before she drank her fill, and you might not get three offers in the same room.
Insincerity is not a crime, but when it becomes a syndrome its good for naught but ill feelings. Hit and run is a crime. Can we make “flirt and run” illegal?