How many times have you been there…
You’re with a group of friends. You’re out for dinner. Wine (WINE) is flowing, and there are good vibes all round. You’re all laughing and talking and bitching about The Bachelor and how “If I were a contestant I’d totally win that shit – I’ve figured out the perfect strategy”. (RIGHT?).
Then there’s Barry. We all know a Barry. Barry sits at the corner of the table, feigning interest in conversation as it bounces back and forth. Barry puts on his best Blue Steel face… and waits. Have you seen those animal documentaries where the cheetah lies quietly in the grass, ears up, on the lookout for a wildebeest? That’s Barry. #weallknowabarry
The waitress brings the next round of drinks. Barry's eyes narrow.
"Hey love, how you going..."
"Um I'm good. Anyway thanks guys here are your drinks."
"What time do you finish tonight babe (#vom). You should come grab a drink with me."
No Barry. Noooopety nope nope. It's a no from me. Actually it's a collective no from the entire female population.
Flirting is great. It really is. When you dig deep enough, it's the founding bedrock of every marriage, every relationship, and certainly of every one night stand. It's fun and cheeky and gives you that tight-chested-adrenaline-fuelled-tummy-churning feeling that's just the best. But that's flirting. Flirting is consensual. Being hit on is not.
Being hit on is a bit different. It's a snap one-sided judgement that isn't necessarily reciprocated. It's a cheesy and uncomfortable throw away that makes you feel awkward, and to which there is no way to respond.
But hey. It's okay. Because it's harmless right? You can laugh your awkward laugh, politely decline the offer of intercourse, and remove yourself from the situation. Sure, it's slightly less flattering (and far more uncomfortable) than flirting. But even being hit on is okay... if you have an exit.
What's not okay is when you're trapped. When you have no choice but to sit there and endure Barry, and all the verbal flirt he has to throw your way. When you can't walk away.
To the men of the world...repeat after me:
You can't hit on a woman who has no choice but to be there.
Female bartenders are some of the most resilient people in the world. When men go to a bar for a few drinks, they become overwhelmed by this cringe-worthy brew of horny confidence. And of course, where do they direct it? At the pretty girl behind the bar, who has no say in the matter. She's obliged to smile politely, pretend to be flattered, and ask you how your evening's going. She's forced to meet your eye and is put on the spot in the worst way possible.
If you think you're being clever by flirting with your bartender, you're not. It's the alcohol talking.
"Hey what can I get you?"
"Just your number thanks."
"Haha (#fuckoffm8). Can't give you that but how about something to drink?"
She laughed because she felt awkward. Not because she finds you funny. Her smile is contrived. She feels intimidated and vulnerable and embarrassed. She wants to create as much distance between herself and you as possible. But she can't. She is obligated to don that fake smile, look you in the eye, and pour you another beer.
Waitresses? Same deal. They palm off the Barrys of the world night in, night out. And frankly, it needs to stop. Because it's not a fair fight. Remember (Barry) the cheetah from before who was hunting the wildebeest? What if he wasn't hunting him in the wild... but he was hunting him in an elevator. Hardly fair.
Speaking of elevators: don't even think about it. Because the claustrophobia of being in a tight metal box is more than enough to deal with...women do not (do NAHT) need your warm breath all up in their face inviting them to do the dance with no pants.
Here's the golden rule gents. Plain and simple:
If a woman has no out, keep the interaction professional.
If she is there by necessity, rather than choice, keep the interaction professional.
And if, by God, she gets into your Uber AND YOU ARE THE DRIVER, keep the interaction professional.