We just want to pause our feminism for a night so we can enjoy cheap tequila and popcorn. Is that too much to ask?

My feminism is dead.

I thought about writing this post anonymously because I don’t want to labelled as the lamest person in Australia. But then I remembered that I spent last Saturday night eating cereal straight from the box while watching Cliffhanger in mismatched pyjamas, so that ship has obviously already sailed anyway.

You see, there’s this bar. A very trendy, ridiculousy hipster bar. It’s called Tio’s and it’s the kind of bar that people ride to on their vintage push-bikes. The kind of bar where all the men look like Ned Kelly and have ‘ironic’ tattoos.

All the women have slightly wavy bed-hair parted in the centre and you just know their Instagram feeds are filled with close-ups photos of a really kitschy teacups they found at Vinnie’s.

And the bartenders give out free popcorn. FREE POPCORN!

It’s the type of bar that would normally be right up my ally. Most of my friends go there all the time and they’ve invited me on numerous occasions. But up until a couple of days ago, I had refused to go.

Why? Get ready to roll your eyes and call me the worst kind of buzzkill…

I have been refusing to go to Tio’s on feminist grounds. I know. Ugh. I almost want to walk away from myself. But please keep reading! I promise I have a good reason: Tio’s offers a free drink to any woman who’s willing to take off her bra and let the staff keep it and display it behind the bar.

So… That’s a good reason to boycott. Right?

When I first heard about that policy, I swore off Tio’s immediately. Something about it just didn’t sit right with me. I don’t think it’s funny. I think it’s icky and a bit perverted. I also don’t like that there is no equivalent degrading offer for men (we all wear underpants, why don’t they ask us to remove our underpants? Underpants are equal opportunity garments).

But, it would appear I’m in the minority – since the bar at Tio’s is covered in women’s surrendered bras. Countless brassieres hang like trophies from the ceiling, so there are definitely a lot of women who don’t have a problem with scoring a free bevvie (although, unless it’s the best damn bevvie ever, I don’t really understand how the cost of the drink is worth the cost of the bra – those things ain’t cheap).

Obviously I took a photo of my drinks because I’m very cool and that’s what cool people do.

Over time, when friends have begged me to go, I have held my head high and given my defiant feminist spiel (because FEMINISM, because WOMEN etc etc bla bla shut up please). They’re not into it.

One of my male friends actually gets incredibly frustrated with me for not taking advantage of the situation: “I WISH I had a bra I could exchange for a drink!” he says, shaking his head in despair at my wasted opportunity.

But I have stood firm. For the cause. For women. For feminism. Or something.

Until a few days ago.

A bunch of friends were in the area and it was the place we were going. It was decided. No amount of exhausting feminist high-horse grumbling from me was going to change the venue choice. So, I stepped inside Tio’s.

And let me tell you, I tried my hardest not to like it. But the place is just so damn likeable. Seriously, this bar has all my favourite things: Dim lighting? Check. Lots of places to sit? Check. Fun music? Check. Amazing drinks? Check.

Damn it.

I looked at the bras behind the bar in contempt while I ate my delicious free popcorn (that the bartender had thrown to us in a brown paper bag because ‘hipster fun!’) and drank an incredible tequila cocktail.

Damn it damn it damn it.

I was having fun. I liked Tio’s. Just like everyone said I would. And while I will never take off my bra, throw it to the bartender and flip my hair like I’m in an 80’s college frat movie, I feel like I am probably going to go there again.

I have traded my feminist ideals for cheap drinks in a trendy bar.

But, it’s just a really fun place, and to be honest, it’s freaking exhausting having to stand for something all the time. I’m always the one who speaks up in the face of sexism, the one who says something even when everyone else says I should just laugh at the joke. I’ve seen a lot of eye-rolling. And it gets tiring. I hate to say that but it does.

Can’t I just enjoy the free popcorn and ignore the trophy-bras? CAN’T I?

Tell me. Can I?