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Destler Dodge

Free things are great—just don’t be an idiot. Don’t take free, opened candy from strangers, don’t click on an offer for a free trip to the Bahamas and don’t go hug the “Free Hug” guy standing on the corner. If people use common sense it isn’t usually too difficult to discern what is or isn’t smart to accept for free.

Free drinks, for example, are often offered in bars across college campuses. A popular way to draw women to parties and clubs is to give them free or less expensive access to alcohol. This isn’t an evil plot against women, it’s a business tactic and it works. Offering free alcoholic drinks is harmless; don’t blame someone else for your thoughtless, drunken acts. If you consume any number of alcoholic beverages, you are responsible for your actions.

If you are offered free drinks you don’t need to accept them. Any woman can decline the offer if she would rather pay for her own or if she feels uncomfortable about it. If she does want to drink what’s being offered, that’s perfectly fine, too – so long as she does so responsibly.

If a woman chooses to accept free drinks, she has no obligation to repay whomever they are from. Just because somebody buys a girl a drink doesn’t mean she has to put out; she can do whatever she pleases. She can even get drunk if she wants, as long as she is still responsible for herself. If you don’t have the self-control to participate without getting in over your head, then just don’t participate. You always have the power and faculty to say, “No, thank you.” Arguing that women are powerless against men’s advances assumes women are weak.

Unless someone is force-fed alcohol, no one can make anyone else get drunk.  If a drunk girl leaves a party where she was supplied with free alcohol, she should be held responsible for her actions. There are sometimes grey areas when it comes to addressing rape involving alcohol; it is difficult to say what is the best solution or interpretation of these complex cases. But I do believe that there are preventative measures that can and should be taken. The world would be a better place if people drank responsibly and accepted accountability for their decisions.

If you are having guilt pushed on you for not repaying someone for things that were presented as gifts, you should probably find new people to associate with. In college it isn’t difficult to place yourself in a new environment with different people. If your friend, acquaintance or significant other demands payback for dates or drinks or gifts, get out of that relationship. If for some reason this is difficult or the other person is causing you grief, seek help. There’s no rule that says anyone needs to put up with that.

Women should not expect anything to be free for them simply because they are women. Women should neither feel entitled to these free drinks and perks nor should they feel as though it is a slight to gender equality. Free drinks should be considered a gift no matter your gender. Go ahead and enjoy it responsibly.