Last night, whilst drinking my way through the Happy Hour cocktail list with a bunch of work friends, I found myself listening to a socially out of depth Doctor verbalise what really should have been a private internal debate, about whether the sexy young women who come and sit with him in casinos are employed by the establishment, or are keen gamblers with a penchant for socially awkward woolly-waistcoat-wearing doctors in their 30’s with betting problems. It got me thinking about the way humans accept it as reasonable that someones physical attributes should be used in exchange for someone else’s resources. Heck, people make a legal living by selling their beauty.

On a similar note, I recently pondered with a friend whether we should allow boys to buy us drinks or not, and what this exchange truthfully means. In the moment, you’re simply thinking: Nice, free drink! But we are also aware that in allowing a man to buy us a drink, he WILL want something in return. Furthermore, why is it always this way round: the man is always the provider of the drinks. It’s 2016 and both sexes earn a living, so why do we still accept, even presume, that things should be bought for us? Is it a matter of the man gaining control or some kind of claim over us, is it a traditional gentlemen vs. damsel in distress role-play, or is it simply an attempt to get into out pants by helping us to put our beer-goggles on?

My initial thought was simply that men want sex with strangers more than women want sex with strangers. Therefore the man has to make the effort and literally in this case, buy your affection. Say a man wants to sleep with a girl 10/10, and the girl wants to sleep with him 6/10, he needs to increase his prospects by 40% in order to pull. He uses drinks to do this. But the question is, does she go for him lets say, 4 drinks later, because he has proved his desirability in the form of generosity, or because he has decreased her mental functioning by use of alcohol so much that she makes decisions which she would not have done otherwise.

If we are yet more cynical, you could view the Frink (free drink) Dilemma as an exchange of power. If you agree to let a man buy you a drink, you must in return spend a decent amount of time with him after. There is an unacknowledged contract in place: once you have received the Frink you are now his entertainment for the foreseeable future, usually until you have finished the drink, or until you are whisked away by your friends. He is in effect buying your time.

A more appealing possibility is that offering a drink to someone is simply a good conversation starter. This is definitely the case a lot of the time. But on the downside, having frequented many a student night in my life, I have experienced on multiple occasions, cash-strapped boys using this “conversational-in” as a completely empty “chat-up line”. They offer you a drink, and as an equally penniless student you accept, and after 10 minutes of difficult, repetitive, shouty club-conversation later you are still without a drink. Or perhaps this is a try before you buy scenario and my banter just doesn’t cut it. Not worth a £1 Jaegerbomb.

Ultimately I think the reason that on the whole women continue to be bought drinks by men, despite potentially having equal funds, is that men are more comfortable with buying someone else’s affection than women are. I have absolutely no problem with making the first move on guys, however I would never dream of offering my target a drink, because I consider having to pay for a mans attention absolutely mortifying and self-esteem crushing. I would far rather rely on a bit of cheeky eye contact and smiles.