Sexism of the Straw

Posted: October 14, 2008 in Mixed Lollies
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When it comes to alcohol, there’s only two things I don’t drink: beer and sambucca. I’ll hack the sambucca if it’s part of a Harvey Wallbanger, but even so, not liking liquorice-flavoured spirits is hardly a handicap on your average trip to the pub. The same cannot be said of disliking beer. It’s a social drink. It goes well in rounds, most people drink it, you can share jugs, and it’s markedly cheaper than just about anything else. Nonetheless, I drink bourbon and coke (shut up), which at least has the advantage of being readily available. But since I’ve been old enough to drink in pubs, I’ve noticed my choice of beverage, apart from being, yes, boganly, brings an unintended consequence: the Sexism of the Straw.

Imagine this: a confident young woman in a ThinkGeek shirt approaches the bar and asks for a B & C. The bartender (male) takes in her appearance, the gaggle of unruly logicians with whom she has entered, grins, pours her drink, and puts a little black straw in it. Firmly but politely, the young woman removes the straw, wipes it on the inside rim of the glass, and lays it back on the barmat. Drink in hand, she returns to her table. The round goes on; the bourbon is consumed. Someone else – male, most certainly a philosopher of some description – saunters up and orders a jug plus same. When he returns, huzzah! – there is no straw. Perhaps, the young woman thinks, the bartender has learned. But she is wrong: for, lo, when next her round appears, the straw is back, protruding from her bourbon and coke like a tiny plastic javelin.

Now imagine this happens at every single bar, everywhere, ever. I cannot begin to describe how annoying this is. Firstly, who drinks bourbon and coke from a straw? For that matter, what adult drinks anything other than cocktails from a straw, alcoholic or otherwise? Secondly, why would chicks need straws more than guys? It’s not like our lips are weaker. It’s not even neater, or more girly-girly-feminine, because any possible element of girly-girly-feminine gained by the straw is instantly lost by the fact that it’s bourbon-and-fucking-coke. The highlight of this weirdness came tonight, not at the pub (for once) but a Chinese restaraut, where the (male) waiter brought my Long-Suffering Husband and I two glasses of water: one strawless, for him, and one with straw, for me. I mean, water. It’s not like there was even a slice of lemon there, or ice, you know, something to swizzle around: no. Just plain ol’ water. With a straw.

God help me.

There’s only two scenarios in which I’ve ever been served strawless: either the barman takes careful note of my straw-refusal and thereinafter learns (although usually they go to put the straw in a second time, catch my expression and whisk it out again, whoopsie!), or the bartender has been female.

O barmen of the world, take heed: renounce your ludicrous straws. If it’s absolutely necessary, put them within reach on the counter, supply on demand – who cares? But for the sake of everloving sense, stop giving them just to women.

It’s enough to make a girl start drinking beer.

  1. Iain Hall says:

    I reckon it’s down to the fact that drinking with a straw is less likely to ruin a girls lippy…
    Seriously though a good bartender will try to remember how you like your drink in subsequent rounds. I have had similar agro when ordering a Gin and tonic getting a stupid and unwanted straw.
    finally in defence of bartenders every where (did some as a student)you do go on auto pilot a bit and if you make a point of asking for no straw they will learn.

  2. fozmeadows says:

    Possiby, but it still annoys the heck out of me. Also, I don’t wear lippy. Good bartenders do remember (eventually), but more often than not, there’s a weird reverse assumption that goes on. I order a jug of beer plus bourbon; barman assumes bourbon is for me, puts straw in it. A guy from our table makes the same order maybe fifteen, twenty minutes later, and there will be no straw. There is never a straw when one of my guy friends orders, even if we’re the only large table in the bar and it’s obvious that I’m getting all the bourbon and cokes. But I go up – wham! The straw is back.

    And trust me: when that happens, I *do* make my point. 🙂

  3. Tim says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s