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Old 09-18-2012, 08:33 PM   #61
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It has come to pass unfornately that strangers, are not who they portray themselves to be. As much as we/I want to believe they are kind, no one really knows what lurks behind their motives. Most of us see and feel the flags, but some do not.
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I'm curious as to why people feel uncomfortable about accepting a cup of coffee from a stranger. I have bought for and accepted various things from strangers.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:47 PM   #62
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True, but I grew up a long way from Boise, Idaho in a really harsh environment and have yet to regret buying or accepting something so small from a stranger. If I'm chatting on line with someone and say 'I'll get this' and pay for their coffee it's just a simple gesture to be nice. So if I would do it to be nice, I can't see why others wouldn't.

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It has come to pass unfornately that strangers, are not who they portray themselves to be. As much as we/I want to believe they are kind, no one really knows what lurks behind their motives. Most of us see and feel the flags, but some do not.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:53 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Angeltoes View Post
I'm curious as to why people feel uncomfortable about accepting a cup of coffee from a stranger. I have bought for and accepted various things from strangers.


I like my boundaries to be crystal clear with folks especially strangers, it's unfortunate that sometimes if not most of the time that when something is purchased it'll equate in their mind one "owes" them time, your attention, your gratitude.. *My* time is valuable, certainly worth much moré than a beverage.

That's how *I* roll not everyone may share this particular line of thought.
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:05 PM   #64
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I like my boundaries to be crystal clear with folks especially strangers, it's unfortunate that sometimes if not most of the time that when something is purchased it'll equate in their mind one "owes" them time, your attention, your gratitude.. *My* time is valuable, certainly worth much moré than a beverage.

That's how *I* roll not everyone may share this particular line of thought.

Just to add to this line of thought:

This is how *I* roll, too.

Angeltoes, as you grow on your journey these days, you will find that you tinker with your own system of boundaries and you may even find that several experiences of your own, now or in the future, will sharpen your focus on where your boundaries will need shoring up or expansion - on any given day or time or even more specific, as defined by an event that is unique to your own experience.

My boundaries in the past were pretty open. Not so much anymore but to add specificity to my statement: I remain open minded but govern my boundaries judiciously with each event or circumstance that presents the opportunity to fine tune my boundary system... because this is how my stone rolls these days.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:07 PM   #65
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But I do have clear boundaries. We're still talking about a cup of coffee, aren't we??

That's how you roll and that's fine. But personally, I do NOT think my time is worth more than the price of beverage because unless I'm working, my time is not for sale. I give it freely or not at all.

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Originally Posted by Kätzchen View Post
Just to add to this line of thought:

This is how *I* roll, too.

Angeltoes, as you grow on your journey these days, you will find that you tinker with your own system of boundaries and you may even find that several experiences of your own, now or in the future, will sharpen your focus on where your boundaries will need shoring up or expansion - on any given day or time or even more specific, as defined by an event that is unique to your own experience.

My boundaries in the past were pretty open. Not so much anymore but to add specificity to my statement: I remain open minded but govern my boundaries judiciously with each event or circumstance that presents the opportunity to fine tune my boundary system... because this is how my stone rolls these days.
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:37 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Angeltoes View Post
But I do have clear boundaries. We're still talking about a cup of coffee, aren't we??

That's how you roll and that's fine. But personally, I do NOT think my time is worth more than the price of beverage because unless I'm working, my time is not for sale. I give it freely or not at all.

My response was a direct response to your original question of:
I'm curious as to why people feel uncomfortable about accepting a cup of coffee from a stranger. I have bought for and accepted various things from strangers (Angeltoes).
Three other members besides myself posted in response to your original question for a total of 4 other perspectives of various experience in direct answer to your statement in question.

Accepting a cup of coffee, whether it be from a complete stranger to someone we barely know to someone we know better than as just a stranger (the aforementioned are examples of a particular context), come with types of intended or unintended consequences, which we may or may not be fully aware of. Hence why you got 4 offerings of perspective of various degrees.

Clear boundaries and valuation of time and other sets of items associated with the "cup of coffee" scenario you spoke of, are clearly not as simple as one might think.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:21 PM   #67
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Hi all. OK, I will try and answer some of the posts.

First of all, not everyone is offended by being called a "lady". Sure, in theory, I could staunchly go around using terms deemed acceptable by the current intellectual ruling class feminist theorists, et al, but, I was just chatting in line late at night at Dunkin Donuts unexpectedly. "Ladies" is what I said. They neither blanched, nor fumed. Just sayin'.

To me, giving someone my number directly seems even more forward than giving a waitress a five for two cups of coffee. But, maybe they were offended. If so, then even if she/they were dykes, we would not have been suitably matched even as pals. I am fairly laid back in many ways. As some of you know, I am considered non-'pc' by some folks, gauche by others. For example, I have been known to take my own spinach to Chinese food restaurants and ask them to sautee it because they didn't serve it on their menu. This could mortify some dining companions.

If the woman had said "Why, thank you, that's very nice of you. Might you join us?", I certainly would have joined them for the coffee and chatted for a few minutes. Offering to pay for a beverage certainly does not seem as ominous to me as it seems to be to some of you, but I don't know what kind of experiences you've had.

I've been at plenty of bars when folks buy rounds or single drinks for me. It never felt odd. But, I can understand if some folks don't like it.

I often pay for my companions when dining out, because there were times when others paid for me. I honestly never feel that anyone "owes" me a thing just because I happen to pay for us to do something. I OFFER. I hang out with folks who do not have a sense of entitlement, who do not EXPECT me to pay. My pals pay for me, too, sometimes and if they don't pay for me they do other things which are even better, like COOK for me and then wash the dishes...who can beat that! Who can beat having your girlfriend cook food, dish it up, serve it to you as you sit on her couch and then have her take the dishes away and wash them, too? I will gladly pay for dinner out to get that treatment at home. However, the second I think someone feels entitled to such treatment or is using me I will stop treating them well. I am always appreciative when a woman does things for me and I always feel appreciated, now, that is, when I do things for people. Otherwise, I do not do them. I simply S-T-O-P doing them if I feel used.

I am not on this board as much lately, but I'm glad I saw this thread is active again. Let me also just add that as a butch I do possess butchness. I AM a butch. I will bring a woman flowers. I will remark that she looks pretty. I will delight in her femininity as it defines itself and reveals itself in my world. I like femmes. I do think there is "femme privilege" and I support that for the most part.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:35 PM   #68
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If the woman had said "Why, thank you, that's very nice of you. Might you join us?", I certainly would have joined them for the coffee and chatted for a few minutes. Offering to pay for a beverage certainly does not seem as ominous to me as it seems to be to some of you, but I don't know what kind of experiences you've had.

I've been at plenty of bars when folks buy rounds or single drinks for me. It never felt odd. But, I can understand if some folks don't like it.

I often pay for my companions when dining out, because there were times when others paid for me. I honestly never feel that anyone "owes" me a thing just because I happen to pay for us to do something. I OFFER. I hang out with folks who do not have a sense of entitlement, who do not EXPECT me to pay. My pals pay for me, too, sometimes and if they don't pay for me they do other things which are even better, like COOK for me and then wash the dishes...who can beat that! Who can beat having your girlfriend cook food, dish it up, serve it to you as you sit on her couch and then have her take the dishes away and wash them, too? I will gladly pay for dinner out to get that treatment at home. However, the second I think someone feels entitled to such treatment or is using me I will stop treating them well. I am always appreciative when a woman does things for me and I always feel appreciated, now, that is, when I do things for people. Otherwise, I do not do them. I simply S-T-O-P doing them if I feel used.
i've had a lot of experiences with masculine-of-center folks who felt entitled to my time and attention because i am a femme woman, period. mainly cisgendered men, but not only. that's why i'm wary of strangers, especially strangers doing nice things for me. i'm extremely friendly to everyone and i like to believe the best of people, but my experience has been more often than not that masculine-of-center folks have taken that to mean that they can invade my space physically, pressure me to go out with them, pressure me for my number, etc. often if i say no, i'm completely ignored and they refuse to stop pressuring me or they get angry and threaten me. that is why i personally understand the wariness to accept free cups of coffee, free drinks at the bar, or what have you.

obviously not all strangers are like that, but i'd say about half or more of the time, i end up in a very uncomfortable situation. so, you know. i'm still an extremely friendly person, but it has made me very wary, and i completely understand why some people might not be friendly, or might appear standoffish, or might not accept a drink from a stranger or acquaintance.

for me, buying something for someone i know and have an understood relationship with where there are not implied expectations or we're cool like that is a totally different story. i buy things for friends and they buy things for me all the time.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:36 PM   #69
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Clear boundaries and valuation of time and other sets of items associated with the "cup of coffee" scenario you spoke of, are clearly not as simple as one might think.
I believe often times it can be a simple gesture and others may read too much into it and miss out on the kindness of strangers.

Granted I've been on the receiving end too when it was meant to gain more.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:39 PM   #70
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I could staunchly go around using terms deemed acceptable by the current intellectual ruling class feminist theorists,
Reader do you really think this comment was necessary? It feels snarky in my mind.
--------------
As to ladies or or girls or ma'am or miss or mister or other gender specific words.......some like it and some don't.........I err on the side of just saying 'Hi how is it going' vs 'Hi ladies, how is it going?'......the ladies thing is totally un-necessary when addressing strangers and that is my nickel's worth.

It just feels creepy if someone I do not know at all.......a complete stranger offers to buy anything for me. If it's someone I see regularly in a store then it's all good. If someone I don't know is short some change in the grocery check-out, generally I will dig in my pocket to help them out and appreciate it if someone does the same for me. I think of it as paying forward.

so as you can see my feelings are totally muddy around this.....
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:56 AM   #71
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Let me also just add that as a butch I do possess butchness. I AM a butch. I will bring a woman flowers. I will remark that she looks pretty. I will delight in her femininity as it defines itself and reveals itself in my world. I like femmes. I do think there is "femme privilege" and I support that for the most part.
You get that is not what femme privilege means? Femme privilege is what we get from passing as straight. It means we aren't read as gender non-conforming and don't receive the hostility that folks who do receive. It's nothing most of us want, and it has nothing to do with receiving flowers from butches or being flattered.

Moreover, BEING butch does not mean bringing women flowers or delighting in femininity. As you know, the world is full of butches who prefer other butches.
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:59 AM   #72
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I had to chuckle at this, remembering my pathetic attempts to do the flannel-shirt short-haired dyke routine. Maybe the dangly earrings were the problem?!?

Someone else in this thread commented about the issues the older femmes faces in the lesbian community. I started going to "lesbians united" meetings in 1979 in Dayton Ohio, and would go there right after work wearing a dress, with long hair and nothing at all about me that (to them) said "lesbian" and they didn't hesitate to tell me so - sometimes with a level of sheer meanness that makes me so amazed that I didn't just run away and stay away.

So to take it back to the point about privilege, I really do get that from the bigger picture, femmes do enjoy the privilege of "passing" but I would challenge that as a privilege. Let's put it a different way: Would I consider it a privilege that I "pass" as a Jew and people presume I'm Christian? Would I consider it a privilege if my biracial granddaughter "passed" as white? I don't know that passing as a privileged class of people is in itself a privilege FOR THAT INDIVIDUAL. There is an advantage to being able to walk into a room and have people know something about you that's an important part of your identity without your having to say a word. I can only come out by deliberate action: Telling someone that I'm gay walking on the arm of a handsome butch, for example. There's very little feeling of privilege in having to always correct people's assumptions of being straight and Christian.
(grumbling over a well thought out post that was lost when my computer crashed)

i'm working out some understanding here and you're all cracking my skull open at once so bear with me. (arrggghhhhh! the light! THE LIGHT!!!!)

what i think you're saying Dance, is that privilege can also be a twisted variety of the backhanded compliment because it is also a negation of reality -- that it doesnt have the feeling of a benefit when it diminishes who one is. am i close?

so in THAT context, privilege becomes a double edged sword and someone is going to be hurt no matter which way it swings?

(**disclaimer** i am NOT being the "oh poor me! everyone thinks i benefit because i'm (insert amazingly privileged group word here) and i dont i dont i dont! boo hoo hoo" girl. my statement is meant to indicate that i'm used to thinking of the impact of privilege as a one way street rather than wondering if damage is done no matter what side of the privilege coin one is on.)

another thing that struck me in your observation was the part about being able to walk into a room and have people understand something important about you without having to explain (or justify?) ourselves. this is an example of femme/female invisibility but not a negation of the reality of femme (straight) privilege, yes? as women we are often invisible. as straight femmes and queer femmes both we are often invisible. (i imagine that men who ID as femme are subjected to their own kind of invisibility --- it's wrong to think that the ID word "femme" is one that should be limited to female bodied people, isnt it?)

if the subject at hand were invisibility i would say that i am typically a non-entity and undefined by the normative-minded masses unless i present myself for inspection accompanied by the person who defines me in the eyes of the pigeon-hole types:

if i enter a room with a man, i'm assumed straight.
if i enter with a butch, i'm assumed queer.
if i enter with another femme, we're both invisible or we're considered meat, which is to say that someone there wants to take on the role of defining who we are (slut, conquest, new girl friend, etc) by adding themselves into the picture.

--losing my train of thought-- sorry for the ramble.

i dont know what i meant to say here. maybe just that i saw the difference between the subject of privilege and the subject of invisibility. i imagine that they overlap in some places.

i think i AM privileged in this and many other ways. i pass as straight no matter what i might do to counter that culturally accepted image and i benefit from the assumption that i am straight in that i am not ridiculed or threatened or intimidated for being other than straight. but that's a completely different issue than invisibility.

also, to adopt the 'i'm not privileged because i dont want to pass' stance might probably be just as dismissive as saying 'just because i'm white/a citizen/speak english/etc doesnt mean i'm privileged' wouldnt it? (NOT saying anyone is doing that -- just working out my jumbled thoughts aloud)

thanks for the discussion everyone. looking forward to more enlightenment.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:32 PM   #73
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i totally get what you're saying, nomad. and what dance-with-me is saying.

i have privilege because i usually pass as white - i have the privilege of not, for example, automatically being stopped by the police (although i have been for being muslim). or automatically being denied a job.

i also deal with the erasure and colonialist violence inherent in being mixed-race and indigenous. passing as white is partly a function of genocide. it erases my identity and means i often don't fit in either white or poc spaces. but it sure as hell does afford me a lot of privilege in the world in terms of getting through my day to day life.

same with being femme. it really fucking sucks not to be seen for who i am, but i also don't have to worry that someone is going to attack me for my gender presentation when i walk into a bathroom. i don't have to worry that my gender doesn't match my id. i don't have to worry that someone's going to beat me up because they automatically assume i'm queer. (unless i out myself somehow.) that is privilege. that is really really real.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:09 PM   #74
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Sometimes I feel sad that I actually have Femme privilege,and my wife does not have it. We go places, and I see other people stare at her, because she's pretty Butch, and they don't realize that I am with her, so they are quite open with it. I try to show I am with her, to let people know we are an united front, but I get very,very frustrated.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:56 PM   #75
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I believe often times it can be a simple gesture and others may read too much into it and miss out on the kindness of strangers.
Yes, however the incident we are discussing, Reader offered to buy the women's coffee with the intention of getting something in return or else she wouldn't have said she was "shot down"; Not in an act of kindness towards a stranger. Which feeds into the reason why a lot of us wouldn't accept someone else paying for our coffee.
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Old 09-22-2012, 06:43 AM   #76
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Well, I hear you about the eye-contact thing. Perhaps in NJ it is different.

About two weeks ago I was in Dunkin Donuts and it was late at night and two nurses in scrubs were getting coffee. I was next to them getting my own coffee, when the dark-haired one began chatting me up. I chatted back. She was kind of nice and seemed like she could have been a femme lesbian, but it was hard to tell since she and her friend were both wearing scrubs.

I got the feeling she was flirting with me. Normally, I am sort of dense about such things, but I have been lacking a femme in my life, missing that pleasant femme energy a lot lately and so I am more aware of its absence, I guess.

She and her friend received their stuff and I said to her, "I'd be happy to get that for you ladies", holding out a bill in their server's direction. She said "Oh, uh,..." and she stammered and looked at her friend. I added, "Might I get those coffees for you?" She finally said, "Oh, no, no. Thanks anyway. We have it." I said "OK", paid for my coffee and left.

Now, I could interpret that interaction in a few ways. My best friend, a femme by the way, made a disparaging remark about straight women who enjoy flirting with butches when I recounted this tale to her. Maybe she was just a friendly woman who was not flirting at all. Who knows?

Until I am coupled, I will continue, on those rare occasions, to make friendly gestures to women who appear to flirt with me in public.

It's kind of fun, in a strange, character-stretching way, to be shot down in public. After all, a loaded gun, once properly disassembled, is rendered impotent. The same holds true for defeat.




maybe she just wasnt "out" to her friend. co-worker/work environment situations are hard for some people.

maybe she didnt know you were flirting. maybe she's the 2 x 4 type.

maybe she thought "OMG you think i'm flirting with you because i wanted you to pay for our coffee" and got embarrassed because she thought she was sending the wrong message

maybe she's married and didnt want her friend to see her accepting coffee from you or accuse her of flirting with someone

maybe she changed her mind mid flirt because your offer to pay was overt and she felt shy of it. (next time just pay the cashier for all 3 and walk away. if she's pleased she'll catch up with you to say 'thank you'.)

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Yes, however the incident we are discussing, Reader offered to buy the women's coffee with the intention of getting something in return or else she wouldn't have said she was "shot down"; Not in an act of kindness towards a stranger. Which feeds into the reason why a lot of us wouldn't accept someone else paying for our coffee.
i thought the intention was to return the flirtation with equal interest and to check to see whether it was ok to take things one step further - i.e.: a cup of coffee. is that not so? i feel like i'm being slow here. sorry. "shot down" is just a phrase. i use it for all sorts of things that have nothing to do with me trying to get my groove on with someone. is it not ok for me to have thought, "oooh. way to get your flirt on!" when Reader offered to pay for coffee during a mutually engaged flirtation? people do it in bars all the time for more obvious reasons few of which involve intent that's above board. obviously Reader doesnt have any ill intent and coffee seems pretty benign to me. is this another one of those "(sigh) someone crack Nomad's skull open another inch please" education moments?

i want to understand both sides. i think i do understand both sides but i see them as a perspective in the moment sort of thing and not something that can be debated clearly because it's been taken out of context. i understand that it wasnt an altruistic act, thus eliminating the random act of kindness thing but is it necessarily a "wrong" act? cant it just be an act that is interpreted differently based on individual circumstances and the context of the moment or would it have always wrong for a femme (using Reader's reference word) to initiate or accept unexpected flirtation plus a sudden invitation for coffee from someone?

would we be talking about this at all if the person being offered something wasnt a femme? would it have been considered equally wrong if Reader was the one who received the "let me get that for you" from the femme? i understand the mindset behind leaving the "power to direct" with the person being approached (a femme, in this case) at first, allowing that person to tell you which direction they're willing to go and which direction they're not, and accepting that without attitude or aggression. that's just respect. and isnt that what Reader did? offered. got a "no thanks" and moved on without pushing?

if someone had done it for me i wouldnt have automatically thought "quit trying to buy me buster." i would have thought either "no thanks, not interested and dont want to lead you on" or "oooh! way to get your flirt on!" if that person were standing in line next to me at the grocery store and was flirting with me and then offered to pay my $60 grocery bill i'd have thought "uhm. no. creepy. buh bye now." but we're talking $2 here.

for the price of a cup of coffee my dignity cannot be bought. anyone assuming so would find themselves spitting out pieces of their pathetic ego by the time i was done with them. but for the price of a cup of coffee i might get the hint that someone was flirting with me. (i'm the 2 x 4 type meself)

i would sincerely appreciate further explanation/discussion. (small words, type slowly)

Last edited by Nomad; 09-22-2012 at 07:01 AM. Reason: clarification (i hope)
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:20 AM   #77
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i thought the intention was to return the flirtation with equal interest and to check to see whether it was ok to take things one step further - i.e.: a cup of coffee. is that not so? i feel like i'm being slow here. sorry. "shot down" is just a phrase. i use it for all sorts of things that have nothing to do with me trying to get my groove on with someone. is it not ok for me to have thought "awww. that's sweet." when Reader offered to pay for coffee during a mutually engaged flirtation? i want to understand both sides but at this point the only one i "get" is Reader's. i understand that it wasnt an altruistic act, thus eliminating the random act of kindness thing. but is it necessarily a "wrong" act? I don't recall reading where it was said that it was wrong, what I have issue with is the assumption that had she said yes she must have been flirting, but because she said no, Reader was shot down. cant it just be an act that is interpreted differently based on individual circumstances? Of course it can. It is evident right in the responses in this thread.

if someone had done it for me i wouldnt have automatically thought "quit trying to buy me buster." i would have thought either "no thanks, not interested and dont want to lead you on" or "cool! the flirt is working!" now if the person standing in line next to me at the grocery store was flirting with me and offered to pay my $60 grocery bill i'd have thought "uhm. no. creepy." but we're talking $2 here. See, we differ here because I would never knowingly accept something from someone that I knew was flirting with me and i had no interest in, but accepted the offer cause shit, it's only 2 bucks. That to me is leading someone on. Okay, I am rereading and I misread what you said, sorry (I am leaving my original response so it makes sense to those who have read this already) Anyway, creep factor to me doesn't equate to the dollar amount, it has to do with the person's presentation of the offer. for the price of a cup of coffee my dignity cannot be bought. anyone assuming so would find themselves picking the pieces of their ego up off the floor when i was done with them. but for the price of a cup of coffee i might get the hint that someone was flirting with me. (i'm the 2 x 4 type meself)

i would sincerely appreciate further explanation/discussion. (small words, type slowly)
Bear with me, this will probably be all over the place.

Above Blue - Nomads text Red - My response

"Return the flirtation" and "mutually engaged flirtation" is assuming the woman was flirting back. Why is someone talking to someone else automatically flirting? Reader stated that she looked like she could be a femme lesbian. What does that even mean?

I talk to everyone. I will start a conversation with a stranger on the street, I say hello to anyone who makes eye contact, I chat up people in grocery lines, gas stations, coffee shops. Does that mean I am flirting? Nope, because I'm not. I am just a very friendly person. And I am also very conscious of cues that I get back from that person. And by that I mean if I feel that the person is misinterpreting my friendliness, I stop, nicely.

I personally have never had a stranger, out of the blue, want to buy something for me where I didn't feel like there was something more behind it. Am I jaded? Maybe. I like to think of myself as cautious. My experience has been with men wanting to buy me xyz with the intention that I will now give them more of my time, etc. (Now don't get me wrong, I like men. In my area of work I work mostly with men and most of them are the nicest guys. I say this because I don't want to convey the idea that I assume all men are out to get something.)

I find it easier to be consistent in politely saying no thank you then trying to interpret each situation. Don't have the desire and I just keep it moving under the assumption that it was a nice gesture.

And you can't compare being a line at a coffee shop with being in a bar. Two totally different environments; two totally different worlds. (I bartended for years in my twenties, so I have lots of experience with people buying other people drinks in bars).
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:58 AM   #78
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Bear with me, this will probably be all over the place.

Above Blue - Nomads text Red - My response

"Return the flirtation" and "mutually engaged flirtation" is assuming the woman was flirting back. Why is someone talking to someone else automatically flirting? Reader stated that she looked like she could be a femme lesbian. What does that even mean?

I talk to everyone. I will start a conversation with a stranger on the street, I say hello to anyone who makes eye contact, I chat up people in grocery lines, gas stations, coffee shops. Does that mean I am flirting? Nope, because I'm not. I am just a very friendly person. And I am also very conscious of cues that I get back from that person. And by that I mean if I feel that the person is misinterpreting my friendliness, I stop, nicely.

I personally have never had a stranger, out of the blue, want to buy something for me where I didn't feel like there was something more behind it. Am I jaded? Maybe. I like to think of myself as cautious. My experience has been with men wanting to buy me xyz with the intention that I will now give them more of my time, etc. (Now don't get me wrong, I like men. In my area of work I work mostly with men and most of them are the nicest guys. I say this because I don't want to convey the idea that I assume all men are out to get something.)

I find it easier to be consistent in politely saying no thank you then trying to interpret each situation. Don't have the desire and I just keep it moving under the assumption that it was a nice gesture.

And you can't compare being a line at a coffee shop with being in a bar. Two totally different environments; two totally different worlds. (I bartended for years in my twenties, so I have lots of experience with people buying other people drinks in bars).
totally makes sense that there is an assumption going on. i think there's more than one but they're all fairly natural given the variety of filters being applied to the story. Reader mentioned something like it felt like the woman was flirting. i wasnt there so i'm making the assumption that Reader is right about the way the environment felt. those are just 2 examples.

i chose not to get caught up in the idea that someone looked like "a femme lesbian" because i understood the idea Reader was trying to convey. having said that, i agree with you. what does a femme lesbian "look like"? (there! now we're back to an aspect of the femme privilege conversation i derailed. )

we share the habit of beginning conversations with almost anyone. like you, i take my cues from the person i'm speaking to. mostly they're positive experiences and when they're not i also move on politely. again, Reader felt the woman in question was flirting and i was not there so i'm making the assumption that this was the case. with that being my jumping off point, i dont understand the issue with taking things one step further to see if the woman was interested in doing the same. very few people have the chutzpah to continue a flirtation without a return on the investment they're making when they put themselves out there.

i tended bar for several years also. i agree wholeheartedly that a bar and a coffee shop are two different worlds but i dont think they lack a shared arena of engagement. the difference in the intent of the people one finds there is another assumption as there is a whole group of people who dont drink for one reason or another and so they have to get their flirt on in other places. i've had more creepy experiences in coffee shops than i have in bars. (of course, i spend more time in coffee shops and am more interested in coffee than i am in booze so maybe my perspective is skewed!)

like you, i think that being sincerely but consistently polite by saying 'no thank you' mitigates any problem that might arise from saying yes but i'm not willing to say that every circumstance merits a no either. it's just what makes me most comfortable in most cases. i dont think your perspective is a jaded one. i think it's usually wise to choose the most neutral path given the way some people's minds work. it's not hard to misinterpret 'no thank you'. having said that, i have been in the position where a stranger has stepped up to make a similar offer more than a few times. i've said no more than i've said yes but when i did say yes my response was appropriate to the circumstances. i'm not sure what my point is here except that i think context matters. maybe part of the question is whether or not we can interpret these circumstances objectively from this perspective? we werent there and have to trust Reader's judgement. i wouldnt have said yes to the offer to buy my coffee either, unless i was flirting with Reader and felt safe saying yes. the fact that the woman was with a friend adds to the safety of the situation for her and Reader didnt lay out the story with the opening line "so i approached a completely random woman and came on to her." every circumstance has context. Reader noted the context of that particular situation and chose to act in a particular way given the information she thought she was getting from this woman. given the tone of almost all the other responses i wonder whether a yes in this situation would make (the collective and general) you consider the woman Reader approached as mercenary or just an idiot. what enlightenment would we be offering the femme who says "yes" to this offer of coffee? does context matter or is it always wrong to offer and wrong to say yes to such an offer? i'm not boarding the Naive-ville bus here. i get that psychos drink coffee too. but if we take danger off the table for a minute, isnt this just the way that some people meet one another? does there have to be a deeper meaning to it?

it's not my intention to derail the topic of this thread so i'll leave off asking more questions along this vein. i appreciate your perspective. you gave me more to think about. thanks for adding to my understanding.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:42 PM   #79
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Just catching up on this thread ... such a good discussion.

I notice that when money becomes a variable in an interaction, emotions flare up and beliefs and assumptions surge up (in a way that enriches).

Money is such a loaded, divisive, triggering, complicated thing and concept.

Maybe there should be a "money" thread.
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:45 PM   #80
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Well, I hear you about the eye-contact thing. Perhaps in NJ it is different.

About two weeks ago I was in Dunkin Donuts and it was late at night and two nurses in scrubs were getting coffee. I was next to them getting my own coffee, when the dark-haired one began chatting me up. I chatted back. She was kind of nice and seemed like she could have been a femme lesbian, but it was hard to tell since she and her friend were both wearing scrubs.

I got the feeling she was flirting with me. Normally, I am sort of dense about such things, but I have been lacking a femme in my life, missing that pleasant femme energy a lot lately and so I am more aware of its absence, I guess.

She and her friend received their stuff and I said to her, "I'd be happy to get that for you ladies", holding out a bill in their server's direction. She said "Oh, uh,..." and she stammered and looked at her friend. I added, "Might I get those coffees for you?" She finally said, "Oh, no, no. Thanks anyway. We have it." I said "OK", paid for my coffee and left.

Now, I could interpret that interaction in a few ways. My best friend, a femme by the way, made a disparaging remark about straight women who enjoy flirting with butches when I recounted this tale to her. Maybe she was just a friendly woman who was not flirting at all. Who knows?

Until I am coupled, I will continue, on those rare occasions, to make friendly gestures to women who appear to flirt with me in public.

It's kind of fun, in a strange, character-stretching way, to be shot down in public. After all, a loaded gun, once properly disassembled, is rendered impotent. The same holds true for defeat.

I don't think it will be especially helpful to respond in-depth to everyone's or anyone's reaction, in particular, to my post, except to say thanks to all for reading it. Of course, I had no idea that my little tale would generate such interest.

Sometimes, on BFP, I imagine that I am chatting with pals in a small cafe and yet somehow it evolves into something quite different; my post and I end up being inspected, dissected and soundly rejected (I do believe I have the end-line for a new poem---> "inspected, dissected and soundly rejected" ...but I digress ;-) , sometimes my post and I end up being inspected, dissected and soundly rejected by the same folks in multiple threads. I find this harmless, possible coincidence rather flattering at times and oddly amusing at others (truth be told) and not for what may seem to be the obvious reasons.

The folks who do the inspecting, dissecting and rejecting often actually do not know what I mean or what I am referring to, and a misunderstanding can occur which happened recently in another thread. As in real life, I only clarify my statements to folks when they ask me to. Otherwise, I assume I am clearly understood. I usually take some care in what I post. If people misunderstand me I do not blame them, I blame my own lack of writing skill, for this is a forum where one communicates by writing (mostly), and it does take skill to discuss complex issues in such a one-dimensional, black and white, way. I believe the need for skill is the reason there are so many "fluff" and fun threads and those light threads have the most hits.

Many people come here to socialize in a safe way and have an enjoyable time. They don't dare post anything that could cause them to gain the notice of those who might misunderstand them, even if they might need to vent or get support or wish to be educated.

I'm sure there is tons of stuff we all could learn and share with each other, but I suspect, nah, I KNOW from talking with people offline, that folks are afraid to post things because they lack confidence in their writing/communication skills and they are concerned that there is a roving pack of Post Police (and I DO NOT MEAN ADMINS) who are anxious to filet them for what often amounts to their inability to effectively communicate using this awkward medium.

All of this leads me to my reason for this post, my reason for replying in this way to all of the replies to my anecdotal post in this thread. I wish to clarify one thing because another post of mine was apparently misunderstood and, Can I Just Say, it left me rather perplexed.

In this thread I posted: <SNIP> "It's kind of fun, in a strange, character-stretching way, to be shot down in public. After all, a loaded gun, once properly disassembled, is rendered impotent. The same holds true for defeat."

For the record, what I was referring to above was a larger message to all of us: defeat, of any kind, public or private, can be taken apart and made harmless. Defeat can be temporary. There is always the option of outlasting defeat, no matter how big, no matter how small. In short, you can beat defeat.

Incidentally, I wasn't "defeated" or "shot down" in my attempt to "get something" in return, I was shot down in my attempt to have someone "take" something from me in the form of coffee.

This is a clear example of how it often is true that by doing service or "giving" service to others, we ourselves, in reality, are often the ones "receiving" the most from the act. I'm sure all of you fine folks who do social work or volunteer or help animal rescue or deposit spiders outside instead of killing them know just what I mean, eh?
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