Posted by: bridget | 13 January 2007

The Grinch Who Stole Ladies’ Night

A heartbroken Denver man has successfully sued a local bar for sponsoring a Ladies’ Night, in which women pay less for their drinks. General theory is that bars are common carriers and therefore must comply with anti-discrimination laws. A differential pricing structure is, according to Steve Horner, discriminatory and worth fighting. The pachyderm agrees with him on constitutional grounds: in order to exempt frivolous matters (i.e. half-price beers) from non-discrimination laws, the courts would have the thankless job of determining what is frivolous and what constitutes actual discrimination worth a remedy. Yet, she has a tough time mustering up much indignation over the price of beverages.

Despite this, she finds Mr. Horner to be misguided. He states that it “takes [him] five minutes to be discriminated against.” This pachyderm cannot imagine the senselessness in deliberately seeking out discrimination – not to end it, but to make money. (She wonders if there is an equity defense: should someone be reimbursed for discrimination deliberately sought out?) Furthermore, he isn’t “being charged more” for his drinks – he just is not allowed to get a discount. His drinks don’t cost any more on Ladies’ Night than on any other evening.

This brings the pachyderm to her ultimate complaint: the free market. Bars like to have enough women so that men will enjoy themselves (and patronise the establishment). Women who walk into a bar that is filled mostly with men will leave. The pachyderm would not care if men were offered a discount on ballroom dancing courses in an attempt to make the experience better for the women who attend. If a bar wants to offer, and a woman wants to accept, discounted drinks in exchange for her presence, it is their perogative. Voila! Free market.



  1. Steve isn’t the best debater on the logic train. Check out his comments he posted on my blog after I commented on him:

    Having visited the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis last year, and having walked with dozens of people silently absorbing the details of that harsh period of our history, I would NEVER toss around the words “discrimination” and “civil rights” around at such a frivolous issue as “ladies night” down at Drinky’s Tavern or wherever. It’s as innapropriate as our watering down of the word “Nazi” for use as a pejorative descriptive term.

    I’d be more sympathetic if he TRULY felt his rights were violated. Instead he unabashadly admits to “picking a fight” with bars and clubs for financial gain. He’s not a male Gloria Steinem, nor a valiant gladiator for helpless women being loaded up and hauled off for free drinks.

  2. For centuries, people have used the “Well, it’s not really important” theory to marginalise those who fight against discrimination. Despite this, I’m hard-pressed to think of ANY societal repercussions from Ladies’ Night. All that happens is men pay the same price for their drinks, but women pay less. (Once Ladies’ Nights are ended, neither men nor women will get a discount.) This is not child custody, where discrimination against men has repercussions for the children (and, very likely, the entire extended family, including the future grandchildren). Ladies’ Night does not send shock waves through our social fabric, for which we are all at a loss.

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