By Katie Weitkamp, a senior journalism major from Ft. Thomas. She is The Studio editor and the Around&

I consider myself a “liberated” woman. I go to movies with titles like “Real Women have Curves,” I threaten to, and do beat up my male friends, I know how to change my oil and I reject offers by male friends to walk me to the dorm past dark—I carry a box cutter, I’m tough. I’ve never been one to cry to get what I want or ask a man to do something that I could do without expecting him to ask me to do something in return.

So, you can understand my recent turmoil about accepting free things simply because of my gender. The other week I had a little run in with a nail and my back tire. So I called the auto shop that saved me the last time I ran over a nail.

The first time, after the mechanic put a plug in my tire, he made it known that he was giving me a “good deal,” which I was grateful for, considering I had about $10 on my person. After I paid him he asked me for my phone number, and I gave it to him—I’m not sure if it was because I felt like I “owed” him something, or if it was because he just asked.

The most recent time I called for help, the mechanic, a different one, took out the nail, patched my tire and didn’t charge me anything. The difference was, this time he didn’t ask me for my phone number.

Maybe both mechanics were just trying to be nice guys, regardless of my gender, maybe I shouldn’t have accepted either, but I did. After the free tire plug, I started to wonder if it was right to take these kinds of things.

The other day I was in a car with my brother and we were talking about stupid stuff that guys do for girls. I brought up the whole, “is it right to take something from a guy when you have absolutely no interest in him debate.”

My brother told me that guys are only after one thing, girls should be smart and use them, and that normally it doesn’t take 21 years for a girl to realize this.

On my way to and from school and Cincinnati I always stop at this truck stop, the Flying J.

The last time I was there alone I was about to buy a cup of coffee and saw a trucker struggling to get a lid on his coffee cup, so I helped him. He ended up buying my coffee for me.

First I felt bad, my brother made fun of me, but then he brought up the point that I made the trucker’s day by allowing him to do something nice for someone else. I was never going to see him again, he couldn’t be expecting anything from me, he was just being a nice guy and after all, I helped him out.

Yes, I am aware that perhaps this isn’t the best philosophy, but is there really a polite way to turn down a free cup of coffee?

The thing is, I’m a bit of a feminist in theory, but not in practice because I don’t want to be the jerk who can’t let a guy, who is just trying to be nice, buy her a drink… But then again I don’t want to be one of those girls who can’t open a door for a guy.

The point I am trying to make is that I may be an independent woman, I can afford a cup of coffee, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to use my charm and let some nice guy step up and buy it for me, maybe one day I’ll return the favor.