I have several reasons to celebrate coming up in the next two months. Friends are coming to town to visit for different events. I have a couple of girls' nights out planned. Then, yesterday, I read this horrific story of a girls' night out gone horribly wrong and it gave me pause. Could this happen to me? I like to think that I'm too aware, too cautious -- but you never know. Please read it.
It also reminded me of something that happened, or almost happened, to a friend of mine. Nearly 20 years ago, I was living in Toronto with my boyfriend D and a room-mate S. S and I had gone to university together and now were just starting out in jobs in our field. The three of us went out one night to this huge barn of a bar in Mississauga to see a band -- FM. The place was set up with long tables, so we ended up sitting with people we didn't know. We were drinking beer. S and I were drinking at about the same rate, beer for beer. A guy sitting next to her, that we didn't know, struck up a conversation with her. He went up to the bar and brought her a beer back. Through a crowded dark bar. I think he put something in her beer. He was very attentive to her, leaning over and talking to her, putting his hand on her arm, pulling his chair closer to her.
A little bit later, S was really drunk, she was unsteady on her feet and when she got up to go to the ladies' room between sets, she was stumbling. I had drunk the same number of beers (4, I think) and was fine. I went with her to the bathroom, and she was hanging onto me saying "Please take me home. Don't let me go home with anybody else." As if I would. S was definitely not the type to leave a bar with a guy she'd just met. We went back to the table, and I said to D, "She's not feeling well, we need to take her home now." Mr Helpful at the table, the one who bought her the beer, was all "hey, why don't you guys stay and watch the next set, I'll drive her home." "No," I said, "Thanks, but we'll take her home." The guy was about to start arguing with me, but D stood up and loomed menacingly and told him that we would be taking her home, and the guy backed off.
S slept all the way home in the car. I helped her into bed where she stayed for the next 12 hours, emerging only to throw up periodically. By the Sunday she was pretty well back to normal again.
At the time, we weren't certain that he had drugged her. We explained it away to ourselves: S wasn't a big drinker -- 4 beers was a lot for her. She had been coming down with a cold, and maybe that had affected her tolerance to the alcohol. Maybe it was drinking on an empty stomach. But now, in hindsight, it seems pretty conclusive that he did, and it bothers me that we didn't tell anyone, we didn't take her to the hospital, we didn't call the police. I think perhaps that we were just naive and couldn't realize that someone would do something like that on purpose. But some people will. And some people do. Now. Today. And the story Karen told on Meanoldmommy didn't have a happy ending.
So please, if you're going out for a girls' night, be careful, be aware, and look out for your friends. I know I'm going to.