This afternoon some friends and I ended up at an impromptu get together, where I asked one of my guy friends to grab me a cider, in exchange for me sparing him from my next, sure-to-come feminism lecture. Little did either of us know that the form in which he brought me my drink was about to spark an important one.
Ladies! When a guy brings you a drink that is either already open or poured into a glass, what is your initial reaction?
Men! Do you have any idea why this might worry someone? Because of course my friend – who logically I know would never do this to me (otherwise I never would have asked him to get me a drink in the first place) – thought I was paranoid.
He thought I was paranoid because a) he is not a woman and has never woken up with no panties on, next to a man, with absolutely no idea how he got there or what happened. And b) he (thankfully) is just not the type of man who feels the need or desire to slip something into a friends drink.
When he first handed me my cider, in its red solo cup with ice, alarm bells shot all throughout my body. I was instantly afraid to even sip it, and was trying to figure out how I could discreetly dump it out without him noticing, when I realized that this was a guy I’ve known since about kindergarten, who has never shown any signs of being that type of guy. Even so, the only thing that was going to bring me out of that anxiety was to talk about it and watch his reaction.
Although at first he thought I was joking, and then seemed to think maybe I was a little paranoid, another girl sitting with us chimed in and before you knew it, there we were, two strangers, sharing intimate details of our lives with the only connection being our fear of someone drugging our drinks and what the reality of that possibility really is.
There are a couple of times throughout my life that I wonder if I may have been drugged. But also, maybe I just drank too much. And unless its obvious, or a drug test has been done, how does one really know for sure?
This is why these conversations have to be had. Because two complete strangers, both female, can sit and have a conversation about the different times that they think they may have had something slipped into their drinks like its no big deal. My male friend was shocked by this. One of the possible offenders was even there at this get together, and my buddy was all, “how is this no big deal”. Which is exactly how he should have been reacting. Because it is fucked up! There is no other way of putting it. Two strangers being able to have this conversation as if they’re talking about what they like in their coffee, while one of the possible offenders is across the yard, is fucked up. But that is the reality of this situation. It’s not always a stranger or a bartender or a date that does these things. It’s people you know and wouldn’t necessarily suspect. It’s sometimes even people you trust. Especially if you’re like me and all of your broken pieces love all of other people’s broken pieces and it tricks you into only seeing their light and none of their darkness until it is so obvious and in your face that you are no longer able to deny it.
This is why we need feminism. This is why we need #MeToo. This is why we need to have these conversations. Not so that it becomes men against women, but so that it becomes good men standing with good women, against the people who so frequently assume that they have more rights over our bodies than we do. Our fight for equality isn’t always about the stuff that is in your face or obvious. It’s in the subtle nuances of how it feels to be a woman and those extra precautionary steps that we need to take every day to protect ourselves, not because we’re paranoid but because these things actually happen. Even in our small, safe town of Ladner. Even in the perceived safety of a friends house.
In the meantime however, I’m just going to embrace and enjoy the fact that I still have male friends who truly are so innocent that they do not understand why I am scared when they bring me an opened drink, because they genuinely just thought that I would like ice and went the extra step for me; fully understanding that the next time I might not be so lucky.