Um, everyone else knows that roofies are a serious thing, right? That they aren’t something that live only in PSAs and episodes of "Law & Order SVU"?
When I was a college freshman, on a pretty little liberal arts campus in a fresh-faced Midwestern town, roofies weren’t something that concerned me. I might have worried about women’s lit term papers and the price Marlboro 100’s (two dollars!), but I wasn’t concerned with someone dropping an illegal substance in whatever I was drinking and then having his or her way with me.
I mean, let’s be honest: More often than not I was perfectly willing to be had, whatever way. And I was perfectly willing to ingest substances that were illegal for a 19-year-old, and a few illegal whatever your age. Really, if someone had asked me to take a roofie with them, I probably would have. It had to be more interesting than the bottles of off-brand cough syrup my friends would drink on especially slow Fridays.
No, I didn’t think about roofies my maiden college year. Other more insightful folks did, though. Around that time, The Roofie Foundation -- an important organization doing good work to combat the issues of drug rape -- was established in Britain. (But, you guys, is it just me, or does its logo look decidedly like an anus? Seems a questionable choice.)
Roofies dropped into my life (and drink), nonetheless, that year -- even if they didn’t serve the fucked-up purpose we’ve all come to associate with them. That is, the people who roofied me didn’t undress me. No one put their hand between my legs, unwanted. No one violated my Roofie Foundation Logo.
Here’s the story: Late, late, late one Saturday night at a party, I started to say my goodbyes and prepared to stumble back to my dorm. A girl named Claire, who lived on my floor, and her hippie boyfriend Rob suggested we walk back together. It was kind of a long haul, and I was happy to have the company to discourage any advances from drunk frat boys crossing my path. Little did I know I’d be better off with an intoxicated bro.
Now, Claire was a beauty. She was blonde with perfect, pale, creamy skin and a lazy southern drawl made lazier by her perpetual stoner state. She had graduated from high school two years early, so she must have been only 16 or 17, but she was tall and wore the clothes and make-up of a much older Georgia trophy wife. Dark eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara, and red, red lips.
Rob was an odd match for her: He was Claire’s height, just barely, with frizzy brown hair that was already starting to thin in the front. Rob had taken some time off after high school to cultivate his pharmaceutical business, so he must have been 22 or 23. Everyone knew that Rob was the guy to call for weed or coke or pills, and his deep, slow southern voice put even the most jittery midwestern drug buyer at ease.
Rob and I were in the choir together (that deep voice had brought him to the college on a music scholarship), and he seemed nice enough. He leered at the altos and sopranos only the tiniest bit. And Claire and I had a few English classes together, where she had brilliant things to say when she wasn’t drifting off in a marijuana daydream. So I felt perfectly collegial and friendly weaving my way home with them. I’m sure we chit-chatted about the party and professors and nothing at all important.
When we got to the girls’ dormitory and walked up to our floor, Rob asked if I wanted to stop in Claire’s room for another drink. I kind of remember them being secretive and sly and weird -- but they were always weird.
“What the hell, one more,” I said.
Claire and I talked while Rob mixed me a drink -- something with orange juice -- and put on the Grateful Dead. He smiled and put a glass in my hand, which I sipped as I lounged on the couch, then he and Claire took a seat on the futon opposite me. Pretty soon I was feeling Super. Duper. Drunk.
“Uh, oh,” I thought. “Too much. Must get down the hall to my room and bed. Now.” I started to tell Claire and Rob that I had to go, then realized that I couldn’t talk. I realized that I had flopped over on the couch and couldn’t move. I realized that Claire and Rob were looking at me. “Uhnh,” I managed.
They got all attentive, putting my feet up, resting my head on a pillow, and telling me I’d be fine. “Thank god these guys are here to take care of me,” I thought. “My bed. I need my bed.”
Then, Claire and Rob started to get undressed.
They started kissing. And touching.
And there were breasts and girl parts and boy parts.
And Claire was bent over an ottoman.
As the two of them did what they do, I was a motionless, helpless heap. My limbs and head were iron anchors, holding me down. Seconds or minutes or hours passed. I’d close my eyes, but then open them again to avoid a terrible seasick spinning. By the time they got to a post-fuck cigarette, I was sick, down the side of the couch. Then, from what I remember, they pulled on clothes, cleaned me up, half-carried me to my room, tucked me into bed, and left.
The next morning, I felt like I had the worst hangover ever, and it lasted for days. I thought about how stupid I was to get that drunk. I cringed imagining seeing Rob and Claire again, but I was almost more embarrassed about getting sick in her room than I was about seeing them have sex.
I just wanted to forget the whole thing. Rob and Claire transferred to another school after that semester, so it wasn’t hard to dismiss.
Years later, I would tell this story as a comic anecdote -- me, affably drunk, sweetly kidnapped by southern eccentrics, given a free sex show until I threw up. It was a friend of mine who first said, “Uh, it sounds like you were drugged.”
Honestly, it had never occurred to me. (Naïve, I know.) But when I started to research the date rape drug Rohypnol, I was sure that Rob and Claire had put something in my drink. I remembered more about the night than many women, but the immobility and 3-day hangover sounded like a match, if not for Rohypnol, then for another member of the date rape drug family.
Reading many victims’ stories, I felt lucky that Rob and Claire seemed to have a kink, not an evil streak, and -- I hope -- hadn’t meant me any harm.
Getting roofied is serious. I know this, whether it results in an unthinkable assault, a borderline violation, or -- as in my case -- forced voyeurism. Still, I can’t help wondering if I should be offended that I was drugged and no one laid an inappropriate hand on me. My incorrigible sexual vanity can’t be sedated, no matter what’s in the drink.