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Oct 24

Not funny

I was at a get together the other night and, as I arrived, a guy came and approached me. A guy that I am sort of friends with, but don’t know very well. Some of the women that I’m with think that he likes me, but I’m really only interested in being his friend. He sits down next to me and we talk for most of the night. During the course of the conversation, he asks me what I’m drinking, and I say that it’s water. I’ve already had two beers and a rum and diet, so if I want to drive home, I’m on water the rest of the night. He replies, “Well, that’s fine. I’ve heard it’s actually easier for the roofies to dissolve in water.”

The thing about this statement was that he really thought he was being funny, or charming, or something. After all, he was only joking. (About rape.) This is not the first time I’ve heard men joke about roofies, and luckily, I have my comeback at the ready. I say, quickly and sharply, “That’s not funny.” Because it’s not. Because, when men make these types of jokes, everyone wants to be “laid back” and “cool” and not call That Guy out on trying to make assaulting someone a joke.

I don’t know if he was nervous, or thought that maybe I didn’t hear him right, because clearly if I had heard him right, I would have thought the joke was funny. So, he repeats it. “No, really, that’s what I’ve heard, it’s easier to dissolve.” He makes a stirring motion with his hand and has a stupid grin on his face. I repeat, in the same robotic tone, no smile on my face, “That’s not funny. Stop it.”

At this point, the table goes quiet, and people are looking on, uncomfortable. At times like these, I’m not sure who they are uncomfortable with. Is it with him, for joking about roofies and date rape? I usually assume that they’re uncomfortable with me, because look at the uppity woman who’s not laughing. Can’t she just let it go? Can’t she see he’s a Nice Guy and doesn’t Mean It? Meanwhile, he’s even more nervous, like a person stuck in a hole, unable to dig up. So he does the only thing that he knows: repeats the joke a third time.

Suddenly, I don’t care about him, or the people around me, or what they think. I get up, walk to the bathroom and wash my hands to calm down. As it happens, I’m not really that angry. I’m not really that offended either. But I do think it’s messed up that, here’s a guy who likes me, and wants to impress me. And for some reason, he thinks it’s totally appropriate in the context of a conversation with me, to make a joke about roofing my drink. Because that’s sexy? Here’s the thing though: At no point did he think that he needed to employ his filter. What made the biggest impact on me is that he’s most likely never had that reaction before, so he never needed to control himself. I’m not sure what that says about our culture. Whatever it says, it’s not good.

I walk back to my table, and people look uncomfortable for a second. The guy apologizes, and to make everyone feel better, I smile and say, “That’s alright.”

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