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Jan 21 2013

Hanging On

Today, I spend a bunch of time that could be productive on my harassers and on making the people who don’t want to spend time looking at harassment see what my last several months have looked like. Maybe you’ll see it. Maybe you won’t have to. I don’t know. I’m tired. I’m not entirely in a position to make a smart decision on that right now.

Either way, this comment is what’s keeping me functioning right now.

I know a girl who did just about everything wrong according to those people. She’d been kicked out of the house and went home with a nice guy she’d only known for a week. The guy offered her Marvel vs Capcom to cheer her up and vodka mixed with cran-rasberry to drown her sorrows. Her drink was mixed a lot stronger than his because he hated the taste of alcohol and besides, drunk girls are fun. They fool around for a while and the guy asks if she wants to go to bed, she says not yet. So they watch a movie and the guy mixes more drinks and they fool around more. Now when he asks, she say ok but the guy isn’t sure she’s all there since she can’t even stand without support. So the guy carries her into the bedroom and she’s too drunk to even take off her shoes so the guy has to do it for her.
.
Then a memory stirs in the guy’s head and it occurs to him that he’s about to do something awful. So he stops undressing her and climbs into bed fully dressed and she almost instantly falls asleep in his arms.
The guy hadn’t thought a lot about feminism or what rape was, but he did have a lot of spare time at work to read blogs and something had managed to work through the drunken haze and replace “drunk girls are fun” with “consent is important”. The guy still feels like an asshole, but being an asshole is a lot better than being a rapist.
.
Thank you Stephanie, for being part of the reason why I’m just an asshole.

One of these days, I might even have enough energy left over after this sort of thing is dealt with to be proud of that.

78 comments

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  1. 1
    atheist

    Wow, what a great story. The things you blog about really can educate others, you just never know when.

  2. 2
    Bjarte Foshaug

    *Goosebumps*

  3. 3
    A Hermit

    And THAT is how you change the world…

  4. 4
    jasonrobertson

    Hang in there please. You’re yet doing good work!

  5. 5
    carlie

    Oh, wow. Wow wow wow.

  6. 6
    Rob

    Proof, despite what some say, that the internet is part of the real world and that what is said on the internet has real world effects for good and ill.

    Well done to all who draw the line and fight the good fight. Kudos to ciaphas for sharing their story.

  7. 7
    glodson

    The more people talk about rape culture, and what consent really is, the more chances others have to gain an education. I know it isn’t fun. I know that the abuse can be overwhelming, but these blogs are making a difference. I know it is making a difference for me, as I’m learning much. Knowledge that I’ll pass onto my daughter as she grows up. Maybe people like me don’t do good enough of a job of letting the people sticking their necks out that there is a benefit.

  8. 8
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    This, apart from anything else, is what sets you apart from the creeps at the Slymepit – you’re actually doing good, effecting real change in the world. All they’re doing is flinging poo at you while you try to do it. It’s typical regressive behaviour of those who are content with the status quo and fear losing their privileged positions.

    No doubt the person in this story would be reviled as a ‘mangina’ by that crowd for missing his chance to ‘score’.

  9. 9
    The Mellow Monkey

    It’s been a really hard day for me, but for the first time today, my tears are for a good reason.

    Thank you, Stephanie. And thank you for listening to her, ciaphas.

  10. 10
    sheila

    Yes, you do make a difference, and probably far more than you hear about. I’ve heard that the politicians’ rule of thumb is that there are 100 pissed of constituents for every phone call or letter. I think it’s entirely possible that you have prevented 100 rapes for every one you hear about.

    And kudos to ciaphas for writing about it. Not only has he helped you, he’s probably helped educate others and prevent another rape.

    Oh, and I think “intention isn’t magic” also counts when your actions are much better than your intentions. What actually happened is that the girl got a place to stay and sympathy when she needed it. Obviously there’s a lot I don’t know about this, but I’m not at all sure that “asshole” is the right world for ciaphas.

  11. 11
    Tony Sidaway

    I’ve added a link here from a Google+ thread I created the other day about young men and consent, which used a particular guy’s response to Rebecca Watson’s tweets about drunk rape as an example of the essential educational work that hasn’t been done by the time a guy leaves high school. This is a good example of the great work you did, Stephanie Szvan. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you are doing this work. I will do everything I can to help.

  12. 12
    Tony Sidaway

    “This, apart from anything else, is what sets you apart from the creeps at the Slymepit”

    Yeah. I happen to think that whole “not being a raging, sociopathic asshole” thing helps, too.

  13. 13
    Inaji

    Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you for every day. Thank you for your voice. Thank you for hanging on and writing. Thank you for sharing, the good, the bad, the worse and the best. Thank you for your refusal to be silenced. You provide strength and support and shelter, even when you aren’t aware of doing so. Thank you for educating us all, thank you for providing opportunities for learning and growth.

    Ciaphas, thank you for having the courage to share your story. Thank you for stopping to listen. Thank you for being “just an asshole”, because even though that’s how you feel, it’s not how other people are viewing or thinking of you. You were a decent human being. Thank you.

  14. 14
    Jen Doyle

    Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you for hanging in there, for putting up with the bullshit, for fighting the good fight. This is how to change the world, the only way that change can really happen – keep talking, keep discussing, keep debating, keep yelling if necessary.

  15. 15
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Nothing to add. But it is these little victories, hopefully multiplied by hundreds, by thousands, by millions, that is what the goal is.

    Ciaphas, thank you for not being that guy.

  16. 16
    Fizzing thru da Fizzics

    Momentum is building!! (fizzics plug :) ) Your ability to clearly spell out the problems and issues as you do, has changed far more than you realise. Even here, we are seeing attitudes change. Keep up the good work, I am sending you all the supportive thoughts, hugs and noodly dripping goodness I am capable of. Illegitimi non carborundum

  17. 17
    Argle Bargle

    Good for you, Ciaphas, for not being a rapist and good for you, Stephanie, for telling people not to be rapists.

  18. 18
    Nathaniel Frein

    Ciaphas,

    I’ve been there too, a few times. With a coworker passed out in our hotel room on a road trip, who had confessed to being interested but he was married and drunk and it wasn’t something I had a right to take from him. But he was so pretty and the road trip had been very frustrating.

    Or with a friend who’d come up to see me, who’d moved on from to a new relationship. And after we’d killed the grey goose and she wanted to cuddle, but I knew where that would lead me and I knew that I was strong enough to take it from her and she was submissive enough to let it be taken. So I went downstairs and slept on the couch.

    Looking at the fruit hanging from the tree doesn’t make you an asshole. Wanting it doesn’t make you an asshole. It just makes you human. Walking away and leaving it there makes you a good human.

  19. 19
    hypatiasdaughter

    Well, I am not too sure about Ciaphas. A man who is a decent human being? Is it possible?
    I know those who talk about “rape culture” seem to believe that it IS possible for men to make the right choices, to be decent human beings, to change the culture. They just need some education, awareness and moral support for their choices.
    Seems to me that it is the MRA’s and their running dogs, like Wooly Bumblebee, who have a much lower opinion of the male sex.

  20. 20
    Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

    Wow. I literally reread this four times. Thank you, Stephanie, for everything you do, and thank you Ciaphas for being so honest and for being willing to change.

    @Nathaniel/18:

    Looking at the fruit hanging from the tree doesn’t make you an asshole. Wanting it doesn’t make you an asshole. It just makes you human. Walking away and leaving it there makes you a good human.

    EXACTLY. Anti-feminists love to be all like SO WHAT ARE WE NOT SUPPOSED TO LOOK AT WOMEN/WANT SEX NOW, but that’s a strawman. Desire will always be a part of human experience; violence and coercion doesn’t have to be.

  21. 21
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    I think I’m having a positive emotional reaction. Fuck yeah. This is the shit. FTW. It can happen!

  22. 22
    hjhornbeck

    hypatia @19:

    Well, I am not too sure about Ciaphas. A man who is a decent human being? Is it possible?
    I know those who talk about “rape culture” seem to believe that it IS possible for men to make the right choices, to be decent human beings, to change the culture. They just need some education, awareness and moral support for their choices.
    Seems to me that it is the MRA’s and their running dogs, like Wooly Bumblebee, who have a much lower opinion of the male sex.

    Dangit, I was going to post the exact same thing! The very idea of “patriarchy” implies that institutional sexism is not built-in, but a self-reinforcing set of behaviours. Hence why the focus is on changing the system, not men.

    Most MRAs and anti-feminists, in contrast, view sexism as essential, a core part of our essense. For that reason, it shouldn’t be fought against, but embraced.

    It follows from that, however, that rape is no big deal. Men are bigger/aggressive, women are property/frigid/”asking for it”, and both are constrained by their essence.

    …. And yet, it’s rare to find an MRA/anti-feminist who’ll embrace that. Subconsciously or not, they realize that conflicts our hard-wired belief in “free will”/liberty. Like any person, they try minimize the cognitivi dissonance. Not EVERY man is a raving sex fiend, only some of them. If stories of rape don’t fit within an essentialist worldview, said MRA starts pulling out the flimsiest excuses to dismiss them.

    The result is a massive hole in their argument, and a perfect way to win against them. Draw out their assumptions of essentialism, force them to reveal just how absurd they sound even to their own ears, then drop the bombshell:

    “Wow, you hate men more than feminists do!”

    Switching topics: thanks, Zvan, for kicking so much intellectual tail. If you feel you need a break to unwind, take it; there’s enough of us around to keep your seat warm ’til you get back. And thanks, Ciaphas, for sharing your story. That simple act may have prevented a few rapes and sexual assaults.

  23. 23
    Steven Schneider

    That is a very moving story. Even if you achieve nothing else in life, though I’m sure that won’t be true, you will have accomplished this.

    Keep up the good work and keep the discussion going. I am a father of three little girls and you’ve already made the world a better place for them.

  24. 24
    ciaphas

    I’m glad my posting that helped you, it was surprisingly hard to write about and I wasn’t sure how people would receive it.. I see all the abuse you and Ophelia and Greta and others get and I wanted to let you know that, yes some people are listening.
    .
    All that backlash against the radical idea that our sexual partners are people too and that hurting them is wrong even if it might be fun.

  25. 25
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Thank you for posting this. And that all of you for working to make the idea of consent more visible.

  26. 26
    DaveX

    That gives me hope. And I hope it gives people like you, Stephanie, the encouragement to keep fighting the good fight.

    I dream someday that these will be the stories men tell each other. Whether it’s men like ciaphas who stopped in time, a man who didn’t and wants to walk a path of penance and atonement, or a man who’s never been there and has only read these kinds of posts – it should be our job to educate each other on where to stop and how to respect boundaries.

  27. 27
    Funny Diva

    Caine, Fleur du mal + @13

    What Caine said. Seconded a bazillion times.

    Stephanie–I wish you didn’t have to fight this fight, but I’m so glad to have your amazing voice to work from.

    Caiphas–wow. Thanks for sharing that story, and thanks for listening to that memory in the back of your mind–for choosing to not ignore it or wave it away–for choosing to behave differently. That’s not a trivial accomplishment, at all.

  28. 28
    Nepenthe

    So this is sort of sticking in my craw and I keep coming back to it.

    I’m glad that ciaphas shared his story. I hope that more men (and women) share their stories like this. And I’m glad that he didn’t rape his friend. And I’m glad that reading feministy blogs and things about consent helped him do that.

    But… I really can’t congratulate him. Because not raping is, like, absolute minimum decent human being standard.

    I somewhat assume that, because you’ve decided to tell this story, that you’re probably at least slightly above minimum, but… yeah. I’m not hopping up to get to the mixing bowl and oven.

    Looking at the fruit hanging from the tree doesn’t make you an asshole. Wanting it doesn’t make you an asshole. It just makes you human. Walking away and leaving it there makes you a good human.

    Uh…. so, you’re “it”-ing women. Like, the theory is correct, but… don’t do that. It’s icky.

    /castratingfeminaziharpy

  29. 29
    Stephanie Zvan

    In case anyone cares, Justicar has put up a video about this. I assume it says the story’s a fake because of a couple of details that aren’t actually in the story. Why do I assume this? Because there have been two people now who have come from that video to leave comments explaining how I’ve been duped. Both have claimed the same reasons. Neither one actually follows what’s written.

    Bored now.

  30. 30
    Nathaniel Frein

    @28 Nepenthe

    Uh…. so, you’re “it”-ing women. Like, the theory is correct, but… don’t do that. It’s icky.

    I had meant that in a more universal sense. To me, one of the really nasty effects of xian indoctrination is the whole “thou shalt not covet” idea; that simply being “tempted” in itself is an evil and horrible thing.

    Obviously I worded it wrong. I had no intention of relegating any person to an object. I’ll work on a way to rephrase.

  31. 31
    Souledge

    Soooo…

    They guy is an asshole for committing thought-crime?

    You people are even worse than religion. At least they claim that only god can convict you of that. Pretty much everyone in this community seems to judge this person as being an asshole, disregarding the fact that he actually did one of the noblest things a woman can ask for; respecting her.

    Regardless of what’s in our nature, we do that what is right. Saying that that’s trivial because you were thinking about doing something bad, is a tremendous insult to human evolution.

    He calls himself an asshole for not doing something he intially wanted, BUT DIDN’T DO OUT OF HONOUR!

    And you actually feel like you contributed something to this guy’s attitude? Yup, you made sure that insecure guys can do the nobest deeds and most honourable actions, and still make him feel like SCUM for doing so.

    Do you like treating men like dogs? In what way does that make you better than the rapists, murderers and abusers, as you are actually making a man suffer for not only not doing anything wrong, but for doing a noble thing!

    Equal Rights? Lol, Well done manipulating the world so you can have your Matriarchy, silly feminist.

  32. 32
    Jason The Other

    So a man and a women get drunk together and fool around, but then when they go in to bed to have sex, the guy realizes she is too drunk and cuddles her instead?

    Yeah, what an asshole.

  33. 33
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    In case anyone cares, Justicar has put up a video about this. I assume it says the story’s a fake because of a couple of details that aren’t actually in the story. Why do I assume this? Because there have been two people now who have come from that video to leave comments explaining how I’ve been duped. Both have claimed the same reasons. Neither one actually follows what’s written.

    Well, that’s the same routine the go through with rape-victims, isn’t it?
    If they can’t repeat 100% accurately what happened in every single second and maybe even mix up a thing or two, it shows it’s totally fake.
    There’s no evidence short of being dead in the bushes that’s good enough for these skeptics

  34. 34
    Adamo

    Souledge, please learn to read. The commenters on this blog aren’t calling ciaphas an asshole, he’s calling himself that. Erroneously in my opinion too. Are you deliberately obfuscating the issue or just too (insert perjorative here) to get it right?

    Yes, stopping in time IS a big deal. And telling that you did is also a big deal. Thanks for both.

  35. 35
    Souledge

    I have read it, and don’t get me wrong, I have sidetracked a lot assuming you’d understand what I was saying.

    Everyone that has commented, seems to agree or is proud of what he has done.

    Not one single person here has the common sense and decency to say that this man is not feeling the way he should be feeling. When you do something like that, you should feel good about yourself, because you did something nice, because you controlled your instincts to honour her wishes.

    You made someone feel good and safe in a time that she really needed it, and just because your hormons kick in, you should consider yourself an asshole? Why is male nature viewed as a Sin, an female nature as a thing of immaculate beauty?

    No, on the contrary, the one this letter is adressed to is actually considering of feeling proud of having to have contributed to this person serious emotional dissorder. Noone should feel like an asshole for doing something good, for resisting one’s nature. Oh, but he was thinking about it, so that justifies him feeling an asshole. Thoughts and Words are nice, but what matters the most are Actions.

    I don’t know if you’ve seen a Clockwork Orange, but if it were up to people that condone this behaviour as a good way to view your actions, they’d wish every man was treated like that; inhumane, but as long as they don’t react on their instincts.

    Hope that clarified it. It just frustrates me everyone here seems to find it completely normal behaviour.

  36. 36
    Pteryxx

    Read it again. “Drunk girls are fun, right?” isn’t any sort of hormonal compulsion or force of nature. It’s learned – specifically, learning to prey on girls. Besides, the vast majority of men don’t rape because they’re not predatory assholes.

    Lisak – Predatory Nature – PDF link

    IF you think raping is compulsory or natural TO YOU, personally, stranger on the internet, then a) remember you don’t speak for everyone and b) for petes sake turn yourself in before you hurt someone.

  37. 37
    Nepenthe

    When you do something like that, you should feel good about yourself, because you did something nice, because you controlled your instincts to honour her wishes.

    Jesus fuck. Not raping someone is on the same level of nice as passing by a gay bar without jumping and gay bashing someone. It’s the absolutely minimum fucking standard of human decency, not a gracious gift one bestows on one’s lucky non-victim.

    Unless, of course, in your world raping one’s friends is the standard thing to do and not raping them is something extra.

    Nice! *shudder* *spits*

  38. 38
    Suido

    MRA logic: If I intend to commit a crime of violence against another person, but change my mind at the last second, I shouldn’t feel guilty about my original intentions. Ignore the fact that not hurting others should be the norm, just focus on the change of heart… what does that remind me of? Oh yeah, forgiveness for sins.

    MRA logic is strikingly similar to christian logic.

    Critical thinking, they’re doing it the religious way.

  39. 39
    Stephanie Zvan

    No, comments about whether something is “100% bonafide rape” don’t fly around here. Toodles.

  40. 40
    Nepenthe

    Thank you Stephanie. Getting that comment in my inbox has put me off my breakfast. *shudder*

  41. 41
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    Souledge, the story as told by ciaphas, describing his own actions, is

    Her drink was mixed a lot stronger than his because he hated the taste of alcohol and besides, drunk girls are fun.

    Not “she was drunk when I met her.” Not “we both decided to get drunk.” He deliberately got her drunk while remaining sober himself, with the intention of having sex with her.

    The only reason this isn’t rape is that he changed his mind. Yes, changing his mind was the right thing to do. But most of us have never gotten someone drunk to take advantage of her and then changed our minds. that was an asshole move, as ciaphas said. No, planning to rape someone isn’t as bad as committing rape, but that doesn’t mean planning rape and going as far as getting the target drunk is unremarkable. It’s not a decent or ethical act.

  42. 42
    silver

    this letter has to be a fake. So apparently this man was about to rape a woman but then changed his mind when he remembered this blog?? and people believe this claptrap?? SHAKE MY DAMN HEAD!!

  43. 43
    Stephanie Zvan

    For the record, whether you believe me or not, the standard is to use only one punctuation mark at the end of a sentence. Or even sentence fragment.

  44. 44
    Ben Zvan

    These people calling “Poe!” are really showing a lot of confidence in men aren’t they? Who is supposed to be the misandrist again?

  45. 45
    silver

    Ben Zvan I’m not sure what you mean? why is it misandrist to disbelieve this story? wouldn’t it sound silly if someone said they didn’t realize that murder was wrong until they read it on a blog? I just don’t believe that rapists don’t know that rape is wrong, they know it is but they don’t care.

    Thing is that extreme feminists, like the ones on this website think that most men want to rape women, that is why people are willing to believe this RUBBISH

  46. 46
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Yeah, silver, it has to be fake
    Because if it isn’t, it means that men are not off the hook, that they can learn, and understand, and respect boundaries, and to value consent and make life fucking better (no pun intended).
    Uhm, who’re the misandrists again?

    chiaphas
    Thank you for sharing that and sorry that you’re now becoming a bit of a subject to dissect while the actual assholes are coming in.

  47. 47
    silver

    Giliell, you talk as if you think most men would rape the woman in that situation, but i think it is completely untrue. Most men would NOT do that even if they had never read a feminist blog in their life. it seems like extreme feminists think men want to rape women until they can be convinced not to by a feminist and even then they will still want to rape, they just won’t act on those thoughts because they have been education about the harm it does to the victim.

    notice how this “chiaphas” character has said it would be “wrong even though it might be fun” so this character still thinks rape might be fun.

  48. 48
    Ben Zvan

    Silver: I can’t be bothered to look up the statistics, though I’m sure someone with more free time could find them in minutes, but a great many college campus rapes happen in exactly this way. Would most men rape the woman in that situation? No. But enough would that one more recognizing that it’s the wrong thing to do is a good thing.

    Really…any time someone prevents a rape, by nearly any means, it’s a good thing.

    And I think you’re conflating rape with sex in your last statement. That scares me a little, though it doesn’t surprise me.

  49. 49
    Ben Zvan

    Correction: “I can’t be bothered to look up the statistics for you.”

  50. 50
    silver

    how am i conflating rape with sex?

  51. 51
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Giliell, you talk as if you think most men would rape the woman in that situation, but i think it is completely untrue.

    No, you’re pulling that shit right out of your ass.
    We’ve been having some discussions over the last 18 months or so about consent and the fact that drunk people cannot consent.
    During that time we’ve been told time after time again that hey, that wouldn’t be rape. So, obviously, there exists a noticable amount of people who were not aware of this being rape and wrong before.

    Most men would NOT do that even if they had never read a feminist blog in their life.

    You’re absolutely right: Most men are not rapists. Actually, it’s about 6% of men. But most people will dismiss a woman who says she was raped if she was drunk. Remember that horrible high school football team and what people said about the victim? Oh, and how about reading Stephanie’s post about people who tell her that she wasn’t assaulted because she was drunk?

    it seems like extreme feminists think men want to rape women until they can be convinced not to by a feminist and even then they will still want to rape,

    Nope, we know that the discussion about consent isn’t as far as it needs to be. 50 years ago wives were unrapable. Still, back then people said that rape is back. A husband forcing himself on his wife was simply not considered to be raping her, like many people still don’t consider getting a woman drunk and then having sex with her when she’s unable to consent as rape.

    they just won’t act on those thoughts because they have been education about the harm it does to the victim.

    Yep, that’s because people are born with a full set of moral values and understanding. Oh, wait, they’re not. Learning empathy is a milestone in human developement and the funny thing about empathy is that it only works with ingroup-people.

    notice how this “chiaphas” character has said it would be “wrong even though it might be fun” so this character still thinks rape might be fun.

    This “character”?
    Can you be a bit more dehumanizing? Don’t try, I believe you.

  52. 52
    Ben Zvan

    I believe the statement would be better interpreted as “sex would be fun, but this would be rape, which is wrong.”

  53. 53
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Stephanie:

    No, comments about whether something is “100% bonafide rape” don’t fly around here. Toodles.

    So… You simultaneously get yelled at by people claiming that in the described circumstances it wouldn’t be rape, and by people claiming the story is fake because the man in the story couldn’t possibly not realize that what he was about to do is rape? Jebus.

  54. 54
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Well, silver seems to have worn off quickly.
    Probably more like pewter

  55. 55
    Ben Zvan

    Forbidden Snowflake: And those people never seem to go after each other because FTB is the worst of all evils.

    Giliell: I had a pewter mug once. It tasted terrible.

  56. 56
    noxiousnan

    @Souledge #31

    This comment has actually “jumped the shark.”

  57. 57
    ciaphas

    @Ben Zvan #52

    Yes, thank you. That was exactly what I was getting at.
    .
    To people complaining that it would be obviously rape and no man would do that, I would like to remind them that the post that prompted me to write about my experience included the line
    “Bitch, please. You weren’t raped. You were trashed.”
    Go take it up with them.

  58. 58
    Adamo

    So it’s the intent to get her drunk that makes him an asshole? Perhaps, but let’s not forget that he could pour but she had to cooperate by drinking past her tolerance. We’ll never know her motives beyond “drowning her sorrows”, and few things are that simple, but she did cooperate to the extent of getting drunk. Unless he also drugged her, she was responsible for that much. One could ruminate for hours about implied consent in her actions, but all she consented to was getting drunk. Not getting laid, meaning, in this case, rape. Just drunk. Perhaps it is a case of badly misplaced trust, but this time she lucked out. Perhaps she knew more about him than he did in the week she knew him. Perhaps she’s completely stupid, self-destructive, or any of a number of other things, None of those are equivalent to consent to rape.

  59. 59
    Nathaniel Frein

    @Adamo

    I have a problem with

    but she did cooperate to the extent of getting drunk. Unless he also drugged her, she was responsible for that much

    The only way to gauge the relative alcohol content of a drink is by taste, and that’s a very rough metric and very dangerous to rely on. Different alcohols and mixers have very different effects on taste. A smooth vodka with a bitter/tart mixer (cranberry) goes a long way to masking the amount of alcohol in the drink.

    You have no real ability to gauge your relative drunkness in real time. You can only really gauge how drunk you got after the fact.

    This is why alcohol in and of itself is a date rape drug. An experienced drink mixer can get a person very drunk very quickly without that person noticing until it’s too late.

  60. 60
    Adamo

    Well, I’ve gotten drunk. I knew it at the time. I felt the first buzz, liked it, and tried for more. And more. Sure, there came a point where I was no longer making sensible decisions, but I made the first several. My responsibility. It wasn’t the taste, it was the effect. My decision. Everybody starts sober.

  61. 61
    Nathaniel Frein

    Well, I’ve gotten drunk. I knew it at the time. I felt the first buzz, liked it, and tried for more. And more. Sure, there came a point where I was no longer making sensible decisions, but I made the first several. My responsibility. It wasn’t the taste, it was the effect. My decision. Everybody starts sober.

    So you’ve never ever been drinking during a social gathering and not realised how drunk you’d gotten till you tried to stand up? Cuz I’ve done that plenty of times, and not even as part of someone’s attempt to rape a person. I don’t know any honest person who drinks who hasn’t at some point consumed more alcohol than they realized.

    See, the thing is people don’t usually drink alone. And unless you’re drinking alone it’s very hard to keep up your vulcan-like self reflection on how each individual drink is impacting you. People usually drink with other people. With things like conversation. And noisy crowds. Maybe dancing. Maybe playing video games. They are not usually in a situation to give a calm and cool reflection of “Hmm, my spatial awareness has decreased by ten percent, obviously I am at the second drink stage of drunkenness”.

    Secondly, as soon as that first drink passes your lips, you are impaired. Your ability to reliably gauge anything has just been reduced. And it will continue to be reduced with each successive drink.

    The fact is the only way to have any idea of how drunk you are, while you are drunk, is by knowing how many drinks you’ve had to drink and what your spectrum is based on that number of drinks. The only way for this to work reliably is with the common rule that one beer equals one glass of wine equals one shot of liquor (roughly) in terms of alcohol content. Which means it only works when the person mixing the drinks is honest. That’s why adding double or triple shots to mixers that mask the taste works as a date rape drug, because a woman thinks she’s only having two drinks when she’s effectively had six, which would put most people well on their way to incapacitation.

  62. 62
    Nathaniel Frein

    I actually have a good anecdote to illustrate this:

    My father is a retired Chief Petty Officer. While attending a function for Chiefs and Chief-trainees (slugs for those who know what that means) he had about seven or eight servings of punch (grog, for those who know what that means) over the course of about five hours. Now, in theory, that’s not particularly heavy drinking. A good rule of thumb is that you metabolize booze at about one drink per hour. So drinking (say) eight beers over five hours won’t get you all that drunk.

    My father doesn’t remember much past the first two drinks. I remember a fellow Chief bringing him home unable to stand properly. See, the punch at this kind of function is supposed to taste really nasty (Basically, faux pass are punished by the transgressor being required to drink it). One of the trainees, however, had some experience with mixing drinks, and thought what a wonderful idea it would be to prank all these Chiefs. So instead of making the traditional punch, they played dumb and made a more normal punch. But they made it very strong.

    See, the thing about alcohol is that it takes a little while to feel the full effects of one drink. The immediate buzz you get is not the entire effect of the one drink. That’s why it’s very easy to get two drinks in before you have any indication as to how much you’ve really drunk. And if those two drinks had six servings of alcohol, well, sorry. You’re fucked.

    Sometimes literally.

  63. 63
    Ben Zvan

    Adamo: If I offered you a drink and you accepted, then I offered you another drink and you accepted, then I offered you another drink which you accepted, then I offered you a drink laced with cyanide and you were too drunk to say no, is it my responsibility that you died? I mean, you made the decision to drink in the first place, right? You started sober.

  64. 64
    Adamo

    Ben, go back to my first post on the subject of drinking. Starting would be my responsibility. Cyanide would be yours, and it would be murder, not something I consented to. Just like consenting to drink is not the same as consenting to rape. Why do people plan designated drivers? They plan to become impaired but also, while sober, plan not to drive drunk. There is an awareness that things may go too far.

    And Nathaniel, no, I’ve never been at a social gathering where I didn’t realize how drunk I’d gotten until I tried to stand up. I knew how drunk I was, thought it was part of the fun. Wheee, aren’t I funny? That’s the point where I stopped drinking. The peer pressure thing just didn’t work with me. If I had to drink something noxious to belong, well, I guess I’m just too used to not belonging. And I can smell/taste the ethanol, and would know at the first sip of the punch whether and how spiked it was. Again, my decision to sip, gulp, or whatever.

  65. 65
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Why do people plan designated drivers? They plan to become impaired but also, while sober, plan not to drive drunk. There is an awareness that things may go too far.

    That’s a bad comparison, because the consensus is that any degree of impairment precludes driving.
    A person can plan to only drink *this much* and stick to it, if sticking to it is as simple as counting drinks. If staying within your limits requires detecting the (unpredictable) concentration of alcohol in each drink, it becomes much harder.

    And I can smell/taste the ethanol, and would know at the first sip of the punch whether and how spiked it was.

    Good for you, but so what?

  66. 66
    Nathaniel Frein

    And Nathaniel, no, I’ve never been at a social gathering where I didn’t realize how drunk I’d gotten until I tried to stand up. I knew how drunk I was, thought it was part of the fun. Wheee, aren’t I funny? That’s the point where I stopped drinking.

    Unless you’re waiting twenty minutes between drinks you will not have felt the full impact of your last drink. Further, it’s not hard to start adding more alcohol later. If I wanted to get you drunker than you wanted to be I’d simply wait two servings in to really boost the alcohol content.

    The peer pressure thing just didn’t work with me. If I had to drink something noxious to belong, well, I guess I’m just too used to not belonging.

    Adamo, I’m not going to go at length to explain to you how your comment about the punch was ridiculous. You’re welcome to go research dining-ins at your own leisure. I will point out that right after after you berated Ben for not fully reading your comment, you seem to have conveniently missed the point where I said the trainees deliberately “misunderstood” what they were doing and made a normal punch. Just a very strong one. And, broski? Don’t join the military if you don’t wanna drink the grog.

    And I can smell/taste the ethanol, and would know at the first sip of the punch whether and how spiked it was. Again, my decision to sip, gulp, or whatever.

    Ethanol? Really? Are you some kind of college puke who thinks that to make something strong you need everclear or bacardi 151? All you need, broski, is a smooth vodka or rum and a mixer that’s nicely tart/sweet and you can probably get something that’s easily double the strength of wine and a hell of a lot easier to drink.

    I think you’re a bloody idiot who’s been to a few parties with cheap drinkers who just threw everclear in the mix, or cheap college bars where “top shelf” means smirnoff. I have a strong suspicion you haven’t met someone who actually knows how to mix a drink.

  67. 67
    Ben Zvan

    All you need, broski, is a smooth vodka or rum

    Not to mention a large number of mostly flavorless drugs.

  68. 68
    Stephanie Zvan

    I think you’re a bloody idiot who’s been to a few parties with cheap drinkers who just threw everclear in the mix, or cheap college bars where “top shelf” means smirnoff. I have a strong suspicion you haven’t met someone who actually knows how to mix a drink.

    No, actually. Also not a “broski”. I think she’s wrong here, but that’s not why.

    Adamo, you might want to note that the discussion of being able to tell how much one is being given to drink started here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/01/19/rape-goggles/

  69. 69
    Nathaniel Frein

    My apologies on the gender assumption. I assumed “Adamo” meant “Adam O.” and was a masculine name. That was wrong.

  70. 70
    Ben Zvan

    Adamo: I understand that you’re trying to defend ciaphas from his own assertion that he’s an asshole and the rest of us from the assertion that we didn’t tell him he’s not an asshole. As he said in the original post, he offered the alcohol and he mixed her drinks stronger than his intentionally. That’s kind of an asshole move and I don’t blame him for thinking he was an asshole for doing it. But I think he’s learned from the experience and I don’t think he’s an asshole unless he decides to do it again.

    I think where you went wrong is that it most likely wasn’t her fault she got as drunk as she did.

  71. 71
    ischemgeek

    @Adamo, let me relate an anecdote.

    I went to a friend’s birthday party. I was between paychecks, but, “That’s fine,” said a friend of mine and her boyfriend. “We’ll spot you and you can just pay us back next week when you get paid.”

    “Okay,” said I.

    Her boyfriend asked what I wanted to drink, and I shrugged. “I don’t drink much. I don’t know.”

    “Vodka and orange juice is good,” my friend said.

    “Okay, I’ll have that.”

    I wasn’t an experienced enough drinker to be aware of how drunk I was, but I knew my pace was no more than one an hour. So I paced it. I had one. Waited an hour. Had another. Four over four hours. I was weaving. “Christ, I know I’m a lightweight, but I’ve never been this drunk with four drinks!” said I.

    Her boyfriend laughed. “I know. We thought it’d be funny to get you drunk – but you don’t drink much, so I had them make triples.”

    Triples.

    I’d had 12 drinks, not 4.

    I was with people I trusted. In a respectable bar. I couldn’t tell that what I was drinking was a triple because orange juice almost completely masks the alcohol taste. And they spiked my drink by telling me I was having singles when they were plying me with triples.

    I am lucky that all they wanted was to get me stupid drunk so they could have a laugh at my expense. But the fault wasn’t mine for not thinking that my friends were going to spike my drinks, but theirs for betraying my trust by spiking them.

    So spare me your self-righteous crap – dishonest, predatory people exist, and they function by masquerading as decent people. As friends.

  72. 72
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Adamo

    And Nathaniel, no, I’ve never been at a social gathering where I didn’t realize how drunk I’d gotten until I tried to stand up. I knew how drunk I was, thought it was part of the fun.

    Here’s an idea: Just accept that you’re the big exception to the rule.
    Especially mixed drinks are damn hard to judge and if they’re sweet you’re pretty likely to drink more alcohol than you taste.
    Also, there’s usually some alcohol still sitting in your stomach, so by the time you noticed that you had enough, you actually had too much. Took me (and I guess most people who enjoy drinking “enough”, but not “too much”) some years to figure out when to stop so the undigested alcohol would end up as “enough” in my system.
    And finally, have you ever heard of people dying of alcohol poisoning? That’s exactly what happens when they drink too much alcohol in too short a time for things like puking to kick in.

  73. 73
    Adamo

    Self righteous? Wow! I’m amazed at how everybody blames somebody/something else for getting drunk beyond sense when all I pointed out was that first drink was her own responsibility. She wanted to drown her sorrows. She chose to start. All the rest of you with your own “it wasn’t my fault because…” anecdotes had that first drink poured down your throats by “friends” rather than taking that first sip by your own hand? And I’m self-righteous?

    Really.

  74. 74
    Nathaniel Frein

    Wow! I’m amazed at how everybody blames somebody/something else for getting drunk beyond sense when all I pointed out was that first drink was her own responsibility.

    No, actually. You said

    Perhaps, but let’s not forget that he could pour but she had to cooperate by drinking past her tolerance.

    When the first drink is really the first three drinks because you trusted the mixer and the mixer abused that privilege, then no. It isn’t the drinker’s fault.

    When the drink mixer takes advantage of the fact that a person is already tipsy and starts making stronger drinks so that the person doesn’t realize how many drinks ze is drinking, then no. It isn’t the drinker’s fault.

  75. 75
    Nathaniel Frein

    Blaming someone for trusting the person mixing their drinks is like blaming a person for being in the alleyway where they got mugged or raped. It is victim-blaming, pure and simple.

    The only effective way to know how drunk you are is by paying attention to how much alcohol you’ve consumed. If you drink until you “feel” the right level of drunkenness, then you will get drunker before you start to sober up, because you don’t process all the alcohol right away. The only way paying attention to how much alcohol you’ve consumed works is by counting drinks. The only way that works is if the person serving your drinks is doing so honestly.

    That you talk about smelling “ethanol” says to me that your experience with strong mixed drinks is somebody using something harsh like bacardi 151 or everclear. I wonder if you’ve ever really met someone who knows how to mix a drink.

    The fact is it’s damned hard to tell the difference between a single shot and a double shot of gin in cranberry juice. And if you can mask gin in a the right substance, imagine what you can do with a smooth vodka or rum? Not even beer or wine is safe if you don’t see it being poured. A shot of vodka in wine or beer can be very hard to notice.

  76. 76
    ischemgeek

    Background: I was, at the time, a chemistry student. I am currently a chemist.

    There are few outside of brewery employees who would recognize the smell of ethanol faster than a chemist. It’s a common solvent – we use it a lot. I can tell the difference between ethanol, methanol, propanol, isopropanol, and butanol by smell alone. And I can still have my drink spiked because it’s not as easy as you say it is to smell the strength of a mixed drink. Especially if you’re not an experienced drinker.

    On the topic of agreeing to it when you accept a drink: Balderdash. By that logic, anyone who accepts a ride home consents to being abandoned in the middle of nowhere if the driver feels like being a jackass. No, when you consent to X thing specifically, you do not consent to being deceived and taken advantage of with X as a pretense.

    The argument from “responsibility” falls down from the same point: If I accept a drive somewhere, should I be charged for dangerous driving if the driver drives irresponsibly and causes an accident? Should I be equally culpable for the vehicular manslaughter charges if the driver kills someone? No. I’m not the driver – I’m not the one doing the wrong act. Same thing here. I’m not the one mixing the drinks, hence, I’m not responsible if someone else chooses to spike them. The person who spikes them is 100% responsible for spiking them. Any lesser assignment of blame is victim-blaming.

  77. 77
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Well done Stephanie Zvan & others.

    Thanks for making this positive difference. Thanks too ciaphas fro sharing your story and letting us know that difference is being made.

    Keep up the good fight, make the world better. Please.

  78. 78
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @76. ischemgeek :

    On the topic of agreeing to it when you accept a drink: Balderdash. By that logic, anyone who accepts a ride home consents to being abandoned in the middle of nowhere if the driver feels like being a jackass. No, when you consent to X thing specifically, you do not consent to being deceived and taken advantage of with X as a pretense.

    Yes. Not sure if this is legally true, suspect it is but I am NOT a lawyer but ethically at least it is. Offering someone a drink or offering them a ride home is a implied contract to do just that. Offer a drink not use a drug to take advantage of someone or leave them halfway in trouble. You break that implied contract by not doing what you offer and get agreed to – that’s wrong. That puts you in the wrong and makes you a douchebag.

    So <B.DON'T

    Think twice. Think about the other person. As a person. Be considerate, be kind.

    Is that really so hard to follow? Won’t it make the world so much better for everyone if tahtadvic ewas followed by all?

  1. 79
    Occasional Link Roundup » Brute Reason

    [...] Finally, if you only read one thing from this list, read this. A commenter at Stephanie’s explained the enormous difference she made in his life and in the [...]

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