What are my two biggest fears? Like, more than anything, what am I afraid of?
Well, and maybe tampons. But that’s not so much a fear. That’s more of just me throwing up, out of disgust.
I am not afraid of flying. I am not afraid of public speaking. I am not even afraid of death.
However, I am afraid of rape and tornadoes. And up until last week, I was hoping my fears were irrational.
Thursday night, I was at work very late, completing some tasks that I had to be there after hours to perform. The sales staff was still there since we stay open until 9pm on Thursday evenings. I really don’t like to be here alone (because I am afraid someone will come in and rape me), so when everyone was ready to go, I left as well.
Hey, Meredith. We’re going to Trotters to have a few. Want to tag along?
So off I went to Trotters Bar with four other managers.
Trotters had some dude on stage who sounded more like a cat being ran over with a car, than a rock star. After our ears bled for a beer or two, we headed over to another local hole in the wall, Center Court Lounge.
I have never, in my life, been inside Center Court Lounge. The place is a total dump. Which is fine, because that just means the Absolut vodka and Sugar Free Red Bulls (I switched from beer at this point) would be cheaper. As in, they were $3 each. Boom.
I like dive bars. I actually prefer them to super pretentious places that charge $15 for a well vodka. And the crowd at the dive bar is typically friendlier than the crowd at the pretentious bar. And the bartenders at the dive bars tend to be more my style than someone giving me a wine presentation.
After some more drinks, I had to pee. Any woman, who has pushed three children out of her tiny cookie, can tell you… when you have to break that seal, you’d better find a bathroom fast. Like, now.
Of course, the bathrooms were just one stall each, and five women were in line for the ladies room. I chatted it up to the woman in front of me.
Oh no! I am going to peeeeee my pants! I’ve waited way too long to break the seal. I have given birth to three kids, and I do kegels all the time, but I have about zero bladder control. It’s terrible! Like, sometimes, when I sneeze or laugh too hard, I pee a little. Like an excited dog. I pee like an excited dog. ALL THE TIME.
That’s a lot of information.
I know, I am an over-sharer. Sorry.
Just use the men’s room. I will watch the door.
Really? Thank you! Thank you so much!
That was the first mistake. Besides the fact that a men’s restroom is totally disgusting, going in there while drinking is just a terrible idea. You draw attention to yourself. So even though I locked the door, and no one could physically come into the restroom, I was in the men’s room, alone, hoping that someone was watching the door outside.
The second mistake made was the line suddenly disappeared for the women’s room (or that lady just forgot about watching the door). When I opened the door to go back to my group of friends, I was grabbed by some guy in a leather USA jacket, who had rotting teeth, and was stumbling around.
Scary-USA-Guy pulled me out of the bathroom by the arm and onto the patio (which is right next to the restrooms). He then shut the patio door.
The patio was closed in. You can tell it was added as an afterthought, back when Ohio went smoke-free in bars and restaurants. This means, there are no windows.
So Scary-USA-Guy closed the door, and on the patio were two of his equally scary looking friends.
Do you know what we do to bad girls who use the men’s room? We treat you like a bad girl.
*the three friends begin to laugh*
I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed.
It was like one of those slow motion dreams, and you’re trying to scream or run, but you can’t. You are stuck. Yeah, that’s what my body did in that moment.
I was stuck.
Are you a bad girl? Do we need to treat you like a bad girl?
*he was still holding my arm tightly*
Again, nothing from me. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I was terrified stiff.
I was, for sure, about be gang-banged by these three men. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. Call it women’s intuition, call it every hair standing up on my arms, call it what you will… I was getting raped. Right there, on that patio, with four of my friends inside that bar and thinking I was still in line for the bathroom, I was getting raped.
And just like that, one of my friends pushed open that patio door and pulled me back inside the bar. He asked them what was going on, told them this wasn’t going to happen, and took me back inside.
The three men left.
I’m forever grateful to him. He saved me from getting raped. And he saved me when I was doing nothing but standing there shaking.
You’re shaking like a leaf! You’re okay now. You’re okay.
Did you see that?! Did you see what just happened?! I think they were going to gang-bang me or something! I have never been so scared in my whole life!
I know! They were! I am so happy I went looking for you!
So here’s my advice for you, ladies. Never, ever, ever… under any circumstances, you never go to the bathroom alone. I don’t care if people think it’s weird for women to use the restroom in groups. I don’t care if they think your boyfriend is whipped for standing by the door to wait for you. You never put yourself in a situation where you are away from your friends at a bar. It feels like common sense, but if you are out and feel secure, sometimes common sense flies out the window.
You make certain someone is with you at all times. I cannot stress this enough.
I am still shaking like a leaf as I type this.
I almost got raped. And this makes me more scared of people than ever.