Remember how I said, “Paris is always a good idea?” I want to take that back.
That’s because my very first night in Paris, I got roofied. Thanks, Paris. Right back atcha.
Here’s what happened:
My plane touched down at Paris Orly at 2:45, and D. was waiting for me right outside the baggage claim. We did the high-pitched squeal thing and then took a bus into the city to the 17th arondissement (that’s neighborhood for you non-Francophiles) where she lives.
Her adorable little apartment is on an adorable little street that is just so French. I made D. watch the opening sequence of Beauty and the Beast with me, where all the French people are popping out of windows singing “Bonjour!” I wanted to fling open the windows and yell “Bonjour!” to the people walking the cobblestones below me, visiting the boulangerie (bakery), the bucherie (butcher), poissonerie (fishmonger), patisserie (pastry shop), flower stand and all the other little shops lining the street.
I bought a pretty orange purse from a stand. I attempted to negotiate but the guy pretended he didn’t hear me and I chickened out. Then I got apples from the organic store (they call organic “bio” here, FYI) and we popped into the wine store, where a kindly merchant suggested some red wines for us, then wrapped them lovingly in tissue paper, writing the price in their strange French characters–the one looks like a seven–plus directions on how long we should let the wine breathe. Adorable.
We took a delicious four-hour nap before rousing at 10 to prettify ourselves. We ordered the NYC box of sushi from Sushi Shop. Isn’t it awesome looking? Life was good.
And then it all went downhill.
We took the metro to the Champs Elysee, and walked down a little street to a nice bar D. had been to before. I guess the bouncer saw us coming, because he immediately said when we walked up, “Desolée, c’est fermé.” (Sorry, it’s closed.)
“Really?” D. asked in French. He nodded as he held the door open for a pretty girl to go inside. “Come back tomorrow,” he told D.
I gave him a dirty look before we turned to leave. Next we tried the club Matignon, where the bouncer looked us up and down and consulted with a haughty girl with a clipboard. She gave her approval and we were in!
Wow, there were a lot of pretty people in there. And they alllll had bottle service. Except for us. The upside was that we didn’t have to elbow our way to the bar. The downside was that we spent 20 each on a glass of champagne.
The music was awful. The DJ would lay into a really good track with bass, tantalizing us before switching it off in the middle and putting on Killing Me Softly and We Will Rock You. Seriously?? Of course no one was dancing. After finishing our champagne, we were still way too sober to deal with this situation. So we knocked back one shot at the bar, and ordered a couple mixed drinks. I didn’t even finish a quarter of mine, because I soberly spilled it in the bathroom.
So at this point, I had two drinks in my system of the course of an hour. I felt completely sober. D. and I were talking to a couple nice guys when two other guys walked up to us, introduced themselves and then asked us to hang out with them at their table. Yes, please!
Later, we would recognize how weird that was. But at the time we were grateful to finally partake in the bottle service, instead of awkwardly standing around, not dancing.
One guy was Egyptian, as was his female friend at the table. I asked her what she thought about the political situation there, but she shushed me. “I don’t want to talk about that right now. Ask me over brunch.” The other guy was from Miami. The guys poured D. and I a drink from a bottle of Belvedere.
D. took a sip and then leaned in to shout in my ear over the music, “This doesn’t taste like vodka. What if something is in it?”
“Nah, it’s fine,” I told her. “It’s probably just the club jerking us around and watering it down.”
Famous last words. It could have been the vodka, or it could have been the energy drink one of the guys poured in it. But twenty minutes later I found myself barely able to stand. Well, I thought twenty minutes later. I blacked out for a period of probably hour, during which I made out with one of the guys and danced on the bench seat. I don’t remember any of it. Apparently the guys kept trying to get us to go back to their apartment with them, but D. ran interference on that idea. My blackout eased to a brownout when I started walking to the bathroom, and fell sideways into a table. I righted myself with effort, and somehow got myself down to the bathroom and inside, where I vomited. A lot.
When I came out, an employee pointed to the bathroom, which had vomit all over it and said something in French about it. I shook my head. “I didn’t do that,” I told her, and dragged myself upstairs where I sat down and waited for D. to find me. I couldn’t even find the energy to go back to the table. I couldn’t stand up! I don’t know how long I sat there, but I finally realized I would have to find her. I stood up and walked somewhere, I don’t remember where, and found her. Oh my God, I found her.
That’s the last thing I remember. Somehow, we found a cab, and we got back to her place. D. said that we got out of the cab, she went to unlock her door and when she turned around I was standing in the middle of the street, and then just fell sideways. Just bit it.
She also told me that she had to undress me and put me in pajamas. She made rice for me, but I passed out. Fifteen minutes later, the roofies hit her, and she was in the bathroom too, petrified.
She attempted to text her boyfriend, but couldn’t string together letters in the correct sequence, even though she was really trying.
The mariachi band outside her window woke me up this morning. “D.! Why is there a mariachi band outside your window?” I whined. I looked down at D.’s t-shirt and boxers and remembered. I was so embarrassed. How could I get that drunk? I wondered. I haven’t done that since my freshman year of college! What an amateur move. When D. suggested it was roofies, I poo pood the idea. But when we started thinking back over the night, over the three drinks I had and the sudden onset of my inability to stand, we realized what happened.
I managed to navigate the stairs in her apartment to buy a baguette and we devoured it, thanking our lucky stars that the roofies didn’t hit D. until we were back in the apartment. What would have happened? I don’t want to think about it.
We went to lunch with a friend from college today, and ran into a French friend of D.’s. When we told her what happened, she shrugged, ashing her cigarette. “Oh yeah, that’s happened to me too,” she said in French. “It happens all the time.”
I don’t even understand roofies. Why would you want to hang out with a girl who is vomiting everywhere? That’s what roofies do! It’s so cowardly in so many different ways.
I guess I had just gotten too complacent about being safe when I’m out. What was I thinking? I wasn’t. At least we got home safe. But people have been instant messaging me, asking things like “OMG, are you having just the best time?” Actually, no. I’ve been sleeping, rejected at a bar, vomiting and then trying to recover from a massive hangover.
Hopefully that was the low point. Tomorrow I’m going to go to some musées, eat delicious food, and go to good bars where I’m going to keep an eagle eye on my drink.
There are many things I love about France. The fact that I could get a warm baguette this morning from a boulangerie five feet from D.’s door, the long dinners over wine had at a table on the sidewalk, the way the Eiffel Tower twinkles every hour on the hour. But things I don’t like are piling up: the constant smoking, the matter-of-fact racism, and the absence of peanut butter are some of them.
Now I’m adding roofies to the list.