All I can say is I didn't quite expect it.
I've had a guy friend for a few years now. I'll be using the term "friend" quite loosely because it's not like we hang out or even talk all the time, and I'm not sure if he would be the type of guy I'd otherwise befriend if it weren't for the circumstances. He is in the same class as me, and as my class is quite small, it's only natural that we've ended up talking and getting to know each other. We've also hung out outside of school, but always with the other people in my class. We're not so buddy-buddy that I'd like to hang out with him one on one.
He's a pretty nice dude. A bit nerdy. Somewhat shy and quiet. He's not exactly the biggest clown or anything, but he does have a funny side and is able to crack a joke every now and then. Let's call him C.
Last weekend, another friend of mine (who is much closer to me than C is), had a birthday party. Let's call her E. The plan was that everyone (some of E's personal friends as well as people from our class) would first gather at her house and have a pre-party. Then, around midnight, we would all go to a club where E had made reservations for us. Just a couple of couches, nothing fancy or anything. I was working a lot that day, so I couldn't make it to the pre-party, but I did make it to the bar. This is where it all happened.
I didn't see much of E that night, since she was a bit all over the place and mostly wanted to hang out with her personal friends, which I understand because she sees us a lot at school. That was ok with me, because I had my other girl friend and classmate with me there, J. She's probably one of my best friends. The two of us and C naturally ended up hanging out together, because we didn't really know any of E's personal friends.
J and C got a few drinks, and then we sat down on one of the reserved couches. Me in the middle, J to my left and C to my right. Both J and him were already a bit tipsy from before, but J decided to take it easy. She calmly sipped on her shot and drink, whereas C pretty much downed all of his and also had a lot of vodka. He became noticeably drunk after a very short while. And because of that, he also became a bit more touchy with me.
At first I didn't really think much about it, or even notice it. This wasn't exactly my first time hanging around drunk people, and even though I've never drank myself, I know that becoming touchy is one of the side-effects of being drunk. Also, it was a natural part of our conversation when it first started happening. So for instance, when someone got their phone out and started snapping pics of everyone, he would put his head close to mine and make a goofy face. Or he'd lightly punch my arm if I said something funny. Very basic stuff.
What made me really uncomfortable, though, was when it started to feel unnatural, and like it wasn't just a part of our conversation anymore. Suddenly he'd put his entire arm around me, and for no reason. He would randomly start caressing my thigh and my knee, even if we weren't talking at that moment. And this happened only minutes after we'd talked about the fact that everything is going well between my boyfriend and I, and that C has also found a girl now and that they've decided to not see anyone else.
The otherwise nerdy, shy and somewhat reserved/quiet guy was suddenly loud and obnoxious, but most importantly, extremely handsy.
He would also occasionally grab my neck. This, accompanied with the frequent thigh grabbing/caressing, started making me feel very anxious. If he had been a stranger, I'd have had no problem telling him to fuck right off and to stop touching me. But he was my friend. I kept making excuses in my head that he was just drunk. But it was so unlike him. And the more he touched more "intimate" areas like my thigh or neck, the more nauseous I became. I kept thinking that if someone who doesn't know us were to look at us, they would think we were together, or that we have a "thing". It wasn't just friendly touching anymore, it felt like he was claiming me as his by putting his arm around me and by having his hand move up and down my leg.
J also started noticing how handsy C was, and looked a bit concerned. We'd been talking about maybe moving to the dance floor once a good song comes on, but I was running out of mental excuses for C and just wanted to get away. So I quickly got up and told J that I wanted to dance. Unfortunately, C followed with us.
Earlier, J had joked about how you should always move to the middle of the dance floor if you're a bad dancer, because there's not a lot of room to move around and people outside the dance floor won't see you. Apparently this had stuck in C's mind, because he started grabbing our necks and quite forcefully pushing us towards the middle. Since I had wanted to escape, this wasn't exactly the ideal situation. Luckily the touching stopped on the dance floor and it's not like he tried grinding on me or anything, but just his presence made me uncomfortable at this point, and I felt like I couldn't enjoy myself anymore. So after maybe 10 minutes of dancing, I grabbed J's hand and started moving away from the dance floor. I don't think C noticed at first, because he didn't follow us.
We sat down on one of the reserved couches and I just told her that I couldn't deal with this anymore. I'd worked two shifts that day so I was already very tired, and I'd told myself that I'd hang out for at the very least an hour. That hour was almost up, and with C making me progressively uncomfortable, I just felt like there was no reason for me to stay anymore. I asked J if he had been like that with her at the pre-party, and she said no. This worried me, because a couple of years ago, C had made it somewhat obvious to me that he was interested in me. And now I was worried that maybe some feelings were bubbling up inside him because of the alcohol, even though he has apparently found someone else. The thought of that made me even more anxious, and I was already feeling a bit guilty for not being brave enough to tell him to just stop. I felt like because I sort of froze in the situation, I'd almost disrespected my current relationship and my boyfriend. I felt guilty, even though I hadn't done anything wrong.
I went up to E, told her to have a really happy birthday and to keep partying, but that I had to leave. She got a bit sad since we had barely had any time to talk, but she understood that I was tired from working. She had not noticed the situation with C.
But as a cherry on top of this already messy night, while I was getting ready to leave and talking to J close to the bar, I could see from the corner of my eye how two guys walked unnecessarily close to me. J's face dropped and she just gave them a death stare as they walked past. I asked her what the fuck happened, and she said that one of the guys had stopped for a split second to sniff my hair. Sniff my hair! Awesome! I didn't get any eye contact with the guy who actually did it, but I did get it with his friend. I just looked at him like "fucking really? That's the kind of guy you like hanging out with?".
While I was walking home, I tried calling my boyfriend to tell him what had happened. He didn't answer, so I just told him the next day. He was just sad that it had happened and said that guys at clubs suck.
I woke up to a couple of sound messages from my friend J. Apparently once I had left, C started touching her as well in the same way. Once they had left the club and were outside, he kept trying to hug her and asked her if she could warm him up since it was cold. She had just awkwardly laughed and told him no. She told me that the whole thing was bizarre, because one second he was telling her how awesome it was to finally have a girlfriend, but the next he'd touch her inappropriately and try to force her to hug him.
I was torn. I didn't know what to say. On one hand, I knew that he had been drunk and that it was very unlike him to behave like that. On the other hand, I wanted to tell him that he had crossed a line and that he should be more careful. I spent a good chunk of that Sunday talking to J about what had happened.
On Monday I didn't have any school and decided to meet up with another friend, S. S thought that I definitely should tell him. C had also sent me a text and asked about homework, so it was clear that either he was pretending nothing had happened, or he genuinely didn't know he had crossed a line. With the help of S, I started writing out a text to C.
I've been thinking about something. At E's party you got a bit too close, and I think it was because you had quite a lot to drink, but I still want to let you know that I don't think it was ok. Like how you put your arm around me several times, and caressed my leg and my neck. I didn't really want to say something then because of the circumstances. But it was just too much, and I think you crossed a line, especially considering that I have a boyfriend and it seems like you have a girlfriend now, too. I think everything is still ok between us, but I just thought I'd let you know so that you're more self-aware the next time you decide to drink...
I also think a part of me had a difficult time sending that message because I didn't know how he would react. What if he would suddenly start blaming me, or the alcohol. What if he'd end up saying something stupid like "you should have told me to stop" or "I thought you liked it", when he was the one who shouldn't even have touched me like that in the first place. I didn't want this one incident to completely ruin things between us and make things awkward, especially considering that him and I still have a class together, so it's not like I can run away from him.
Luckily, he took it well. He apologized for his behavior and said that he honestly doesn't even remember much from that night, but that the fact that he was drinking was no excuse. He said he was sorry and that he felt like an idiot. A weight was lifted from my shoulders. This was the C I knew, not the drunk idiot I saw at the club that night who kept making us uncomfortable with his physical advances. And when we saw each other in class, he wanted to pull me aside to apologize once more face to face. I smiled and said that it's totally fine, water under the bridge. Knowing that he felt awful about it and was now going to be more careful was "punishment" enough. Because if it hadn't been me, some other girl might not have been so kind with him. He also decided to apologize to J on his own accord, even though I hadn't mentioned her and she had decided to not bring it up with him.
All in all, I think this was perfectly handled. Although I could have told him to stop at the club, I'm not sure he would have gotten the message, seeing as how drunk he was and how he barely remembered any of it afterwards. It probably wouldn't have had the same effect as the message did, that he could read when he was sober. I also think he handled things perfectly. Not only did he actually say sorry, but he took responsibility for his actions despite being drunk, made sure to apologize once more face to face and also apologize to J. That's how an actual good guy behaves.
So, that was how I handled things when my guy friend crossed a line. I think this is a good lesson for all of us, not just in damage control but also in terms of taking responsibility and handling things like adults.
Thanks for reading!