My Knotty Relationship with Alcohol and Consent

Social Commentary

My Knotty Relationship with Alcohol and Consent

Illustration: Akshita Monga


friend was telling me, with barely concealed outrage, of what had happened with his friend on a date. “They were both drunk, and he went down on her. She had passed out by then.” The girl woke up in the middle of the encounter, collected her belongings, and left. She complained to the university authorities the next morning and the boy was expelled.

My friend sounded defensive. He argued that this was not rape. He said that the couple was inebriated, they were making out, and one thing led to another. As he was narrating the incident, I couldn’t help but think of Amy Schumer in her recently released stand-up act The Leather Special, in which she recalls, with her trademark, nonchalant sarcasm, a similar experience of blacking out and subsequently waking up with a stranger between her legs. “I was like, OK. I decided to tap him gently, so as not to startle him. ‘Sir?’”