Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Girl Code.

with Jada, one of my med school best friends, 2014

Every now and then I get a little crazy
That's not the way it's supposed to be
Sometimes my vision is a little hazy
I can't tell who I should trust 
or just who I let trust me, yeah

~ from TLC "What About Your Friends?"

I was talking to my student advisees today about this recent incident that has been circulating on social media and in the news. A resident physician at a hospital in Florida was caught on film after a few too many drinks verbally and physically assaulting an Uber driver. Let me tell you--it was no bueno.

Unh uh. 

Apparently, the dude who'd called (and paid for) the Uber car took out his smart phone and videorecorded her after she jumped into the car demanding it was for her. When the driver didn't oblige, she launched into a drunken tirade and even leaped into the passenger seat when the driver was trying to get away. She threw his phone in the street and called him, as the patients at Grady say, "everything but a child of God." Ha. The video went viral and the resident has since been placed on some kind of probation until the school decides how bad it all is.


My students wanted to know my thoughts and feelings about all of this. They wondered if I thought this young woman should be expelled from her program or simply given a firm tongue lashing. Just how appalled was I? They wanted to know.

And so. I thought about it. And then I told them.

So here's the thing. Inebriated people do some really stupid things. And unfortunately, she did her stupid thing in 2016 when it's as easy as 1-2-3 to spread it to every continent in less than an hour. Honestly, I'm not so sure that this, though worrisome, is what concerned me the most. I suppose one might gather that a person who acts this ugly once given the EtOH truth serum might be ugly deep down inside. But then, who am I to make that call? Lastly, she was physically abusive. This is probably the thing that will be the most damaging in terms of her future as a resident in that Neurology program. Assaulting someone in the street and having it captured on film is not, to again quote my patients, "a good look."


But surprisingly, none of the aforementioned things are what niggles at me the most when it comes to this. Instead, I'm most bothered by the fact that this drunken young female physician was allowed to make a fool of herself (and her family and her medical school and her hospital) for nearly five full minutes. And nobody did anything to stop her.

Let me clarify what I'm saying.

I cannot imagine that this young woman went somewhere and got this drunk alone. There's no way. Surely she was out with friends or, at least, acquaintances and had a few too many. And whomever those people were, had to see her leave. They waved goodbye and bid her a drunk-ass adieu. As drunk as she was, she certainly didn't stroll right out. Without question, this woman staggered and bumped into probably four or five people and tables before making her way to the door. And even if all of her people had left her earlier, surely there was somebody, anybody in that bar or club or whatever that noticed how drunk she was. Even a stranger should have been bothered by the sight if you ask me.


But then, as she stood out there yelling and embarrassing herself, I wondered who else was there? Where were her girls? Or better yet, where were any women? All women know that there is a girl code that states that we aren't supposed to let slips hang from dresses, panties show in low slung pants, menstrual accidents go unnoticed, and hair to get splashed with vomit. And, sure, most of the girl code gets called into action when one is on the younger end but even still. The girl code is the girl code.

Several years ago, I was in New Orleans with friends walking down Bourbon Street. I was big and pregnant with Isaiah and had just enjoyed a delicious meal. We all heard this commotion and saw a crowd of about 15 people standing around something. We assumed someone was playing an instrument or dancing, considering this was New Orleans. But it wasn't that.


What it was instead was a very, very drunk young woman on her knees doing the unthinkable to a slightly less drunk college-aged kid right then, right there in on that sidewalk. While a crowd hooped, hollered and snapped photos. It was horrible.

There were other girls there. They appeared to even know her and were acting incredulous with their hands to their mouths saying things like "OMG" and "Holy shit!" But they weren't doing anything. Like, at all.

Without batting a lash, my thirty-something year-old girlfriends all began screaming at her to stop it. We grabbed her under the arm and broke the whole thing up. And just like that, the cameras went away. I remember yelling out repeatedly, "What would your mother say? What would your father say? Get up!"

Well, actually I don't remember saying that. I just know my friends always tease me about that being my choice of words. But my point is that the girl code kicked in for all of us even though we didn't know her. We knew that no girl should let another girl be in that predicament and just stand by. So we didn't.

So, I guess my thought on the girl with the Uber goes to this. What the hell happened to the girl code? How on earth did this woman manage to do all of this out on South Beach or even leave any place alone and that drunk in the first place?

And sure. She should be responsible for her actions, yes. I mean, the child was thirty years old and a physician. But I just hate the thought of there being no girl code--or even guy code--anymore. I know for sure that, at some point in my life, I've been redirected or saved by it.

Maybe not to this degree, but surely at some point.

I ended that discussion by telling my students what I always tell them:

"Look. Don't embarrass me."

But this time I added something else:

"And also don't let anybody else here embarrass me or themselves on your watch. You got that?"

You know what? I think they did.

with Jada at our Med school banquet, 1996

I don't know what's going to happen with that young woman. I don't. But what I do know is that somebody, somewhere probably should have intervened--even if it wasn't any of their business. Because enacting the girl code rarely is about minding our own business. In fact, most times, it calls for the exact opposite.


Happy Hump Day

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .a song about the Girl Code.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you entirely about intervening but as we all know, trying to calm down and talk sense to someone who passed the line of rationality a good few drinks ago is not easily calmed down or ready to hear sense. If the woman had had a posse of girls with her- yes, maybe. I don't know the details.
    Very sad all the way around.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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