Friends don't let friends walk home drunk — especially not young women and especially not on deserted city streets.
I am not blaming Imette St. Guillen's friends for what happened to her. She chose to stay out, to keep drinking and go to one more bar. But I am concerned when I hear that this beautiful girl and another one like her who disappeared in Aruba, could not be persuaded by their friends to just call it a night.
I was young and foolish once, too. I wasn't always a mom. But now I am and I do look at things differently. I remember staying out too late. I even remember closing a few bars — but with my friends. I hope with every bone in my body that my daughter will have friends like that when the time comes.
I was so struck by something I read in the Daily News today. A reporter, who by the way has done a great job covering the St. Guillen murder, put herself in Imette's shoes to write a story. She traced her steps from bar to bar at the same time of night.
The reporter, Veronika Belenkaya, who was a guest on my show today, had a chat with Darryl Littlejohn at The Falls. He was chatting her up and she said he seemed like a "good, honest" guy.
She was shocked to discover the next day that police were calling him the prime suspect in the murder. More shocked when he called her on her cell phone to tell her that police were stalking him.
She said she struck up a conversation at the bar with him much the way Imette probably did. That it was chilling to think that she could've ended up the same way: "Like her," Belenkaya writes in the Daily News, "I have gone out to bars like The Falls. Like her, I have parted ways with my friends and kept bar-hopping into the wee hours by myself."
I'm sorry, but that's crazy!
When I was their age, if one of my friends — or I — had too much to drink, we made sure that person made it home, safely. New York, or any city, can be a dangerous place for a young woman who's had too much to drink, to be wandering alone at 3:00 in the morning.
We all do stupid things now and then when we are finding our way in the world. But please let's not invite trouble. No one is to blame for what happened to Imette or Natalee, for that matter, but the people who hurt them. But young women need to use their heads.
Go home — call it a night. As my grandfather used to say (and I rolled my eyes, big-time), "Nothing good happens after midnight, Martie. Don't be the last dog to leave the party."
It was an expression — he wasn't (I don't think!) calling me a dog.
So today the American Medical Association released the results of a survey.
Eighty-three percent of college women and graduates surveyed by the AMA said spring break involves heavier-than-usual drinking, and 74 percent said the break results in increased sexual activity.
Have fun girls. But look out for your friends. And you know — don't be the last dog...
See you tomorrow.
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