The Secret Service scandal doesn't surprise me, having had my own sketchy hookup with an agent.
When news of the Secret Service sex scandal broke in 2012, many were shocked that men assigned to protect our nation's leaders would behave as anything but complete gentlemen. But I wasn't surprised. I, too, had hooked up with a Secret Service agent once upon a time—and it was also sketchy.
It was early fall 2005. I was a recently-turned 24-year-old who had just moved back to Arlington, Virginia, after a bad breakup with a dashing Australian. Since my return, I had fallen into the habit of going out. A lot. And getting very drunk. And often playing quite the tease. I would see how many drinks I could get a man to buy me and my friends… and then see how fast I could slip away before he noticed.
I was, I guess, into using men. Not for sex, but for a laugh, a drink, or—in the case of the Secret Service agent—a free ride home.
It was closing time at The Reef in Adams Morgan and my three girlfriends and I were, well, wasted. As is usually the case, the young, drunk girls were not alone at closing time. We had attracted the attention of several men, one of whom we learned lived in Arlington.
His looks were forgettable. 28, maybe? 30? He was a solid rectangle of a man with short, dark hair on a square head. Tall, but not too tall. Dressed in slacks and a button down shirt, I remember him now only as a blur of black, white and beige.
"Would you like to share a taxi over the bridge?" he asked.
He lived conveniently close to my parents' house, on one of those hidden suburban Northern Virginia side streets. We could always just jump and run once we got close, I thought.
"You can just drop me off at the corner and take the cab," he said. It was a deal.
Only the cab never stopped at that corner, a fact that we failed to notice until we had pulled up to his house.
"C'mon girls, out. Who wants pizza? Let's sober up for a bit and I'll drive you back myself."
My friends, especially the one who had a boyfriend, were hesitant. Yet we were young, dumb and drunk, and the momentary promise of pizza and a clean bathroom lured us inside. Speaking only for myself, I can say that what also took me inside, and what also had been fueling my recent string of devil-may-care debauchery, was an adolescent-like determination to act out against the boyfriend I had just left. He had been so controlling in our relationship—what I should wear, what I should eat—that I was now taking every opportunity to spite him.
So we went inside. It was a large, multi-bedroom house in a wealthy neighborhood home to high-ranking bureaucrats, lawyers and lobbyists, and we wondered aloud how he could afford such a place.
"Well," he said. "I have a decent job that requires me to be close to the city. Do you want to know what that is? I'm a Secret Service agent." He poured us something nondescript to drink.
"You said there would be pizza," my friend-with-a-boyfriend chimed in. "And if I drink any more alcohol I'm going to puke all over your floor."
As natives, we were hard to impress.
We had long since grown used to the whir of Marine One helicopters down the Potomac, and politicians were a dime a dozen in this town anyway. He sensed that and continued on. "And I don't live alone. I have roommates. We're all agents. They'll be home soon. They'd love to meet you."
It's not that we didn't believe him. We didn't doubt him for a minute. Everything about him and his existence in the spartanly furnished house seemed to come from a primer on how to live like a Secret Service guy in the D.C. suburbs. It's just that we didn't care. Especially at that point, when the room began spinning.
I remember one friend passed out on the couch in his living room. Another friend ending up in a spare bedroom asleep. The other nervously paced in the kitchen, watching the pizza cook as she texted her boyfriend.
I ended up in the bathroom; first in front of the toilet, and then in the bathtub. Fully dressed, I turned on the faucet and started a bath. I fell asleep. I awoke when I heard the door unlock.
He had been making the rounds, trying to make it with each one of us but deterred by threats of vomit or angry boyfriends or lack of consciousness.
It was my turn. He sat down on the side of the bathtub, dipped his hand in and began touching me. I was so drunk that I remember watching him slip his fingers inside of me and thinking it was funny—not violating. Luckily, my three friends burst in soon after to drag me from the bathtub, out of his house and into one loyal boyfriend's 1994 Toyota Corolla.
For years I used to incorporate that evening into bragging rights about the men in uniform I had hooked up with. I would start off with the lowest of the low—the Coast Guard—and work my way up to the firefighter.
"Now what would top a firefighter?" I would ask my audience. "Well, I don't know if I can technically count him since we went directly to third base, but—" and I would pause for dramatic effect, "I was fingered by a Secret Service agent in his bathtub."
The thing is, when my 30-year-old self looks back on the reality of the situation, there was nothing brag-worthy about it.
The myth of the Secret Service agent as honorable and valiant certainly doesn't extend into their sex lives, at least in this particular case. Granted, my performance that night wouldn't win me any medals either; I know that.
When the lights go down in Washington, D.C., the leaders and their protectors allow for a little wiggle room in that perfectly cast mold we've come to know as The Establishment. It's a reality that locals are familiar with, and that audiences around the world are being reminded of this week.