Before I begin, I want to make clear that apart from this one time, I would never get up and leave without good reason. Even most recently when one of my colleagues went to the trouble of organising a night at the opera, everyone else bailed during various stages of the performance, but I stayed for the duration. When my colleague asked if I would go too, I simply told him that although it was an awful play giving me a migraine, I wasn’t abandoning him.
Anyone that has been on an internet date can relate to the issues that arise when meeting a stranger for the first time. This goes back years ago, I was 20, and had joined match.com. At that point, I was incredibly shy, never had a boyfriend before. My profile had respectable photos of me, and I made the effort of writing more than a few lines.
This man sends me a message, we communicate back and forth (nothing remotely suggestive), and eventually plan to meet up. It transpired that we lived two streets away from each other, so we met at a pub mid-way between us. I don’t drink alcohol, but he offers to buy me an orange juice, we sit and chat. At first he appears charming, confident, chatty, the complete opposite to me at that age. He proceeds to drink a few beers. Then randomly the conversation takes a turn. Him: “Drink up, let’s go back to mine.” Me (nervous): “I think that’s far too soon, I don’t know you at all.” Him: “If you don’t come back, don’t expect a second date.”
Wow! What an arrogant, obnoxious twat. I calmly got up, took £10 out of my purse and put it on the table (I didn’t want to “owe” him anything). I walked out. Funny thing was, he tried to contact me again, but his attempts were ignored.
Even a few years ago, he sent me a message, I didn’t even read it. Despite all those years that had passed, first impressions count, and my memory hadn’t forgotten him.
There’s a twist to the story, which was to make my skin crawl.
Four years ago, I was reading the newspaper, there was an article on him. He had been convicted of raping women (spanning years – one brave woman who he assaulted came forward, others were too scared initially, but then followed suit) and was jailed for life. It came as a shock, because this guy had it all, a lifestyle most would envy. A banker, earning six figures, his own home in a nice area. Yet, he had a dark side, controlling women to think they were beneath him.
I honestly didn’t think he was capable of that, but why would I? Despite the naivety of my youth, thank god, I didn’t drink alcohol, and had enough self-respect to instinctively walk away when someone spoke to me like he was in charge.
Be careful of meeting strangers, always tell a friend whom you’re meeting, and don’t get yourself drunk that you’re in a vulnerable position. I read recently that a teacher was murdered last year by their match date!