I shouldn’t have.
After going through the swiping process and chatting a bit, we made a date. We met at a bar in my town and found a booth. While I normally prefer sitting at the bar during a first date – at least the “let’s get drinks and see how this goes before we actually call it a date” kind of date – there were no seats available. Our booth was a cozy L-shape in the corner near the door; much too close for my comfort with a stranger. At least there was an escape route…
We went through the normal chatting, albeit it was awkward and a bit strained going through the “what do you do for work” and “what do you like to do in your free time” topics. I topped off my first drink fairly quickly (nothing like some liquid courage to make chit chat more interesting, right?) Upon ordering my second drink, I also asked for water. At this point my date said, “Why water? Don’t you want to get drunk?”
With a statement like that on the record, I was starting to feel not ok with this guy. He continually kept leaning in to me and placed his face inches from mine. One may say he was trying to hear me better, but the bar was not nearly loud enough for that. As someone who really hates her space being invaded, I continued to put up more defenses.
When asking me if I lived close enough to walk to the bar, he snaked his arm around my waist. Being the paranoid person I am, I immediately assumed he was thinking this date would end in him coming home with me. And when he leaned over and asked me to hug him in the middle of conversation, I knew I had to get out of there.
I texted a friend, alerting her I’d need some date backup and confirmed she’d be able to answer her phone quickly. After brushing this guy away from me again and removing his arm from around my waist, I told him I’m wasn’t comfortable and that I wanted to go. Naturally, it took forever to flag down our waitress and we sat in awkward silence for a few minutes. After getting the tab, he asks me if I know the address to a particular bar in Boston (clearly heading somewhere else to find action after finding this shop closed). For the record, I kindly offered to Google it for him.
All I wanted to do was run out and get to my car. I had learned we parked in the same public lot about a block down the street during our earlier conversation. Walking outside, I immediately diaedl my friend and we chatted. About nonsense. Because I needed a phone witness. Just in case.
Most people would take the social cue that if the girl is on the phone, she’s done with you. Not this guy. He continued to keep pace with me walking to the lot. I slowed, he slowed. I moved faster, he kept up. It was a lot of willpower to not just sprint back to my car. As we cross the street, together still, I continue to chat with my friend and merely wave a goodbye as I scurried to my car. There aren’t many instances I’ve started my car, thrown it in reverse and hightailed it out of a parking lot as fast as I did that night.
Maybe I was being paranoid. Maybe he was a perfectly nice but overly affectionate guy. Maybe he really was a creep who was looking for a first date hookup. Maybe I wasn’t going to be murdered in the dark. But I sure felt like no good would come from this.
And then I ended the Tinder experiment.