A Lucky Escape From A ‘Seafood Dinner’

This could be part of my series of midlife dating adventures, but this one is quite a lot more somber. Unlike Octopus Ian or Simple Simon, this guy certainly had evil intentions and my personal safety was at risk.

I’ll start at the beginning because all stories need some context and flavour, but if you want the take-home message this is it: if you are a woman, NEVER let yourself be talked into something that just feels wrong.

James (yes, that’s his real name, if you can believe anything he said) messaged me on Plenty of Fish two weeks ago.

We had some back and forth via four longish, detailed messages. If I hadn’t deleted them last night I could have inserted them here – but just use your imagination for a second.
His profile painted a picture in words and images of a successful, busy and affluent businessman (his words), who has high standards and a lot to offer, including sensuality, quality morals and cooking skills.

His messages to me elaborated and reinforced that he was looking for that special someone and he had a strong impression that I was her. I told him my two disclaimers – I have teens at home and I’m not footloose and fancy free (as he stated he was). And I wasn’t interested in sport.

I seemed to have passed the test because after messaging across only two evenings, he asked to take me out to dinner. He was very specific about the time, date and location. He said it was his treat. I said I couldn’t do his first suggested evening, so we agreed on a Thursday at 6.30pm. I saw him online only a couple of other times so he genuinely did seem to be busy working and earning his squillions.

He’d explained that the reason he wanted to meet rather than chat via text or POF is because he would rather look into my eyes, see my face and my body language while learning all about me. He wanted a genuine in-person connection, which sounded reasonable to me especially as I dislike chatting online for too long myself.

I agreed to give him my mobile number as he seemed to be exactly what he said he was – an educated professional who was polite, smooth and trustworthy. He’d said he didn’t do phone calls and I told him not to call me unannounced.

“We will have a lovely seafood dinner and evening together,” he announced. He asked me what seafood I liked; did I like oysters and prawns as well as fish? I wondered why he was so obsessed with seafood! I’d never mentioned it.

[1910] Woman's Day Shoot

Four days before the event, I received a text message at seven in the morning. “Three more sleeps until we meet. I’m really looking forward to meeting you. I’m getting a really good vibe about us.” I replied in a polite sentence and didn’t hear anything back. So far, all consistent – and these messages continued as he counted down the days until our date.

Roll on Thursday evening and I’d arranged to start work later so that I’d have enough energy to stay back and meet him in the city, at the chic hotel (aka watering hole-restaurant) he’d named. I hadn’t bothered suggesting somewhere closer to my place because he’d been very assertive telling me what we were doing that evening. I’m used to doing a bit of tic-tacing about time, place etc but James was possibly showing me what a manly, assertive guy he was so I let it go.

I texted him to remind me of the details, since he’d deleted his POF profile (or blocked me), so I didn’t have the message any more. I thought it was rather odd that he repeated the exact message, right down to the “I’ll be wearing my blue suit and coming straight from work,” bit.

My logical brain immediately registered this detail and suspected that he’d copied and pasted it. But how – and why?

He was 10 minutes late arriving so I got myself a non-alcoholic drink and messaged him that the lounges were taken. He’d been most emphatic that we must meet at the lounges by the open fireplace “to the right of the entrance”. As it’s the depth of winter here in my part of the world, that was a romantic thought, which was his intention.

When James opened the glass hotel door we spotted each other immediately. There were very few people in the place on a weeknight. He was indeed wearing “his blue suit” and looked pretty much like his photos, although perhaps slightly older and slightly shorter than the six foot he’d listed.

He wore his grey hair in a tall, darker quiff and for a moment I wasn’t sure if it was a hairpiece. He effusively greeted me with a hug. “Oh I’ve had an exhausting day!” he announced. “I haven’t stopped for a moment.”

He drew out the word to ‘exx-haaauuu-ssting’ and spoke in a gravelly, unpleasant voice that sounded like he was used to smoking a pack a day – starkly in contrast with his super sporty profile listing the five sports played regularly in his active, outdoorsy spare time. Almost immediately, without even buying himself a drink, he suggested that we head upstairs where it was more private.

He took my hand, stepped back and gave me a thorough once-over.
“Ammaaaaazzing,” he said lasciviously, as if feasting his eyes on me. “I just loooove your dress.”

Upstairs he took me to a one-and-a-half seater leather lounge in a private corner. There were even fewer people on this mezzanine level and although it was well lit, it was indeed out of the way. As he seated himself slapbang in the middle of the couch, he said, “Oh I wanted us to sit by the fire downstairs so it would be romantic!”

I perched myself on the slither remaining and turned sideways to face him, so that we could chat. Immediately his hand started stroking my thigh, and he continued to ogle at me as if I was the main course and he hadn’t eaten for a month.

Over the course of an hour we chatted, or should I say he regurgitated bits of information I’d shared with him and then asked for further information. “Oh I want to know everything about you!” he said, grinning wolfishly. I was amused, and admittedly slightly alarmed, that he’d remembered all the key information of my life – work, kids, home region, hobbies/interests – and so I proceeded to even things up a bit and ask copious questions about his life.

I’d gotten used to his rasping, deep voice and wasn’t objecting too much to the continuous leg stroking, that turned into arm stroking and then hand holding. I discovered that he’d had five relationships in the course of my long one (20 years versus brackets of four to seven years, apparently) and for a while we discussed where we’d each travelled in the world.

He fired topics at me whenever there was the tiniest lull, and seemed well-practised in the art of conversation. A pleasant surprise and often the mark of a genuinely interesting person who’s aware of the lives and feelings of others. Hmm – maybe not so much this last point.

Pretty soon he asked me for a kiss, although he didn’t exactly give me the opportunity to say no. I’d gotten a whiff of his musty breath earlier but it wasn’t so unpleasant anymore since he’d swilled half of my lemon, lime and bitters.

We kissed for a while and it was actually sensual, tongues included, and quite pleasant – except he wanted it to go on and on and more alarm bells were going off in my head when he wouldn’t pull away, or when I’d stop and he’d immediately resume.

There was lots of “Woooooowwww, you are such a good kisser too,” and more blatantly ogling of my body. The hands started to creep onto my throat and décolletage – and bizarrely, up my long-sleeved top, trying to seek out more skin.

Then James announced that he needed the toilet to make some adjustments since he’d become rather warm and aroused. I laughed, thinking we’d be ordering dinner soon and he’d slow down and pull his head in.

Instead, when he returned just a few minutes later, he kissed me some more (not noticing that I was wincing away from him every time) and then said, “I’ve got something really special planned for you tonight. Really special and romantic.”

He mentioned ‘seafood’ again and I asked him what seafood he liked. I still felt it was weird the way he fixated on the topic. He said, “Oh everything…it’s my favourite,” and then pulled me to my feet.

“Now hold my hand cos I don’t want you getting away from me.”

I gingerly took his paw and we descended the stairs together, and then walked out of the front door! It happened so quickly that I didn’t comprehend, but I stood in the poorly lit darkness of the sidestreet and questioned, “I thought we were eating here? Where are we going then?”

James pulled me along by one hand and directed me to the carpark at the rear of the building. My mind was turning over and examining the sudden chill that told me it wasn’t the winter evening that was making me feel as if something was very wrong.

I paused and turned to him as we reached the carpark. He’d been jabbering in a continual monotone about what a great evening we’d have and how he’d been planning this big surprise and it was all ready. It wasn’t far, we could go in his car….

I stopped just by his car as he tried to push me towards it, and thankfully (oh guardian angels), a car pulled out and illuminated us with its headlights. I moved quickly into the middle of the carpark, towards my car and away from his. I said, “So exactly where are we going? I’ll go in my car…” all the while buying time and trying to figure out what on earth he was playing at.

“It’s a special place…Jim’s Place…just near here.” He kept trying to kiss me and his vice-like grip on my arm did not release. I’d already ascertained that he lived in the same inner city suburb so it was likely that his townhouse was just a few blocks away. This was his local hunting ground.

I can’t remember exactly what I said to this revelation, but it was something like, “Hang on a minute! I’m not coming to your house! I’ve only just met you – I don’t even know you! I would never have agreed to do this if you’d asked me.”

Between forcing his lips against mine he muttered, “I’m sorry I couldn’t ask you straight over but I had to meet you in public first…I had to be sure…I’m sorry I didn’t trust you enough.”

I cut him off and protested that I’d never have gone to his house in the first place, but he kept twisting my words to make it sound as if I’d wronged him but he was also at fault for not quite trusting me, sight unseen.

He held both my arms and insisted on kissing my mouth, as I tried to set things straight. “Look, I’m not going to your place, but we can go back inside and eat here if you like.”

“But I’ve got all this seafood at home and flowers and everything…it was supposed to be a big surprise…romantic…did you lose all your romance in those 20 years? Where’s your sense of adventure?!”

I saw a paler version of red (my mind was still reeling at what was happening) and I said, “I’ve had plenty of adventures but tonight is not going to be one of them!”

I could see him reassessing things at lightning speed, and he was verbally backpedalling almost as quickly. “Okay, we can have dinner another night…in a few days…I’ve met you in a public place now….in a week…or a month…whatever you like if you want to take it slow.”

I laughed despite myself, “In a month?!”

By now I was at my car and we were right under a spotlight. I don’t recall how I got into it but I did, and I sat in the driver’s seat and fiddled with my phone in the dim light, while I waited for his car to leave. After about five minutes I left the carpark and began my long drive home.

My mind forensically examined everything I could remember he’d told me.

I knew without a shadow of a doubt that there were no flowers and no ‘romantic seafood dinner’ waiting for me at his place. He’d come straight from ‘work’ apparently, so how could he have prepared it?

What was waiting for me, if I’d been stupid enough to follow all of the subtle or overt programming women are fed about being compliant, pleasing people and not making a fuss, would have been something revolting. It would have been something like rape, or worse.

Just writing this story makes me feel defiled by ‘James’.

I feel naive and idiotic to have agreed to go on a ‘dinner date’ with a guy about whom I knew next to nothing. And it was out of character for me to meet at night, plus I’ve been dating for so long I’d gotten lax about telling people where I was going, and what time to expect a check-in call from me. My elder son at home wasn’t expecting me until 10-ish, and it was only eight.

I keep thinking ‘what if’ – James was clearly trying to make me feel guilty for ruining his special plans, his ‘seafood dinner’. What if I’d caved? What if – like so many young women – I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to make a fuss? What if I’d taken the easy route and just gotten into the car with him?

It makes me feel sick thinking of the game he played and how he must justify his behavior to himself. And a strong intuition makes me feel that he’s done this before, and will do it again.

PS – I emailed the hotel tonight (the night after it happened) to give them an outline of my story and to ask that they keep an eye out for James, to keep other women safe. I blocked his number on my phone. I don’t feel that I have enough evidence to go to the police – after all, he was just a guy trying on his luck, wasn’t he? And no doubt there’s evidence of me kissing him back, and I didn’t slap his face and leap away when he kept stroking my leg or pushing his luck. I might have felt uncomfortable, but I tolerated it.

As we women do.

73 thoughts on “A Lucky Escape From A ‘Seafood Dinner’

  1. Something severely wrong with the guy. It’s not like he’s just said strange things. It’s his actions… that is steps actually taken along with the kissing and leading. He doesn’t sound safe.
    Did you feel drowsy or as though he may have interfered with your drink?
    One of the reasons I don’t like online ‘brothels’ is because I did the promiscuous thing as a teenager and don’t need to reform any of it. Guys who do love the whole online game because it is another cupboard to haunt. At this age I am simply grateful for good friends and when you have stood up for a few things we certainly don’t see friends as something to resent. Yuk. That guy sounded like he was going to take you to the fish and chip shop and make you pay at best…
    Either that or he was handing out crabs. Yuk.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is difficult to meet people even without all the acting and pretence that liars and creeps seem to substitute for sports. A shame people aren’t actually interested in topics and things even if they aren’t genuinely interested in each other. I suppose they all have that ADHD or something now when they are turning in garbage academic responses… I guess it’s all a lark.
        Still thinking about the fall of Rome.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. He sounds like an old player that has done this many times, he wanted to get laid and sounds like he was married and wanted to take you back to his buddies place with plastic flowers and gas station sushi. Good on you for staying safe and backing off in the parking lot as he was certainly rushing the 1st date into the 3rd and had been the whole time. His seduction worked, but we all have needs.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh bloody hell, what a shit experience. Glad you got out safely and have informed the hotel. This guy is dangerous. I’d still give the police a call – you never know, someone else might have reported him or might report him down the track, and your experience could help them build a case. Gives me shudders to think he’s out there still, but of course, so many of them are. 😦

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes I suppose you’re right but as I said, I think they’ll just say ‘no what – he didn’t break any laws’ etc etc. The hotel hasn’t phoned me back. A friend pointed out that they have to keep the CCTV footage for 10 days by law.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Exactly. He might be a snowdropper. As my mate says… we should be able to carry tasers around because of such idiots. Only problem with going to the cops, is he might be one. At least if you had have gone back to his house you could have seen if every pair of socks he owned was the same. They are usually too cheap to buy their own and constantly wear work supplied.
      Always look at the socks of a group trying to be undercover in a pub or cafe… they are too cheap to even buy a new pair themselves and claim it as an expense.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have been thinking about this since reading the story. I agree with the others above that this does not sound like a first time to me.
    I was horrified, truly, by this story. It makes me feel both sick and angry. I am so pleased you escaped unharmed my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much. And for listening, again. The hotel says I should go to the police and I’m thinking about it. I just wish I hadn’t deleted all my screenshots of him and his profile and our texting. Plus I’m concerned that they will blame me in some way or think I’m over reacting etc etc. Still thinking.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Glad another bloke has said it too. Lying is lying. Nothing wrong with honorable intentions. He was nowhere near good enough for you. If he got put in the big house I know blokes who would object to having to do time with it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t know if it isn’t really that difficult or if we have often had to put up with so much in this society because we can see the forest from the trees.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Reading this made my skin crawl. Everything was just so weird and “off” about him and his behavior. Unbelievable!

    And it’s especially scary to think that it probably works sometimes and to imagine what happens back at “Jim’s place”…. 😱

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Arghhhhh! Right, now please, please don’t be cross with me, but I’m an old hand at this dating online business and I have to tell you the rules, the rules we girls absolutely have to stick by. Reason being … you’re lucky you didn’t end up in a grisly situation. It happens, and it happens a lot. Being taken advantage of and/or being raped and/or being attacked. Yup, he was dodgy and a creep. We know that. What we do not know is how dodgy he was and therefore how far he was actually prepared to go once you got into his car. Thankfully we shall never know.

    The rules are as follows:
    The men do the chasing, we do the choosing.
    We are in charge and control at all times.
    We never hand out our telephone number until we are comfortable.
    We always speak on the telephone many, many times before we meet.
    We decide when, where and indeed if we want to meet.
    We meet for coffee or drinks first, never for dinner (why would you want to get stuck with someone when in that first 15 seconds you realise it’s a complete non-starter.
    It is our body, not theirs. If you would not feel comfortable with a stranger playing with your phone, do not let them play with the most important thing in your life, your body.
    If you see or feel ANY red flags, then that is what they are. Your brain is telling you to watch out and for good reason. If they tell a lie at that early stage (eg about age) they will do it again and again. Pull them up on it in a gentle, kind but clear way and move on.

    Please, please be careful. If nothing else, google Matthew Hussey. He’s brilliant and within six months of devouring his information, I met my (now) husband. He understands men and women inside out and worth taking the time to have a look. Good luck! Have fun, but stay safe. Katie x
    They must be worthy of your attention.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Katie for your very excellent advice. Although the name of my blog might lead you to believe that I’m a rookie at this, I’m not that any more – check out my stories dating back to my first year in the sidebar and scroll right down to the bottom for the earliest ones. I guess experiences like this remind me that I can forget the basics, and also that by breaking out of my normal habits I make myself vulnerable. I must have needed a scare to remind me to keep myself safe.

      It’s also interesting that if I put some of your advice into practice I’d never get a date in my town! Depending on where you live, city or regional and its size, very much influences how many fish there are in the sea.

      Personally I prefer to meet face to face rather than have awkward phone conversations. I also prefer to write my own rules – and that applies to how much body contact I allow. I’m not sure there are any hard and fast rules in this domain actually – a lot of we female bloggers about midlife sexuality and modern dating seem to disagree or discuss this regularly! For example, do we think having sex on the first date is perfectly fine or do we not? Do we allow men to touch our bodies uninvited? I know several female bloggers who meet for dinner on a first date. It used to be kind of the done thing – this was my first time, and I probably wouldn’t do it again. I guess we are all individuals and it’s up to each one of us to decide what feels right.

      So while I agree with most of your advice, I don’t agree with all. For example, I don’t believe it should be up to men to chase. I’m an emancipated woman and there is no reason why I can’t at least go 50/50 and pull my weight – or even initiate.

      I am keen to look up Matthew Hussey so thank you for that. I think that my approach to dating is constantly being reinforced – regardless of this latest story – we are all human and most of us are looking for connection of some sort. I still prefer to see the best in people rather than the worst. I’m glad you found the relationship you wanted and I will definitely investigate your blog. Thanks again 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. My apologies, I was worried for you and online dating is a dangerous place. There’s a huge amount of fun to be had too, but I’ve heard too many stories for us girls not to want to stick together and look out for one another. You’re right, there are many ways of doing things and old fashioned ways and new ways. And of course you must do what works for you. I’m afraid I’m more of the old fashioned type who would not allow anyone to touch me uninvited, but that’s just me and it would be a pretty dull place if we were all the same. Apologies again, I had not understood that you know what you’re doing and I had thought that you were being taken advantage of. Best wishes, Katie

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Katie don’t feel sorry – I’m really glad that you commented and got me thinking! You have been my reminder in many ways that may I put up with too much. I’ve had a few reminders and I’m listening again! I am mixing things up and doing things differently, so this guy taught me to go back to my tried and tested methods. And I am definitely going to look up Matthew Hussey 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I’m a big fan of Matthew Hussey and just discovered him a couple months ago. He has great, no-nonsense, reasonable advice!

      I’ve never heard of the rules that you mention and don’t follow most of them. I don’t always talk on the phone before meeting someone for the first time. I love to but it’s not always feasible with my schedule. And I’m not a big phone talker.

      Also, I do sometimes meet for dinner on a 1st date. Sure, I’ve had dinner dates where there was no chemistry or attraction but I’ve always had a lovely time and have never regretted having dinner with them even if it didn’t result in a 2nd date.

      As for deciding when and where to meet, they usually ask for suggestions but I like to leave it up to the men to recommend something. It’s all about me retaining feminine energy and letting them be masculine. If I don’t feel comfortable with what they suggest, of course I’ll veto it. I’m not going to plan the date, though! 🙂

      I am extremely experienced with dating. I think the biggest thing we have to keep in mind is to always follow our gut! I’ve been lucky. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I am so going to check out this Matthew Hussey guy! Like we said a few places here, dating – like most everything – is an individual experience. And if there was a rule book I’d probably want to bend or break it 😉

        Like

  7. Well Eve, like your other commenters, I too am happy that you were able to stay safe from this jerk. As others have mentioned, things could have been worse. Chalk it up to more experience and lessens learned, eh?

    In commenting in your last few postings (and reading your replies to me) I do however notice one thing to keep in mind when dating strangers. On the one hand you prefer to not waste a lot of time chatting via phone and/or online but rather you like to sooner meet a guy so as to more quickly determine as to whether you might be wasting your time or not with him. And I can definitely see your viewpoint here. On the other hand though this approach cuts down (perhaps) the time that you might need to safely conduct your (as I call it) “due diligence” in letting your instincts check a guy out over a greater length of time.

    So what to do? Well, perhaps you can adjust your strategy a bit and still accomplish your goals but still stay safer. Yes, check a guy out online for a “reasonable length of time”. But also insist that you also phone each other a bit more after that. You call the shots here. If he declines, then ta-ta-bye-bye loser. You want to enforce your instincts about the guy. Online texting can only be trusted so far – as I’m sure that you’re quickly finding out. Then if still a go, at least follow Katie’s suggestion: initially accept a coffee date, not a dinner date – to further get to a face to face short controlled meeting to further reinforce your instincts about the guy. And need I state the obvious – it should take place in a public place, with others around – and you should also tell someone you know about your plans to meet this person. What you decide to do after that is up to you but at least this should be the bare minimum that you should start off with (imho). And if this guy comes on too strong too quickly (in any way that you feel – whether verbally and/or physically) then I think you now know what the next thing to do is – and promptly – agree?

    Stay safe and here’s hoping that your luck improves as well as the guys that you meet. Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Rob for your very considered comment! See my response to Katie – it’s GOOD to be reminded and to have risky experiences that challenge us not to get too complacent. I will go back to my tried and tested methods. I am pretty down pat with the dating basics (see my menu article on dating tips) but what I struggle with is the common question of when to progress intimacy! There is a huge divergence of opinion on this and I’m going to check out this Hussey dude for his opinion now! Since I have recently clearly set my intentions about dating, I have a whole new calibre of person contacting me, so I am optimistic, as ever to find a special someone/s 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Ugh. Laaaaaaaaaame! I’m sorry this happened to you! I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself for tolerating stuff or feel naive or think of ‘what if’- fact is, you did listen to your gut, you did follow your instinct and you did act accordingly. You kept yourself safe. Bloody good on you for that!

    I think about what I ‘tolerate’ when I work with young women to develop confidence and agency. I too find that listening to instinct and acting with agency in the heat of the moment is sometimes hard, or delayed, and much clearer in hindsight. Maybe chemical responses to physical attractiveness/sensual experiences warp it a little? I dunno. Or competing needs- need for safety, need for connection, need for sensuality, need for respect, need to be desired/wanted etc. It’s this kind of grey space that the #metoo movement has started dissecting, through the Aziz example. Anyway let’s not get too macro!

    You’re so right, there’s no hard and fast rules of this game- it’s all so context dependent and we are all complex and constantly growing and changing human beings with real desires and fears.

    Thanks for (as always) writing so honestly and engaging in dialogue about what sounds like an ultimately pretty gross experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi Eve
    I am so glad that you escaped unharmed. It is annoying and infuriating to waste time and energy with someone with ulterior motives like that. I like to think that your experience serve as a reminder for all of us to always have our safety at the forefront of our minds and not let our guard down until we really know someone.
    I think that because we have been around the online dating block for awhile we tend to sometimes relax and do things we normally don’t do.
    Sometimes I feel just like a little girl that doesn’t want to say no and disagree – and at 52 years old I should know better.
    I normally never gave my number out before meeting anyone, now I find myself doing that more often. Now I have tons of creeps out there with my number 😦
    I don’t follow certain “rules”. I mostly agree with L.Rorschach. I don’t want to talk on the phone. I rather meet in person right away. I rather meet for dinner – even if there is no chemistry I often manage to have a good time. I want the man to take the lead and make the plans.
    I also agree with you that it is okay for me to do some of the chasing too, or at least not play “hard to get” games.
    Ultimately we need to listen to our guts, and at the risk of being impolite, just get up and run if we feel like.
    I love reading your stories and relate to some of them. You are much braver and free than I am – I am getting there.
    Blessings! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. OMFG!
    So glad you stopped & listened to your guts eventually.
    You did nothing wrong- what a perfect example of toxic masculinity he sounds 😡😡😡
    Stay safe & smart- you have many awesome comments above me which I fully agree with. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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