At what point in a date is it OK to leave if someone displays Red Light Behaviour? The answer is at any time. If you feel bad about the way a man behaves then you should leave.
It’s absolutely fine not to trust somebody the moment you meet them. Remember that you’re meeting a complete stranger. You know nothing about him, other than what he has told you. Of course he’s trying to impress you but it’s highly unlikely that he is Brad Pitt’s stunt double, given that he is 5’3” and built like a brick out-house. I’m not suggesting you scream “LIAR” every time he opens his mouth, but a little healthy scepticism (kept to yourself) isn’t a bad thing.
I’m probably the last person who should be dishing out this advice. At times I’ve been far too tolerant of unacceptable behaviour. I blame my mother’s insistence on politeness at all times!
When I started dating I’d just come out of a 25 year marriage, and the last time I’d been out with someone I was a mere slip of a girl! I was a bit naïve to be honest, not a terrible trait, but one that has put me into some difficult situations. I’d love to say that all people are decent and nine times out of ten they are. Sadly though, there are people who will take advantage of your good nature and the internet makes it easier for them.
Roy and I had been talking on the phone for several weeks. He was Hungarian, lived in London, and seemed interesting, well-mannered and distinguished on the phone. He suggested we go out for the day, take in a few galleries, have lunch and dinner, his treat. It seemed a little full on but I agreed and felt flattered that someone was lavishing attention on me.
I took the train and he met me at the station in London. He was so unlike his photograph that I didn’t recognise him but wondered why there was a small, slightly demented looking man waving at me and grinning like a Cheshire cat. He wore glasses with lenses that resembled milk bottle bottoms and had a mop of hair which was clearly dyed, far from the debonaire, sophisticate I’d envisaged. As I came through the barrier he grabbed hold of me in a bear hug which nearly knocked me over. As I regained my balance he attempted a full-on tonsel tickler of a kiss but I managed to head him off by slipping under his armpit.
He took hold of my hand and didn’t let go for the rest of the morning. We visited a gallery but he didn’t seem particularly interested in the art and tried to kiss me again in the lift. Over coffee I told him that I’d need to get to know him a bit better before I kissed him (we’d been together for about an hour) but as we left the café he put his hand on my bum.
He took my NO to mean YES and I spent the rest of the morning trying to keep his hands in check. Not since teenage fumbles behind the bike sheds have I known a man to have hands in so many places! It was like having a date with Squiddly Diddly!
By now I was feeling really uncomfortable but it never occurred to me to leave. Maybe I felt that I owed him in some way, because he was “treating” me. Perhaps I’d given him encouraging signs by holding his hand but I honestly didn’t see a way out. Looking back I must have taken leave of my senses!
Roy had booked a table at a swanky Sloane Square restaurant for lunch. Apart from him playing footsie under the table, things settled down a bit and we chatted like we had on the phone.
Over pudding he told me he had a proposition for me. It went like this:
“I’m very happily married but my wife isn’t interested in sex. She lives in the country and I go to see her at weekends but during the week I’m in London on my own. I don’t want a long-term relationship with you but I’ve been looking for a mistress and I think you’d be perfect. Obviously you’d need to be discreet. You’ll come and see me once a week, we’ll have sex and I’ll pay for your train fare so you’re not out of pocket. How does that sound?”
Suddenly I came to my senses, stood up, grabbed my bag and calmly told him this:
“I’ll tell you how it sounds but let me clarify what you’ve just said. You want me to give up a whole day of my life for you, a complete stranger, every week, so you can have sex with me. You don’t want a relationship but you’ll pay me twenty quid which technically would make me a prostitute. I think the rates for hookers at Ipswich Docks are better than that and I could be there and back in an hour and not waste a whole day with you!”
As I walked out the door I heard him calling after me “I’d buy you lunch as well”!
So there you are. It seems I did have boundaries after all but at what point should I have left? Nowadays it would be the moment he tried to stick his tongue in my mouth at Liverpool Street Station!
He took advantage of my good nature to get what he wanted and, for the most part, I went along with it. I couldn’t believe that I’d been so stupid, but that doesn’t excuse him, because he shouldn’t have been behaving badly in the first place. I’m not saying that the situation was my fault, but I clearly didn’t make it obvious enough from the outset that his behaviour was unacceptable.