I was 25 years old when Rupert* asked me out on a date. He was a “local boy” a few years older than me and had just returned to town after working a few seasons on the fishing boats in Alaska.
I didn’t really know him, but I knew of him, so I accepted the date. After all, we’d spent the last few weeks flirting and his sister-in-law and brother spoke rather highly of him. What did I have to lose?
Our first date was your typical dinner date. We went out for a meal at a restaurant by the lake and began to have a nice chat. I was a little put off by the fact that he was openly flirting with the waitress (a woman I went to school with) but put it down to nerves.
Then, about halfway through the meal, Rupert entered into a long rant about a local law enforcement official who pulled him over for speeding the day before. He acknowledged speeding but felt that it was unfair to have been given a ticket. So he did what many people did when speaking of this particular official, he started ranting about what a horrible person the man was.
And that’s when I casually mentioned that the said man was, in fact, my uncle.
The rest of the date was equally awkward with the poor guy trying (and failing) to carry on a “good” two-way conversation. But I could tell he was trying his best, and that he was nervous.
So I carefully accepted a second date.
Our second date was in the next town over, about 30 miles away. We went down for dinner and a “battle of the bands” showdown and I really enjoyed the conversation along the drive.
Once we got to the venue, Rupert was beaming as he saw the lead from one of the two bands come over, as he thought the man recognised him and was coming to say hello. He was beaming a little less when he realised that the man was coming to say hello to me. (He was the uncle of a good friend.)
Later, two of the members from the second band came to our table – again, to see me! Turns out they hadn’t even known Rupert was back in town, and when they found out we were there together, they began to embarrass the poor guy in front of me. Again, Rupert had thought they were coming to see him and didn’t know they were actually friends of mine.
But we laughed about it all, and because Rupert took it all in such great stride I happily accepted the third date. After all, the conversation was much better and he took the perceived humiliation of the evening in great stride.
That brings us to date number three. This one was at Rupert’s house and consisted of pizza delivery and some DVD rentals. I was really excited that we liked not only the same pizza toppings but also the same movies. And I was really excited that we were finally able to chat and laugh without the awkwardness of the first two dates.
When we watched the last movie, I thought to myself how I actually was excited about a fourth date. And I even said as much when I got up and said that it was time for me to leave. After all, I had an early class the following morning.
Only Rupert wasn’t so keen for me to leave. Instead, he thought it was appropriate to grab me and kiss me. (Which I admit was nice, but I really did have to leave.) When I said again that it was time for me to go, he tried to kiss me again, this time more passionately.
So I told him again that I really had to go. This time a little more definitely and confidently.
And that’s when he said those words I’ll never forget: “You mean I bought you dinner three times and you’re not going to have sex with me!?”
By now I realised that there would never be another date and that there was no reason for me to be polite. So I gave him a very angry piece of my mind and stormed out.
He called and left messages several times over the weeks to follow in an attempt to apologise and ask for another chance, but his calls went unreturned.
It wasn’t until his sister-in-law asked why I didn’t want to see him again that the calls stopped. Apparently, when his brother found out what happened the lesson finally “hit” home. (If you know what I mean.)
Of course, the worst part about the entire experience is that a couple of his friends from school (who are also my friends) have yet to let me live down the fact that I went out with him in the first place. I daren’t tell them what actually happened though because I think they’d hurt him. A lot.
(1) I don’t know what would have happened that night if I hadn’t been as confident as I was, but I don’t believe that Rupert was fully aware of the implication and interpretation of his actions. I’m not defending him or his “you owe me” stance, but I do need to say that when I said stop, he stopped. His intentions seemed to be for something consensual, he was just shocked that I wasn’t willing to consent.
(2) The image with this story isn’t connected in any way. It’s just that the system I have works best if there’s an image. So, I picked this one for no other reason than I like it.
(3) As a reward for reading the small print, I’ll let you in on a secret: I have a date this weekend with a very nice man I met back in June. I can’t promise it will be a success, but it feels promising!
* Rupert isn’t his real name. I mean, really? Rupert? In small-town, redneck America? That’s just crazy talk. If you’re one of the few people who know his real name, please don’t share it, as it’s not necessary to the story.