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.

Another Midlife Dating Adventure – Ian the Octopus

You know that tingly feeling you get when things are going well? The warm sensation in your stomach (or loins), the flutter of hope that maybe this one might amount to something worth having or worth keeping?


I had that feeling at a key point and thereafter, while chatting with 52-year-old Ian on POF. It wasn’t instant. He grew on me and within a short time, after he’d installed kik so we could chat in relative harmony there, it happened.

I can remember the moment exactly. He’d slept an entire day after a mammoth Saturday at work that started frighteningly early and ended in the arctic winter hours after 7.00pm. He’d stayed tucked up in bed all warm and cosy the following Sunday, and I’d asked him how he’d kept himself occupied while awake.

Stupid question really – but any woman knows that if the can of worms is going to be opened by the mention of words such as ‘bed’, ‘naked’ or obviously, ‘sex’ we might as well cut to the chase and get it over with. At this stage of my dating journey I’ve pretty much lost interest in sexting or sexy talk via text. Especially unannounced dickpics. For a couple of years there I gave sexting and erotic tales a red hot go, but now it’s a case of ‘yeah-no’.

You could say it was a bit of a test by asking a leading question, and I was mildly pleased when he didn’t rise to the bait and immediately switch the conversation to a dick pic or boring assertions about how much he’d like to have me between the sheets.

After a bit of back and forth, he asked me my favourite things to do in bed when not in the land of nod.
“That would be reading a book, unless I had company,” I said.
“And then what would it be?” he asked.
“Then it would be lots of kissing, touching and exploring sensuality together.”

There was a noticeable change in mood between us and our exchange heated up a few degrees. I sensed that I’d touched a nerve or a strong desire for intimacy, not just sex, but genuine physical intimacy. This is emphatically what I want. I am directly my energies towards finding a partner who can meet my needs for a deeply satisfying emotional and physical, sensuous connection.

And so when Ian became slightly besotted by me after this point, naturally I began to think that perhaps he might fill the gap I’d created in my own mind for a potential partner. A step up from lover, and a whole ladder up from a sex date.

We chatted daily on kik, and I was pleased that he wasn’t the kind of guy who wanted to (or indeed, could) text all day from work. I wanted to save some of that energy and conversation for the real thing. I made two suggestions to meet face to face; the first he agreed to without actually getting out our diaries to find a date, but the second he committed.

A Friday evening at a local hotel (in other words an upmarket renovated old pub) not too far from my house was the time and place set for our rendezvous. It was a long drive after work for him on a freakishly stormy, filthy winter’s night. We messaged a couple of hours before to check in and yes, it was still on.

I felt unfamiliar nerves. This was a proper date – night time and at my request it was drinks, not dinner – and I dressed carefully with an eye on how he might perceive me. I’d said to him previously that I wouldn’t want to disappoint him, based on his imagination going into overdrive after seeing a few photos of me.

He was obsessing over one particular photo of me in a tight, black tank top in my kitchen, all hot and sweaty post dog walking. He hadn’t asked for any further pics and especially not any nudes, so that was a good sign. I’m so over those guys and I didn’t want Ian to be one of them.

I arrived at the hotel and saw him waiting for me by the back entrance, where we’d arranged to meet. I’d seen three or four photos of him, but he still looked like a stranger because in the flesh everything is different. He was shorter than I thought (definitely not 5ft11 as he’d stated). He looked smart and clean and I liked him immediately.

We smiled like Cheshire cats and greeted each other with wide open arms. Straight away he kissed me on the mouth and we melted together for several glorious minutes. It was a genuine, passionate welcome – and boy could this guy press my buttons! I was there, believe me, feeling those soft lips and that exploratory tongue. The pheromones were in overdrive!

I’d decided to change my MO and this time, be totally myself, no holds barred. Not that I’m ever a cold fish, but often I am reserved and I have a certain front, as we all do. Mine is self-contained, polite and friendly.

I know I can be intense and freak some people out when I’m on an emotional high. When my connected, super-power Gregarious Introvert is in full swing, I can be charming and extremely tactile. This time, I wanted to be tactile, in fact I couldn’t stop touching him.

I was thrilled that he totally reciprocated. For our entire three hours together our skins were never apart in some form – holding hands, stroking hands, stroking my skin in intimate places. Through our clothes – since we were in a public place – stroking our backs, our legs, even our faces. It was an incredibly charged evening of pure touch, the highlight of which was the sensuous and passionate kissing.

We’d made a beeline for a small intimate room with a log fire, soft armchairs and a couch. Of course we nestled on that couch and got to know each other, interspersed with kissing. He was demonstrative, affectionate and it felt amazing. I was most definitely in an elevated mood, letting down my barriers and throwing all caution to the wind. I was letting him see a genuine, direct and fearless version of myself, helped along by the gin-and-tonic he’d bought me.

“I can see you’re not used to compliments,” I said, nuzzling his cheek. I knew he’d been married for close to 30 years and that this was his first official date as a separated man of three years. I asked him when he’d last had a compliment.
“Twenty-eight years ago,” he said drily.

He was indeed a fairly typical, shy Aussie male. Married very young, with four kids mostly grown up, a civil but icy relationship with the ex, a middle management job in a factory that bored him, but one that he’d stuck with for three decades.

We had almost nothing in common, but it didn’t seem to matter, because we had this! These sparks flying off us, this song in my heart and this thrilling softness, a mutual lingering of tender kisses and interplaying tongues, a physical connection that I have so rarely felt.

Oh we did talk of course, and I did most of the legwork (no surprise there). It was flowing but definitely fuelled by the physical bond. My feelings of warm, fuzzy wellbeing enveloped me.

Even when we sat in separate chairs because the couch was so bloody uncomfortable, we both instinctively reached out to hold hands and pushed our chairs closer together. His hands did wander and the strange thing is that I did not mind one iota! His hands on my breasts and playing with my nipples through my dress were exquisite. He knew exactly how to arouse me both with his mouth, and his fingertips.

During several make-out sessions he even slid his hand inside my bra, while I moaned quietly in his ear and giggled. Later we both laughed about security cameras in the room – I hoped there weren’t any!

Once, while we were talking about something fairly mundane, he pulled me to him and held me close in a tight hug for a full two or three minutes. Then he nestled silently on my neck. It was an intimate moment that led me to launch those tender hopes. Maybe this one, this attractive age-appropriate guy, might evolve into something good, a worthwhile relationship that we would define on our own terms. Our kids were at a similar stage and though he was an active dad with a busy job, we decided that we could potentially share Friday nights and Sundays together.

When we grew tired and the hotel began to pack up for the evening, we headed for our cars. Just one pash goodbye was not enough. His hands wandered freely over my body, squeezing my breasts, my arse and holding me so closely to him that we both laughed in vocal arousal. We made plans to continue during part two, tentatively arranged for the Sunday.

“I’ll be dreaming about you tonight for sure, Silky,” he messaged me at home. (Silky was his brand-new pet name for me, which made me chuckle every time he used it).

We texted some more before I headed to bed, still on a high, to dream about him, and to cautiously hope for something deeper to develop. It was looking good, the signs were there, the passion was there….

And so you’ll understand my confusion and disappointment now – even my irritation and disgust.

What sort of a person behaves like this and then ghosts – disappears without a word?

How hard is it to say, “I’m sorry but things got out of hand and I’ve changed my mind.” Or, “I thought I wanted something with you but I’ve realized x, y or z and it won’t work.” How hard is it to do the decent thing and just tell someone that what’s just begun is in fact, over already?

Clearly it’s too difficult for Ian, and that’s what hurts.

I gave him a piece of myself, he took it, lapped it up and filled his need even if just for a few hours, and then he shut me out and pretended that I don’t exist.

It didn’t happen immediately. That Sunday he’d had to run errands with his kids and by the Monday evening I felt that the reduced frequency of texts and the lack of a response to my message (when I’d put the ball in his court to make the next move) was significant.

I felt it in the pit of my stomach that something was wrong, and sure enough when I checked on him over at POF, he was active on the site. I sent him a cheeky message, deciding that confrontation was the clearest approach. “Should I assume that you don’t want to see me again?”

A few minutes later he quit out of the site, so I didn’t know if he’d read it. I left it another day then decided to text him direct, asking him to at least tell me if he’d had a change of heart. Nothing.

I’m a big girl, of course I will cope. But it’s a low blow to be so disrespected, especially after sharing an intimate part of myself with him.

All the signs were there, so I’m left wondering what his side of the story is, and whether I did anything to cause this disappointing Radio Silence. What’s worse is that he’s blocked me on Plenty of Fish and his profile is still active.


Note: Names have not been changed, yes he really is called Ian. I think he’s forfeited the right to a pseudonym!

Note for Aussies: The really scary thing is that I’ve realised in hindsight that Ian is a dead ringer for our prime minister!