His ‘compliments’ are suddenly started to feel loaded with intention
New submission from Miss Mul
I don’t even know if this is harassment…all I know is that since is happened I can’t stop thinking about it. The whole thing makes me very uncomfortable.
I flew into Heathrow on Saturday evening around 9:30pm after a quick trip home. I requested a car from a very well known App, and the driver soon rang me to say he was outside the terminal. After some confusion it turned out he was parked outside the arrivals (which seems logical!) but I was after coming out the departures exit (my fault – I had a few glasses of wine. Certainly not drunk, but not all that sober either). He was nice enough not to cancel the trip and instead drove around to meet me, which given the size of the terminal and the direction of the one-way roads took him about 10 minutes. I was grateful that he didn’t leave me stranded, once he arrived I expressly thanked him for this.
We chatted on the ride in towards the city, partly to be polite, partly to show my appreciation for his earlier help. I asked him general questions about his life, family etc., as you do in situations like that. He asked me where I was going, I told him to meet my husband at a party, to which he replied something along the lines of ‘he’s so lucky’. Husband rings and I confirm with him that I should be arriving in about 15 minutes (as per drivers suggestion upon overhearing my conversation with my husband).
As we get closer to destination (a pub I have never been to in Chelsea), he starts getting more ‘complimentary’; “you are so beautiful”, “my ex was not as pretty as you”, “any man would be lucky to have you”, and more stuff I can’t quite remember fully (partly out of tipsiness, partly just to forget). What do you bloody do when a cab driver starts talking to you like that alone on a motorway at 10pm anyway? I just put it down to slightly inappropriate compliments, as I decided that to voice my slight discomfort would make the rest of the journey even more strange. I thanked him (weird I know) and stated I am texting husband again to say I am almost there.
So I am rambling on about something at this stage, trying to change the subject and make the time go faster, and I notice he has pulled up the car. Now, at first I take little notice of this, I guess we have arrived at destination and I’m going to finish my point and be on my way. But after about a minute I kind of register that we are on a residential street and although I’ve never been to this pub before, I’m pretty sure it’s not in between these flats we are parked outside.
I have a bit of a ‘what should I do’ moment here. I mean, I’ve just been nice to this guy as I feel he’s gone out of his way to find me at the airport when he could have just buggered off, so I don’t now want to get all sassy with him (or presumptuous that he’s up to no good). But at the same time I immediately feel unsafe and vulnerable, and his ‘compliments’ are suddenly starting to feel loaded with intention. I decide to play dumb.
Me: ‘Oh, we are here! Where exactly is the pub? I don’t see it.’
Driver: ‘The pub is up around the next corner on the main road’
Me: ‘OK – why are we stopped here?’
Driver: ‘Just because I thought we were having a nice chat and we could continue to get to know each other for another few minutes. I like being with you’.
Me: ‘That’s very sweet thank you, but my husband is waiting for me so I better go’.
So he starts the car and drives the final minute along this dark-ish street on to the bright main road to the pub. Car stops, I thank him, and get out. I feel – even now – very strange about the whole thing. Was I too drunk? Was I too nice? Was I too chatty? Did I not make my situation clear enough? Does any of that matter??
Topped all off by Husbands reaction when I told him on Sunday – well, you must have given him a reason to act like this. You are always too nice, guys can read that the wrong way, it can be taken as flirting. THIS HURT ME MORE THAN ANYTHING. I feel let down by men TWICE; first my the man who took advantage of my tipsy-niceness in his position of control as driver of the car, second by my husband who claimed immediately that it was my own fault.
As I said at the start of this ramble, I don’t know if this counts as harassment because he didn’t touch me or say anything really explicit, but I just feel that grimy down-in-the-gut stink you feel when something just doesn’t add up to OK.
Thanks for reading my story. x