After reading a story that someone tweeted on twitter about how one time a guy made her feel uncomfortable when travelling on a train by herself by making it look like he knew her (only later did she find out he’s a rapist/con artist/on the sex offenders list) reminded me of a time when a similar thing happened to me on holiday.
Years ago I went to Southern Spain on holiday on my own after a friend of mine let me down at the very last minute, and on the transfer from the airport to the hotel some anorak kept interrupting the rep in his speech about the history of the place. As he was doing so he was looking around at all the people on the coach and I made the fatal mistake of giving him eye contact. When the coach arrived at our hotel a few of us threw our cases into our rooms and made our way to the hotel bar but before long we had ventured out, as Andy the anorak said he knew where the best bars were nearby. So far so good. After a couple of drinks I said I was making my way back so Andy said he was also ready to call it a night and that’s when I found out a bit more about him. At 40 years old he was working as a carpet fitter and living in a caravan on the drive of his parent’s bungalow which was actually in the next town from where I lived, which explained the same accent we both had. He’d never been married and only ever had one long term girlfriend so as you can imagine, most people would probably find him a bit harmless but I wasn’t convinced.
The next morning he was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs (but where he could also see the lift) and said maybe we should go and have breakfast together. He’d caught me unawares, what could I say? I was obviously going into the restaurant and it would seem childish to refuse because after all he seemed ok. After breakfast I made my excuses and went to get changed to spend the day by the pool and Andy said he was probably going to go and do a bit of sightseeing. I breathed a sigh of relief. Luckily for me there seemed to be quite a few single people who were also in this hotel and I was looking forward to making a few new friends.
Finding my way to where the pool was I stopped to see if there were any spare sunbeds,when I heard someone call my name.”Jacqui!! Over here, I’ve got us our sunbeds!” You’ve got to be joking. But there he was, in his speedos standing and waving at me to go over. This was August, the pool was packed, no way was there a spare sunbed anywhere so what did I do? I went over. And I really wish I hadn’t because I had willingly put myself in to what became an awkward situation. He threw his Walkman cassette player over onto my sunbed.”Help yourself. Boney M’s greatest hits.” So there we were, and I suddenly realised that to anyone watching we seemed to be a couple, we both had the same accent, both had arrived the night before, so I just lay back and completely ignored him until he went to the bar. ” Going to the bar, having a ciggie so back in 5 ok?” I looked at him. No offer from him to get me a drink so I just nodded. As soon as he’d gone to the bar I sat up and spoke to the young couple next to us.”Help me.We’re not together, I don’t know him.” They looked shocked.”But we thought you were together.We saw you at breakfast do you really not know him?” He made sure he was back in two minutes rather than five but by now I was talking with the lovely couple so I got up and moved around to sit on the ground next to Bev’s sunbed away from Andy.
Long story short this guy could have ruined my holiday. He followed me everywhere but because of him I also made a lot of friends as everyone was sympathetic to my situation. I tried to make a complaint about him to the rep but as he hadn’t tried to touch me no-one could actually do anything. Guys (and me) told him to F**k Off but he didn’t listen and this was the worrying thing. I finally got rid of him when a few of us went to a Spanish nightclub and they wouldn’t let him in. There was a very heated exchange outside and he was, shall we say, persuaded not to come in. The next day he’d found a new object of affection and this person (a guy) went to great lengths to avoid him such as jumping out of windows.
But I’m annoyed at myself for letting all that happen. Because we’re basically nice polite people we accept behaviour that we shouldn’t in order not to make a scene, especially if a person seems nice and polite themselves. You don’t want to be seen as the bad guy by questioning someone’s motives when to all intents and purposes the world sees them as one of the good guys. But I will say this, your instinct will tell you every time. If something doesn’t feel right, your gut instinct will tell you and no matter how much pressure you feel under, always always listen to it. It’s there for a reason. Does anyone else wonder if Andy is still living in that caravan??