Excessive physical contact

I’ve just come home from a second date with CAPS LOCK GUY.

I feel weird about it.

He suggested we go to a comedy night in Angel. I met him at the venue, which was a pub.

On our first date, I had a much better time than expected. From our messages, he’d seemed a bit full on. In person he kind of was, but he was funny, interesting and had lots in common with me.

We planned to meet that Saturday for Date Two, but then on the Friday he said actually he had friends visiting, so we postponed it for a week. I would’ve found that a bit annoying but I recognised I might’ve seemed lukewarm in the week, so he might have been uncertain what we doing.

So, I met him at the pub tonight at 7pm.

My first thought, when I saw him outside the pub, was that I wasn’t sure how much I fancied him. However, I put that thought to one side and started a friendly chat with him.

We couldn’t get into the comedy night but there was another set at 9:30pm, so we thought we’d stay in the bar and wait. 

We were having a nice time. We chatted about how we’d been since the first date. We got onto some big topics again, like last time, which was interesting.

At one point I felt like we stayed on certain topics for too long, or like I had to justify exactly what I thought too much, but it was ok.

We got onto talking about Uber and I remember bristling a bit. This weekend, everyone is talking about Uber because Uber has lost the contract to keep operating in London, after failing to comply with TFL’s safety and security requirements.

I said that a few weeks ago my Uber driver gave me a massage and I felt weird about it. 

It was about 3am and the Uber driver had asked what my job is, so I said I work in healthcare. He said in his country (Pakistan) he is a Physio. He said something about me having a bad back or shoulders, and I said “well, I guess I’ve had problems with my knees but they’re OK now, and I think my back is generally OK!”

He seemed quite certain I had a bad back which I ended up going along with. He said at the end he would show me something I can do that can help my back. 

Outside my flat he brought this up again. I said “I mean, my back’s not that bad, so don’t worry too much…”

He told me to get in the front of the car and asked if we could drive somewhere we can’t be seen.

I said “here is fine actually” but I did get in the front of the car – I was unsure what to do. He massaged my shoulders and it was a bit weird but then I said thanks after a few minutes and shot out.

I said some of this to CAPS LOCK GUY. He said “you must be more permissive than my female friends.”

I bristled at this because I think, so often when men push boundaries and take advantage of woman, one factor is the woman being afraid of being rude or making the guy angry. If someone is behaving in a slightly intimidating or unpredictable way, every instinct tells you to be as placating and genial as possible to stay safe.

It feels like you can’t win – if you’re polite, it’s your fault if you get raped because you encouraged the guy, but you’re afraid to be anything less than polite in case that angers the guy and makes him hurt you.

This Uber massage incident wasn’t that dramatic, but I think I let it happen because of a small version of this.

I explained this and CAPS LOCK GUY took it on board, and kissed my hand.

Up to now, he had been initiating a lot of fleeting physical contact, which I wasn’t 100% on board with. For example, touching my arm a lot when making a point, and at one point unnecessarily touching my face and hair.

I liked him and probably fancied him, but it felt a tiny bit like I was being rushed. 

Things were generally fine though. 

We got onto podcasts. He said he didn’t like This American Life or NPR because it was too polished or too planned, whereas he prefers more organic podcasts or something. Frankly, I thought this opinion was silly but each to their own.

He said something to try explain it, along the lines of “it’s the same reason I wouldn’t be attracted to someone that was too perfect. You know, like in a high school film, the girl who looks perfect and has like big breasts and is skinny…”

I said he was on dangerous ground, but in a cheery way. 

The more he tried to explain it, the more it came across a bit insulting. He was saying things like “things with imperfections are better” and “I just wouldn’t be attracted to someone that was too perfect or conventionally attractive”.

I kind of knew what he meant, and in some ways the sentiment is actually a good thing, but as someone on a date with him, it felt a tiny bit offensive when he said he wouldn’t fancy someone that was “too pretty.”

It wasn’t the biggest deal, but I bristled at this. I cheerily suggested we move on, but he got hooked on not understanding why I was offended and what was wrong with what he said.

We decided to leave the pub and have a drink somewhere else, then go back in time for the comedy. 

As we walked down the street, he moved the conversation back onto me being offended. 

I explained “it’s like if I said ‘that’s why I wouldn’t to go on a date with a guy who was that attractive…'”

He got it immediately and then apologised, and kissed me. 

I wasn’t against being kissed by him, but I also felt like I wanted some brief time that was a bit more low-key, with some nice, neutral chat, before things progressed further. 

We went into another pub and got drinks. It felt a bit awkward. He kept trying to hold my hand or touch me, which I wasn’t on board with. I held my drink in a way which didn’t invite touching. I still liked him a lot, I just wanted some less intense downtime.

I just wanted things to be nice and normal, so I started a conversation about where he had lived. 

We moved on to my family. He asked if I have nieces or nephews, and I said I just have two nephews, both in Australia.

He asked what they’re like. I said “one is a dick, and one I’ve only seen when he was a baby.”

I was joking about one being a dick, because he’s only five years old. The joke is that obviously you can’t call a 5-year-old a dick.

He commented on this and said “I have to take his side, and think you’re the one who is a dick as you’re the adult.”

I laughed, but went to explain what I meant.

The reason for joking about my nephew being a dick is that last time I saw him, when he was 4, and he was over from Australia, it was a bit of a disaster and deep down, I am upset about this.

When they were visiting, we only had a few days with my sister-in-law and my nephews (my brother couldn’t get time off work so stayed in Australia).

When I first arrived and gave my nephew a present, he wouldn’t accept it and lay on the floor and pretended to be asleep and started snoring. It kind of pissed me off that he wasn’t pulled up on this. 

Every evening, when he went to bed, he went round the family saying good night to everyone, including my parents and other brother, but he wouldn’t say it to me.

One day, he was on the trampoline in the garden and everyone was watching. He said he wanted someone else to come on the trampoline with him. I gingerly got on, and he started shouting “GET ME OFF THE TRAMPOLINE!”

Hundreds of small things like this happened.

He just seemed to hate me! He was kind of just being a normal kid, and I guess he had gone from never seeing any relatives in Australia, to seeing loads in a short space of time, but it made me sad as we get so little time together.

Anyway, I tried to explain this to CAPS LOCK GUY. He said “I still take his side!” and then kissed me again.

I jokingly said “if you want to kiss me you have to take my side!” and he just looked awkward.

We went back to the comedy place. When we were queuing to get more drinks, he kept holding my hand and touching me and I felt like I wanted him to stop. 

I like physical contact but it just didn’t feel right.

We went into the room where the comedy show was. We sat quite near the front. He put his arm across the back of my chair and put his fingers in my hair and started stroking behind my ear and the top of my neck.

I felt incredibly uncomfortable. I tried to subtly shift position so he would stop, and he did, but then a few minutes later he did it again.

When the comedy acts were on I felt trapped because I couldn’t really do anything to make him stop. I didn’t really want any physical contact when we weren’t getting on that well, but I especially didn’t want him touching my hair or neck.

I moved my head away from his hand in a more obvious way, and he seemed a bit annoyed, but still did it again a few minutes later.

I have a funny thing where I hate my neck being touched. It almost never comes up, apart from when I do training at work, every two years, called ‘Breakaway training’, where they show you how to safely get away if a patient attacks you. There’s a bit where you have to get into pairs and pretend to strangle each other, and I always feel a bit uncomfortable. I usually tell boyfriends I don’t like it, in case they’re touching somewhere nearby and I reflexively shrug them off. One ex, I can’t remember who, very gently, gradually put his hands closer and closer to my neck, with me saying “yes, that’s ok” and taking deep breaths, until he had his hands in the position for strangling me, but loosely, and I felt OK. I guess I’ll never have an asphysxi-wank or get a guy to strangle me during sex.

So, the comedy night was good, and I was enjoying it, except for the excessive physical contact, which I was hating.

I still liked him, I just wanted no physical contact for a bit, so we could get into an easier rhythm with each other. 

I felt like a snail that would happily come out of its shell in a minute, if whoever it was would just stop trying to ram the end of a twig into my shell entrance every few minutes.

In the break, we talked about how the comedy acts were and then fell into silence.

He put his hand back around me and in my hair and touched my neck and behind my ear again. I felt so incredibly uncomfortable. I moved my head away from him.

I stared at the ceiling and thought would I hate that even if Whippersnapper was doing it? No, I’d like it.

Even now, I still miss WS so much. I thought longingly about how it was never ever awkward with him. 

CAPS LOCK GUY asked me what I was thinking about. I said I didn’t know.

A couple more times he touched my hair,  I wriggled away and he asked what I was thinking about.

Eventually, he seemed to sense this wasn’t going terribly well. He asked me if I wanted to leave.

I said no, because I wanted to see the second half of the comedy and I also couldn’t bare the thought of walking back to the tube together after aborting the date early.

He said “but don’t you think it’s weird that you’re not saying anything unless I ask you something?”

It was partly because it was the interval and I kept thinking the second half was about to start. 

I tried to think of things to say but it didn’t seem to help.

As the second half was about to start, he put his hand in my lap to hold my hand, but I was holding my drink and deliberately busied my hands. He left his hand there so eventually I held it as I didn’t want his hand in my lap. He started stroking my fingers and it made me feel creepy.

Then he put his hand on my leg and stroked the back of my knee, and I wanted to scream.

When the comedy night was over we left and walked back to the tube. It was about a 10 minute walk. He kept commenting on how fast I was walking.

We said goodbye at Angel and he kissed me a bit but he knew the gig was up.

I felt really relieved as I scurried down the escalators. I also felt sad for him as I knew he didn’t know what he’d done wrong.

I felt weird as I waited on the platform. I saw some tube mice scuttling around under the tracks and that cheered me up.

I put my tunes up loud in my earphones when I got on the train.

At Marylebone I had about 20 minutes to wait and was bursting for the toilet. Normally I refuse to pay to use train station toilets and just wait, but I made an exception to my usual policy. It was 30p and I only had 20p in my purse, but the previous person had overpaid by 10p so the turnstile let me through.

I tried to feel cheerful about that, but when I finally got home and I was struggling to open my stupid front door with its fucking stupid lock, I wanted to cry.

25 thoughts on “Excessive physical contact

  1. I wish you’d just turned to him and said ‘Please don’t touch my neck or hair, I don’t like it.’ You have the right to say that. He can react however he likes, but you need to honour your sense of space & sovereignty. No wonder you cried when you got home. I hope you feel better now ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You should have voiced that his behaviour and the touching made you uncomfortable. Even if he didn’t mean it that way reading your post it felt like molestation. He probably only wanted to show you that he is attracted to you but it is a big red flag for me if he doesn’t pick up on how it makes you uncomfortable. Maybe its just that my brain is wired that way but overstepping your boundaries just like that is a bad sign.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Iโ€™m so sorry for this awkward date. I read and reacted to the neck touching with a similar resonance and discomfort. It also felt like there was a lot of verbal backpedaling. I agree with bone&silver and we all need to be able to say that, even when itโ€™s uncomfortable. No more CAPS.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Ugh, what an awkward date. I’m sorry he didn’t pick up your cues. I agree with everyone else: If he can’t read basic social cues like moving away, moving his hand away, then he needs to be outright told that is makes you uncomfortable. He even gave you opportunities when he asked you what you were thinking.

    Good for you for giving him the benefit of the doubt with a 2nd date but, yes, sounds like a 3rd is a clear NO. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

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  8. What I take from this and everyone’s comments is that standing up for what you like or don’t like is important and too often, as women, we are silenced into accepting that whatever is dished out, we have to take. I feel a story brewing as this topic has been on my mind for a while and I keep getting triggers – such as reading your excellent story tonight. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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