I thought very hard over what to write for this blog post.
I considered creating a post about most romantic gifts you could give your other half on the big day; the most romantic gestures I’d ever experienced, which then led me onto thinking about when romance went wrong for me!
Most of these stories happened when I was still in my middle to late teenage years, so I can now blame youth for my naïveté, but thought if I share mine, someone else might share theirs! So come on, now! Don’t leave me hanging!
Experience 1 – When I was seventeen, I worked in a kiosk at a petrol station (this was the late 1980s, btw). Most of my customers were men filling up their tanks on the way to work and I soon got to know my regulars. There was this young man, maybe in his early 20s, who I saw often and he asked if he could take me out for a drink. Giddy with excitement, I said yes and he picked me up in his Ford Cortina a couple of days later. He was driving me to a country pub and we were chatting away quite happily, when I happened to glance into the backseat and saw two baby seats. I asked, ‘Whose are those?’
Mr Suave gave me a look and then said, really casually, ‘They’re for my kids.’
I asked, ‘Are you separated?’
His response? ‘Nah, I’m still married, but you know the score.’ And he winked at me!
I sat there, feeling awkward and embarrassed, with not much experience in dating and not knowing how to get myself out of the situation and worrying that technically, I was with someone I didn’t really know, in the countryside, with no way of getting home. So I said nothing, figuring when the date was over, I just wouldn’t see him again.
Did it end there?
Mr Suave thought that my silence was acceptance of the fact that he was married and when we got to the pub, he couldn’t stop slobbering kisses over me and winking at me from the bar when he got drinks.
When he finally dropped me back home, I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough! And for weeks afterwards, he stalked me, until his wife came into the petrol station to have a go at me for trying to steal her man!
When I protested my innocence, she seemed to believe me, but I was under the stark impression that he didn’t get off so lightly at home!
Experience 2 – Still at the petrol station, I swapped an evening shift with a colleague as I was going out with family to a birthday dinner. As we drove home, we had to pass the petrol station and found it filled with police cars. There had been an armed raid! (Never have I been so pleased to have swapped a shift!) I went to the kiosk to check on my colleague and got talking with a couple of the police officers (I’m sure you see where this is going)
One of the officers, let’s call him Paul, called in a few days later to the petrol station, to check on us and report progress to the owners. Paul chatted to me for a bit and offered to take me out for the day to Alton Towers.
I (Naively) thought, he’s a copper. He’s bound to be honest.
He offered to meet me one morning in his car at the top of my street and off we went to Alton Towers. Having a great time, going on all the rides, really funny guy, brilliant sense of humour, everything was going great, until it was time to drop me off at my house. He stopped at one end of my street, down a blind lane and said, “I’ll drop you off here, if that’s okay?”
Now, my street was a pretty long one. And it was dark and I was pretty scared about walking all that way on my own. “Can’t you drop me off outside my house?”
“I can’t be seen doing that.”
‘Because you’re a police officer?” I asked. See? Stupid, I know.
“Because I’m married.”
Ah. Well, at least he told me, I guess.
I never saw Paul after that. And updates on the crime were delivered by other officers.
I think my Mum was more upset than me that he wasn’t genuine. She’d quite fancied having a police car parked outside of our house most evenings, keeping our rowdy neighbours quiet for once.
After those? I’d like to say my dating experiences got better, but sadly they didn’t. Two more married men tried it on (this time I knew they were married, so turned them down) but I did meet a guy there who I ended up living with for five years, who turned out to be abusive.
Still. I learned from that, too.
Now? I’ve been married for 22 years, with four kids of my own.
And no married men have propositioned me since.
It could be because of the six-foot-two husband that walks by my side, that stops them.
So come on everyone! Want to share any of your dating disasters?