I’ve written before about being a nosy neighbor, being hit on by Brian, the strange man who lives around the corner, and feeling uncomfortable (at first) about saying no. See, I Turned Down a Dinner Date With An Ex-Con.
Recently, I saw Brian again. I’ve seen him, on and off, of course, from time to time, but since I’d turned him down he hadn’t stopped to talk or come by to borrow things.
I have creepy neighbors, but I also have “normal neighbors.” The kids and I help normal neighbors with their new puppy, Bailey. And by “the kids and I” — I mean, usually, me. When I was walking Bailey the other day, I found myself walking in Brian’s direction.
It was a deer in headlights situation. I was walking toward him. He was walking toward me.
Brian’s appearance has changed — again. It’s Winter now so he doesn’t go shirtless anymore. He’s cut his hair, which is a good thing, because he seemed disheveled before. I’d seen him on crutches a couple of weeks ago, but now the crutches are gone — as are his glasses. He looks different without his glasses. I wonder what happened to his glasses? But I digress . . .
Bailey the puppy is a bit timid, but once a stranger speaks nicely to her, she gets very excited and friendly.
She was terrified of Brian.
He tried to be nice to her. He did what you’re supposed to do — offered his closed fist, fingers down, for the pup to sniff, but Bailey was still afraid. She started to run (on the extendable leash) and when I pulled her back she was visibly shaking.
It begs the question: What does this dog sense about this man?
“Hello, Roxanne, I got your name right this time!”
“Yes, yes, you did.”
Brian has found at least two other names that sort of rhyme with Roxanne that he’s used. But on this particular day he got it right.
We exchanged the “How are you, blah blah blahs.”
“I saw your daughter the other day,” Brian added, “and I thought she was you. That just tells me how young you look. But you won’t tell me how old you are.”
“No, I won’t.” (Dude, will you please STOP asking how old I am. That is so not cool.)
A dog can be a nice distraction, and as I turned to calm the puppy and explained she wasn’t mine, Brian placed his hand on my back and slowly and deliberately caressed me with his thumb.
What the hell?
It was a move too “familiar” to be casual.
Why is he touching me?
I backed away, continuing the small talk, and making my excuses to leave. But then he put his arms out to hug me.
“Well, it’s good to see you,” he said.
It was a reflex really, but I allowed a hug. I don’t know why. I don’t know why. I DON’T KNOW WHY!
I immediately felt the “ick” and could smell the cigarettes.
Ah, maybe that’s why Bailey the puppy was so upset. Different smells bother dogs, and Bailey’s owners (normal neighbors) don’t smoke. Maybe that’s all it was. I hoped.
Feeling uncomfortable I said,
“Well, I gotta go,” and started to walk.
I was seconds from a (not completely) clean get-away when Brian asked,
“So when are we gonna get together?”
“Uh, I don’t know,” I said, while shaking my head no, and looking at the ground. I thought I was being dismissive.
“Still thinking about it, huh?” This was Brian’s response to my non-answer.
And in typical Roxanne fashion, I replied, “Yeah, I guess so.”
The voices in my head screamed, What are you saying? Shut up!
What Brian said next gave me the “ick” — again:
“Well, we live close to each other at least, so it would make it easy.”
It would make WHAT easy? The voices in my head screamed.
“Yeah, I guess.” I mumbled, this time, with an accompanying awkward laugh. “Okay, bye.”
Me to me, in my mind: Will you please just SHUT UP! NOW!!
Brian walked toward his house. I continued in the opposite direction until it was safe, then doubled back and went home.
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just say, “Sorry not interested” when I need to? It’s a problem. There’s a pattern. And why did Brian touch me, why did he touch me like he was my boyfriend? Why did he hug me and why did I allow it? And most importantly, What does the dog instinctively know?
I’m never leaving the house again. Never.
Okay, I have to walk to the dog, and there’s my kids, and life . . . but shit . . .
Just Me With . . . a case of the “ICK”
Other posts when I couldn’t just say “NO!”:
Landscaper Guy — Not Digging Him, and
Landscaper Guy and The Female Chandler Bing, and
Landscaper Guy and a Phone Smarter Than Me, and
Why? Because you are nuts? jk
That is soooo creepy.
1–thinks daughter is you, and he wants you. Maybe she is a substitute for you? I would have gone stone, icy cold, bristled and put him in his place.
2–he touched you…ick! He is going too far.
3–and you allowed it–double ick. And, you allowed him to go farther.
4–you looked down? That is not dismissive in my book. In my book it looks coy.
5–you agreed that proximity would make it easy? You are scaring me for you.
Roxanne, you are leading him on in his mind. He thinks he has a chance. Maybe he is not dangerous. Maybe he just is not very smooth. Maybe he won’t take “NO” for an answer. I think he is pulling closer and closer to you. Don’t ever let him touch you again. In his mind you are going along. But, when he gets to the point you really resist, that might make him angry.
My friend had a dog that hated me. The dog tried to bite only the people who helped her the most. We all think this dog hated the people she hated. But, the dog you walked? I don’t know. Could the dog have picked up your scent of fear?
Tell him you are seeing someone, a policeman. Then, get a friend to come by and walk with you. If he drives a squad car, even better.
Or, tell him you do not intend to date until the kids are older, that you are busy with them and cannot do a relationship justice. And, don’t let him touch you.
You want me to come give you lessons? I reread this and I sound mean, but I had chills when I read your post.
You are right. I know. I need to get rid of him by any means necessary. Time for the fake boyfriend. Or maybe I’ll tell him my age — plus 15 years and have a fake boyfriend. I didn’t think he was dangerous before, just weird, but now I think he has no boundaries. As to my daughter — remember, he no longer wears his glasses. She’s a teen, wears her hair in a ponytail like me. We have the same complexion and hair color. He probably thought she was me. He tried to talk to her from a distance but she set him straight. “I’m her daughter,” she said, and went inside. Perhaps the puppy did sense my fear and discomfort.
But you are right. I have to be mean. I have to learn and practice the art of cruel rejection. It’s for my own good.
Any man with a fixation on you might settle for your daughter. Any man with good sense would not hit on you and mention your daughter and how young he thinks you are. Besides, he is not as dumb as a rock. He knows you are not good with this, but he forced a creepy stroking on your back and forced a hug on you. He knows what he is doing. I would be afraid to be alone with him. He thinks he is such a charmer that he will just seduce you slowly and that eventually he will have you where he wants you, and that he will get his way. I like a man who tries to touch my hand before he goes for the stroking the back with the thumb (overtly sexual) and asking for a hug.
I would find out what he did to land in prison. You can get all this.
Even if you go into the back yard, lock all the doors.
Don’t be mean, mean. That might turn him on…he may settle for any kind of passionate emotion from you. Or, it could make him vindicative.
Do not stop if you meet him on the street again. Turn away like you did not see him if you happen to spot him in the distance. Take a guy for a walk down past his house, do this several times. What about the guy who keeps texting you? Is he okay?
Every time that this guy can occupy you for any amount of time, he feels he is moving closer to a date. Remember, you are always in a hurry, blind to him, and feet keep moving with a deadline looming. Don’t walk faster, just keep moving.
If you feel like you must say something, just say, “I don’t see this going anywhere.” f he presses for a reason, say, “Lot of things that I really don’t have time to discuss. Besides, I just don’t need to explain myself.” Never give him the hope you will come around. When you stop, talk, submit without complaint to stroking, or submit to a hug, you are encouraging him, not just being nice.
Oh, Roxanne, I get it! I’ve done dumb stuff like that, too, soooo many times. And, the whole time I’m thinking, “I can’t stand this person. I want them to drop off the face of the earth and leave me alone.” Yet, I stand and smile and tell them it was nice to see them. For me, I think it’s because I am scared to death to seem mean. I was raised that for me to be a doormat was for me to express kindness. What a bunch of bull! Working on getting over that!
I have a client who has two dogs. One dog freaks me out. I swear one day I’ll be bent over vacuuming, and he’s going to bite my butt. However, outside of those few fruity dogs (sounds like one of those weird dogs in the above comment, too), I’m a firm believer in the old saying–Kids and animals are the best judges of character.
Sweety, in the words of Nancy Reagan, you and I need to learn to just say NO! : )
Well, it was dumb and I have to stop doing things like this. I think men scare me a bit so I don’t know what to do. He’s a big guy, don’t know if I mentioned. Tall. I, too, observed a lot of doormat behavior growing up. Plus, being somewhat (actually) socially isolated throughout the years (my marriage) has made me be the one likely to talk to strangers when I get a chance — just to talk to someone, anyone — but in the words of my kids — STRANGER DANGER !!! Thanks for the support. I acknowledge that I have a problem in this regard, but I have to work on it. It took my a long time (much too long) to tell my Ex that he couldn’t come and go as he pleased after the separation. I have to accept that I am important and have a right to set boundaries. Plus, ick.
Oh No, he didn’t touch you! That man violated you by stroking your back and the fact he said that he thought your daughter was you made th hair on the back of my neck bristle!!!! He’s scarey and Bailey even confirms it. I know we’re all brought up to be nice to people and be polite as to not offend anyone but you need to offend him in the worst kinda way. He thinks you have a relationship in his own twisted mind and that’s just one step away from him forcing himself on you. Get real and get mean because it could get even worse by him fixating on your daughter since she looks so much like you.
You are right. Time to get mean. Time to get even meaner than I need to be. It’s time. Thanks for the support.
Okay, I thought it over. Here is the way that I think will keep you out of his clutches.
You are seeing someone. But, you need to focus on job and rearing children. You do not have the time to really date anyone. Be wishy-washy, but firm. Got it. Send out no mixed messages. (letting him touch) Your message to him is no. If he presses, tell him you have too much on your plate. He can assume that is a bf and kids and job, kids, bf, job, whatever.
I put my hand up (like stop) and tell the person, “I don’t know you well enough to allow you to touch me.”
He is getting into your space when he questions, and you allow him in when you answer. Give him one brief statement, matter of fact, and answer no more. If he mentions your daughter, give him the stink eye and walk quickly away. Like the other poster, the hair on my neck stood up when I read about him talking about your daughter.
Did the texter disappear?
Laughing at the thought–you could tell him you are not really into men. You know he will think you are a lesbian if you can actually resist his charm.
I’d go further than “I don’t know you well enough”. I’d say “I’m sorry, I don’t think that’s appropriate and I’m not at all comfortable with it.” It IS creepy. Do NOT feel guilty. By being inappropriate and not getting the CLEAR message you aren’t interested (if you were, you’d accept a dinner date) he is FORCING you to be rude. We have rules in our society so that we don’t have to reject directly. If he isn’t following them, you shouldn’t feel guilty about having to be direct.
You probably answered the way you did because he’s your neighbor and if he is indeed a lunatic you have to treed lightly. I can’t stand when men don’t get the freaking hint!!!!
[…] had Another Encounter With The Ex-Con which confirmed my decision. Even the dog knew something wasn’t […]
[…] Another Encounter With The Ex-Con […]
Hey- I love your site and especially your writing style! You make it so easy for me to see the picture. Anyway, I usually don’t post but I can’t resist making this book suggestion for you: Boundaries- When to Say Yes When to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud, or maybe one of his other books on similar topics, check him out on Amazon or the library – IF you have any time to read, lol. Another idea- PRACTICE, out loud, what you are going to say the next time someone you’re not interested in approaches you. Maybe, “Sorry, I’m busy” and keep moving. “Sorry, I can’t talk right now. Sorry, I’m busy.” If he looks at you like you’re a b#tch, you look at him like, “What part of ‘sorry, I’m busy’ don’t you understand?” and keep moving. Who cares what they think, you do not owe them the time of day and you’re not the one being rude! That landscaper guy definitely knows he’s being a jerk but he gets a kick at your expense- sounds abusive. Who would keep doing that?? The ego on some guys cracks me up, they act like there’s something wrong with YOU for not being attracted to them, when it’s actually THEM. I amuse myself by thinking ego is inversely related to penis size- not that size matters, but it does to them ha ha.