Author Topic: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!  (Read 8852 times)

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Samgirl2

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So, this is a pretty weird and I guess slightly sweet story in a way. Just thought I'd share it and see if anyone would have acted differently in my situation....

I had arranged to meet a friend in a nearby town as it was halfway between both our houses. We found a nice old pub for lunch but the restaurant was full so we were shown to a table in the corner of the bar instead. Now, the bar was really a small room with a bar in one corner and 5 tables scrammed in. It was certainly close enough to hear everyone's conversations.

Friend and I were talking about a mutual friend who has recently got engaged after meeting a guy online. The conversation then turned to internet dating stories etc, amongst other things. Throughout our lunch I noticed a man at the bar staring at us rather intently. He was old enough to be our Dad and to be honest, looked a little rough around the edges and it was a bit unnerving.

Anyway, as we were leaving I had to walk past him and he grabbed me by the arm and said 'Excuse me love, are you local?"  I said no, and tried to extricate myself from his grip, when he said that he couldn't help overhearing our conversation and that the problem with people nowadays is that they don't speak to people in the real world. He then started to lecture about people not giving anyone a chance, and "look, we're talking now aren't we, you should get out in the real world and talk to people, none of this online stuff". I really wanted to get away and everyone in the bar room was looking and a few were laughing. He went on a bit longer and I was finally able to say, "ok, I'll try and remember that" and practically ran out of there!

So, friend and I looked around some of the shops for about an hour when suddenly my friend exclaimed "CRUD MONKEYS!, no way!" and I looked up to see the same guy heading towards us on the main street. There wasn't time to hide and he called out "stop, I have something for you!". As he got closer he looked straight at me (cigarette hanging from his mouth) and said "I knew I'd see you again, I wanted to give you something" and started to fiddle with the catch on his rucksack. My friend and I were stuck. I didn't want to appear rude and I thought if I walked away he might get angry as he had a very gruff manner, so I stood there very awkwardly and he produced a bunch of red roses from inside his rucksack and presented them to me, saying "I knew I'd see you again and I wanted you to have these. you ned to get out and talk to people".

My friend was almost dying with the effort of not laughing and I felt so so awkward. I didn't want to be talking to him, let alone accepting anything, but I didn't want to be rude and I guess it was a very sweet gesture, if done in a rather strange way! Oh and the fact they were in a supermarket wrapper with "3, bargain" written on them!!!

So, I took them, said thanks and turned and walked as quickly as possible, wondering what on earth to do with this bunch of flowers I didn't want!  We decided to cut our visit short as we didn't want to run into this guy again.

Once I got home it seemed a shame to bin them, so I put them in a vase and they do look cheerful. But, he made me feel so uncomfortable that it didn't come across at all as a nice and kind gesture, more like an agressive, slightly stalkerish much older man thing that I didn't like at all.

But, I don't really think there was anything else I could have done to change the situation...
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 07:14:43 AM by Samgirl2 »

RingTailedLemur

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2013, 07:48:31 AM »
Well, I'd have kicked up a fuss the minute he laid hands on me - and I would have run away when I saw him heading my way on the street!

Sorry, I don't see what is "sweet" about being grabbed, lectured and chased.  I think you were very polite and calm, but you may have engaged the crazy and personally I would feel quite uncomfortable visiting that place again.

sammycat

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2013, 07:49:52 AM »
Well, I'd have kicked up a fuss the minute he laid hands on me - and I would have run away when I saw him heading my way on the street!
Sorry, I don't see what is "sweet" about being grabbed, lectured and chased.  I think you were very polite and calm, but you may have engaged the crazy and personally I would feel quite uncomfortable visiting that place again.

Ditto! :o >:(

Momiitz

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2013, 08:01:15 AM »
I think you did as good as you could under the circumstances. I might have listened to him at the restaurant in your place especially if he looked unbalanced. But once he grabbed your arm I think it would have been fine to sternly tell him to let go and to scream as well if he did not let go.  That would be safety over etiquette.

Venus193

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2013, 08:38:56 AM »
Agree with the others.  Him grabbing your arm crossed the line.  Stating "You will not touch me!" in a Shakespearean stage voice is what I would have done, simultaneously while freeing myself.  That would have drawn some attention which -- one hopes -- would have embarrassed this man.

Interestingly, there was an incident with flowers and a wrong prospective suitor in my favorite novela (see photo below).  The heroine handed the flowers to a cute young couple she passed on her way home.

FlyingBaconMouse

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2013, 09:04:28 AM »
Ugh! I agree you should have made a scene. But then, even aside from the severe creepiness of this, I think people who carry on about the internet as though long-distance written communication was invented around 1978 are going, to paraphrase Firefly, to one of the special hells.
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rashea

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2013, 09:59:39 AM »
I think in the future, it's fine to be rude in a case like this. You don't have to be polite to someone who is seriously crossing boundaries.
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SleepyKitty

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2013, 11:38:07 AM »
While I agree with the others in that I would have firmly put a stop to the whole thing the minute he touched me, I also think you were well within your rights to have refused the flowers. I've used a variation of "Sorry, but I only take X from Y," with X being anything that I don't want and Y being the appropriate relationship to end the conversation. So, for example I would have said:

"Sorry, I but only take flowers from my boyfriend."

It's not a perfect line, since it's kind of awkward (and untrue), but I've used variations at bars when I get someone persistently trying to buy me a drink ("Only my boyfriend buys me drinks", "Sorry, I'm only dancing with my girl friends tonight," etc...) and it tends to shut the situation down more effectively than just saying No, Thanks. You can always follow it up with, "I'm old-fashioned like that," or something similar to soften the refusal.

WillyNilly

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2013, 11:40:38 AM »
I totally get what others are saying. But i have a slightly different perspective.

I used to hang out at "an old man bar". It was the divey-est of dives. A few young folks hung out there, and lots of older ones. I even worked there for a while. So I got to know the old guys. And they did look rough around the edges and kind of creepy I guess. But I knew they were just sad old men. They are a particular type of functional alcoholic, and really not to be frightened of. They always enjoyed the company of pretty younger women in the bar, not in a sexual way though, just in a life affirming way and in the way anyone can appreciate general beauty and vitality. That the other regulars in the bar, and even the bartender, didn't seem alarmed he grabbed your arm makes me think he was one of these old guys - harmless and just a sad old drunk who saw the errors of his life way too late and through the bottom of a glass.

If he was that kind of guy, the flowers were more for him then for you; the act of giving them to you, probably gave him great joy. he got that feeling of being young and romantic and gentlemanly, even if for only a moment, by giving them to you. he got to feel for a moment as though all the rough times he'd been through were worth it because he got to impart what he considered long, hard earned wisdom upon you. Of course being an old drunk, its not elusive wisdom or anything, but to him it was.

So please enjoy those flowers and think of them as a gift you gave a lonely old man, you probably smiled at him and said "thank you" and that probably made his day, heck his week.

...And just don't go back there!  :D

Twik

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2013, 12:24:57 PM »
I have to disagree. You are asking women to accept being hit on in an aggressive way, on the grounds that "it makes obnoxious drunks feel good". It's the epitome of the idea that "nice" women put other people's feelings ahead of their own.

Eventually, the OP is going to run out of places to go, if she has to always act thrilled by strangers rudely accosting her, then never go back to that location for fear that she's encouraged them.
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WillyNilly

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2013, 12:30:26 PM »
I have to disagree. You are asking women to accept being hit on in an aggressive way, on the grounds that "it makes obnoxious drunks feel good". It's the epitome of the idea that "nice" women put other people's feelings ahead of their own.

Eventually, the OP is going to run out of places to go, if she has to always act thrilled by strangers rudely accosting her, then never go back to that location for fear that she's encouraged them.

I'm not. I'm not saying anyone has to accept it. I'm also saying she wasn't being hit on.
But the fact is, she did accept it, I'm simply saying she shoudl look at it in a different way.

nyarlathotep

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2013, 12:55:35 PM »
I have to disagree. You are asking women to accept being hit on in an aggressive way, on the grounds that "it makes obnoxious drunks feel good". It's the epitome of the idea that "nice" women put other people's feelings ahead of their own.

Eventually, the OP is going to run out of places to go, if she has to always act thrilled by strangers rudely accosting her, then never go back to that location for fear that she's encouraged them.

Thank you. Parking my POD here.

Sorry, but as a young woman, I don't exist solely to provide men with an ego-boost, especially if that involves putting up with unwanted attention, especially if that unwanted attention involves me being grabbed. It really doesn't matter whether the OP was being hit on or not; she has a right to assert her own boundaries regardless of the motives of the other person.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 12:57:43 PM by nyarlathotep »

Tea Drinker

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2013, 07:59:14 PM »
I totally get what others are saying. But i have a slightly different perspective.

I used to hang out at "an old man bar". It was the divey-est of dives. A few young folks hung out there, and lots of older ones. I even worked there for a while. So I got to know the old guys. And they did look rough around the edges and kind of creepy I guess. But I knew they were just sad old men. They are a particular type of functional alcoholic, and really not to be frightened of. They always enjoyed the company of pretty younger women in the bar, not in a sexual way though, just in a life affirming way and in the way anyone can appreciate general beauty and vitality. That the other regulars in the bar, and even the bartender, didn't seem alarmed he grabbed your arm makes me think he was one of these old guys - harmless and just a sad old drunk who saw the errors of his life way too late and through the bottom of a glass.

Or it might mean that, being fellow old drunks who have never had to fend off a strange man who grabbed them and started to lecture them, it didn't occur to them that one of their own kind might be doing something wrong, or potentially dangerous to a woman he approached and manhandled.

Quote
If he was that kind of guy, the flowers were more for him then for you; the act of giving them to you, probably gave him great joy. he got that feeling of being young and romantic and gentlemanly, even if for only a moment, by giving them to you. he got to feel for a moment as though all the rough times he'd been through were worth it because he got to impart what he considered long, hard earned wisdom upon you. Of course being an old drunk, its not elusive wisdom or anything, but to him it was.

So please enjoy those flowers and think of them as a gift you gave a lonely old man, you probably smiled at him and said "thank you" and that probably made his day, heck his week.

...And just don't go back there!  :D

I agree that he bought the flowers for his own sake, not for her benefit. That doesn't excuse it; if anything, it makes it worse, because it means that it didn't matter to him who the OP was, or what she thought or wanted. Your comment is basically saying that it's okay for men to treat women that way, making them uncomfortable for hours or days in order to give themselves a few hours' gratification, and that the appropriate outcome is that he gets to keep hanging out there and she has to go somewhere else.

Yes, it might be prudent for her to avoid the place: I would tend to avoid a bar where one regular grabbed me and lectured me on what was wrong with my lifestyle, and the bartender and the other regulars ignored the whole thing. But I would avoid it the way I avoid unsafe foods (anything from allergens to contamination that would be bad for everyone); I wouldn't think that it was right and proper for me to have to go somewhere else so the cook didn't have to answer questions about potential allergens or keep the work surfaces clean, let alone so the cockroaches or the botulism toxin could enjoy that kitchen in peace.
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WillyNilly

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2013, 08:15:59 PM »
^ Thats really not what I'm saying. Because I don't see it as a man/woman thing really. I see it as a sad older person and vibrant young person thing. As a female I noticed it as a sad old man thing, but really the old guys would try to impart "wisdom" on the young men too.

Did any of you ever see the movie Trees Lounge? Its a real place BTW. And a few of the peripheral characters are the type I'm thinking of. For some people, the bar is their community, just as much so as a church is for other folks. And when a stranger walks in, the regulars can feel a sort of draw to welcome and protect the new person. That's what it sounds like this guy was doing. That he saw a young person, and he wanted to give her a bit of advice to make her life better. I think it was misguided advice, but I think it was coming from a good place.

To me, its not about how a man treats a woman, so much as just paying homage to someone who is saddened by a changing world and letting them have a moment. Its giving them a minute as you might give a panhandler a dollar. The OP could have yanked her arm away, or said something firm, or turned around when she saw him on the street. All of those would have been perfectly acceptable actions for sure. But that she didn't makes me picture a pretty harmless, yet annoying, guy. Its just a kindness of sorts to accept that kind of action from someone I think. Its the whole 'its the thought that counts' thing - he truly thought he was doing a kindness, so the kindness in turn IMO is to accept it at the time.

SleepyKitty

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Re: A stranger bought me flowers... but it wasn't cute or romantic!
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2013, 08:17:02 PM »
I get what you're saying, WillyNilly, and I do think it's important to remember that, while any person has every right to react to being touched without their permission, not every case is one of a threatening or obnoxious person - sometimes it's just a lonely person. And I think you rightly point out that there are probably many cases where compassion is just as legitimate a response as "get away from me!"

With that having been said, though, I think it's unreasonable to expect the OP to assess the situation as you did. You yourself point out that you got to know the guys at your bar over time, and that's what makes this type of situation non-threatening. Guys that you know are a little sad and a little lonely reaching out for some human contact? Sure, I can see how gracefully accepting flowers can be affirming for both people. But a guy you've never met before overstepping appropriate boundaries of social contact (don't touch someone without their permission, for example) not just once, but twice? I think it's always best to err on the side of caution - it would be lovely to live in a world where you could err on the side of compassion, but I just don't think it's realistic.