Welcome to 29 Dates, where we explore the weird, wild, and sometimes wonderful world of dating. Look out for a new story every day this month.
I'd been single for a year at the time, which, according to my then-friends, made me “sad and pathetic.” So I reluctantly agreed for them to set me up on a blind date at a bar I knew well.
I was nervous. I’d only agreed to it to get them off my back and I just wanted it over and done with.
A friend met me beforehand and we got the bus together into town. He mentioned that my date would have sunflowers with him. I was early and ordered a rum and Coke to settle my nerves while I waited.
As soon as I saw him with sunflowers, I froze.
The bar's layout and the dark lighting meant I could see who was entering before they could see me. As soon as I saw him with sunflowers, I froze. It was the man who’d stalked me and made my life hell.
I’d first met him on a night out through a friend. He went on a few dates with a mutual friend and when that fizzled out, turned his attention to me. He started sending me strange messages in the night about the future he’d mapped out for us, and how he was willing to overlook the fact that I wasn’t the same religion as him. He always knew where I’d been and what I'd be doing. So, I tried to cut all ties but he persisted.
There was other strange behaviour too. I'd go clothes shopping and he’d send messages telling me which items he preferred out of what I'd bought. (How did he know?) I once went looking for a fancy dress outfit with a friend and bought two corsets, one black and one purple. While on my way home, he messaged saying he preferred the purple one. I didn't know how to handle it, and for six months, I wouldn't go out alone.
When I saw him again that night, I immediately slid off my seat onto the floor and started crawling under tables. I used a group of bikers to my advantage and once I saw him go to check the upstairs level of the bar, I jumped up, thanked the bikers and ran out the door as fast as I could.
I made it to another bar 10 minutes away and locked myself in the bathroom. I called the friend who had taken the bus with me and frantically explained what had just happened. This was exactly why I wouldn’t usually go on blind dates. He had no idea that he’d helped to set me up with my stalker — but my other friend did and thought it would be funny to see what happened.
I also outright refuse to go on blind dates any more. When I do date, I try to get to know them a little better before meeting up, but for now I'm a happy, single dog mother of one.