Stalking is the new black. Everyone’s doing it! Why? Because it’s extremely convenient thanks to the Internet. Between websites like Facebook, Google, Linked In, and dating sites, a total stranger can know intimate details about your life.
The web allows us to get information at the touch of a button, which has many benefits. It’s really helpful for employment, for example. Whether it’s applying for a job online, posting your resume or CV on a site, or using a contact’s profile to find out their job history, interests, and some personal background. If you are savvy you can apply this knowledge to find common ground and use that in your communication or approach. The same can be said for dating. Let’s say your friend wants to set you up or you are talking to someone of interest online, you can look that person up immediately by going to Facebook or Google. Having a little bit more insight about a person is never a bad idea and eases your nerves and hesitation.
But on the flip side, this instant access is a lazy stalker’s dream. Stalking used to involve intelligence, motivation, preparation, and movement of some sort. Now, any Tom, Dick, or Harry within reach of a computer can find information about your family, location, employment, friends, interests, and the list goes on. Put in the wrong hands this can be very dangerous as well as a pain in the ass. Unfortunately I have had the pleasure of dealing with a semi-stalker.
I received a Facebook message from some guy who knew two random people I am “friends” with on the site. I’m not sure if he thought I was blind or stupid but he pointed out that we had two friends in common. I am a nice person so I answered but the only appropriate response I could think of was, “Cool”. After about 10 minutes I get another message, “You’re really beautiful. Do you have a boyfriend?” I figured I’m single and this isn’t SO different from online dating so I told him I was not dating at the moment. BIG MISTAKE. He proceeded to ask when we were going to go on a date. One thing I learned from social work is that you need to set boundaries and expectations right away in any relationship. So I replied that I am single but not looking for anything serious. He said of course but then proceeded to joke about how he wanted to marry me, more than once. It made me a little uncomfortable but I figured he was just joking.
His picture was a headshot so I wanted to see what he really looked like. I went to his profile but it was blocked. I “friended” him and he would not accept. I’m thinking why does some guy who wants to date me not want me to see what he looks like? Maybe because someone who asks you out over Facebook is usually a creep. But, as I pointed out in an earlier post about men’s low self esteem, He’s Just Not That Into You…Or Himself, he was just extremely insecure. He told me how he was a few pounds bigger than his picture and didn’t want me to see him until he lost weight, so he wanted to wait for two weeks. Was this guy taking Jack’s magic beans? You’re still going to be heavier in two weeks. His irrational thinking on top of his creepiness should have deterred me but I was lonely and trying to be open minded. Also, he owned a chain of well-known supermarkets, that will remain nameless, and said he worked on the corporate end. I figured he has a good job, isn’t completely poor which was different for me, and maybe his pictures were worse than he was in person. So we decided to hang out as friends so there was no pressure.
The meet up was very relaxed and we just talked, had a beer, and other herbal refreshments. At first he seemed funny but then he began to brag about how much money he had and his apartment on the Upper West side and then all of a sudden got really intense and he started to cry. I don’t mean a tear, like a full fledge meltdown. Being a social worker, I am always apt to try and help someone through a tough time so I sat and spoke to him for hours about his life problems. He went on about how much he loves his mother and misses her and no girl will ever live up to her (she’s still alive), how he has no friends, trust issues, and is extremely sensitive…everything you want to share with someone you just met. He was able to self soothe and calm down as I checked my watch repeatedly. I broke up the party and said I had to go and he asked if I wanted to hang out again. I wasn’t feeling this guy but he obviously didn’t deal well with rejection and I didn’t want to do that to him or unleash a psychopath on myself. I was upfront and told him I would go but I didn’t think our relationship could go beyond a friendship and he said he’d be happy to have another friend. Maybe since he didn’t have any friends he didn’t know what that meant.
A few weeks later, I was extremely stressed and busy as I was producing a pilot. I would receive a text everyday from him, some disturbing message like “Hey Wifey”, “Can you get me a job?” (what happened to your fancy apartment and supermarket chain), and “I really wish I was with you right now”. I hung out with him that weekend to get him off my back. We went to dinner and I paid for my portion and didn’t hold his hand or kiss him when he made those attempts. I’m not sure how I could have been more clear that I was not interested. I was home and in bed at 11:00 PM on a Saturday night. That’s obviously not the sign of a great date (if that’s what he thought it was). I didn’t contact him after that since we were getting close to the shooting date. He would hound me every day through Facebook, Text, Email, et cetera and I didn’t get back to him immediately because I was working 24/7. I then get a ridiculous email from him saying, “You are such a tease. You’re just like every other Jappy girl in New York City”. Instead of just ignoring him and leaving it, I felt I had to defend myself.
A) I am not a Jap.
B) I don’t live in New York City.
C) I could not have been more straight-forward about only wanting to be friends.
I explained to him that I don’t have time right now for anyone including myself. I was working like crazy and barely had slept. And then pointed out that if he was a friend or ever wanted to be in a relationship then he had to support people in their work. This was my dream becoming a reality and some guy who I met on Facebook a week before was not going to change that. He then said, “Well I thought I was part of that dream. You lead me on so much”. WOW. How could you be part of my dream? I just met you, explicitly said that I was not looking for a relationship, and warded off attempts to become intimate. Look for the signs buddy. They were all there. Sorry you don’t have a job and have some major ADHD along with a debilitating emotional problem.
But I took the high road and said I was sorry he felt that way but I did nothing wrong and he can’t be mad at me for concentrating on work. He then pointed out that I went out a few nights before. That’s when it got a little freaky. Someone had posted pictures from a birthday I went to a few weeks earlier and since he was stalking my profile he immediately assumed I had gone out and was just avoiding him. He had good foresight but that was not the case at the moment. He then threatened to hurt himself because of people like me. Called me a bunch of names including a “harlot” and deactivated his account. About a week later I get a message from him being like, “Hey what’s up Wifey?”. I did not respond. He continued to contact me until a month later FINALLY getting the hint.
I am starting to see why Sting and The Police wrote so many songs about stalkers. I’ll Be Watching You and Don’t Stand So Close To Me have a whole new meaning. Like Hansel, I don’t really listen to Sting’s music but the fact that he understands my experience, I respect him. I’d like to see the relationship between Sting fans and the occurrence of restraining orders filed against them. My bet is they would have a positive relationship.
Lesson learned. Never again will I befriend or meet someone in person from Facebook unless I knew he/she prior to the Friend request. Or date someone that wants to marry their mother. Either way I’m done dealing with psychos.
Maybe if Supermarket Boy been an old school stalker he wouldn’t have the weight problem that may have caused the extreme emotional issues. He was going to be a psycho either way but at least he could have been a healthy and fit psycho. Just because you are a creep doesn’t mean you have to totally give up! Sidenote: He wore sweatpants the first time I met him.
In the spirit of stalking, I need to head into the city since one of my favorite actresses is in the same part of Mexico. Dee Reynolds, I’m coming for ya! But don’t worry, I’m an active and harmless stalker. I’ll just follow you, buy you drinks and take your picture…the honorable way of stalking.