The other day I was chatting with friends and the topic of young men came up during conversation. One friend, T, was pursued but respectively declined this young man’s advances towards her. But what if the random chance of meeting a stranger turned out differently? What if this happen(s)ed to you?
As I walked into the building I assessed my surroundings quickly and bypassed the elevators and glided to the stairs. When I walked past armchairs for students I made eye contact with a fellow male student. He smiled and so I returned a smile, albeit a tight smile but a smile none the less. I prefer not to make eye contact or smile at people when I’m in a rush. Anyway, I proceeded up the stairway and heard foot steps behind me. This isn’t an unusual occurrence since students are all over the place. I glance behind me to see who the second person is walking up the stairs. It is the same chap that exchanged smiles with me.
“Excuse me, Miss?” He says, sliding up the stairs to my level. He’s about six feet tall with a muscular build and strong brown eyes. This young man has text books under his arm and a book bag on his back.
“Yes?” I hesitantly respond while I pause on the next stair landing. Usually when I’m on campus students speak to me when they need directions to a classroom or building, No young man, this isn’t the library. The library is about a quarter mile in that direction.
“Miss, what’s your name?” This young chap asks.
“My name is L.” Jeez, this is an odd exchange. A voice in my head whispers, be polite. “What’s your name?”
“I’m Jason.” He holds out his hand. “How are you today?”
Today? Well, right now I’m running late to my least favorite class and confused as to why you’re talking to me. And I apologize that my hand is freezing cold in this eighty-five degree (F) weather. “I’m fine thank you.” I decide to continue walking up to the second floor and beyond. This young chap, Jason, follows next to me.
“You’re gorgeous. Are you a new student here?” Jason inquires.
“Nope, not really. Are you?” I should have taken the elevator today.
“No, I’ve been a student here for the last year. How old are you?”
Yup, I’m taking the elevator tomorrow. I lie about my age to this near stranger. “I’m in my early twenties.” I say in a clipped tone. Finally I’m to the floor I need but my class is located at the end of the loooong hallway.
“Oh, we’re pretty close in age then. Do you live in the area, too?” He’s walking too close to me now. As in seven inches away from me in a nine foot wide hallway. I keep moving further away but he matches me. Now, I’m not sure if it was intentional or not but I wasn’t enjoying it.
I’m feeling increasingly uncomfortable with Jason’s odd questions. I feel my heart begin to beat faster and I haven’t made eye contact with him since he asked my name. “No.” Another lie.
“Are you late to class today? I don’t think I’ve seen you here before.” Jason’s voice deepens and has that demanding tone.
“Yes. My friends are expecting me to be there any minute.” Partial lie. I don’t have any friends in that class but I don’t like the vibes I was getting from Jason. Halfway to my class now.
“We should go out sometime. Just you and me. Soon.” He looks me straight in the eyes.
“No, we shouldn’t.” Who the hell is this creep? And why isn’t he listening to my tone and body language?! Respect me.
“What? You have a boyfriend?” This chap is irritated.
“No, I don’t have a boyfriend.” I’m beginning to panic. I read in the news about girls being assaulted on college campuses around the United States. There is no one in the hall besides the two of us. I will not become a statistic. The #YesAllWomen campaign was in the news just a few weeks ago.
“Go out on a date with me then. One date with a handsome stranger won’t hurt the world.” He taps his hand on my arm.
I’ll punch you in the throat. “No. Leave me alone. I have class.”
Jason stops walking. I nearly sprint away from him and I intentionally walk into the wrong classroom. Thankfully there’s a professor in the classroom without a class. The expression on my face must have been harried because the professor looked startled.
“I’m sorry to bother you but, could you assist me to professor O’s classroom please? I was searching for her classroom but I was being followed by another student so I ducked in here because I saw the light on in the room. I’m late to class you see.” My heartbeat begins to slow down.
“You were being followed?” This middle aged professor says. I’ve seen this prof around campus here and there; he seems delightful.
“Yes, he said his name is Jason. He was average looking, about six feet tall and muscular. I’ll report it after my class is done. I just want to get to class.”
In the end the professor walks me to my class, wishes me good luck as I enter my class. Once my class ends I report Jason to campus security and they take the general description of the average looking young chap. Of course I understand that this Jason most likely won’t be punished or anything. I did my part in reporting his behavior though.
My questions to my readers: Have you ever been in a similar situation? What did you do? What would you do?