1,001 Nights with Laken: Scary Hotel ‘Date’

Laken Howard, Columnist

Once upon a time, I received an OkCupid message from a guy who lived very far away in Georgia. The message was nice, funny and generally pleasing. Despite the obvious fact that I would probably never get to meet this guy, hereafter called John, I decided to message him back anyway because he really seemed like someone I could have a great conversation with.

Fast forward a few days, and we had exchanged numbers and were texting all the time. For some reason, we hit it off really fast and I talked to him just like I would any of my closest friends. On the surface — or rather through the veil of technology — we had a lot in common. You can imagine my excitement when he told me he would be coming to Chicago on a business trip the next weekend.

Here is where I made a crucial mistake that I implore you not to make: I let myself get swept away by our immediate rapport, and our conversations gradually turned flirty and suggestive. I was so excited to meet John because I just knew we would get along extremely well. Not that I made any promises to either him or myself that we would hook up, but I was definitely not opposed to the idea.

The weekend came, and he was staying at a hotel in downtown Chicago. Unfortunately, things had already begun to fizzle out. I started getting a weird vibe from him, especially after I canceled our plans to hang out one night because I was busy with school. He freaked out on me. So what did I do? I let him make me feel guilty enough to make plans to go see him the next day. The scary part is my schedule only allowed me to go down there at nighttime, around 9 p.m. I planned to grab a late dinner with him, but apparently he “wasn’t hungry,” so we went to his hotel room to hang out.

I know what you’re all thinking. I am truly an idiot. How could I put myself in a situation like that, especially after I had already gotten a little creeped out by him only the day before? Needless to say, things did not go well.

Almost immediately, I knew I was not at all attracted to him. He was shorter than I thought and was much less engaging in person. He was awkward and shy, and as I would come to find out, pushy.

I could feel him trying to sit close to me, and I was really unsure I wanted to be alone with him. You know that feeling when you can tell someone wants to kiss you, so you do everything you can to avoid eye contact? That was happening, and I had to exert a lot of effort to make sure my body language was extremely indicative of my dislike for him. We were just sitting there talking, but I could tell he wanted to hook up with me.

Now for the really scary part: He physically tried to force me to kiss him. I had to push him off me. Then it got even worse, because he would not take the hint. I had to have a serious talk with him in which I explained — very deliberately — that no means no, and no matter what I had said in the past, I did not by any means want to sleep with him. Eventually, I extricated myself from the situation and took a long and expensive cab ride home. To be honest, I was pretty shaken up and definitely learned my lesson about being alone with strangers. No matter how nice they seem, you just never know if they’re good people.

John tried to text me and apologize, but I just deleted his number and never contacted him again.

I truly hope nothing like this ever happens to you. I implore you to not do what I did and always meet people in a crowded, public space during the daytime. Never forget to always stand your ground. Don’t be guilt-tripped into doing something you don’t want to, and always leave immediately if you feel threatened.

Sorry to bum you out this week with a less-funny story than usual, but I think it’s important that I’m honest with you. Online dating isn’t always fun.