Last night we went to the pub where we have ukulele practise. We met a friend a bit early to enjoy some dinner beforehand. I ordered food and drinks from the bar and an man old enough to be my father started talking to us. His opening line was, ‘Where does he come from?’ He was referring to JJ and those of you who’ve seen photos of him will know that he isn’t anglo in appearance. I told him that JJ comes from Adelaide which is my standard response to questions like this. The man said that of course he knew that and I relented and told him where JJ’s father was originally from.
He kept talking to me and told me that he’d lived in the Carribbean for a number of years, amongst other things. After we ordered we sat down at our table not far from the bar and JJ sat on a two-seater couch by himself while my friend and I sat in single chairs. Then this man came and sat down next to JJ and it really gave me the creeps.
My first thought was that he was sleazy and maybe my instinct was correct. Have I been conditioned to think that anyone who shows an interest in my son has ulterior motives? I wanted to tell him to go away. The nice girl in me didn’t do that but my eyes were glued. He might have been perfectly innocent and genuinely interested in a non-sleazy way, but who would come and sit down uninvited? Not many people I would think.
I really wasn’t interested in having him sit there and I really didn’t want him sitting there next to my son. JJ is an affectionate boy and has trouble understanding the concept of personal space and sometimes who to be affectionate with, and I didn’t want this potentially sleazy man getting his rocks off by having my son touch him, and then having an excuse to touch him back.
What would you have said to this man?
I’d have stood up and made up some excuse to call my son over – “Oh no, we forgot to call grandma/ call the cattery/wish so and so a happy birthday/ quick, we’ll pop into the foyer and give them a brief phone call and come back to our dinners.”
Then ask him to sit beside me because “that man is a little bit confused and I’d feel much happier if you were closer to me.”
It’s safer to ask your son to move than challenge an unknown male.
I don’t blame you for feeling like that at all!
Good call, Jayne. People like that creep me out – heck, even relatives who insist on a kiss freak me, so I probably would have been inappropriate and said to the man that I don’t like my child talking to strangers – but yes, I would have JJ move into my protective zone as Jayne suggested.
Jayne, you’re right. I felt a little bit paralysed. I wanted to believe that he was ok but wasn’t absolutely sure.
Your instinct was right on…maybe use this as an opportunity to formulate a plan if it happens again….sorry you had to go through this…
I sometimes find myself (and my 6 year old) in similar situations as I live in a block of units where there is usually at least one person who behaves in a way that sets off the danger radar. Like Jayne’s suggestion I tend to do just that, make an excuse to call her over, using bribes if I have to. Sometimes I HATE feeling the need to be nice even when I know the person is a sleeze bag and I should be giving him a piece of my mind instead. But I can’t seem to help it.
Suz, It’s sure a hard one to know what to do because you don’t want to be suspicious of everyone. I think we’ve gotta trust our instinct and do what we feel best at the time.