When I was 17, I went to an all-ages-club with a couple of friends. These clubs, at the time, were mostly populated with kids 17 to 25. There, I met a 42-year-old architect. I’ll call him Mike. Older guys certainly stood out in this crowd. Mike was very interested in getting to know me. So much so he followed me from one club to another with his buddy (also around his age) in tow. He was well-aware of my age because when he asked what I wanted to drink at the bar I pointedly stated I was 17 and so I’d have a soda. I wasn’t actively trying to get him to buy me a drink, I was using the opportunity to drop the age-bomb. He didn’t care.

By 17, I was well aware of his intentions, which is sad. I remained firm in tone but polite, because women know at times we have to keep a cool head in order to stay as safe as we can be in an awkward situation. We engaged in the game of him wanting me to guess his age. I was spot on, according to him. Though, honestly, he could have been older. He was not under 40 for sure. While he was attractive, fit, and successful-looking for a man in his 40s, not someone you’d immediately think was the type of person to prey on very young girls, it was in no way acceptable for a grown man old enough to be my dad to be hitting on me. I knew this even then. He blatantly stated he was married but “looking for a younger model.” And that he had kids around my age. I was disturbed on so many levels.

I’m older than Google and affordable cell phone technology. This was back in the land of landlines, pagers, 1-800-collect (with Mr. T), and you could still find a phone booth. But I was always good at research. Amidst his attempts to impress me, he told me what area he lived in, his last name, what he did for a living, what kind of money he made. So it wasn’t hard to figure out his address, his place of business, etc. Later, after a little work, I found his home phone number and left a message on the machine. It was his voice on it, along with who I assume was his wife. I wasn’t trying to be petty. I was 17. I was trying to throw up some red flags for anyone else who might listen in, especially when I reiterated my age and where we met. Even looking back now, I’m not entirely sure how else I should have handled it — other than to be completely grossed out. So I can understand some of what these young ladies struggle with now when they are discredited or dismissed, and the bigger issue is being overlooked. Grown men don’t have any business texting/emailing underage girls, hell girls half your age, period. I agree, just because she turns 18 doesn’t make you any less of a predator. She is still too young.

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Technophobe Who Codes | UX Generalist | Freelance Writer | Egalitarian-Feminist | True-Crime/Forensics Enthusiast

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