DEAR AMY: I have a history of attracting unkind, angry men. I had recently come off a two-year break from dating, when my mom’s neighbor asked me out. He is about my age, and my mom liked him. He seemed like a nice guy, so I took a chance. I think he had been drinking before he picked me up. He took me to a bar and started touching me and trying to kiss me. He also insisted that I drink more — and faster. He seemed to get angry that I wasn’t drinking fast enough. I looked him in the eyes and asked him to please stop, because it made me uncomfortable. He didn’t stop. We then left to go to another bar where we both drank more until the bartender cut him off. I was eternally grateful because I didn’t know how to get away. I thought about taking a cab but I don’t know the area and was scared. I thought of Uber or Lyft, but it was late and a holiday. My mom can’t drive at night and was already asleep. Afterward, we went back to my mom’s house and fooled around. He left in the middle of the night. I felt guilty and told myself it was my fault. What exactly do you do when speaking up and saying no isn’t enough? How do we protect ourselves from these predators who won’t listen? I’m so scared I’ll be beaten or killed, that I end up allowing men to just do what they want. It’s wearing my soul down, and I deserve better. How can I handle this?
DEAR HEARTSICK: You used your voice. Good for you. But never, ever, go with a drunk to the second location. What I mean is — when a drunken lout makes you uncomfortable physically, that’s when you excuse yourself, get the bartender’s attention and ask for help. You say, ”I came here with this guy, but now I’m scared. Can you help me?” (The Good Night Out Campaign — goodnightcampaign.org — trains bartenders and servers for how to intervene when customers are being harassed.)
Do not leave the public place. Other women (and men) will help you. (Recently, I witnessed a drunken harassment situation turning aggressive in a bar, and I called the police.)
You used your own best judgment, but your own alcohol consumption made this harder for you to manage.
The way to handle your fears is to learn to be strong. Never override your own fears. A self-defense class could give you more confidence.
The next thing to work on is your own discernment. You are right; you do deserve better. If you say “no” and the person doesn’t respect it, the date should end immediately.
There are great and nice guys out there. They will meet you for coffee as a way to get to know you.
DEAR AMY: A few months ago, I received a “save the date” card from cousins for an upcoming wedding reception, to be held six months from now. This couple has been married (with three children and a home) for the last 10 years! This week, I received an invitation to a bridal shower for this couple. When they got married 10 years ago, they did not have a wedding reception or any other celebration, because they were wed at the local courthouse. This wedding reception and bridal shower will take place as if this couple is just being married without this 10-year history. No expense has been spared! Do you follow usual rules and amounts for gift-giving, or do different rules and amounts apply?
Awaiting Your Answer
DEAR AWAITING: This is confusing, because the couple is already married. Consider this party to be their wedding reception, on a 10-year tape delay.
Given the lead time to this reception, it sounds as if they have been planning and saving for this shindig.
Having a bridal shower is a strange choice, but yes, if you attend the reception, you should plan to give them a gift. You can assume that they are registered somewhere.
DEAR AMY: I’d like to join others who are appalled by your so-called “advice” to “Say no More?” the person who refused to house an illegal. Your political correctness really gets in the way.
DEAR APPALLED: First of all, a human being is not “an illegal,” as many readers pointed out. Also, being in the U.S. without proper documents is a civil offense, not a criminal one.