Eventually, we arranged to meet at a cafe near my apartment.
At the meeting, we spent over an hour discussing his writing.
But this was the first time it occurred in person and with such aggression.
I thanked him for his interest, but let him know that that wouldn't be happening. He asked me to reconsider and retain “an open mind.” I felt frustration and anger boil up inside me as I looked at this man three decades my senior, who had manipulated me into a meeting under false pretences and then dismissed my refusal of his advances as close-minded. Instead, I ignored his emails until he finally gave up.
Being hit on by men who are considerably older was not new to me.
He asked whether I ever offered coaching services, so I gave him my card.
After we left, my friend warned me I shouldn't have done that.
“I don't think it's your writing he's interested in,” she said.
I thought back to the white-haired gentleman at the bar who was easily old enough to be my father and shook my head. Over the next couple of weeks, Bob sent me several samples of his writing without a trace of any innuendo or flirtation.
It seemed as if my friend's instincts were off, I thought. Earlier in our meeting, Bob described moving to the area as a 30-year-old in 1978 – the year I was born.
But just as I was about to leave, Bob admitted that he was not that interested in me as a writing coach, but as a romantic prospect. Yet when I rejected him, he looked stung and startled, as though he was completely unaware of our significant age difference.