After reading my account of Tuesday night as well as the comments, Roommate Rachel had a lot to say. I suggested that rather than leave a comment, she write her own account of the evening. Here is her perspective on what happened:
Unlike my lovely flatmate, Dolly, I am not a person who shares their feelings in a public forum. Dolly is quite right about me, I am more than a little self conscious and don't feel comfortable with people I don't know.
But I simply couldn't not write about this incident, not only because I was an integral part of it, but also because it affected me so strongly. I actually couldn't sleep last night and was quite distracted at work because, and there is no other way to put this, Ben is a fucking asshole. (And I never swear). And indeed, the whole evening was a surreal nightmare.
The “attention” that Ben paid me, well, Dolly might call it "flirting" but I would probably use a term more akin to "hostile interrogation." It was so discomfiting that I felt nauseous in my stomach for a good part of the night. Ben, who doesn't know me, or know anything about me, told Dolly right in front of me that I was "going to meet a man who was going to sweep me off my feet and be the opposite of all my expectations, who was going to tear me down and build me back up." He also said something about how he"could see that I had some sex appeal" but that, while my parents may have been revolutionaries, I am basically snobby and spoiled. Yes, dear readers, all these insightful comments spewing from his mouth in a darkened bar. He even called my education “overly expensive!” And one more thing. Dolly is right. I don't feel comfortable being touched by random strangers (probably somewhat infantile, but there it is) and she said as much to Ben. So why did he keep touching me? I don't care if he was trying to make her jealous or whatever, it was so uncomfortable.
Oh, and while I’m venting, I might as well add that he said that I have "bird nest hair.” Okay, yes, I had had a VERY long day at work, didn't have time to go home and was perhaps somewhat dishevelled and had forgotten, having had very little sleep the night before, to put in any hair product, but still it was entirely uncalled for. Plus, it was just mean.
Now, I may be naïve and unlearned, but I cannot help but feel that fundamentally there is something very wrong here. Ben is a bartender. He is in the service industry and I was a customer. I don't care if other girls think his behavior is flirtatious, I just wanted to get drunk after a long, very stressful day at work. So to me his behavior was offensive. I didn’t find him attractive. I didn’t want him to hug me.
Also, and here I lay out the gravest charge against him, I could see how hurt Dolly was. Which made it even worse for me. I wish I were a different person, I wish I would have just told him off more emphatically than I tried to do. But Dolly is right. I am not good at relationships. And I am easily flustered. Ben called me a "child." And perhaps he is right.
But to see the pain in Dolly's face, not even to see it, to know it, it tore at my heart. I know that girls compete with each other for boys, but Dolly is my friend. She has pulled me through some hard times this autumn and gives me good advice. All of you readers know her as a witty, wise and honest writer. I know her as flesh and blood. As someone who made me soup. Who always invites me to her parties. Who drags me out when I am feeling antisocial. Who lends me her books and offers to help me apply the makeup I never end up applying. Who makes me laugh. Dolly is one of my dearest friends, and she always will be.
I could write more, but this much I think is enough for now. I cannot believe that Ben was sincere in his attentions for isn’t flirting supposed to be kind? I can only conclude that he wants to exact some sort of revenge on Dolly. Which is disgusting. And really there is nothing more to say.