26 Mar 2014

Cheating Husbands: I Was Almost The "Other Woman"

I’m a naturally bubbly and flirtatious person, and I’m happy to admit that. My girlfriends are always picking up on it. They’ve become so used to it that it’s become a running joke. They’ll roll their eyes, but I just laugh. But can I just clarify something? That doesn’t for a moment mean that I want to make out with every guy I “flirt” with, or that I’m attracted to him. It’s just my way of being - my personality, I suppose. 

My flirtatiousness (although often I think it’s just synonymous with talkativeness), has landed me in deep water on several occasions (I’ll enlighten you later on in this post!) Being talkative can be great - it makes “small talk” more bearable because you’ve always got something to say - but sometimes it’s better to just shut up. I’ll speak to almost anyone - in fact anyone. I’m not very good at giving off negative facial expressions either, unlike one of my housemates who seems to be a pro. If I try to ladle out “evils” on the dance floor, I probably look like I’m going for the “sultry, come get me boys” look, which is never, ever my intention. Definitely a reason to practice in the mirror beforehand…

I also have a tendency to smile quite a lot, unless I’m super duper tired and can’t physically move my smile muscles (I’m sure there’s a more technical term). Again, this can be a good thing because it shows you’re a warm, friendly person, but it also has consequences. I find that men often take this as a positive signal - like you’re giving them the go ahead. Errr…dude: I smiled at the pensioner behind you as well, so don’t get too cocky. Sometimes a smile is just a smile, not an indicator that I want your babies. Clear? And if I winked at you, I probably winked at the guy next to you as well. Because, like, I do this thing where I wink at people sometimes, accidentally on purpose (mainly accidentally…) Anyway, now for the anecdote (and this one isn’t from Paris surprisingly!)

So a couple years ago I went to a gym called Clifton Hill Sports Centre. Not gonna lie, the gym was pretty crappy, but it was a 2 minute walk from my student house so there was no excuse not to go. One Saturday in the summer term, there was the Exeter Respect Festival going on in Belmont Park just opposite. I popped down to the gym and it was virtually empty. A youngish man was sitting behind the desk, and he swiped my card. I threw my bag into a locker and went into the empty gym, headphones plugged in. I was using the leg machine when he walked over, clad in his suit. He started talking to me, and I responded in my usual vein: I was chatty. I stupidly gave him the time of day. He seemed nice enough, but before long it was obvious that he had an ulterior motive. It had only been five minutes, and he was already talking about a “secret beach” that he’d like to take me to. I tried to do my tricep dips, but he just sat opposite me, watching. I looked nervous, but he kept staring. After I finished he told me to come by at 9pm when the gym closed to give me a “tour”. I politely declined, but was admittedly flattered. Even with sweat dripping down my face, I held some sort of appeal.

I had never introduced myself to him. He didn’t know my name. Or did he? I arrived home and he’d already added me on Facebook. When he swiped my card, my name must have come up on his screen. For some (stupid) reason, I decided to accept him. I suppose I was intrigued, and was worried that it would be “awkward” if I didn’t. He started sending me messages, but I’ll tell you now that one of my biggest pet peeves is when people can’t spell, or use incomprehensible slang. “Wod” is not a suitable alternative for “would” - and “no” and “know” are not interchangeable. It wasn’t long before he started flirting; he wanted to take me on a date…to go for a walk in the countryside, and grab lunch at a nice pub. I was torn: should I just live a little, or should I avoid the man at all costs? Either way, the unofficial “date” was postponed because his sister was going into labour and he needed to make a trip to the hospital.

Whenever I went into the gym he’d try to subtly poke me in the ribs when no-one was looking. How was I supposed to act? One time he insisted on walking me to my front door. I tried to stop him, but he followed me. It didn’t take long for me to realise that he was trying to solicit sex from me. He was knocking on the wrong door, that’s for sure. I made it clear that I wasn’t interested but he insisted that it would be fun to go on a few dates before I went home for the summer.

He continued being really inappropriate, so I decided to block him on Facebook. I should have done it earlier, but I didn’t know what to do. The only thing I was certain of was that I wanted him out of my life….

A few days ago I was reminiscing about my 2nd year at university, and I started thinking about this awkward turn of events. I had a sudden urge to stalk him on Facebook (forgetting that I’d actually blocked him, which would mean he wouldn’t come up), and I found a profile for a man with the same name, who worked at the same gym. I was intrigued and started clicking through the pictures. There were various baby pictures, and pictures of the same man I’d met two years ago in the gym with a blonde woman. Ah, so he’s a newlywed? Not quite. On the “About” section, I found out that he got married in 2009. My stomach churned. It wasn’t long before I put two and two together and concluded that his “sister” that went into labour was probably his wife. 

But hang on a sec: How hadn’t I realised before that he was married? How had I not seen these pictures? I was having a Sherlock Holmes moment and trying to play detective when it suddenly hit me. He must have two profiles. I looked in my “blocked users” list, and surprise surprise, there was the same man, with the same name, that I’d blocked two years earlier. I unblocked him and began to stalk. In this profile he presented himself as “single”. So this was the profile he used to prey on young women? Apparently so…

So what did I do? Naturally, I added both profiles on Facebook to see what would happen. And this is how the conversation went (I’ve changed his name for privacy reasons…)

Married man
Hi x

Montana Gerry
do you have 2 profiles?

Married man
No why u ask ?

Montana Gerry
just because there's another guy called **** who works at the same place as you and was confused...?

but he got married in 2009 and has a kid...

Married man
So why the add??x
How have u been btw

Montana Gerry
i wanted to tell you that you should stop dicking around, you have a wife and kid, and what you did was disgusting.
i'm fine though, thanks for asking

Married Man
What are u going on about ! U added me to insult me!

Montana Gerry

i think you've insulted your wife more than i'm insulting you now
i'm not thick - you completely deceived me, and i think you owe me an apology

Married man
For what ??

Montana Gerry
are you denying that you're married?

Married man

U tell me u no all the answers so it seems?

Montana Gerry
you added me on Facebook, tried to have sex with me, have two Facebook profiles, at the same time as having a wife and kid

do you think that sounds normal?

Married Man
What wod u like me to say??

Montana Gerry
the truth, for once

Married man
U don't even no me !

Montana Gerry
you tried to force yourself into my house for a “cup of tea”, and then tried to have sex with me...

Married man

Montana Gerry
you're right, i don't know you. because everything you told me before on Facebook and in real life was bullshit

Married Man
So why have u contacted me. !

Montana Gerry
because i felt it was important to stick up for women who are married to unfaithful men.
i wanted you to know that i am not fooled, that your "secret beach" can go rot in hell. i just hope your kid doesn't end up like you

Married man

That everything?

Montana Gerry
think so, have a nice life.

Married man
U to !

And if that wasn’t enough, I soon discovered a third profile. I’m pretty sure it’s the profile he uses as a “single Dad”, to lure in all the single mums out there.

Understandably this man’s actions make me feel sick to the core. I was in two minds as to whether I should report him for stealing data from the gym for his own personal gains (adding me on Facebook), but decided it was in my best interest to just put it behind me. I’m just grateful that I didn’t get stuck in his web of lies for longer than I had to be. He was clearly on a mission to pick up women from the gym - it was no accident. I'm just grateful that I wasn't interested and that I didn't let the sex-hungry animal take advantage of me. But what if I had been? What if I'd been too weak to say no? What if I'd fallen under his spell and been drawn into his web of lies? What if I'd unknowingly been the "other woman"?

NB: Since writing this article, I've been contacted by various students who had very similar experiences with the same man around the same time. It appears I wasn't the only victim.

14 Mar 2014

RockSolid Race: ARGH

So one of my favourite gals and I have decided to embark on a fitness adventure: RockSolid Race. I've been feeling rather nonchalant about it for the past few weeks, until it recently dawned on me that the race is tomorrow. Yes, TOMORROW. Am I RockSolidReady? Well, I guess I'll find out tomorrow when I'm lying in a muddy ditch somewhere...

Ever since I completed a half marathon last year (yea I promise I'm not trying to show off with that comment!), I've become a bit of a sporting enthusiast. Wait, let me rephrase that: Since the half marathon, I've stupidly thought that signing up for things like this is a good idea. Yet despite the fact that the half marathon was a rather painful experience (I got blisters galore), the feeling afterwards was pretty insane. Not only had I raised money for a fantastic charity (International Justice Mission), but I'd proven that with sufficient motivation and training, I could run 21km. And that gave me a pretty positive, healthy outlook on life.

So this year I thought I'd do something a little different. Kelly and I have set ourselves the challenge of doing the RockSolid Race, a 10km obstacle course in Escot Park, raising money for various charities through RAG. We're talking muddy ditches, giant walls, crawling, cargo climbs, hydroslides, ropes, ice...you name it. The more I think about it, the more I want to curl into a ball and die. Nothing could prepare for me for this. I've been going to RockSolid Circuits at the gym on Mondays which has been great training, but they work more on improving my strength than preparing me for the crazy conditions that await me.

I suppose what I'm most looking forward to is that element of teamwork. The half marathon was a personal endeavour, but this race relies heavily on working effectively as a team. Of course you could do it by yourself if you really wanted, but then it would lose part of its charm (OK, maybe charm is the wrong word here). And given that I'm quite short, I think I'd find myself dangling off a few walls without some tall men to help me clamber over them.

What made me sign up? There's something quite exciting about a challenge; to be able to push yourself to the max. It's not just about physical endurance, but it's a lot about your mentality, too. Looking back, I never in a million years would have seen myself completing a half marathon. Never. Not because I'm a lazy sod (well, sorta), but because of the willpower needed to train religiously, every week, for a few months. Not to mention the inevitable pain that would come alongside that. But more often than not, it's a battle with your mind: do I stop now, or do I keep going? So when I proved to myself that it was possible to run a half marathon, why shouldn't I try a different challenge?

I've been training 5-6 times per week, and a big shout out to the guys at the Russell Seal Fitness centre for being so awesome and motivating me to work hard. I may not look like a Victoria's Secret Model (I like food too much, and err...I'm like a foot too small), but whatevs...it's been fun!

Finally, if you would like to sponsor me, then please do! The link is here: