This story is from Lilian, a 24-year-old legal assistant from Boston, as told to Raz:
Austin and I had been dating—well, hooking up—for a couple weeks when he invited me to a party at his acquaintance Victor’s apartment. He told me I could invite a friend or two, so I asked my roommate Christina to tag along. As we left the house, I grabbed one of her sweatshirts for the walk.
“Don’t lose that!” she said. “It’s my favorite hoodie.”
“I promise,” I said.
As soon as we arrived at the party apartment, the first thing I noticed was how old Victor was (he looked twice my age). The second thing I noticed was how creepy he was. When I went to throw Christina’s sweatshirt in the pile of coats in a bedroom, he swept me into a corner and proceeded to look deeply into my eyes and tell me over and over how beautiful I was. Flattered? Sure. Scared for my life? Definitely.
Austin’s entrance didn’t even seem to turn him off. He either didn’t know we’d been hooking up, or if he did, he just didn’t care. Austin, on the other hand, cared, and pulled me to the other room where Christina was looking bored and very alone.
“Having fun?” I asked.
“This is the most awkward party I’ve ever been to,” she said. “Would you hate me if I left?”
Who could blame her? It was uncomfortable. But I really wanted to spend more quality time with Austin, so I chose to stick around and take advantage of the open bar.
When we finally decided to leave, I went to the bedroom to find Christina’s sweatshirt, but it was nowhere to be found. “Shit,” I told Austin, “Now I need to track down your sketchy friend Victor.”
“We’ll just call him tomorrow,” he said, kissing my neck. I was sold.
The next day, before Christina was even awake, I got Victor’s number from Austin and texted him. “Hey,” I said. “It’s Lilian. We met last night and I left a sweatshirt at your place. Can I come by and pick it up today?”
His response: “I’ll trade you the sweatshirt for YOU.”
What does that even mean?! “No, haha. I just really need the sweatshirt. Thanks.” It was the best nonchalant, please-don’t-treat-me-like-a-prostitute text I could think of.
“Fine,” he said. “I’ll accept you letting me cook you dinner.” I didn’t respond—was he really trying to bribe me over a sweatshirt? The next text told me he definitely was. It was an extravagant description of what our meal together would be—there was a fish course; there was a pasta course; there was even flan. I still did not have a way to respond.
When Christina woke up and noticed her beloved sweatshirt was missing, she was livid. I promised her I’d get it back and tried to think of a plan.
That’s when Victor texted, “If dinner’s too much, I’ll settle for a movie.” Then came the movie times, one by one over the next 24 hours.
Finally, I wrote: “Sorry, I have a boyfriend.” Why hadn’t I thought of that earlier?
“Of course you do,” he said. “Well if you ever break up with him, call me.”
“The sweatshirt?” I asked.
“Come pick it up whenever you want.”
Unfortunately, then I had to actually go back to his apartment. We set up a time for the next day. I was running about five minutes late, and when I arrived, he looked really pissed. “You’re late because you were with him, weren’t you?” he yelled. He was holding the sweatshirt. It was so close, yet all I wanted to do was run.
“Sorry,” I squeaked, reaching for the hoodie. He gave it up and I slowly backed toward the door. He proceeded to tell me again how beautiful I was, and that I shouldn’t forget to call him as soon as I broke up with my boyfriend. Austin and I stopped hooking up shortly after (he had weird friends). And unfortunately, I misplaced Victor’s number and wasn’t ever able to make that call.