Would this weird you out? (Random Meeting on Street)

This happened to me today in downtown L.A. after work and I wanted to solicit some opinions on whether other people would think of it as weird. I’m inclined towards “yes, avoid at all costs” but I can be overly paranoid sometimes.

I was walking to my bank’s atm to withdraw cash to pay parking when I drew up next to a fellow pedestrian at an intersection. This guy is at least 50+, very respectably dressed (nice suit), wearing a fedora hat. Must think he’s Cary Grant, or maybe he’s just wearing it for the day. I assumed he worked in finance or was a lawyer because pretty much everyone in the area is associated with legal or financial services. He does not look creepy. He looks over, I smile wanly and continue thinking about whatever I’m in a daze about.

The crosswalk signals us to walk and we both start off. He starts talking to me by saying something like “oh, is that your office worker costume?” I stare at him blankly because he has jolted me out of my stupour and say “what?” To which he responds, “I was just joking about you not wearing a costume.” And then I rolled my eyes and said “yeah, I’m costumed as a browbeaten federal employee today.”

So then he starts talking to me, asking me which agency and what I do. I tell him, it turns out he’s a lawyer (surprise surprise) whose firm does work with the DOJ. We continue talking about work as we’re walking, I respond to his query about how I like work by telling him I’m quitting to go to business school within a year to two years. Apparently he turned down Top 3 B-School to go to Top 5 Law School. After soliciting some information about my educational background, we come to the intersection where we’re going different ways and he asks me out to lunch.

A few things to keep in mind

-I am much much younger than this dude(29)
-I’m a federal attorney

I discussed this with my boyfriend and neither of us is sure what this dude’s game is. He could be interested in lunch because he already does work with federal agencies is and just wants to talk to me about that (we confirmed his educational background/details he gave me on his firm’s website but CalBar’s attorney search function is down so I can’t confirm it on that yet).

On the other hand, he was super pushy about getting my phone number even after he gave me his card. I don’t carry my card and was simply planning to email him from my work email but he told me he was working for Obama’s campaign on M/T and he wanted to program me in before he forgot and he definitely wanted to go out for lunch. He had me type in my number for him on the street. I’ll admit that even though I was semi taken aback, I kind of gave him my number because it felt rude to be like “NO”. Also of note-when I told him I was in the process of leaving the law, he was like “oooh, are you going to be an actress?” Which…hahahahaha…NO.

So, what’s more likely? That he’s hitting me up for potential business or that he wants to take me back to his garage and turn me into a lampshade.

I am not positive this is the same guy-but about a month ago I was riding my train back to Pasadena and another older white lawyer dude started chatting me up about the book I was reading (Kim-R.K.) and whether I was a local college student or why I’m reading a book in the public domain. The only reason I think it might be the same guy is that this dude was headed towards the metro station tonight, seemed about the same height, age, build. Still I can’t be sure, because a lot of people on the train have commented on why I read classic lit/WSJ and it’s always older, white males (why this is so surprising to them, or merits comment I don’t know).

My boyfriend thinks he could be a valuable contact and told me to go out to lunch in downtown L.A… somewhere very public and simply limit the amount of personal information I give him. However, the very nature of his job (i-banking) is networking and shmoozing. Plus, he’s (as in, my bf) is a taller built guy, not a glorified female elf (I’m small). I am half suspicious about why this man would just start talking to me on the street and worried about having my liver eaten before I accumulate an MBA. OTOH, a lot of my profession functions on shmoozery as well, but I have always been stupendously bad at it and super avoidant…which is probably why I’m very alarmed at being accosted on the street.

So…in your humble opinion…is the whole thing super weird? Should I avoid his call if he phones me up?

If he calls, maybe make sure to tell him that you have a boyfriend, but that you’re fine to do lunch just for socializing or business as is relevant. Though probably I’d vote that anyone who’s particularly pushy at getting your phone number you’re better to avoid.

He’s coming on to you. Duh.

Odds are he isn’t about to kidnap and murder you, but things aren’t likely to get any less weird from here. He’s digging for something, and whatever it is isn’t likely to be to your benefit. Could be a date. Could be inside information. Doesn’t really matter what it is–I’d find him creepy and would avoid him from here on out. I wouldn’t answer/return any phone calls or give any explanations.

This is kind of what I thought but then felt sort of arrogant thinking it. Especially considering the big and obvious age difference. I was more inclined to Lavender Falcon’s interpretation that he wants inside information/work. Except that I work in the wrong division for all of that since his work is related to IG (for my agency) and I’m in OGC.

Please forgive me the typos-I’m on a crappy computer.

A fifty-something guy with plenty of money considers you, an almost-30 with a professional manner, to be the heart of his dating envelope. When he found out you were even in the same business, so much the better.

His motto: “Don’t ask, don’t get.” Nothing strange about that at all.

Jeez, note to self–never chat up a smart cute* girl while waiting for a stoplight. Bars only, I guess.

*lest you say, “I’m not cute. . .”–eye of the beholder, etc.

EDIT: What LSLGuy said.

Seems obvious to me that he was chatting you up, yes. Since he already has your number, the avoidance route seems to be the way to go.

Neither. He’s hitting on you. Dead giveaway:

Sounds like a mandream, if you ask me.

Further, you’ve got to have a little more respect for your own boundaries.

My bolding. Saying ‘no’ is *not *rude (unless you use a rude tone). Getting someone’s phone number in a casual situation IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT. You aren’t required to give anyone your phone number in that situation. If it were a business situation, “I’ll email you” after he gave you his card should have been perfectly acceptable.

Same kind of thing happened to me (too lazy to dig up the thread about it). He was hitting on you.

If you run into him again and he asks you about lunch, say “thanks but no thanks” and keep it moving.

I don’t mind normal chatting up. But when I was in my 20s, I learned the hard way that older men coming on that strong generally had some serious problems and weren’t good to get involved with. They were pretty much looking for someone they could have a lot of sex with and be dominant to–not a balanced relationship. So I learned to be creeped out by them. It was a much better response than when I got all flattered and sucked in by it.

I talk to plenty of random strangers, and most don’t lead me to make posts like the OP. And I’ve never met a respectful gentleman on a street corner who pushed so hard for a number and who led me to wonder if he might turn me into a lampshade. If you’re left feeling wary, there’s generally a good reason for it.

Of course, now that I’m 40, older creepy guys don’t hit on me anymore. :slight_smile:

Brown Eyed Girl, I didn’t read too much into the actress thing because it seems to be semi in vogue in this area to drop out of your day job, write a script/pursue something in entertainment and then have it not work out. I know a bunch of lawyers who took a one to two year sabbatical to shop their movie script before they figured out that the lawyering business is more consistently lucrative.

As far as my boundaries go, you are probably right. I guess it’s the whole “be respectful to old people” Indian thing I had drummed into me for years and years + being generally flummoxed and caught off guard while I was in the middle of thinking about a project at work. But…these are all excuses. I need to learn how to say “No”.

To be fair, I met my boyfriend even more randomly than this (as in, I have a blog, he accidentally found it, read it, and wrote to me…then asked me for my number) and I had the same visceral “are you a serial killer” reaction to him as I did to this man. And now we’ve been going out for quite a while*. I’ve found men in certain industries (law, finance), especially men who specialise in what is basically glorified sales, to be very very pushy.

I get that I’m probably overly wary and paranoid and don’t give nice men the benefit of the doubt. But I have been stalked by an ex and it was a pretty bad situation that led to me changing all my numbers and email addresses and I’m always fearful it’s going to happen again.

*I figured out accidentally that my boyfriend was my high school friend’s old boss before she went back to grad school, so I eventually did give him my number after confirming his non-weirdness with her.

I don’t think it’s wrong to be cautious about someone contacting you like that. You never really know who someone is over the net. So there should be some caution involved, but you’re clearly not shutting yourself into your house afraid of the world, or he wouldn’t be your boyfriend.

Once bitten, twice shy. Stalking sucks, and I’m sorry you went through it. But seriously, if you had major problems with trust and nice guys to the point that you were never meeting anybody, that’s one thing. You’re in a relationship, this guy on the street corner pushed too hard for your number, and there’s no problem in simply not wanting to get involved.

Like I said, when I was in my 20s, I learned the hard way that older gentleman who behaved like this didn’t generally turn out to be gentlemen. And it’s amazing how much that type completely fails to notice you once you’re closer in age to them. And before anyone goes jumping all over that, there’s nothing wrong with an age difference. It comes down to how you are treated, and the older gentlemen who were worth going out with didn’t do things like push for phone numbers. They were respectful like any normal nice guy would be, regardless of age.

I think he was hitting on you. He didn’t know you were a lawyer or a federal employee when he started chatting you up, the fact that you’re younger is just part of the thrill.

IMHO, it’s perfectly fine to tell a stranger who wants your number that you’ll call/email them instead. It’s a sign that you want to protect your privacy but there’s nothing rude or disrespectful about that. Someone who persists in asking is the one being rude