Totally safe, right? Totally. No big deal. Yeah, he was from Croydon, yeah, he had a thick cockney accent, yeah, he said he’d run away to Greece one time after “gettin’ into a bit o’ trouble” and yeah, he had a distinctive scar across his nose after some knife fight that he got into in Cuba, but what the hell, I was a savvy traveller. I can take this guy on if he thinks a little sexual assault is part of the date.
Still, I’m not too worried. David’s got a pretty cheeky side to him, but at the same time, he’s also pretty transparent.
We get together a couple of times in London, actually. He seems like a pretty stand-up guy – gregarious, sympathetic, and generous with the gifts. On our first meeting, be brought me a British cell phone to use so I didn’t have to keep calling him from phone booths. Good thing too, because I was tired of looking at porno ads every time I rang him up. For our second meeting, be takes me out for a steak dinner. I didn’t even need to give him a blow job for it! But our third meeting is the cherry on the ice cream sundae –
“Remember that bloke I tol’ yew about,” he asks as we walk alongside the Thames near Waterloo station.
“The crazy one that met his girlfriend online,” I retell him. “And he got her a Prada bag on their third date?”
He smiles and whips out a neatly-wrapped package from behind his back. “Yeah, well, he did that, but sew did I…”
It’s a legit Prada bag. It’s small, a lower-end model (I can tell from the nylon, patchwork design) but it still probably costs at least $200. As a poor American college student I’m ecstatic nonetheless. But I’m sceptical.
“I can’t accept this, David,” I tell him.
“Why not?” he asks, disappointed.
“Because I can’t have sex with you tonight,” I honestly reply. “It’s that…time of the month.”
He starts laughing, really loud, a bit obnoxiously so but it’s sort of cute, I guess because we’re in London and it’s a balmy summer eve and I’ve just scored a friggin’ Prada bag.
“I just want yeh teh go back teh the states an’ tell all yeh mates how much fun yew ‘ad wivv’ a cool Bri’ish bloke,” he tells me.
Hot damn, I found myself a British Sugar Daddy.
Ideas begin to swirl in my head. Okay cool, so I just got to London and I have this British guy who is crazy about me and maybe we’ll get married and have British babies and I’ll get dual citizenship, hooray! Amazing life at the age of 19!
Our fourth date is supposed to be dinner at the acclaimed Oxo Tower. For that, I’d consent to having sex with David in the bathroom at least. That place is fancy. The one thing that always bothers me though, is that I never really knew what David did for a living. He is pretty evasive on the topic of employment, but he said that his Grandfather owned property all across London and that he didn’t really work because his Grandfather just gave him money from that. It doesn’t explain why he was living in craphole Croydon, but I figured he just liked being modest.
“Oh man, a real-life About A Boy situation!” I squeal inside. That is one of my favorite films. I’d met my Hugh Grant, the Ibiza bachelor who didn’t need to work and lived off a family member’s royalties.
Except that when we are supposed to dine at the Oxo Tower, he never shows up.
“That motherfucker stood me up!” I complain to my friends. I’ve never been stood up before. This really pisses me off. You stand people up at the movies, or at a crappy diner, not in front of the friggin’ Oxo Tower.
I get a call the next day.
“Sorry love, I ran into a bit o’ trouble lawst night,” his voice is rushed, like he’s running. “Three men in blue suits came to me ‘ouse and banged on me door and I didn’t know ‘ho they were and I had to jump out of a second-story window and now I’m at me mum’s. I’ll call you later-”
He hangs up.
“Okay…” this is getting fishy. He calls me later and tries to explain again what’s going on, but all I can hear is,
“STOP THE CAR! STOP THE FUCKING CAR! YOU MOTHERFUCKING…I’LL KILL YOU I SWEAR!-”
He isn’t yelling at me. He is yelling at someone else, someone chasing him, or someone that hit his car – I have no idea, but that’s when I end our sordid affair. The men in blue suits were obviously cops, he was obviously on the run from something, and the reason he had enough money to buy me a Prada purse while unemployed was that he is obviously a drug dealer.
I try to return the goodies to him – the British cell phone, the Prada bag - but he refuses my offer. What am I supposed to do? So what, this designer purse was bought with cocaine and heroin baggies? Don’t ask, don’t tell, right?
My theories are confirmed years later when, with the increased use of Facebook, I type “David Chippendale” into an internet search engine. Low and behold, he has a Facebook account!
And he is updating his statues from jail.
“Prayin as I cross off the days on the wall. Bored out of me mind.”
“If only I’d have just done the right thing. They put you in here for no reason, they don’t eva listen to you.
“467 days left. They brought McDonalds to the cells tonight, what a treat!”
Well, it could have been a lot worse. If I had continued our exciting rendezvous, I could have gotten wrapped up in all his drug-dealery, I could have been molested, I could have been shot in the face. But I’m not going to lie, hanging out with David was a ton of fun, and I got a European cell phone, a Prada bag, and some yummy dinners out of it. Meeting people from sketchy internet chat rooms is totally trashy, but you have to admit, it’s something to “tell the kids.”