All cities have their fair share of weirdos. Lucky for us in Dubai, we have less of the criminal psychotic weirdos and more of the socially awkward weirdos. It’s the city where you can leave your house unlocked at night, but you will be stalked at the mall because you gave eye contact accidentally.
Every girl living here has had stalker stories from the mall stalkers, to restaurants or even at work – most of the time they are harmless but still annoying and unwanted attention. I feel if there was a consultancy firm to help men talk to women it would be doing us all a favor (Hitch of the Middle East). Simple things like don’t follow women into the lingerie section at the mall, or please don’t invite women for ‘private parties’ over Instagram.
Last year I had one online stalker who was harmless but just never ending persistence in the sense of a messaging, responding to stories and so on. Obviously I wasn’t responding but he would still try. After about 6 months of ongoing messaging he figured out the only way to get my attention – SHOES. I posted some photos my friend had taken of me in her Louboutins’. I gave a shout out to her for letting me borrow the shoes.
I don’t buy labels, if you see me in designers it’s because I found them on sale. As much as I love designer labels, I always spend my money on travelling or makeup and less on shoes and bags. This stalker had figured out my weakness – shoes. After not answering his messages over the last few months he got my attention with his actions. “I see you like shoes”. (well no shit) “So I’ve placed a pair of shoes that I think you would like at the Louboutin Store in Dubai Mall. Please go there and pick them up, it’s under my name and number and let me know if you like them”.
Wow, alright Mr Stalker – I bit the bait. I went to the store to just see if he was for real, and sure enough he was. There was the exact pair of heels I had borrowed from my friend, waiting for me to pick up. No questions asked. So he got a response from me, of course I thanked him and he didn’t have to do that as I have a boyfriend and that’s why I don’t respond (I didn’t have a boyfriend). He settled with taking my Snapchat so my ‘boyfriend’ wouldn’t see our texts. He was living in Abu Dhabi so I thought he’d never be in Dubai anyway.
This seems harmless doesn’t it – just giving Snapchat in exchange for a pair of shoes? But all I did was reward his weird behavior. A few weeks more I had hid him from my stories and not responsive on his constant phone harassment. He would add me on different accounts and different numbers. It was becoming a little weird. Little did I know, he had already collected enough details on me to know my: car plate and work address. How? I stupidly snapped a picture of my desk at work with my first and last name and name of my company. From this basic info he could track down the details. Thankfully I live with my best friend so there is no record of a home address in the system.
One day I was about to travel out to Australia for a few weeks. He knew this day would be last ditch attempt to get to meet me. Throughout the day I was getting stranger then normal text messages from him that he wanted to meet me or send a gift to my office. They sort of became a sense of desperation.
I was driving on my way home from work and stopped at a traffic light, someone hit my car from behind. Not a serious hit, but enough for me to pull over and get out. I had this strange feeling when that happened – a gut instinct something wasn’t right. This wasn’t the type of street that you could have an accident on. I looked in the rear view mirror and noticed it was a Abu Dhabi number plate. I pulled over quickly in a service road and it was then too late for him to pull up behind me so had to stay on the major road next to me. As I got out of the car I got a good look at him – and knew straight away it was him. Loubs Stalker in the flesh. I walked around to the back of my car pretending to look at the damage but what I was really trying to do was quickly get my head together on what to do next. My heart was racing. I was really scared. This guy had purposely hit me so I’d stop and talk to him, or worse find out where I lived. Who knows what he would do next.
I quickly walked back to the car and said ‘no damage it’s ok’, all the while he was staring at me with this look like ‘oh what a coincidence don’t I know you?’. I got back into my car, put the phone on speaker and called my friend to tell her what happened as I drove on.
As I’m talking on the phone, he had pulled over up ahead in order to let me pass and start following me once again. I started shaking. I was terrified. Lucky for me, I know the streets of Dubai – I took a random few turns, a side street and drove up into the Conrad Hotel whereby their valet parking is covered from the street – And all hotels have cameras.
I’d lost him. Spent a hour inside the hotel lobby scared out of my head but I lost him.
I got home, reported all his phone numbers to a police service (because yes every number I blocked he’d call with another one), blocked him from social media, went on private on Instagram.
All for the love of Loubs.