It’s about 10am and I’m doing some morning daygame in Brisbane city. As I get into Queen St mall a cute Latino looking girl works past. I feel watched by a man and women who look to me like they are there in an official capacity of some sort. They are both about 40, overweight, and dressed in comfort work clothes. I tell myself it’s just the spotlight effect and who cares if people watch me so I double back and approach her from the side. She stops walking and faces me and gives me a big smile. We banter for a bit, hold hands for an extended period of time, and she gives me her number after 6-7 minutes. I completely forgot about the people I thought might be watching me as I am in the moment in my interaction with the girl.
We say goodbye and I get back to my daygame stroll and I see the man and woman again. Now the woman is definitely looking at me. She looks to me like a council or government worker and I hold eye contact with her as we pass each other. I look at her in a way that says. If you looked like that I would approach you too, but you don’t so I didn’t. And that was the last I thought of her.
I did half a dozen approaches over the next hour and was about to head home when I thought I would walk through the Myer Centre. At the food court a girl caught my attention. She was waiting for her food at the counter so I didn’t want to approach because I knew I would be interrupted when she got served. So I stayed back and waited and watched until she left. She grabbed her sandwich and I followed her as she walked. I was just about to stop her and as I was about to put my arm out she turned into the health food shop.
I was in two minds whether I should go in or not, the sales girl was very close to her so it might be awkward. She moved away from the sales girl to a more private part of the shop and as I was about to go in and say hi, she walked out. Ok, a clear spot to approach. I stop her and she smiles and we get into a good conversation. Everything is going good as I pull out my phone to get her number and I get a tap on the shoulder.
There are two male police officers in plain clothes. “Excuse me, can we just talk to you briefly”. As they pull me away from the girl over to the other side of the walkway “Oh, come on” I reply. “What are you doing to me? That girl was just about to give me her number” I had no idea that they were stopping me for daygaming.
“It’s been brought to our attention that you have been harassing women in the city” The younger one tells me. The penny drops for me. And I look over to the girl who has, what I thought was, the council worker talking to her. I still didn’t imagine she was a copper and thought she must just be a concerned citizen. “Oh you joking?” I say. “Did she report me to you” referring to the woman. “She is an undercover police woman” the cop says.
“Ahh, so are you telling me, because your colleague has issues with men you need to deploy your resources on stopping me talking to girls in case I get a date?” He half smiles and then justifies himself by saying. “We just need to verify that the girl was happy talking to you and you weren’t doing anything wrong” They then asked for my ID and looked up my record on the Ipad. He was being pretty polite to me so I complied, and I thought to myself that it’s not crazy to want to check with her if my approach was welcomed or I had a record as a sex offender. I don’t by the way.
Then the women cop that looked like a council worker came over to ask me some questions. “So you just stop girls in the street minding their own business?”
“And what do you say?”
“I tell them they look nice.”
“Well you can’t just follow girls around the city and interrupt them”
“Well, it’s weird. I saw you waiting over there and then you followed that girl.”
Then she left and the guy cops started talking to me.
“So how do you go with this?”
“I do all right, she was just about to give me her number before you interrupted.”
“And you just walk up and say hi and start talking.”
“Cool, maybe you should teach us.”
By this stage I felt reasonably vindicated. The female cop looked a bit foolish and they guys seemed to be on my side. But I still had a lot of adrenaline flowing through me, it’s been almost 20 years since I’ve had any police questioning.
I looked over and the woman was still interrogating the girl. She made her get her ID out and looking her up. I can imagine pretty intimidating for a Columbian in a strange country. “What’s that about?” I asked.
“They’re just asking her questions”
“And how long does that take? She’s just trying to shame her for being about to give her number to a stranger. You need to reign her in.”
They didn’t even respond, but one of the cops with me walked over to the woman cop and the Columbian girl, and let the girl get on her way. I tried to apologize, and maybe save the number, but she just looked at me with shame in her eye like I was the worst man in the world causing her such trauma. She was right, I had caused it. Oh well you win some, you lose some and I headed off as well.