Host Attempted to Kiss Me Despite My Refusal

I had reached the apartment the afternoon of February 27th, 2019. I had to drag my suitcase up all the way to the third floor having to ask 2-3 people on the way if it was in fact the “F building” as there was hardly any way for newcomers to be able to check if they’re entering the correct building despite the host sending me pictures of the entrance before. The picture doesn’t really help when you’re in the actual situation looking for the entrance.

I had also asked the host in advance – since there was no elevator – if could I pay security to get my suitcase for me. The host seemed really worried about getting in trouble and about how nobody is supposed to know he hosts guests through Airbnb. His secretly hosting guests without having the rest of the residents on board caused me an enormous amount of inconvenience, especially in a building without a lift.

There were security concerns, like the key being left on top of the door so that the host didn’t have to be there to receive anyone. The key was accessible to everyone, though if the host continues to keep it there I am assuming nothing must have happened until now. I didn’t really like that it meant even the maid had access to come in anytime; I needed to know if my own stuff was safe if I decided to leave it behind. Luckily the maid had come by the time I got ready to go out around 3:00 or 4:00 PM and had been asked to not go into my room. She agreed.

There was wifi, hot water in the bathroom, and sufficient space in the guest’s room. What was missing was a proper bed instead of a mattress, a chair, and a table so there was some place for people to relax and to keep their stuff. Not everything can be done lying down or sitting on a mattress at such a low level.

I came back around 10:00 PM and the host returned about an hour later, knocking on the door. I replied and he opened the door and asked if everything was okay several times, so often that I got tired of answering. Then I mistook a bottle of water for alcohol and he said “Why would I keep alcohol just lying around when I have a bar in my cupboard?”

I didn’t know what to answer to that. He asked if I wanted to see it so I just said okay. He asked if I wanted something after revealing his collection to me. I said, “Okay, if it’s okay with you.”

He asked what does that mean and I said, “It’s your alcohol so…”

He said, “Yes, you can have some.”

I know how expensive alcohol can be so I didn’t know if it was okay to ask for some from someone living in a tiny two-bedroom apartment with minimal furniture renting one of the rooms to Airbnb guests. But he seemed more than enthusiastic to show off his Honey Jack Daniels talking about how expensive it is, how he buys them from Abu Dhabi, and how he really wanted me to feel the “luxury” of this drink with every sip.

Then he offered me Old Monk and started talking about the brand and some of the facts. It was so plain and boring. On top of that he asked me to go bottoms up which I couldn’t do because I found it absolutely tasteless and disgusting. However, he insisted and I just finished it in 2-3 sips since very little of it was left. I had no more interest in this intellectual alcohol discussion torture.

He said he would give me the Jack Daniels one now since I liked it better and I said that was enough for now. He asked if I don’t drink often and I confirmed that I don’t. Then the topic of cigarettes came up and he asked if I smoked. I said, “No,” and he asked why. When I said it was for health reasons he started making counterarguments that it’s not as bad as people say it is.

He lit up a cigarette and asked if I wanted to try it. With every drag he took he asked me to try it or made counterarguments about why it’s not that unhealthy or how one cigarette won’t convert me into an addict. None of it really mattered because I had said “no” to every offer and he was trying to lower my inhibitions.

Then he asked me if none of my friends smoke. Some do and some don’t, though I did not want him to try to convince me to smoke anymore. I just said “no” and then he asked the same thing about my boyfriend. I hesitated because I did not have a boyfriend but I did not want to tell him that as I had started to feel scared after he asked this question. After hesitating for a few seconds, I just shook my head to say no.

He asked me again “He doesn’t smoke?” (recognizing my hesitation) and I shook my head to say no again. A few seconds later he asked me what my boyfriend does for work. At that point I confronted him about him wanting to seduce me. He looked at me dumbfounded, asking me why would he want to seduce me in a really slow and soft tone, without breaking eye contact, repeatedly. I asked him if I could just go and sleep in my room. He said “okay” in the same tone, without breaking eye contact like before. I got and left.

He asked me if I had had dinner when I was near the door. While I was answering, he came closer to the entrance of my room and asked if I have everything I need, like water, etc. He was going to enter my room to “check if I have everything” but I was holding the door towards me and my arm was between him and the room. He changed the topic and went back to asking why would I think he would seduce me in that same manner as before. Then he said “I thought we could kiss.”

I said “I don’t want to.”

A few seconds later after some beating around the bush he asked “Do you want to kiss me? Can we kiss?”

I said, “No.”

He asked, “Why?” and I didn’t know what to say. I just looked away and smiled a little because of my nervousness.

Then I looked at him and he was walking towards me with his arms in the air like he was walking towards a lover or something. I freaked out, brought my arms between us, and pleaded with him to not rape me. He was a little shocked and asked me why would he rape me, and if I was crazy. I said, “Let’s just forget this and go to sleep.”

He said “okay” and I locked the door.

Within an hour, I had packed up everything, called a dormitory hotel and asked them if they had a bed available, that I was trying to escape a dangerous situation so they should write down the address just in case. I even messaged my friend to message me back in ten minutes to ask me what was going on.

I was really grateful to the dormitory hotel who did a really good job of checking on me by calling me twice after I had called and even messaging me a fourth time. They were all expecting me and took my luggage without asking any questions.

They quickly got my check in done and escorted me to my bed, put my suitcase in the storage under the bed and handed me the keys after which I was lying on my bed, and ensured my friend that everything was fine. I had my heart rate go up when everything was over, as it was starting to dawn on me what had just happened. I finally fell asleep and woke up later than I had planned to.

Airbnb refunded the money next morning though they did not give me any confirmation on what they’ll be doing with the host’s account even though I have asked them to ban him. They said they take these issues very seriously and that they will be investigating this issue.

The listing currently seems to be gone but his profile is still there. Here is his Airbnb profile. His Airbnb address is in Sameer Housing Society, Versova, Andheri West. I really hope Airbnb doesn’t let sexual predators have profiles on their website. They’re also not publishing my review of him so future female travelers can’t know about what he did, which I think is a really unethical thing for Airbnb to do.

At least his listing is not available anymore but since his profile is still there who knows? Maybe they’ll bring back his listing hoping I’ll forget about it.

Posted in Airbnb Host Stories and tagged , , , , , .

19 Comments

  1. “I didn’t report him to the police because I don’t know if Mumbai police would take me seriously if I don’t have any evidence of his actions.”

    This is so sad. How many women don’t report to the police because of doubts that they will be believed? I have experienced this myself, multiple times.

    I’m sorry this happened to you. It sounds like you were smart, kept your wits and protected yourself. It’s scary to imagine some women may not have had the same outcome that you did.

  2. No, you didn’t do anything wrong, but please do be much more careful about drinking with a stranger in their home. He could have just been hitting on you…or he could be a total weirdo who may have harmed you. Thankfully you will never know, but from a bystander perspective, he just sounded like a guy flirting with, and hitting on you, whom you found “boring,” and you were able to avoid his passes at you because you left. Trust your gut. If it feels creepy, it likely is.

  3. You did the right thing, the guy sounds like a proper creepy f**ker who was way out of line approaching you for a kiss, as a host he should have been a hell of a lot more professional. I cannot believe people on here are justifying this guys actions, he should be removed from the AirBnB platform immediately. Accepting a drink does not give a man the right to invade your personal space in this way. I’m in the UK and have never heard of this on AirBnB. As a tall, well built man I wouldn’t expect to experience anything similar but just because your a female single traveller no-one on here has the right to say this was your fault, my deepest sympathies for what sounds like an incredibly uncomfortable experience – shame on fellow posters for their responses.

  4. You did nothing wrong. Not sure why so many folks are victim blaming. Perhaps they push the line of consent themselves. As a woman often traveling alone, your story is my greatest fear. Again, you did Nothing wrong. You did not cause this.

  5. Telling you to take more responsibility for your own actions and avoid sketchy situations is not victim blaming, it’s empowering . You are staying in a strangers home, within the poorly background checked Airbnb ecosystem, as a Single person traveling alone. I’m not sure it’s victim blaming or filling the role your father / mother should’ve filled by teaching you to be aware vigilant.

    Or continue naively and obviously renting Airbnb’s and running into weirdo strangers, then blaming everyone else ..

    In addition trying to kiss you is not sexual assault, and his actions were not of a sexual predator.

    • What’s empowering is culprit blaming. And culprits getting punished of course. You have it the other way around.

      To answer your rhetorical question: it is in fact victim blaming. I hope you don’t have kids or else we’ll have a whole generation of people with busted, regressive logic.

      What’s your problem with blaming shitty Airbnb service and horrible people for what they did? It’s almost as if you’re against culprit blaming. What a weird position to hold….

      Trying to kiss me despite me declining is attempted sexual assault. His actions were of a predator. He was trying to lower my inhibitions. It’s as if you’re fighting for a cause to protect the culprits.

  6. I am a feminist, but it’s common sense not to book a cheap place when you are single travelling female. You can’t really expect security or someone to help you with your suitcases. When you encounter a situation you are uncomfortable with, don’t book a rat trap and expect the Essex House. Call Air immediately and have them remove you. Yes, you will probably pay more. But safety and peace of mind are worth it.

    • Sorry if not wanting to be pressured into smoking and not being sexually assaulted seems the same as staying in a high value hotel to you. It’s as if women on a budget deserve to be assaulted. Maybe it’s common sense to not sexually assault other human beings? And maybe what you’re doing is victim blaming? No brownie points for being a self describing feminist and victim blaming. It’s as if being a feminist doesn’t make you a more ethical person. Also, stop victim blaming in the future.

  7. People are strange and when they can’t satisfy their sexual urges through conventional means, they resort to this bizarre and inappropriate behavior. I’ll stick with hotels, thank you. No sale AirBnB.

  8. I wonder how many people besides you have bothered the neighbors who actually LIVE there to find your probably illegal hotel room. I have no sympathy for airbnb users.

    • Oh thank you for showing your lack of humanity by actually bothering to comment about having no sympathy. Does it feel good Bren? You know people don’t deserve to be sexually assaulted for booking Airbnb rooms only to later find out the host is hush hush about being an Airbnb host.

  9. Nothing to do with a sexual predator. You willingly and knowingly accepted free booze in somebody else’s home.

    • I don’t sexually assault people when I offer them free anything. My offers are genuine and not a way to lower people’s inhibitions. He is a sexual predator because he was testing my gullibility to check if he can use me for his sexual needs. Oh, I am so sorry for wanting help when I thought I was in a dangerous situation. Yeah there are many wonderful people out there both men and women and bad people TOO. This doesn’t have anything to do with him being a man, he was a sociopathic predator.

      You don’t think he is a sexual predator despite him trying to kiss me when I had said “no” a few times already?

    • If I offer people free booze it doesn’t come with some sort of pre-set conditions that they have to agree to provide me with sexual services. That’s disgusting. A ‘no’ is a ‘no’. He tried to kiss me despite me saying “no”. That’s an attempted sexual assault and he is a sexual predator who was trying to lower my inhibitions by nagging me to do something I clearly did not want to do (smoking).

    • The guy is a sexual predator. There is nothing right about his actions. Just because he offered her drinks and she took it doesn’t mean he’s allowed to kiss her. If you truly think that his actions are normal and ok then I feel so sorry for you. You must’ve been in a abusive situation and the abuser was able to convince you that it’s normal and ok. I think she should report him to the police so they’ll have a record of his sleaziness.

      • Thank you for the support Anne. I didn’t report him to the police because I don’t know if Mumbai police would take me seriously if I don’t have any evidence of his actions.

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