Why I Never Should Have Given Him My Number

Dating Diary: The Wrong Call

Maureen, 39, editor, New York City

FRIDAY 3 p.m., sidewalk: I'm off work early, on my way to a cupcake place.

3:05 p.m.: A guy walking toward me flashes me a big grin, then passes by.

3:06 p.m.: The guy suddenly comes back and stops me. "Listen," he says, "I didn't want to regret not saying hello." He's strapping, short-haired, dark-eyed. We chat, and he asks for my number. I'm nervous about handing over my info, but he seems normal enough. So I jot down my first name and number on a scrap of paper.

9 p.m., party: I arrive at a swank Park Avenue apartment with a guy friend; he's trying to set me up with the host of the shindig, a honcho at a media company. A woman introduces herself as the honcho's live-in girlfriend. I ask my friend what's up. He says, "Oh, I thought he'd dumped her. He's planning to." Classy.

12 a.m., cab: Heading home. There's a message on my cell phone from the guy on the street: "Call me back." I don't.

SATURDAY 10 a.m., home: I see several missed calls from the same guy, starting at the crack of dawn. There's a more urgent tone: "I think we have a real connection!"

2 p.m.: Calls are pouring in, from two different numbers, one private. Then come the texts: "I thought you were special, but you are SELFISH and inconsiderate."

2:05 p.m.: In a cold sweat now, I turn off the phone. What have I done?

3 p.m.: I Google the guy's main number. It's from the Midwest. That's weird.

6 p.m.: I turn the cell back on, and a new text awaits me. "You are going to die ALONE. Bitch." Off goes the phone.

SUNDAY Noon, home: More diabolical calls. I'm too embarrassed to tell anyone I gave my number to a guy on the street.

MONDAY 11 a.m., work: I picture myself as one of those murdered women on 48 Hours Mystery. I call the phone company and ask if the caller can find out my last name. No, they say. I hope that's true.

SATURDAY 5 p.m., home: The texts take a new turn: "My cock is hard. I want to lick your pussy." Payback, I guess, for being momentarily open to a stranger.

THURSDAY 5 p.m., work: Another call. Almost two weeks into this debacle, I feel as if I somehow brought it on myself. Is this how victims of abuse feel?

SATURDAY 1 p.m., café: The calls have finally stopped, and I tell a friend. "The next time you meet a maniac, you must tell me right off!" she says. I promise I will. In the meantime, no more cupcakes . . .