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The safety dance

Long gone are the days when you married the boy next door, the boy you went to school with, or the boy you met at church.  More often than not, these days you’re dating someone with whom you have no history.  If you’ve been introduced by someone, they’ve only known him for a few years and the likelihood that they know his family is fairly slim.  So how is a girl supposed to stay safe in the dating jungle?

  1. Start compiling your information on him into an online file labeled with his name.  Keep emails, msgs, etc.  Add a photo of him.  Any personal internet links he might have shared should go in there too.  If you met him online, bookmark his dating profile.  Put all of this information in one place so that you can review it if needed (Why does his high school yearbook say he graduated in 1992 if he claims to have been born in 1980?) or if you need to delete it (remember, we delete our exes and it’s easier if their information is nicely grouped together).
  2. If it’s a blind date, send his name, address, cellphone number, photo and the meeting details (place, time) to a friend.  Arrange to call that friend at a specific time.  If you don’t call on time, they call you – if you don’t answer then they call 911.  Make sure you answer your phone as a SWAT team bursting in on you and your date is a bit of a mood killer.
  3. Take your own transportation.  Non-negotiable.  Park in a well-lighted area with plenty of foot traffic.  If you’re parking in a parking structure, park near an exit ramp or near the attendant and ask the security guard to walk you to your car.  If you have to valet park, only give them your car key.  Walk confidently, do not look like a victim.
  4. Listen to what he says on the date and make mental notes.  You can always check your file if something seems inconsistent (and if it’s inconsistent – ask him to clarify in a non-confrontational fashion).  Any moment you feel unsafe or insecure – politely excuse yourself and leave.
  5. Keep track of how much money you’re spending.  It’s unlikely that he’s going to stiff you for the check but you never know.  If you do need to cut it short, make sure you have enough cash to pay your own way and pay the establishment directly.
  6. Despite it being gallant, do not allow him to walk you to your car.  If you feel unsure about your safety, ask someone from the establishment to walk you to your car.
  7. When you’re leaving, make sure he isn’t following you.  If you think someone might be, make three consecutive right turns.  Unless they’re one-way streets, it’s highly unlikely that someone will be making the same three consecutive right turns.  If you think someone is following you, don’t go home – go to a police station.
  8. Call your same friend and tell them that you got home okay.

Does it sound a little paranoid?  Absolutely but sometimes that’s exactly what you need to do to stay safe.  Let your guard down once he’s proven himself.

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