Yes, it can happen to you—the date with the man you always wanted. But don’t let your enthusiasm compromise your safety. Get smart and take the following precautions ahead of time.
How to Protect your Safety on Dates
1. Tell Friends and Family.
Let your family, friends and co-workers know whom you are dating and where you are going. Usually, the first people to be concerned are co-workers when they see that their colleague did not show up for work.
2. Know Where You Will Be Going.
Dating surprises can be romantic, but don’t be seduced—especially by someone you hardly know. Ask your date where you are going. If you are not familiar with the area, for example, of his friend’s party, ask for an address. If any location is remote, you can tell your date you don’t wish to go or you can take your own car, if you have one.
3. Know How to Get Home Fast.
As soon as you know where you are going on your date, learn how to get home. If you need to end the date early, you don’t want to be stuck in the parking lot trying to figure out which way to turn. If you don’t have a car, call the place ahead of time and ask if there taxis in the area. If you don’t have a safe exit plan, then ask your date to change the location.
4. Keep Lots of Money.
Make sure you have about $100 in small bills. Hide them on you—inside your shoes is a great choice. Or, look for those small, light-weight pockets that clip to bra straps or that fit over your belt loops and then tuck against your body.
5. Keep Your Head.
Don’t get stoned or drunk before or during the date. Keep your wits about you. No matter how wonderful this man might seem, if he’s really a good guy, he won’t pressure you to indulge.
6. Don’t Assume You Know Him.
Many of the women in my study who said that they experienced abuse and fear on a date said that the man was well-known in the community. Some of the women also said that the man was a “perfect gentleman” on their first and second date, and so the women dropped their guard. Your safety is reason enough not to go back to his place or have s*x with someone you hardly know. Television shows such as “Dateline” have stories to tell about women who thought they knew their date.
7. Bring Your Medication.
Never leave home without the main medications that you need or could need. One woman in my study said she left her asthma medication at home because she doubted she needed it. But the man’s car was filled with dander from his cats, and she had an asthma attack.
8. Don’t Over-accommodate.
Being too agreeable can get you into trouble. Women in my study said the top attractions to a man were his sense of excitement and success. The women said they felt they “had hit the jackpot” when a particular man asked them. They said felt “chosen and special.” The combination of feeling lucky and grateful can make you go along with things you don’t want to do—or know you shouldn’t—just because this man is good catch.
9. Get mindful of your enthusiasm.
Know in advance your emotional and mental base line. Are you too excited to be with this person? During the date, go to the restroom and take an emotional inventory of your feelings. Also, take a step back and think about your observations about this man. Recall what he said or did. Do you see any alarm bells?
10. Arrange to call a smart and trusted friend during the date.
Dating excitement can cloud your judgment. Call this friend and tell him or her about your date so far. Prep your friend ahead of time to ask you about your mood, doubts and thoughts.