It really irritates me when people focus on how women need to practice extreme caution when they go out on dates or simply out alone. “Bring a whistle,” you might be told, or “Never go alone on a first date.” I sincerely doubt that men are told these things, and it’s akin to victim-blaming with rape survivors. Rather than blaming a violent perpetrator, we are so much more keen to jump on the actual victim and say it was her fault for wearing this skirt or for drinking or for being alone, rather than his fault for his actions.
All of this said, being practical about safety on a date should be on the mind of every man and woman. There is always the potential of meeting someone super creepy who just wants to cut you up and feed you to his or her pigs, after all, and such sweetie pies can be any gender. So here are just a couple of things to keep in mind for a first date—or subsequent dates early on in a relationship.
Agree to meet somewhere public. If you met up on Craigslist, you definitely don’t want to go to his or her house! Choose a very public place where you aren’t likely to get hurt, like a restaurant or coffee shop.
Keep your cell phone on you. If it’s a blind date with someone you don’t know at all, you might even want to promise to give them a call during a certain time—while you excuse yourself as you use the bathroom—just to check in. You might even want to report on how well it’s going!
Make sure that a friend or family member knows what you are doing and where you will be. If your mom is like mine you’ll do that anyway, even if you’re 40 years old. If you have a roommate, leave a note for him or her, too.
Bring a taser—or don’t. If you are practical and stay in public you probably won’t need one, but my mother insists that every single person should have one “just in case.” I would suggest that every person—single or not—should be trained in weaponless self-defense, “just in case” anyone—from a thief to a trafficking agent to any random jerkface—wants to get handy. That’s why my daughter takes taekwondo; if I had a son, he would, too.