PANIC EMOJIS & BARRELL ROLLS: DATE SMART, NOT STUPID
Remember when you were 13, and your family got a sick desktop with dial up, and your mum used to lecture you about 'them chatroom things' that were definitely full of 40 year old men waiting to corrupt you?
"Oh em GEE mum, I'm not like stupid? I just want to do hoodrat things wiv my friends".
Your mum was right to warn you, because I know we all watched Dateline with Chris Hansen and we SAW him bust creepy men trying to feel up sweet 14 year old hunnies.
Online dating is full of creeps. I'm just going to put it out there. Sure, percentage wise, it's not as bad as anonymous chat rooms, but meeting people on essentially blind dates can be dangerous - especially for women.
If you read my posts, you will know that I am no stranger to the creepy or unsettling date experience and since that date, which was a year ago, I have learned my lesson and instilled some safety tactics and good practise, to ensure nothing dodgy happens to me again.
I've had good luck since then, but the sad fact is - you absolutely need to be careful out there. Men and women both. I've put together a cheeky list of how to manoeuvre online dating safely, and how to gracefully bail out if things go tits up.
CATFISH IS NOT JUST A SHOW ON MTV
People are liars. Not all, but a good portion. If you're talking to someone that
- isn't showing their face in photos (Pretty sure that six pack shot is not you fam)
- has inconsistant photos (So you have a tattoo in this photo, but it's gone in the next? Boi what.)
- has muddled stories about what they do, where they are from etc
Be careful and ask for more information, or a current picture. It is immensely important that you see who they are before you arrive, on the off chance you need to describe them to someone else. If they dont have an instagram, a snapchat, a facebook or anything.. well, they're either one of those non social media people, or they're a catfish. Usually the latter.
I once met up with a guy who was at least 50kgs heavier than advertised, and about 5 years older too. How you gonna try and hide half your body weight under a table to try and fool someone? SMDH.
HIDE YO KIDS, HIDE YO WIFE, HIDE YO HOUSE, HIDE YO LIFE.
The GOLDEN rule. You must ALWAYS meet them in a public place, not at your house. Based on my awful experience and the fact that it could have gone much, much worse.. Don't let someone pick you up in their car either.
The sad fact is, you don't want them knowing where you live until you're certain that everything is cool. This applies to all genders, I've had many a guy friend tell me horror stories about one night stands coming back and banging on their door on a weeknight at 3am.
This one's my favourite rule. Tell someone where you are going! I used to tell my flatmates where I had planned to meet my date, and that if they hadn't heard from me by 9pm to either check on me, or do a sneaky swing by the bar.
Honestly, this is just common sense. It takes 5 seconds to text an emoji of an eggplant, or a heart eyes face to let them know you're having a bangin time and that in fact, you are still alive and well.
DO A BARRELL ROLL
Escape plan. Have one. This could be a panic emoji text to a friend, plans to go somewhere else afterwards, or have friends 'conveniently' arrive at the bar you are at and steal you away.
Fuck, even do the cliche emergency call tactic. I don't care if this sounds extremist, having a back up plan is hella important. Bar staff and restaurant staff can be great assets in helping you get out of a bad situation too, utilise them.
A friend likes to go out for an early Saturday evening date, tell the date that she might have to go to a "Friends birthday" later on. Then if the date goes well, she can stress that she's having such a nice time she'll skip the party, but if it fails, she can graciously head off.
SCOPE OUT THE SITUATION
I understand that some people just don't want to waste time messaging, for it to only fizzle out in real life. But if the following scenario happens...
You: Hey! How are you?
Them: Good! Are you keen for a drink tonight?
You: Oh, I usually talk for a bit before I meet up with my matches sorry
Them: Oh come on, its just a drink. I dont like to mess around
... Or something similar, please be aware that they could either
A. Only be keen to smash and dash (which is fine, if thats what you want)
B. Have a weird, CREEPY reason for wanting to met up ASAP.
Be clear with what you are comfortable with from the beginning, and honestly: trust your gut.
It somewhat bothers me that I have to mention this, but if you are online dating for casual sex or even just seeing what's out there, you are totally at risk of some lovely STDs my friend.
Even if you are on birth control, sex with a new person should always involve a condom the first time around. You absolutely can't trust someone that you only just met on their word that they have no STDs - some are not visibly present, and some are incredibly dangerous and can cause infertility.
WRAP THAT SHIT UP PEOPLE. *clapping emoji*
You should never be ashamed to bring your own protection if you are going out with the implication of sex. Safety is hella sexy people, and unless you desperately want a baby from that guy with the ab shot on Tinder - make sure you use it.
Family planning or your doctor can hook you up with literal hoards of condoms for the low price of one flat white. Go nuts.
COMPUTER SAYS NO
You are always well within your rights to change your mind at any point on any date, no matter what situation you're in.
I don't care if you are both naked and in the middle of having passionate love, if you or them say no - that's it.
No means no, always. Anyone worth your time will respect that, and if they don't - speak up and literally kick them the fuck out.
I TELL YA WHAT I WANT, WHAT I REALLY REALLY WANT
Now, I'm not saying approach your Tinder beau with a list of qualities he must have, and the fact that you'd like to be married by the time you're 28 - but if you know what you want, you'll likely yield better results.
If you are talking with someone who is clearly pushing the sexual side of things too fast and you actually want to date, be explicit in the fact that you aren't down for that. Leaving no room for miscommunication is important and can save you both time.
Likewise if someone wants to take you on a romantic boat ride, and you're only looking for some D - share that shit too.
Dating is honestly so much fun. I loved meeting people I wouldn't normally, and the fact that you can have that much choice immediately, right in your hot little hands is AMAZING.
But the sad fact is, in this day and age, you absolutely need to make sure you're looking out for number one, cause you beautiful and interesting and the best person ever, and no one should be making you feel like crap on a date - unless that's what you're in to.
Go forth and swipe with confidence, ya sassy lil hero.