What do you consider a bad date? Is it when a date shows up looking like the grandfather of the man pictured in the online profile? It could be when extra people come along, such as friends, children or relatives to check out the date. One dating column advised the woman to take long friends to judge the fellow. There’s the date where your date mistakes you for a lady of the evening and you have to explain that a combo meal does not buy him any backseat action. Maybe your salesman date is convinced a date is the perfect venue to sell you a pricey whole life policy. Bad dates, where you merely irritate or bore each other, aren’t all that bad, just a time waster. What if it is more than that? What if your date goes really bad?
Most people have heard a news story where a woman disappears after meeting someone at a nightclub. That’s the extreme downside. Sometimes you have an ordinary guy who doesn’t do it for you, who keeps calling, texting or even showing up at your job. Other times your stalker might be his current girl friend who has found your number in his phone. How can you avoid the twisted date syndrome?
Be very, very careful about the information you give out. Many people online will use a nickname or a middle name so they can’t be Googled or looked up in the white pages. If you live near a big city, use that as a location, not your small town. Watch the photos you put up. Make sure there isn’t any identifying information in the photo. Are you in front of your house? Maybe your work logo is right behind you or you’re at your favorite golf course. This information can be used to locate you. After one date, a male friend of mine refused to go out with an overly aggressive female. The woman called him demanding to know why he wouldn’t give her another chance. Finally, she blocked the end of his road with her car and refused to let him leave for work. Even though he was a big man, he was terrified, unsure if the woman was armed. Because of his community position, the last thing he wanted was to be featured on the front page.
What could he have done differently? Many things…first he gave out too much information. He gave out his phone number and his neighborhood. Many online daters start with an email address that does not have any combination of their name included in it. This way they can communicate back and forth with someone until comfortable. Never tell a new person where you work until you are on the fourth plus date. Do you really want a disgruntled date sitting in the parking lot waiting for you?
Photos are not something you want your new date to have. I’ve gone on first dates where the guy wants to photograph me to put in his cell phone. At first, I thought it made sense, but then I heard about these initial photos being used in a variety of ways such as showing the ex he was dating or grandma that he did have a girlfriend and wasn’t gay. Your image can be photo shopped; your head put on a different body and uploaded to the Internet. I know that sounds paranoid with a capital P, but it does happen. Do you want someone to have your photo that you don’t know all that well? Don’t get me started on the females who think it is appropriate to send sexy photos to a guy they just met. Everyone at his work has a good laugh. Don’t kid yourself that those photos aren’t shown around. The date may not be the problem, but his creepy co-worker might be.
Never ever allow a new guy to know where you live. He seems nice, but he could go ugly on you. Strangely, the women tend to stalk more than the males. Knowing where you live and work allows them to shadow you. Even casual comments that you bowl on Wednesdays may have your rejected date showing up for league night.
Be wary of first dates who want you to come to their house. That isn’t right on a number of levels. One gentleman who was fixed up on a blind date, called ahead to let his date know he was on his way and was surprised to find her wearing a ratty bathrobe and no makeup. When he inquired if she needed more time, she flashed him. The guy took off before she decided to explain what she really had in mind. Another unfortunate fellow was greeted by children calling him “new daddy.” Others met up with not so ex-boyfriends toting firearms. On the other side, be wary of a person that never allows you to come to their home. If you are seeing someone for more than THREE months and you’ve never been to his house, it can only mean two things: married or he's not into you.
A major mistake often made when alcohol is involved is revealing too much information. Why people would want to reveal secrets to someone they just met I have no clue, but many do. The initial dates are not a good time to reveal felonious activities or secret fantasies. This information can be used to blackmail you into continuing the relationship.
Now most of you are probably scared to date, but it is like anything else: if you know the danger, you can avoid it. Before I went snorkeling, I had to watch a slide show about everything I needed to watch out for while in the water. I was terrified of stepping on fire coral or meeting up with an octopus…neither happened. Instead I had a wonderful time snorkeling. Same with dating.
If you have doubts, don't go out. If your instincts are telling you that this is a bad bet…then it probably is. Primitive man survived by listening to his instincts. You would do well to listen to yours. Hold back your personal information and talk about general items on your first date. Do have a dummy email to collect all your inquiries. Google your date if you know his real name. (Be aware online info isn't always correct or current because I Googled myself and found I was living in Georgia married to my ex-father-in-law. Haven't lived in Georgia for almost 20 years and my ex-father-in-law is dead.) Always drive yourself and arrive separately. Often dating sites have a verification process that your date can use to show he is who he said he is. Take care now, so you don’t find yourself sneaking through the restaurant kitchen to get away from your date later. If you need to sneak out through the kitchen, do it. Your safety comes first.