“I have a new goal in,” my friend Kim declared, “I’m going on a date every day for the next year!”
A date-a-day didn’t sound unreasonable to me, but in my world, dates were paid escort dates. Since it was a job, not only did I have time to fit them in, I had methods to vet them, to make sure they were safe.
It doesn’t matter if the date is a conventional date or a paid one, on a date you’re semi-alone or fully alone with a stranger, and it’s not always easy or ideal to let your guard down around a strange person.
“How do you keep it all straight, and make sure they’re okay?” I asked.
“It’s simple. We meet for 15-minutes over tea or coffee, then I’ll know If I want to go on a second date, like drinks, and so on,” she explained, “That way it builds and I don’t get stuck wanting to bang my head against the table five minutes into a two-hour dinner.”
When you’re meeting someone online, the first steps are easy. Spend time on their profile. Look for characteristics that might make them a good fit – or a bad one. Visit their Facebook page, Instagram, or other social media. Google their name and number. If they’re involved with extra curricular activities, like a softball committee, or they organize a weekend warriors meetup, and they post their number to connect with others, that information is archived. Look for red flags. Maybe they’re into choking sex and golden showers (and you’re not).
We can all relate to a boring two-hour date, but sometimes a lousy date turns worse, like another friend of mine.
“I went on the first date with some guy I met from my profile,” she said, “He kept referring to me as his future wife. The next day he called my mom, then I woke up at 3 in the morning with him staring at me through the bedroom window,” she shuttered.
She too, followed all the don’ts
- Don’t have them pick you up, take yourself to the date
- Don’t meet privately, meet in a public space
- Don’t leave your drink alone
- Don’t invite them home
- Don’t share personal information
He could have looked through her purse when she stepped away, followed her out to her car and jotted down the license plate. Or even followed her home.
Those details may be easy to remember, but there are even more don’ts worth noting –
- Don’t use the same photos for your online dating site you use on other sites, like Facebook or Twitter. Once google caches them, it’s nearly impossible to get them removed and they’re easy to trace back to you with programs like TinEye.
- Don’t just post a cell phone photo without removing the GPS details your iPhone stores with your photo. Use an app like deGeo before sending out your pictures
- Don’t use your private email. Use the online dating site’s platform, or use a VPN like hidemyass, or private browser like the TOR browser, so someone can’t track your IP address
So what if you kind of know them, but you want to go hiking, or skiing, something less public, and you don’t really know them that well? That’s when you can use more thorough techniques, like I used when running an escort agency.
With someone’s name you can perform a quick background check on Instantcheckmate. Or look for them on badboyreport. If they have a history with the police, sexual offenses, felonies, or complaints from others, you’ll find out. But be careful, if they have the right information, they can do the same to you.
Maybe you don’t always want to tell a friend or family member where you’re going all the time. That’s where safety apps, like the “Kitestring” app (https://www.kitestring.io/) are handy. It lets your emergency contacts know when you’re in trouble.
Most of all, when going on a new date, use your intuition. Talk to them on the phone for a few minutes, let your instincts talk to you. Because listening to your mood, your mind, and your heart, is what going on a date is all about in the first place.
(Image Credit: tashatuvango, Fotolia)