Posted on October 04 2020
THE WOES AND WONDERS OF WOOING: A QUICK TIP GUIDE TO SAFE DATING.
by Reese Abdallah
Let me start by saying that I've been on a lot of first dates. Like, a lot. Some good, some great, some awkward, and some downright dangerous. Looking back, and recognizing predatory behaviours, I feel fortunate to have not come into exceptional harm over the years. I've had the wonderful opportunity to date all people of the rainbow, though I tend to date more cis men; I've always found it easier for myself. I know how to talk and flirt with them, but womxn and enbys are so dauntingly fantastic, I have a much harder time not blushing beet red and fumbling over my words. Fortunately for me (and for you), that doesn't make me any less gloriously bisexual!
I wish I had had someone to tell me that how I felt on crummy dates was valid. A reminder: however you feel is always justified. It's okay to leave five minutes into the date if you feel the need to. It is also completely fair to stay together for two days straight. That instant vibe you get from your date is legitimate, and you are allowed to make a decision based on that. We feel obligated to stay on a bad date, to follow these unwritten rules of first, second, and third dates, and to pretend like there is a clear road map that we are each following.
Let me say it again: hell yes, it’s okay to leave the first date early! I cannot stress this enough. Even if that means leaving them with the bill, your safety comes first.
I'D FELT A BIT OF JUDGEMENT COMING FROM THIS SUPER CUTE GIRL SITTING OPPOSITE ME. I BRUSHED OFF HER ENERGY AND CONTINUED WITH THE TYPICAL FIRST DATE CHIT-CHAT
Sometimes it’s not just about your physical safety, but your mental health. I went for a drink with a woman last summer, a picturesque night with no clouds and a bright shining moon. We had gone to a bar with a lovely terrace, live music, and twinkling fairy lights above our heads. When we ordered our respective drinks, I remember her raising an eyebrow at me when I ordered a whiskey and ginger ale instead of the stereotypical butch beer.
"Why didn't you get a beer?" she asked me. "They have great crafts here."
I gave her a shrug and told her I just didn't like beer. "It tastes like I'm just drinking straight yeast, and I'd rather have something tasty in my mouth. "
Which is true, by the way. My last partner would insist that I have a sip whatever of beer they'd bought, and it only solidified what I'd already known - beer is not my thing. Give me something with a mango flavour and sour keys attached to the straws instead, thank you very much!
I'd felt a bit of judgment coming from this super cute girl sitting opposite me. I brushed off her energy and continued with the typical first date chit-chat. When we finally received our drinks and an over-priced plate of charcuterie, I'd pulled out my phone for a photo. This prompted a - I shit you not - fifty minutes conversation (I use the word 'conversation' loosely as I barely spoke ten words in that time) about how iPhone is a terrible phone choice, and I'm a "bit of an idiot for sticking with them."
For some reason, I stayed sitting in that chair, even after literally being insulted by my date. After this topic had finally been exhausted on her end (I had been finished with it approximately forty-nine minutes before), we moved on to my tattoos.
She commented "Oh yeah, you have great tattoos! I just think it's a really terrible idea for people to get visible tattoos before they know their career path." as I sit there with my arms covered in ink.
I'm hoping at this point, dear reader, that you're just shaking your head at me, or perhaps screaming to the Heavens "Why Reese?!" But I didn't leave. I felt I had a social obligation to stick it out because that's just. what. you. do.
It's total bullshit.
YOU OWE NO ONE YOUR TIME, ENERGY, OR ATTENTION.
Dates can also get scary, let's be real. If you feel scared, I implore you to leave. I know, sometimes it’s easier said than done. The hard part here is that predators have gotten so good at manipulating people. They say they want to make sure you get home safe, so they want to walk you home. They tell you they have to go to the bathroom so they get themselves into your apartment. Things can go downhill so quickly, it's discombobulating and hard to keep up with. You blink and suddenly you're in a terrifying situation.
Get out of there!
There's always the useful 'friend calling with some distant relative landing in the hospital' trick. Honestly, I've pulled that move, and it freakin' works. Put on your best acting face, force out a couple of tears if you’re into that, and try to appear shocked and overwhelmed. Another classic, perhaps less subtle method, is taking your bag to the "bathroom" with you, and just leaving instead.
My glorious mother has always told me to listen to my gut. Finally, as a fully grown adult in my mid-twenties, I am truly listening to that little voice in my head.
IF YOU PLAN ON GETTING IN SOMEONE'S CAR, IT'S NOT CRAZY TO TEXT THE LICENSE PLATE NUMBER TO YOUR FRIENDS.
You know that sinking feeling you get your tummy? The same feeling as when you walk into a room where your parents are, there's a silence that you can cut with a knife, and you immediately know you're in deep shit; or walking down an alley, and you get a knot in your stomach. Or perhaps it's that feeling in your gut when your cat trots up to you, and there's something askew with their mew, and you know for a fact that they're sick. Follow this feeling! Go with your gut!
I personally get a bad vibe when at the end of the date, there isn't a cheque dance. Honestly, I think it's polite and it proves that your date wants to impress you and that you want to impress them! Gender roles aside, I believe it's a generous and heartwarming gesture. Perhaps it's a bit old-fashioned but it makes me feel cared for, and the tender sensitive parts of me love it. I think most people enjoy being taken care of and attended to every so often.
Now aside from the horrors of dates gone wrong, there’s always the prospect of the date going really well. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you’re well-stocked for the possibility of freaky fun: condoms, dental dams, chewing gum, whatever you desire in preparation to get it on in a safe and merry manner. It's like going to a movie theatre - always bring your own snacks because you never know if your partner will bring any!
BEING A FREQUENT FLYER ON THE FIRST DATE PLANE, AT TIMES I FIND IT CHALLENGING NOT TO LOSE HOPE.
It's a wonderful feeling when you sit across the table from someone and throw conversation back and forth – with great ease and a natural flow, not missing a beat. It is truly a joy when you find that someone you can get into a great groove with. Sometimes nothing beats getting cozy on the couch with some popcorn and containers of butterscotch pudding, and watching a trashy cheesy teenage superhero movie with a special someone.
In this technologically advanced world that we are blessed to live in, there has never been a safer way to date. If you're using dating apps, it's always smart to send their picture/name/basic information to a friend or two. Giving your friends the date overview (name of the bar, what time you're meeting), and having a check-in time is also not a bad idea. If you plan on getting in someone's car, it's not crazy to text the license plate number to your friends. If you can get the make and model of the car, even better. It's an easy detail to get out of your date. Throw on your best Barbie voice and squeak "Oh wow what a nice car, what is it?" If you're a car dunce like I am, it won't mean much. But if God forbid, the police need the information, they'll have it. A possible move as well is just being straight up and telling them you want the information for your safety. It's actually a really smart way to judge someone's character, if they don't mind then they're good to go!
Being a frequent flyer on the first date plane, at times I find it challenging not to lose hope. When there's a string of bad dates or a particularly long dry spell, it is easy to get discouraged and feel hopeless. That's okay too. I allow myself to feel the loneliness that, at times, feels like a deep chasm making my heart ache. I've had wonderful fulfilling loves before, and I must remember that I will have them again. As will you. We both know what a kind, fantastic, multifaceted, magnificent human being you are, and your person (or people) are out there looking for you too. Anything that's worth anything in life, isn't easy.
Hopefully, now your toolbox is slightly better equipped, and you can go off into the wonderful world of dating a little bit more consciously and safely. Slut it up, wait twenty days, wait until you're married, or do it in the restaurant bathroom. The most important part is that while being considerate of others, you are enriching your life with experiences that will make it abundantly pleasurable and lucrative to yourself.
Reese Abdallah is a cis-gendered bisexual non-monogamous relationship anarchist, with a passion for books and smashing the patriarchy. While she is a newbie to the blogging world, she’s a long-time writer and lover of prose. You can find her laying in the grass staring at the clouds, or ruminating over the last novel she devoured on her back porch. Follow her daily antics on Instagram