A different kind of TLC ... to keep you safe.
I hope that this new match gives you butterflies and that he turns out to be as amazing as you imagine. But if perhaps he doesn’t, allow me to give you a little extra TLC with a few safety tips to help keep your first date wits in check.
TLC as in tender loving care? What does that have to do with my safety?
TLC as in Table, Ladies Room, Car — keep your guard up in each of these places in case the date goes badly. Should you choose to end communication, you don’t want Mr. Not-So-Charming to figure out your true identity.
Should you decide you’re not a match, you don’t want this person to be able to beeline a path to your door. So for your personal comfort as well as your protection, I'll share some safety tips. I do realize that the likelihood of meeting Jeffrey Dahmer is low (unless, like me, you’re in Wisconsin), but mom was right: Better safe than sorry.
Let’s dive into the TLC now, and take a peek at each of the three possible scenarios:
The table presents an opportunity for your date to learn your true identity — something you may overlook in our automated world. Mom always said to carry cab fare. I encourage you to always have at least a $20 tucked in your purse. This is enough to pay for your own coffee or drink should you decide that you’re not interested in further pursuing a relationship. If you’re trying to split the bill by paying with a credit card, you've now presented documentation of your full name. Keep those cards in your wallet and carry cash. It’s safer.
2. Ladies Room
What? He's not going to follow me in there, right? Of course not, but don't be so trusting that you leave your purse with him at the table. Someone needs to watch him.
Sound unbelievable? Not only is this very possible, I actually dated that Toad.
Saved by an eagle-eyed bartender, I ended the date abruptly upon returning from the ladies room to the bartender handing me and explaining that the gentleman I was with couldn't find my Chapstick. (Hint, hint.)
And this is a big tip: Your bartender is your friend. If you say, "So nice to finally meet you" within earshot, the wise wait staff will pay a little extra attention.
I know we’re taught to park up close and personal, but for a first meeting, make safety a priority. Arrive early and park in a spot where your license plate is not visible to the coffee shop or restaurant window. And when you leave, find an excuse to leave last.
Don’t allow for chivalry to win in this situation — no walking you to your car. While, most of the time, this is simply a sweet gesture, avoiding it is a necessary precaution for a first date. Make an excuse to go to the ladies room on the way out, or say that you need to make a phone call. This is perfectly acceptable and can be managed quite tactfully.
Let him show you his gentlemanly behavior on the second date, after you know him a little bit better.
I'm not telling you this to create paranoia. Most situations are harmless. In the best instances, you meet a wonderful frog with the potential to transform into your prince. Most of the other frogs are simply somebody else's Prince Charming. This advice, however, should be followed in all situations because you can never be sure if somehow a Toad as slipped past your radar.