About the Author

Honey's main interests are online dating, long distance dating, and long term relationships. She met her boyfriend on MySpace and they have been exclusive since their first date over three years ago. Currently they live in Tempe, Arizona. Honey graduated with her PhD in Composition and Rhetoric in May 2009. You can contact Honey via email here or online here.

How Safe is Too Safe? Or, Lance Blows Up Brazen Careerist

So, Lance blew up the comments in the “Ask Penelope Trunk!” chatter section – check it out on Brazen Careerist, and then sign up if you didn’t after reading his review of the updated site.

Similar to dadshouse’s entry on how a woman he met online didn’t want to meet up for a hike on a first date, Lance’s date refused to come over and let him cook dinner for her at his house.  Like DM, Lance is frustrated by the fact that women feel unsafe in their initial encounters, largely because it either leads to “sipping Bud Lights while we stare at each other across tabletops and play word games and play dress up” (Lance) or “coffee dates, those fact-finding information exchanges that modern singles embrace as necessities like college-bound kids taking the SAT” (DM).

Where do you, the readers, draw the line?

As I said in the comments to the Brazen Careerist convo, when I had my first date with Jake, he didn’t know my last name, phone number, e-mail addy, or physical addy.  We had first names and met at the bar (well, actually I think I might’ve known his last name because it was part of his MySpace URL, which is a mistake I don’t think a woman would ever make).  Although I did end up going to a party with him and then we had rockin’ sex back at my place, I had set things up so that if he gave off a creepy vibe, all I’d have to do was leave and block his profile – he wouldn’t have been able to find me again.

Now, he and I met on MySpace, but back when I was doing the Match thing I set up a new e-mail account with none of my personal information that I used when people wanted to move communication off the site.  Even though I never dealt with anyone that I thought was super creepy online (well, maybe one…or two…wait, I actually have another story that’s pretty great although I might not have the e-mails anymore – I’ll check into it for you guys), I did grow a lot more cautious as I got a little older, and especially once I was living by myself and didn’t have roommates that would worry about me if I didn’t return.

So I do also get my hackles up when guys belittle the safety concern.  I was date-raped by my first college boyfriend (the same jerk I lost my virginity to), and there were definitely times that I had sex while technically too drunk to give consent and deeply regretted it afterwards (though in those cases the solution lay as much in drinking less as it did in blaming the guy).  I understand how totally awesome, trustworthy guys would get frustrated by women’s need to protect themselves – it’s gotta be like getting searched at the airport because of your race.  But the danger is real (Well, the date-rape danger.  I don’t know anything about terrorism or criminal profiling!).  Lance says, “If you want to get to know someone, you break bread with them.”  Suppose you go to a guy’s house and he rapes you – what are you supposed to say to her afterwards – “well, now you know”?!?!

Ladies, what steps do you take to ensure your safety?  Fellas, what’s it like on the other side of those precautions?  Is there any way to feel safe and get to know someone, or is it just an inherently risky activity?

If you enjoyed this post on safety and dating, you might also enjoy:

  • http://dadshouseblog.com dadshouse

    I agree with Lance – you have to “break bread” to get to know someone. That doesn’t mean you have to drink! It’s possible to have a fun first date outside of a coffee house or bar. I LOVE hiking dates. I learn way more about a woman watching her move through nature than I do seeing her sip a caramel latte.
    .-= dadshouse´s last blog …Couch Sex =-.

  • http://listener.tumblr.com Listener

    I exited the dating world shortly before the ubersafety craze, but I think that, in terms of safety, the scarier thing is when you’re about to sleep with someone new. I’d met this woman online back in 1996 and we agreed to meet when she next drove through my town. We hit it off; we went to a movie; we went back to her hotel room… and I had to figure out how to ask her if she had any STDs. It was one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. (The next morning, after we woke up together, I had some of the best sex of my life, so I guess in the end it worked out.)

    As someone who used to be fairly active in the BDSM community, there’s a sort of openness-plus-safety vibe you get from being with a group of BDSMers. When I went to a BDSM event in NYC, I played with two people, one of whom I’d only talked to online and one who I met the first day. But because we were within the community, there were others around that made us both feel safe.

    Being of the male persuasion, I understand that women, often being the pursued party, need to be safe and make sure they’re not going to end up with the wrong kind of guy. If the guy can’t deal with the woman being safe and not wanting to jump into bed with him right away, then that’s his problem, not hers.
    .-= Listener´s last blog …#566; Supernatural Collective Nouns. =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    This is a solid question and I was thinking about blogging the exact same thing. My take is that, in a perfectly safe world, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making and having dinner together on a first meeting. Let’s forget that date-rape even exists. Would that not be an ideal way to get to know someone? You see where they live, how they live, if they’re messy or clean, if they can cook, their books, their things, their pets, and there are no distractions like drunkards and loud music. I get that women are concerned for their safety at a strange house, but you also have to acknowledge that there’s no better way to quickly learn about someone. I think we should endeavor to find ways to connect with our first dates more quickly and deeply and bridge the huge trust gap that exists. There are solutions and I’ll blog them.
    .-= Lance´s last blog …How Safe is Too Safe? Or, Lance Blows Up Brazen Careerist =-.

  • Sara

    While I agree that Lance/Dadshouse’s idea that breaking bread is the best way to get to know someone, and most women would much prefer (in an ideal world) a dinner date at someone’s house than a totally awkward coffee date, I also find your attitudes kinda callous. Almost all women I know have had some guy cross a line into some level of inappropriateness, making them uncomfortable if they’re lucky, downright scared (or worse) if they’re not. That sucks for you, as good guys, but be mad at the douches who have forced women to be cautious, not the women who are trying to protect themselves. Pretending date rape doesn’t exist isn’t an option for women who don’t want to be date raped.

    I feel like I’m pretty reasonable, and have been on first dates to a guy’s house (although only if it was someone I’d met in person and had felt out, or was set up by a friend). If I met someone online who tried to use some psychological technique (guilt, or the “oh, if you’re cool and spontaneous, you’ll totally do this” schtick) into a kind of date that I wasn’t comfortable with, it would throw up major red flags. Although I have to also say, I would definitely be comfortable with a hiking date in a location I already knew and that was heavily populated with other people.

  • http://casualencounters.com/blog/ Janak

    I’m astounded at the paucity of imagination suggested by the demonstrated lack of ability to come up with “safe” activities beyond “drinking coffee” and “going to a bar”.
    .-= Janak´s last blog …The 10 Craziest Sex Laws in America =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    I think Lance’s next post will address this. It’s been so long since I was on a date with anyone but Jake that I had to think for a minute, but…

    Personally, there are lots of things that I might like to do that are public enough to feel safe – the Desert Botanical Gardens, a used bookstore, any of the half-dozen or so museums in my area, for a start.
    .-= Honey´s last blog …How Safe is Too Safe? Or, Lance Blows Up Brazen Careerist =-.

  • http://listener.tumblr.com Listener

    I find that my inappropriateness occurs in the “getting to know you” process when I’m talking to someone online. When I actually get to know the person IRL, I can usually keep from doing anything inappropriate for at least three or four dates, and even then, it’s usually saying something asinine, not anything physical.

    Though on one first date I blew my nose and a booger came flying out the top of the tissue to land on my dashboard. I think that’s pretty inappropriate.

    Fortunately, if the girl noticed, she didn’t say anything.
    .-= Listener´s last blog …anyone got a place i can crash in ATL for 12 weeks?? =-.

  • http://blogs.marinij.com/katwider Kat Wilder

    It isn’t a good idea to go to one or the other’s home for a home-cooked meal on a first date — it’s too intimate before a level of intimacy is established. (I blogged about this in “Is the date cooking or cooked?)

    But, yeah — there are so many first date ideas other than coffee or dinner. But if you’re trying to get to know the person — which is what a first date should be about, right? — you need a place to allows conversation and to see him/her in the real world (how he/she interacts with others, etc.) Nothing wrong with a breakfast/lunch/dinner/coffee to do that.

  • http://www.tenmagnet.com Tenmagnet

    Yeah, I have to say, a first date back at your place sounds a) creepy and b) boring. I find that good dates usually involve a lot of movement, going from one place to another, and sharing different experiences. That means walking through a fun neighbourhood and stopping in a lot of shops/coffee places, or something like that. Just sitting around cooking dinner in your kitchen doesn’t really sound that stimulating.
    .-= Tenmagnet´s last blog …Lovesystems in the Economist =-.

  • Mariposa

    As a victim of sexual assault by someone I knew, despite the fact that I was a good girl and did not drink that night (though I’ve been drinking a lot recently to cope), I’m a crazy bitch. Not going to lie. I have a strict “no guy on my floor” policy. Even dates. I tell a guy if I think he’s a creep. I’m honest with guys I don’t like. I find it empowering to reject them.

    Lots of them.

    It makes me feel good inside.

    So maybe I shouldn’t be asked about any of this.