Have you ever tried online dating? I have. And as many times as I tried to convince myself that these are the same people I could meet on my way to work, at a local bookstore or at the supermarket, I never felt totally “safe.”Exchanging email was one thing, and conversations on the phone were awkward at best, but when it came time to set up a date, panic set in.
I’d ask myself: Should I bring mace? Sounds funny, but I have a girlfriend who actually packed some in her purse on a blind date.
Should I have this guy pick me up, therefore letting him know where I live? (Er…No, meet during the day at a spot convenient for you and drive your own car, if you can.)
Should I have someone call me periodically to make sure I’m OK? It sounds annoying to have your phone ringing throughout a first or second date, but this is a case where your mom is right: it’s better to be safe than sorry.
I’m not sure if New York has more online dating crimes recorded than any other state, but Gov. David Paterson just passed the Internet dating safety act which would require that companies “warn Internet dating customers of the dangers of meeting strangers.”
Call me crazy, but if you don’t already know the dangers of meeting strangers” then you probably don’t need to be going on an online date anyway.
As I stated in my own guidelines for my short-lived online dating adventures above, the tips include always letting someone else know if you are going to meet someone new, always providing your own transportation and making sure to meet in a public place. The law states those looking for love online should be advised to “never include your last name, e-mail address, home address, phone number, place of work and any other identifying information in your Internet profile or initial e-mail messages.”
So why date online? The allure must be the opportunity to meet someone you’d possibly never meet in your day-to-day routine or through friends, family and work colleagues. Given the safety risks, I heard so many times that people still date online because they are “too busy” to socialize (question: if you’re so cramped for time now, why do you think meeting someone is going to give you more free time?) and want to try something, or rather someone, new.
Either way, we’re just here to encourage you to be safe while dating and meeting new people, Mesdames.
Do you date online? How have you felt about the safety factor in online dating?