If you have a tight-knit relationship with your family (as I do), or, if one or more of your parental units happens to work in the field of safety (as one of mine does), it would be a good idea to prepare them for the fact that you have decided to explore the world of online dating.
How does online dating look to deeply concerned family members? Let’s just say that a conversation I had with mom/sis on the night I was preparing for my first date went something like this:
Me: I’ve got a date tonight.
Mother/Sister: Oh! You’ve met someone?
Me: I’m meeting him tonight.
Mother/Sister: You don’t even know him? Where are you meeting? Someplace public?
Me: Nah, I asked him to meet me in a poorly lit, deserted alley…. >_<
We’re meeting at Starbucks.
Mother/Sister: What’s his name?
Mother/Sister: What’s his last name?
Me: I don’t know.
Mother/Sister: You’re meeting with a guy whose full name you don’t even know?
Me: Well, I didn’t give him my last name. And I figured I would wait until after our first date to ask for his banking information and social security number.
Mother/Sister: What are you wearing?
Me: Jeans and a sweater with that cute new scarf Laura gave me.
Mother/Sister: Isn’t a scarf dangerous? I mean, what if he tries to strangle you with it?
Me: I’m pretty sure I’ll be ok. The barista at Starbucks will probably call the police if she notices a guy choking me with my scarf.
Mother/Sister: Don’t get into a car with him.
Me: I have my own, so I’m sure that won’t be necessary–
Mother/Sister: –Unless there’s a few other people riding as well.
Me: Yeah, gang-raped is definitely preferable to being kidnapped and stuffed in a trunk….
(Needless to say, that particular bit of snarky humor didn’t go over too well with family members deeply concerned for my well-being and only gave them MORE to worry about.)
Is meeting up with strangers encountered through the internet risky? Sure it is. But it would be equally risky to meet up with someone who hit on me in grocery store (not that this has ever actually happened–which is one of the many reasons why I have found online dating an acceptable alternative to an ever-deepening relationship with Netflix).
But to the safety-conscious individual, online dating is pretty much equated with CSI/Criminal Minds fodder.
After successfully meeting six strangers (and surviving unharmed) I had thought my family was adjusting remarkably well to the idea. My mom no longer demanded to be texted a picture before each date (to hand to the police in case they ever needed to know what I had last been seen wearing), and my sister no longer evaluated my outfits for choking hazards.
But once a concerned parent, always a concerned parent.
Apparently, they aren’t as comfortable as they attempt to convince me they are.
For Christmas I was gifted with a stun gun.
Potential dates, beware: Going out with me might be a shocking experience!