A Girl's Dating Guide to Safe Dating
Sarah and Billy hit it off right away.
They met in Spanish class. They were assigned adjoining seats at the same table. Neither had seen the other before that day, but they started talking in hopes of making the class a little less unbearable (it sucks being seated next to some random dude/chick, even if he/she is hott).
About a month later, they started dating.
It's now fifty years after Sarah and Billy met. They're still together, and I've asked them their secrets to relationship success. Y'know what they told me?
"Play everything safe."
This short, prophetic little giblet of knowledge led into a deeper discussion about dating and what to consider when you start dating someone. Now, I must admit, Billy didn't much like talking about feelings and dating and all that lovely junk with a (at the time) 15-year-old girl, but Sarah was more than willing to share her words of wisdom. Here's what she told me almost three years ago.
Note: No, they're not named Sarah and Billy. But I thought it'd be better to change the names for privacy's sake. Yeah, sure, you guys don't know them; they were my neighbors. Point of the matter is, privacy is important to me, and I'm gonna stick with my morals on this one. Tough bananas if you whine about it. :-P
Know who you're dating.
Don't jump head first into a relationship without really knowing who you're dealing with. Sure, a month in Spanish isn't a long time, but it's better than some kids I knew in high school (admit it, you were one of those swingers).
Talk about your likes, your dislikes, what you do on the weekends, your hobbies, all that lovely blah-de-blah. While it might sound old and boring to you, ladies, if he wants to be with you (even if it's not serious), he's gonna want to know more about you. Tell him all the little trivial facts: your favorite flower, favorite color, favorite type of food, favorite outfit, and why you like these things. But don't be a total chatterbox, you have to breathe sometime! Ask him some of these things, too. They don't have to be the exact things you tell him; try to keep the 20 Q's male-oriented or gender-neutral.
Meet his friends. Ask them about the boy. Find out what he's really like behind the persona you're used to; is he just like that with his guy-buds or is he a whole different person? Is he really a sweetheart or a total player? Be coy about it, though; while guys aren't always the brightest bulbs on the tree, they might catch what you're getting at and warn him that you're too nosy.
Have a say in where your first date is.
Don't just let him pick. Did I mention the bright bulb analogy?
Men think they're smart and romantic sometimes, but they can be completely off a lot. If he asks you out on a date on Friday, and it's Monday, talk about your favorite restaurant. Drop hints about the movie you're dying to see. Carefully discuss your ideas of a first date, and see what he says.
Be careful! If he thinks you're calling the shots, he might get turned off to you real quick. Guys don't like being controlled or manipulated. If he starts saying things like, "Oh, really, is that where you'd like to go?" in a sarcastic tone, bounce back with, "Maybe, but I'm really up for anything you'd like to do." It gives him back his sense of control, which men seem to think is as essential as air, and his dominance (another thing they just can't seem to live without).
Don't let him string you along.
Does he keep saying, "Next week we'll do..." "Next time we'll go..." "Maybe another time we'll..." These lines can mean nothing, or they can mean everything. They can mean he's trying to get you excited for the next date, or they can mean he doesn't really want to be with you, so he's postponing things to get what he wants.
Don't turn into his arm-candy.
For one thing, we're really not that tasty (ha ha, dirty joke!). For another, it's demeaning.
If you're getting the feeling he's playing you like a fiddle, be more demanding. Tell him you want to do these things, you want to go to these places with him. His reactions will tell you everything you needed to know: if he starts making more definite plans, he wants to keep you; if he gets pissy about your nagging, drop the sucker like a stone in a river.
Introduce him to your family.
Let him meet the folks. Your parents may not seem like the best relationship experts, especially to us teenagers, but you MUST remember they were teenagers once, too. And while times have changed, losers are still losers, and keepers are still keepers. Mom and Dad may not always tell you what you want to hear, but they'll be sure as hell to warn you if they think your new beau is not worth a pig's hair.
Now, you can either do this first, or let him extend the offer. If you take the initiative, be cautious of that male pride thing we talked about. They're full of that stuff. Most girls will let the guy show them to his family first, but sometimes it shows just how serious you really are about your relationship, and he just might appreciate that.
Oh, err on the side of super-caution if your dad decides to clean his shotgun on the front porch the day you bring your date home to meet him, and even if he's coming to pick you up for a date... It really does scare the crap out of your new boyfriend like it does in the movies.
Never let go of your drink.
This is more for the older crowd, though it does go for you young'uns, too. Boys are fun and all, but there are some sick jerks in the world who will try their damnedest to take advantage of you.
I'm gonna repeat this so it sinks in a little better;
Do Not Let Go Of Your Drink!
There are SO MANY date-rape drugs out there, it's not even funny. You may think your date's the perfect man and all, but he could honestly be a psycho nasy dude you'll never want to see again. Also, try not to drink too many alcoholic beverages if you're not entirely comfortable with your surroundings and the people you're surrounded by. If it's just the two of you, it's not a huge deal. If it's a small group of friends, still not a big deal. If it's a huge party or a club, or even a kegger, never let your cup out of your hand.
Oh, so you know self-defense? That's all great, fine and dandy, but one you've got a date-rape drug in your system, you're virtually defenseless. Your ability to negotiate is extremely dibilitated, along with your brain's sense of reason and logic. This goes for alcohol, too. Plus, muscle coordination decreases dramaticaly, which can make hitting the perv in the face excruciatingly difficult.
Listen to your conscience.
"Always let your conscience be your guide!"
Jiminy Cricket sure had it right when he sang to Pinocchio. That little voice in your head that tells you right from wrong, good from bad, and safe from dangerous is one smart cookie. It catches things you may not pick up on, such as serious red flags in relationships.
If you can hear a little voice in your head saying, "This doesn't feel right, I don't like the way he's looking at me, this isn't what relationships are supposed to be like," then heed that voice's warnings. It takes precedence over every other thought you have.
Don't argue with it. Don't try to reason with it. Don't tell it to shut up and mind it's own business, because you are it's business. If it's telling you to get out while the getting's good, go!
Know your boundaries.
Lay them out right away so he won't get confused. If he crosses the line one too many times, he's not Mr. Right. He's Mr. "W-T-F Is Wrong With You?". No means no, and your boy needs to understand that right away. If you're not comfortable with something he says or does, tell him so! Sitting there like a rag-doll and keeping your mouth shut will get you seriously hurt either emotionally, physically, or both.
Only you can decide your boundaries. Don't let him tell you what you should do, what you should allow, or what you should tolerate. That's not his call; it's yours. Male dominance is a fact of life, but it shouldn't control yours. His macho-man attitude will get him nothing but ho's and a rap sheet, and you don't need to be a part of that.
And if he does go over the line, don't stay quiet about it. If he hits you, call the cops on his stupid ass! You are above that. You are a wonderful human being, and you should NEVER let some loser beat you up like you're his personal punching bag.
Ladies, be true to yourself. Be true to your man. Love him like he's the only person worth loving. Leave him if he doesn't treat you with the same love and respect. Keep your head up high and your heart open, and you will get far in life.
I hope this will help you all in your future dating adventures. If it doesn't, then you need some serious professional advice, buddy. Oh, and guys, I hope you've really read this, because it's got some great words of wisdom for you, too! Enjoy your relationships, and stay safe!
Formatted image - website, from top of Hub to bottom:
- Cute non-gender hearts picture thing - lovesessions.com
- Blonde chick pic - current.com
- Family pic - University of Maryland-Family Life and Community
- Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket - hollywoodflakes.com
- Couple picture - www.accrualworldforaccountants.com/?p=92
Ah, Google Images. You never cease to deliver. And I finally figured out how to write link thingers! Oh thank heavens! *dances*
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