7 TIPS FOR SAFE DATING
1. DON’T DRINK TOO MUCH!
Water is free! For each alcoholic drink you have, drink a glass of water. This will rehydrate you and pace the speed at which the alcohol hits your system. Eat something before you go out. If you drink on an empty stomach, there will be no food to absorb the booze so you will get intoxicated faster. Avoid drinking games. People tend to drink a lot more in a shorter period of time which may lead to high levels of intoxication. Don’t be a cheap date! Know your limits and don’t drink too much. If your date is drunk or has passed out, don’t take advantage of the situation. Under the law, drunken consent is not valid consent to sex and you may get into very serious trouble.
2. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM
Go out in groups! It takes the pressure off a first date and if you plan on drinking, it’s helpful to know you have a ‘buddy’ looking out for you. Buddy can’t make it out tonight? Twitter, Facebook, email, message, call or leave a note for someone about whom you are going out with. Leave your ‘buddy’ your date’s contact information and where you plan to be going. You can also set a ‘check-in’ time at which you agree to call your ‘buddy’ to let them know how you’re doing, or have your buddy call you.
Your date wants to kiss you but you’re just not that into them? TELL THEM! If you’re not ready to ‘go there’, make your feelings clear and don’t assume they know what you’re thinking. Be honest with your date about your boundaries and your level of comfort. Be aware of potential miscues. Men and women may have different assumptions. Communicate your intentions so that your date doesn’t have to guess or make assumptions that may turn out to be wrong. If you agree to meet someone at 2 am to “hang out”, they may be expecting you to have sex. Be extra clear about your limits. Leave nothing to their imagination. Remember you have the right to say no at any time. Just because you consent to kissing, does not give your date the green light to go all the way.
4. STRANGER DANGER!
Not all people are good people. Ask around about your date before you go out alone with them. If you have no mutual friends, try googling them or using a social networking site to get a feel for the person.
5. BE SMART
Cover your drink with a napkin. Don’t leave it alone or go to the toilet between drinks. Not all people have your best interest at heart. Some people are only interested in taking advantage of you. If you’re not getting a good vibe from someone then excuse yourself and go home.
6. WHEN THINGS GO BAD
Things may start out well and you might like a person. But if they suddenly seem not so nice, listen to your inner voice. Say no, leave the scene, do whatever is necessary to leave. Do not worry about offending them – your safety is more important. Have the numbers of at least two friends you can turn to in an emergency, and do not hesitate to call them if you ever feel unsafe. Remember, in an emergency, you can always call 999.
7. ONLY YES MEANS YES
Unsure about whether your date wants to go further? Ask them! If they’re not giving you explicit (sober) consent then it’s best to play it safe and stop while you’re ahead. Remember, just because someone dresses in a certain way or likes you doesn’t mean they’re interested in hooking up; only yes means yes!