Last night, one of my friends went on a date with a guy she met online. She’s newly single and very new to the world of dating. I’m really proud that she’s putting herself out there, because even for the long-term single, dating is not easy.
We were chatting in the lead-up to the date and I suggested she should never leave her drink alone with the guy. Say, if she needed to go to the bathroom, then she should buy new drinks on the way back. For me, this is personal safety 101. For her, it was a bit of a surprise.
Whilst this wasn’t exactly a #MeToo moment, it did make me realise the difference in mindsets between single and partnered women. As a single woman, I’m often alone – and that’s by choice, so put the violins away. That means my safety is always one of my top priorities. I’m not suggesting it isn’t for my friend, but when you’re almost always accompanied by a plus one, those safety barriers go down when compared to a woman on her own. My personal safety radar also increases when I’m dating, because there are a lot of creeps out there. And I’ve met most of them.
When I’m out, my brain’s “creep radar” is always operating to proactively protect myself if anyone shady gets near. I always hold my handbag close. When I’m going home on my own, whether it’s on the train, taxi or Uber, I always text when I get home safely. And if I don’t, my friends proactively check in to make sure I’m OK.
When I stay in hotels, I always lock and latch the door. My car is a very safe and reliable German brand, because I do not want to be in the vulnerable position of breaking down somewhere isolated. And I’m very protective of my home, too. It’s my sanctuary so I need to know I can trust all my visitors, particuarly gentleman callers.
The point of this post isn’t to seek sympathy. Far from it. It’s to highlight the amount of headspace that we women dedicate to keeping ourselves, and each other safe.