Dating Safely

15 February 2011 By Rubi McGrory

Your dating life is a movie. You’re the star, along with a castof assorted characters, and – because of your career – you film in some prettyamazing locations. Before you get wrapped up in the glamour of datingvacationing bankers, surfers, artists or fellow yachties from halfway aroundthe world, take some time to consider your safety.

After all, you don’t want your movie to end in tragedy.

Sexual predators hail from every country and every walk oflife. They don’t come from central casting as overweight dullards with excesshair, pasty skin and creepy manners. They can be well-dressed, articulate,handsome, clever heartthrobs. And, unfortunately, the yachting environmentcan be extra-attractive to these creeps. The constant coming and going ofvessels means there always is a new crop of young women who need a break and maybe even a drink after 10 days of demanding guests.

But a little bit of smarts and some intuition can save your life…and your epicmovie plot. A key to keeping yourself out of harm’s way is to engage your brain(generally, the last organ we want to include in romance).

So, the scene starts with you meeting Mr. Handsome on thebeach, at the gym, at happy hour or at Le Grande Marche. The sparks areevident. A date is offered, accepted and planned. You’ve even picked out an outfit, nowwhat?

1: Background check. Use social networking…on and offthe computer. Someone’s online persona can be very different than who they arein real life. There is no Facebook profile field to indicate perversion. Doyour own research. Does anyone on your crew know him, anyone from the boat nextdoor, maybe your friends in a different marina or even themarina/gym/restaurant staff? When you ask about him, are people effusive with praise,do they raise one eyebrow and bite their lip or maybe he is an unknownquantity. The more you know about your date, the more prepared you are.

2: Don’t go it alone. Arrange to meet Mr. Handsome in a busy,well-lit restaurant or bar or go for a group setting, during which your friendsor fellow crewmembers can keep an eye out for you. Avoid getting in a car aloneor going to secluded locations with your date. Have a friend call or text andcheck on you.

3: Don’t go hungry. This may be a silly sounding suggestion ifyou are going on a dinner date, but it’s easy to get sidetracked. A few drinksbefore dinner on an empty stomach can hit you quickly. Then, not only are youlikely to make poor decisions, you also can be easily coerced or overpowered.If you have been in the sun or worked all day, some nuts or cheese will helpkeep you on an even keel.

4: Better yet, keep the drinking to a minimum. Go ahead andhave a glass or two of wine with dinner, but maintain control.

5: Keep your eye on your drink. A practiced hand can spikeyour Cosmo in the time it takes you to read a text message. Once in yoursystem, date rape drugs take only minutes to kick in. Then you will begin losingmuscle control, feel dizzy, drowsy, nauseous and possibly black out or pass out.Rohypnol, “roofies,” can be obtained legally anywhere outside the U.S. GHB iscolorless and odorless, but can be slightly salty, which is easy to mask infruit drinks. Ketamine, the fastest acting of the three most popular, isundetectable and comes in powder or liquid form.

6: Bring taxi fare.

7: Trust your gut. Only you know how you feel. If somethingseems wrong or weird, it probably is. Get out quickly.

If you feel you have been a victim of sexual assault,contact your local authorities immediately.

Remember, this is your movie. You aren’t just the star, youare the director.