Dating 101: First Date? Keep your guard up? Oh, yeah.

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Don’t get your dating hopes up and let  your guard down.

After the usual volley of e-mails, followed by the requisite flirty phone calls, it’s time for the face-to-face first date. Usually, it is an uncomplicated, relaxed coffee date.

What does a smart dater bring along? Obviously, you bring optimism, an open mind and a healthy dose of caution.

What to Take on a First Date:

1. Identification
2. Cell phone
3. Money for a taxi
4. Your Keys
5. Phone number of ‘contact’ person

Get Smart
There are certain logical guidelines for an initial meeting. Always trust your intuition. You know when something is not right.

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Don’t bring valuables: It’s a coffee date – not show and tell. (Leave the jewelry and credit cards at home)

Strangers in the Night?  If you are feeling strangely uncomfortable with the person –not just nervous- excuse yourself. It happens. If you feel compelled to provide an explanation, say you have to make a phone call, have to move your car, or meet a friend or get to work.

The Great Escape  Men and women both need ‘An Escape Hatch’ in a truly uncomfortable situation. Let’s say you finally meet the ‘great date’ and you notice the ‘non-smoker’ reeks of smoke and has cigarettes peeking out of their pocket. Deal breaker?

Or the photo you saw online is of a brunette and the much older person sitting across the table has totally white hair. Evidently, the photograph supplied is well over 10 years old. Integrity issues? Deal breaker?

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Or within minutes, your date’s behavior is reprehensible. (You expected Martin Sheen  and Charlie showed up)

Trust your instinct. Rather than just saying,  ‘Get lost,’ the polite thing to do is: thank the person you’ve met, excuse yourself, leave money for your half of the bill, and walk away. Call your ‘contact person.’

Police suggest having a good clean escape plan: tell at least one person where you’re going- whom you are meeting, at what time. You might suggest that person call you after a pre determined time to check in on you. No, this is not silly.

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Page Larkin’s First Date Tips:

1.  Always meet in a public, well-lighted place. Never, ever, meet in your home.
2.  Let a friend know where you’re going; also provide the other person’s full name. No, you can’t be too careful.
3.  Have your  friend call you 15-minutes into the date. This can also be an ‘escape’ if the date if isn’t going well.

4.  Meeting for a glass of wine? One glass should be your limit. Be sober and smart.

5.  Always:  ‘Google’ the guy or gal. Check Facebook and Linkedn.

Note: Click here: Washington D.C.’s police department recommends the following tips.

That being said, get out there and explore your options. Have fun. Chances are: all is well – Just be careful out there.

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

Vincent van Gogh

A warning sign for the public

If you liked this column, take a look at: Top Ten ways to Ruin a First Date Single Payer Dates/Who Pays What? and First Date Questions Not to Ask

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Don’t miss a Single Page Larkin column- click the Subscribe button at the top of the page. San Francisco Dating@50 Examiner, Page Larkin, welcomes your feedback, questions and queries at: Page.Larkin@gmail.com Follow me on FacebookFifty

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