About a month ago, I was working out in a hotel gym. I love hotel gyms! With no audio book on my iPod and my iPad battery drained to 3%, I was left with only the TV to keep me entertained while striving for my goal of an hour on the elliptical. Sweating off the 350 calories that would allow me to justify two glasses of wine at dinner, I watched Headline News columnist Nancy Grace report on the disappearance of a beautiful blond woman in Aruba on August 2nd. The beautiful 35-year old, surgically-enhanced, unemployed blond who was missing had been accompanying, Gary Giordano, a man she hardly knew—a man who was not her boyfriend. Now, she was presumably dead.
Evidently, she knew that Gary Giordano had a history violence towards women, and yet she still agreed to go away with him. I ask myself "what the fuck was she thinking!" and, what kind of boyfriend lets his girlfriend go on vacation with another man? To a romantic, remote tropical island, no less! The whole thing sounds awfully suspicious and makes me wonder if she met her boyfriend and this Gary character on one of the many online dating sites geared towards arrangements. Robyn had recently lost her job. In this economy, one could assume she was a little desperate. Sugar daddies, friends with benefits, arrangements—whatever you want to call it—it’s dangerous! If Robyn Gardner does turn up, which by this point is highly unlikely, I hope she realizes how stupid she was being.
I know you don't want to hear it, but as a woman, you are vulnerable and you need to protect yourself. Whether you are on match.com, Jdate, or one of those crazy arrangement sites, you need to be smart when it comes to online dating. Let a man earn your trust, never act desperate, and always employ these three tips for safe online dating:
1. Never Use Your Real Name: The Internet makes stalking super easy. Background check websites like Intellius provide an inexpensive means of finding out intimate details of your life such as full name, age, address, relatives, and phone numbers. Plus, if he finds you on Facebook, then he can learn even more private details about your life. Until you know someone reasonably well, use a nickname. If he gets upset when you later tell him your real name, then he’s not a gentleman. Any reasonable man will respect you for putting your safety first.
2. Never Let Him Pick You Up: A gentleman will always ask if he can pick you up. And, a gentleman will always understand if you respectfully decline. You must remember that you do not know this person, you do not know where he lives, and you do not even know if he’s telling you his real name, occupation, etc. Agree to meet on neutral ground. Do not have him meet you at your favorite café or restaurant. Make sure it’s somewhere you don’t go on a regular basis, but make sure it’s somewhere public with lots of people.
3. Do Your Research: Google exists. Why not take full advantage of it. See what you can find out about this guy online. See if you can find him on Facebook. See if you can confirm what company he says he works for, and if you feel the least bit wary, cancel your date.
If you like my blogs, you're going to love my novel, "Blow Me". It's a Sex and the City style novel about three girls looking for love in the City of Angeles. It's available on Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com,Googlebooks, and my website. Download a copy or buy the paperback and let me know what you think!