Thanks to the #MeToo movement, more and more women have been coming forward about the sexual harassment and assaults they’ve been subject to in infuriating numbers. So how does this change the dating game? How do we know the decent guys from the creeps? Here are 10 first date warning signs:
He doesn’t want to meet in a public space. I’ve had plenty of guys expect me to go straight ’round to their place before we’ve even met in person. It doesn’t even cross their minds that it might be dangerous for me. We all know the general rule for a first date is to meet in a neutral, public place. There are plenty of reasons for this and it helps both people feel safe, particularly women. We’re the ones who’ve grown up in a world where women are more likely to be raped or sexually abused than men, after all.
He shames his “crazy ex-girlfriend.” I’ve questioned plenty of guys on the use of the word “crazy.” I’ve noticed the word is often pinned on any woman they think is a bit weird but is actually pretty well-adjusted. It could seem disrespectful to people with mental health problems to imply that somebody who doesn’t quite act normal enough on a date to be labeled as “crazy” or “insane.” A guy that bad-mouths his ex (or any woman really) is not a guy that respects women.
He’s guilty of mansplaining and narcissism. It’s incredibly patronizing and condescending, not to mention totally unnecessary. If he talks about himself constantly, dominates the conversation, and doesn’t ask anything about you, walk away. I once went on a date with a guy who talked about himself the whole night but then expected me to go back to his place, like he’d put in enough conversation and it was time for me to do my part by putting out. He knew absolutely nothing about me and didn’t seem to care. Needless to say, I declined his offer.
He’s judgmental and discriminatory. Say you go to a restaurant on your first date and your guy is rude to the waitress. Everyone should be putting their best foot forward on a first date, almost like in a job interview, but it’s worth watching out for behavior which might be judgemental or discriminates against people. It could be a sign of low morals or again, a lack of respect. You’re probably picking up on the running theme here.
He has deeply conservative political views. Some people think talking about politics on a first date is a no-go. I would say it’s absolutely necessary. If I was out on a date with a Trump supporter, I would want to know about it as soon as possible. If he turns up in a Make America Great Again cap and passes off harassment such as “grab her by the p*ssy” as “locker room talk” then you shouldn’t just be walking away, you should be running.
He’s inappropriately flirty or even leering. Towards you or anyone else in the area—it doesn’t matter. It’s not unheard of for a guy to be on a date and still checking out the waitress. I’ve been on dates where guys have stared at my chest for most of the evening. I’ve had them slide up close to me, say cheesy lines and hold my hand, insisting they can read palms. It’s as if they picked up dating tips from 1970s gigolos. If he’s invading your personal space, tell him. Any decent guy will back off.
He says, “It’s really hard to know how to talk to women nowadays.” Also, “It’s so hard for young men now because of false rape accusations.” No, it’s not hard. Just treat us like human beings. The #MeToo movement isn’t there to make men look terrible, it’s calling out bad behavior and creating a safer world for women. False rape accusations are completely blown out of proportion—in a recent fact-checking study it was shown that a man is 230 times more likely to be raped himself than to be falsely accused of rape.
He subscribes to shallow gender expectations. Acting like a “manly” man; boasting about how much he goes to the gym and how many women he’s slept with; making jokes about how massive his penis is; expecting women to be slim with no hair below the eyebrows. Nope, sorry—it’s just shallow, stupid, and immature. It’s all a front and it needs to stop. We tell men not to be emotional, that they’re strong and powerful and in control and therefore vulnerability is weakness. This is not only BS, it often leads to an imbalanced relationship.
He asks totally inappropriate questions. It’s fine to talk about sex on a first date, but if he asks you anything that makes you feel uncomfortable like how many sexual partners you’ve had or what you like in the bedroom, for instance, you need to tell him he’s out of line. Appearance-based questions are also pretty disgusting. I’ve had numerous guys ask me if my boobs are real and try to guess my bra size (even when messaging before we’ve even met in person!). So gross.
He has zero understanding of consent. It’s getting to the end of the night and he tries to talk you into going back to his. Sure, if you like him and are into it, you do you. However, trust your gut instinct. If you don’t like him, you don’t owe him anything and you don’t have to do anything you want to. Even if you do like him, you don’t have to go back to his that night—you could just meet up another day. If you say no, that’s good enough. He needs to respect that the first time rather than trying to talk you into it. If he persists, walk away— you don’t have to put up with bad behavior.
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