I recently posted an opinion on this topic and received great feedback so I thought I would expand the topic and elaborate on some of these issues.
If you have a first date with someone you have known for a while, these "rules" (suggestions) probably don't apply to you, because you should already know the guy well enough to know that he is trustworthy and not a psycho killer creep.
If you are doing online dating, you exchange a few messages and then you may suggest a face-to-face meeting without first talking on the phone. I have had a few ladies make that suggestion and I always agreed but, more often, we exchanged phone numbers and talked a few times. If a guy makes that suggestion, maybe he's not psycho but just desperate and lonely, but you should still be careful!
Even after talking a few times, you really don't KNOW if this guy is okay or psycho, but at a certain point, you say to yourself, 'he sounds okay so might as well go meet him and see what happens.'
He is probably a safe first date; most men are. The odds of him being a serial killer or serial rapist are exceedingly low, but if he is . . . the outcome could be catastrophic or even fatal. So, you must take precautions, NOT because he is probably a serial killer, but because, if he IS a serial killer, you won't get a second chance to correct your mistake.
So, how do you protect yourself? These suggestions are not exhaustive but they cover most of the possibilities. Maybe you don't need to do all of these suggestions, but think about doing a fair number of them.
1. Don't use your real name in any way when you create your online profile. JuliaWalthour1976, I'm gonna guess that your name is Julia Walthour and you were born in 1976. If your name is Sally Jones, maybe I won't find you but if it's Julia Walthour, it probably won't take me very long to find your home address if I want to find out more about you. (In my job, I occasionally need to find people for whom I don't have current contact info. With just a little bit of practice, it is relatively easy to find most people.)
2. Don't tell the guy your real name when you exchange DMs or talk on the phone. And if you call him, make sure that your phone is set to block caller ID. I use my cell phone for business and I've had caller ID on my phone for years. About 4 years ago, I had a woman get quite irate because I knew her name after she called me. I'm not a stalker and I have a legitimate reason for having caller ID. If she doesn't want me to see her name, she should have caller ID blocked!
3. Don't tell the guy where you work. Do you want a stalker showing up at your place of employment embarrassing you? So you just say, "I work at a bank," instead of "I work at First Fidelity Credit Union downtown."
4. Same rule applies for where did you go to high school. If I know your age, your first name, and what high school you attended, I can find your high school yearbook online. If you have a first name like "Arlene," I can probably find you in your yearbook, then look for marriage licenses a few years after your graduation and find your married name. From there, I'll probably have your address quickly. It's amazing how easy it is to find people online.
5. When he suggests meeting up for dinner, suggest a place that you don't normally frequent. If you are hesitant at all, suggest a lunch meeting. There is far less likelihood of crazy stuff happening during the day.
6. You tell a friend, in advance, where you are meeting and you give them his picture and name. If his profile didn't have a picture . . . no date. And if you have any doubt at all, tell him, "Listen, the last time I did this, the guy showed up and didn't look at all like the picture on his profile. Can you humor me and send me a picture of your driver's license?"
7. YOU will drive yourself to dinner. He will NOT pick you up from your home, your work, or anywhere else. You do NOT get in a car to go anywhere with him on a first date. Even better, have a friend drive you to the meeting place and drop you off or do Uber/Lyft/etc. You don't want him to see your car and likely get your tag number.
8. Do no agree to meet him at a park or downtown for a walk or anywhere else where it will just be you and him. It is incredible how many profiles I have seen in which ladies said that the ideal first date would be a walk on the beach at night! How tremendously risky!
9. Your date begins and ends at the same location. You don't go anywhere with him.
10. Have the same friend call you about 15-30 minutes after you arrive for a safety check/rescue call. If it's going badly, you pretend there's a personal emergency and you need to leave now. If it is going well, you just laugh and tell him, "it was the obligatory rescue call in case it was going badly . . . but this isn't going badly!"
11. At a certain point, you will probably need to excuse yourself to go to the ladies' room. First, time your visit so that you finish whatever you are drinking before you go. When you go, take your purse with you. A creep could get a glance at your driver's license in the time you are gone to "powder your nose." Next, you order a fresh drink when you return. Don't give a creep a chance to slip a roofie in your drink.
10. And speaking of drinks, it's okay to have something alcoholic to drink, but know your limit and don't drink more than about 1/3 of what you might normally drink. All of the things you are doing to stay safe will be forgotten if you get too "relaxed."
11. If you did drive yourself to the date, don't allow him to walk you to your car after the meeting because he can find your home address by tracing your tag number. Tell him that a friend is picking you up and you two are going shopping together, so you say goodbye at the restaurant entrance, and you remain there waiting or your friend or Uber/Lyft.
12. Of course, if you feel wonderful about him and you want a goodnight kiss, let him walk you to your car and then let nature takes its course . . . but recognize that you are taking a calculated risk.
13. The most difficult part of the first date is trying protect yourself from getting raped and murdered and having fun at the same time. Don't be afraid to tell him that first dates always make you a bit apprehensive and you will probably loosen up and be much more fun on a second or third date.
14. Pay attention to how he responds to your efforts to protect yourself. Does he resent your actions? Are your efforts interfering with his plans (which were more likely to involve trying to convince you to get in bed with him rather than rape and murder)? Does he understand your concerns and is he respectful of your need to feel safe and secure? Is this the kind of guy who protect you or exploit you? That is very valuable information to get from this first date.
15. I realize that all of this may sound paranoid, but . . . Natalie Holloway might still be a live if she had been paranoid instead of too trusting. When you start sending that the guy is just a regular dude, respectful, the kind your father would approve . . . you can put away the loaded handgun, pack up the mace, and try to have fun!
GUYS: We don't worry about being raped or murdered on a first date but these are valid concerns for a lady. She's not being careful because she is convinced that you are a bad guy; she may think that you are a wonderfully charming guy but that is exactly how girls described Ted Bundy (the ones who survived meeting him.) She just wants to know you a little better before she lets her guard down. Show some sensitivity and respect for her concerns and you will score major points with her. Treat her like she is acting stupid and there probably won't be a second date.