As a single woman on a college campus, I am on Tinder.
I know – it’s impossible.
The sea of poorly lit mirror selfies and cringy bios can make you feel like you’re drowning, but every once and a while, you will come across a person who is average enough to go on a date or hook up with, depending on what you’re looking for.
That’s where this article comes in – we are going to talk about Tinder safety.
First things first: if you are going to meet up with a stranger for sex or a date, make your first stop a public place, like a Starbucks or a Target. Even if you are going back to their place for sex, you should rendezvous at a public place. This gives you time to make sure they are actually the person you met online and to snap a picture of their license plate to send to a friend.
Whenever going on a date with a person you barely know, pick a friend and let them know where you’re going and who you’re going with. I have one friend I will send all the information I have.
I send her a text saying, “I’m going out with someone,” and provide their name, address, picture, license plate number, where we’re going – basically anything I know about the person. This helps if the worst-case-scenario happens.
Another smart thing to do is to have a friend on standby to help you make an “escape” if need be. This means if the date is going south and you need an excuse to get out of there – you can just send them a quick code word via text and boom! Your friend is calling you doing some pre-rehearsed freaking out.
This gives you the OK to be all, “I gotta go, my friend lost her cat, and I have to help her find it.”
Then you book it out the door and unmatch them on Tinder, never to be seen again.
It’s actually good to make the same friend in charge of both the information about the person and the “escape” plan, because then they will have all the information and will understand the urgency of the situation if you text.
Personally, I use my mom, because she is super reliable and understands the situation. She has been there to call me and tell me to get home right away many times when I text her and tell her a date is going poorly.
She’s a badass.
Another thing you have to protect yourself from is STIs. No matter how much a person swears they’re clean, they might not be. It’s important to always use protection for all sex acts during hook ups, including oral sex. I know it sounds weird, but genital viruses can become oral viruses (and vice versa) because they are both mucus membranes.
I get it – you want to go out, have some fun, and have an orgasm – Tinder is a great way to accomplish all of those things. The problem is you must be safe when meeting up with strangers.
Make sure people know where you are, where you’re going, and who you’re going with. This can make you feel safer and can help people find you if your encounter goes seriously downhill.
We’ve all seen “You” on Netflix.
So be safe. Use protection. And thank your mom, because she’s probably the best.
[Editor’s note: Due to the unfortunate stigma surrounding women discussing sex, the author of this column has requested to use the pseudonym “Kay Ann.”]