The Daily Northwestern

Digital Get Down: Stay safe

Laken Howard, Columnist

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In light of recent personal events, I’ve decided you need to know how to recognize and react to a potentially unsafe or creepy situation. I say this because on Saturday, I met up with a guy at a bar expecting him to be the intimidatingly handsome paragon of accomplishment, yet I somehow found myself dying to escape after only half an hour.

Why, you ask? Because with no positive signals from me whatsoever, he thought it appropriate to lean across the table and literally shove his tongue as far down my throat as he could. Several times. Now I’ll be the first to admit I should have bolted as soon as he first did it, but as I’m sure you know, it can be a little awkward to just run screaming from a crowded bar.

I should have realized right away this guy was no good. The first adjective that popped into my head when he started talking was “slimy.” Clearly, my gut instinct was correct. If I had been smarter, I would have made up some reason why I had to leave in the near future so I could be sure he wouldn’t try to prolong the date or get me alone. This guy even tried to guilt me into having sex with him, saying something like, “I’ve had a rough week.” When he continued to try to make out with me as we walked down the street after we left the bar, I knew it was time to bolt for the train ASAP.

The first thing to remember is that you don’t owe anything to anyone with whom you’re on a date. Regardless of how many times you’ve been out with them previously, if he or she does something like get aggressively sexual, you are not at all obligated to stick around or even explain why you want to leave. Honestly, if you’re eating a meal and you don’t want to stick him or her with the bill, it’s a good idea to always carry cash so you can dramatically slap down $20 and get the hell out of there to avoid waiting around and making things even more awkward.

Likewise, never put yourself into a tricky situation like being in a private setting with someone you’ve never met. This guy tried to get me to invite him back to Evanston, which was an obvious red flag. Remember that no matter what you have discussed before — maybe you sexted with someone, heavily flirted or even talked explicitly about hooking up — you are not required to follow through with anything. I suggest keeping things friendly until you meet someone, because you never know if you’ll actually be attracted to that person in real life.

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