First Meeting Safety


Some Things to do Before Setting Up a Meeting

Your online and telephone discussions have gone extremely well, and you feel you are ready to meet your potential partner Real Time. Before setting up the meeting, there are a couple of important things you must do to insure your safety before meeting.


Personal Reference Calls.

Now that your potential partner has given you their full name, address, and place of work, it is time to make sure they are telling you the truth about who they are. Making these three phone calls can give you assurance.


1)          Call directory assistance in your potential partners area. Give directory assistance the name and street address, and ask for the phone number. Verify the number you have been given. If directory assistance gives you a message stating that the number is unlisted or out of service, dont fret you HAVE, at least, verified that your potential partner lives at that address.


2)          Call your potential partners home. Be discreet about this one, especially if your potential partner has a spouse or roomie who doesnt know what they are into. If you are worried about a spouse having you number off of caller ID, be sure to disable the system on your phone. Try to call during the day when your potential partner may be at work, so you will get the answering machine. Do you recognize the voice? Do the names you were given match? If you do get someone, other than your potential partner, dont panic and hang up simply say "Im sorry, I was trying to call (name a business) I must have dialed incorrectly," then hang up.


3)          Call your potential partners workplace. Doing this helps you verify their full name as well as verify their work. There are three ways to do this:

         a)          Ask to be connected to that person. Straight and to the point. When they answer, tell them why you called. A careful and safety conscious partner will not be upset that you have done this.
         b)          Ask for your potential partners voice mail. Most folks not only give their full name, but also the department they work in. A very good means of verification.
         c)          Ask to speak to a Manager or Human Resources. Does your potential partner say s/he travels around a bit in the company? Does s/he work on a production floor and is hard to get a hold of? Does s/he work in a hospital or other job where phone calls are hard to accept? I especially like this method, as you do not have to chase your prospective partner around their workplace

Call their manager, and tell them you are so-and-so from a local bank. John Doe has applied for a credit card, and you are calling to verify their employment with this company. Are they an employee there? And how long have they been employed there? Thank the manager for their time, and hang up. Simple and painless and provides you additional information you needed.


Safety Person and Safety Calls

Before making any plans to meet Real Time with a potential partner, you must pick a safety person - someone who will know exactly when and where you are holding your meeting. This person can be a fellow BDSMer, a vanilla friend who knows of your lifestyle, a family member who knows of your lifestyle, or an established safety group, such as SafetyNET.

If you live in Maine, and need a safety person for an evening, please check out our Maine Safe Call Network to set up your safety call.

Everyone should have a safety person, whether you are a Dominant or a submissive, male or female!! Do not think that just because you are a "Dom", you are safe and can control the situation. Your safety MUST be your #1 concern!

Whomever you pick, it must be someone you trust, who will be willing to put aside time to be your safety. Your safety person must understand the importance of their role, and must be willing to uphold their end of the safety link. They are literally to be trusted with your life. You must be sure that, if you are in a troublesome situation, your safety person will not let you down and will take necessary steps, including, but not limited to, picking you up or calling the police.

Your safety person will not only know where you are going, and who you will be with, but will also hold information about that person, in case of emergency. They should have full descriptions, full names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. Include information that you have picked up from conversations, no matter how trivial it may seem it may prove important in event of an emergency. Here is an example of what to give your safety person:

         Name of Potential Partner: John Doe
         Address: 112 Nowhere Lane, Portland, Maine
         Telephone: (207) 555-1234
         Workplace: Data Corporation Inc.
         Description: White male, 511", Blonde hair, green eyes, approx. 200 lbs. Has tattoo on left arm that says "Mom". Walks with slight limp (caused by skiing accident)
         Other info: (taken from online and phone conversations) Has wife named Jane, 2 kids, ages 10 and 8, Border collie named "Max", Drives a Toyota Camry, Graduated from Harvard University, last year had a vasectomy, just got back from two week vacation to Bora Bora, recently won "Salesman of the Month Award" for his sales district, likes to hike and ski Mt. Washington, hates mushrooms.


Arrange "Code Words" with your safety person

Chances are you will be away from your potential partner and free to talk when you call your safety but not always. Arrange ahead of time to use certain words or phrases in the event of an emergency. Saying "Hi, everything is going great," is perfect when things are proceeding well saying "Everything is FABULOUS!" can mean "Help!!!" Try to keep words and phrases simple, and try not to make them sound like a secret code.

If you give a "help" signal, your safety should ask you only yes or no questions regarding your safety. This way, they can figure out what you need, and your potential partner wont catch on. Example:

         Kim: "Hi Jenny, this is Kim.everything is going Fabulous!" (Code word having problems)
         Jenny: "Ok do you need me to pick you up?"
         Kim: "No."
         Jenny: "Do you need me to call the police?"
         Kim: "Yes."
         Jenny: "Has he hurt you in any way?"
         Kim: "No."
         Jenny: "Has he threatened you?"
         Kim: "Yes."
         Jenny: "Are you at the mall right now?" (Mall was the original meeting place)
         Kim: "Yes."
         Jenny: "Ok stay there I am calling the police. I will give them your descriptions and tell them to look for you in the food court. Remember to call me back once they have arrived and you are with them."

Dont worry about your potential partner wondering what you are talking about ... tell them anything my favorite "My friend was asking me what you looked like if you were what you described."



If you absolutely, positively cannot locate a safety person, you have a few options:

1)          Use a vanilla friend or family member. You do not need to state that you are meeting a "prospective D/s partner" merely state that you are going on a "blind date." Be sure to leave all the info regarding your potential partner including full name and address. Describe what you are wearing for the evening, and where you were planning on meeting. Tell them you will be calling them every two hours to "check in", and let them know what time you plan to be home from your "date."


2)          Use your voicemail or home phone answering machine.  When you get to your meeting, call in to your voicemail or answering machine, leaving the message that you have arrived and met with your potential partner DO NOT tell your partner you are speaking to a machine! The trick is to make him/her think you are talking to somebody else this assures you a greater chance of safety. Talk to the machine as you would a friend and say that you have met with "John Doe", that you are at the mall, and you will check back in two hours.

When you make your two hour call, again, do not let on that you are speaking to a machine. Say "Hi, its me, Jane. Its 9pm and Im calling back as promised." Chances are your partner will not be with you when you make the call, but you never know. Let him/her continue to think somebody is on the other end of the line.

If all goes well, after your meeting, and after you have arrived home safely, simply erase the voicemail and /or answering machine messages.

 

3)        Leave a detailed note on your desk at work or at home.  Before leaving your home or workplace, write down all information regarding your meeting including full name and address of your potential partner and any other information you may have regarding them, a full description of yourself including what you are wearing for the evening, and information about the meeting place. Leave this information in you home in an easy to find place (on the table, near the answering machine, etc.) as well as a recent picture of yourself.

At work, leave this information on top of any work that you have pending.  That way it can be easily found.  Another option is to give it to a trusted co-worker with the understanding that you will either retrieve it after lunch or the next day.  If you do not return to retrieve it, they should open it.

If you are leaving for a lunch meeting from work (which is always a great idea for a first meeting) the note will be found if you don't return from lunch.  Otherwise, just throw out the note when you get back to work.  Also, if you are going to meet someone after work, leave a note on your desk before you leave so that the note will be found the next morning by co-workers if you don't come in to work.  

Do the same at home - leave a note where it can easily be found in case of an emergency.  

Once you get home or back to work from your meeting, just dispose of the information or file it away for use at the next couple of meetings until you are comfortable with your partner.

If things go wrong, routine procedure for locating missing persons include the police checking your work and home phones and message machines for information that may help them. Not only will they hear the messages, but they will also have your written descriptions, as well as a recent picture of you.

 



First Real Time Meeting

The time has finally come to meet your potential partner for the first time. You have gathered all the necessary information about each other, feel comfortable with one another, and feel it is time to take the next step. The following guidelines should make your first meet a safe and comfortable one.


1)          Give yourself plenty of time before a meeting.
Make sure you have a few days in order to get things planned with your safety person. Make sure they will be available that day or evening, and that they fully understand their role as your safety link. Always have a backup safety person in case your first safety cannot fulfill their role.

If you are traveling to another city to meet with a potential partner, allow yourself enough time to plan travel reservations as well as hotel and car rental reservations. DO NOT tell your potential partner where you will be staying. Our recommendation stay outside of the city your potential partner lives in this way, if something goes wrong at the meeting, s/he cannot track you down at local hotels.

When you get to your hotel, get info about the meeting place. Is it a public place? Is it in a safe neighborhood? Does it have a good reputation? Find out the phone numbers to the local police department, as well as a phone number for the meeting place. If it is not in a safe area, contact your potential partner and suggest someplace safer and more public.


2)          Plan to meet in a highly public location.
Make your first meeting at a busy restaurant or the local mall food court. Other good meeting spots are "tourist traps" (example: the food court at Quincy Market in Boston, or the Pier at Old Orchard Beach) anyplace that has lots of people milling about. NEVER NEVER plan a first meeting at a private home, a hotel room, a small out of the way restaurant or bar, or a friends home. Being in public is your best defense if something should go wrong. You have more options as far as people helping you.


3)          Plan an "Identification Marker."
Some folks are good at describing themselves, some are not. Arrange ahead of time to somehow identify yourselves among other people. Both of you carrying a flower or wearing a certain color works well.


4)          Give all info to your safety person.
Give your safety person all the information you have regarding your potential partner AND give them info about you


         a)          Tell your safety where the meeting is and what time you are meeting. Arrange to call your safety when you reach the meeting place, and arrange to call when you are leaving or every two hours. Call your safety again when you reach your home so they will know all is well.
         b)          Tell your safety what you are wearing to the meeting, which car you are taking, complete with license number. If you plan on taking a cab to the meeting, tell your safety which cab company you will be using.
         c)          Give your safety the phone number of the restaurant / mall and the local police department. If you have a beeper, give your safety person that number to reach you as well. Instruct your safety to overhead page or beep you at the restaurant if you miss an agreed upon calling time. If you miss a call, cannot be found at the restaurant / mall, or do not return a beeper call, instruct your safety to notify the police.
         d)          Remind your safety of your code words.


5)          Park your personal vehicle in a different location and take a cab or shuttle to the meeting. This way, if the meeting goes badly, chances are you will not be followed to your car.


6)          Call your safety when you get to the meeting place.
Let your safety know you have arrived, and make plans to call again every two hours (some folks talk a long time!) or, if the meeting lasts less than 2 hours, when you are leaving.


7)          Bring a friend to the meeting.
Nervous about going alone? Bring a friend. Your friend does not have to sit at the same table as you and your potential partner, but they should be in eyesight. Advise your potential partner that you did come to the meeting with a friend. A serious potential partner will not feel threatened by this, and may even ask you if you would like to invite your friend to the table. A serious potential partner will be glad you are taking your safety seriously. Whether or not you invite your friend to join you depends upon your comfort level with a third person and an intimate conversation. In any event, having them nearby will make you feel more secure should the meeting go badly.


8)          When you meet face to face with your potential partner, ask to see identification.
You found the person carrying a carnation, and s/he described themselves pretty well but it is time to be sure. Ask to see their photo ID. Check their home address and other info they have given you about themselves.


9)          Never NEVER play on a first meeting!!
This is your chance to get to know each other better and see if your potential partner is everything s/he claimed to be. You have plenty of time in the future to play. Get comfortable with each others presence. Discuss some of your likes and dislikes and discover a bit more about yourselves. This is a good time to discover if you truly are D/s compatible talk about limits, scene ideas, safewords, and experiences.


10)          Dont leave food and drinks unattended during your meeting. We have all heard the horror stories about people being drugged and taken advantage of. It could never happen to you? Dont take the chance. If you must leave the table for any reason, even for just one minute, take your drink with you. If you cannot bring your drink with you, when you return to the table, order a fresh one. This is one time that you shouldnt be worried about spending a little extra money. Your safety is more important than the $3.00 you spent initially. If you have food at the table, ask the waiter or waitress to take it back to the kitchen to "warm it up" while you are away from the table. Also, do not allow anyone else to get food or fountain drinks for you . If you have not gotten it yourself, consider it off limits. It takes only a moment to drop a pill in a drink. If the person insists, tell them you want a BOTTLE of soda or water something that will show tampering.


11)          Be honest with your potential partner.
If, while you are talking, you have a feeling things arent going to work out, be honest with yourself and your potential partner. It is cruel to continue with a meeting and get the other persons hopes up if you just know deep down inside this is not the partner for you. Being honest will make things easier in the long run. A potential partner may be sad things didnt work out, but they will respect you more for your opinions and honesty.


12)          If something doesnt feel right, leave. Many folks make the mistake of thinking that because you are meeting, things are going to proceed further. This is not the case. If something seems amiss, if you discover the other person "stretched the truth a bit," if they start pushing you to leave and go scene with them "now," finish the meeting, and leave. Dont be rude or negative simply tell the person that you dont think things will work out, thank them for taking the time to meet, and wish them happiness in all their endeavors. Remember your gut is usually never wrong when it comes to danger. Listen to your instincts. They are your best defense.


13)          If your potential partner doesnt take no for an answer, becomes hostile, verbally abusive, physically abusive or makes threats, take immediate action!! Remember: the main reason for meeting in a public place is safety in numbers. If things should go terribly wrong during a meeting, simply start shouting. Yes it may sound embarrassing, but would you rather be embarrassed or injured? Chances are, somebody will get security to your location, and you will be under their protection at that point. If threats have been made by your potential partner, have mall security call the local police so you can report the threats and allow them to take action.


14)          If you are nervous about walking to your car, arrange for an escort.
Every mall in America has security, and they are more than happy to give you an escort to your car, especially if it is dark out (they have no qualms about offering this service in daylight, also!). If you have had your meeting in a restaurant, ask the manager if one of the employees (or he) would mind accompanying you to your car. Merely tell them you had a "blind date gone wrong" and they will gladly assist you.  If you cannot find somebody to walk you to your car, you have a couple options: either call your safety on your cell phone and keep the line open as you walk to your vehicle - this way, if something happens, your safety can hear it occurring....or, call a cab, take it home, and return the next day to retrieve your personal vehicle.

 

         During your meeting, examine any Red Flags that may have come up in conversation. If any of these red flags come up, consider terminating the meeting and the relationship immediately. Up to this point, you have spoken to each other on the computer and the phone. Your potential partner has had every opportunity to be honest. Make your safety more important then the possibility of play. Ecstasy can last 1 hour disfigurement and death are permanent.


You should terminate the meeting and relationship if your potential partner:

  •           Is not who s/he described themselves to be. (we are not talking about a 10-15 pound difference here.we are talking MAJOR discrepancies!)
  •          Refuses to show picture identification.
  •          Gets upset that you have brought a friend.
  •          Gets upset that you have a safety person.
  •          Tells you safety people and calling in to one are not necessary with him.
  •          Refuses to let you call your safety at the appointed time.
  •          Insists on being the only person to get food or drinks.
  •          Insists on walking you to your car, even after you have said no.
  •          Pushes you to set up a play meeting before you are ready to.
  •          Pushes you to leave the public meeting place to go somewhere and play and refuses to take "no" for an answer.
  •          Becomes verbally abusive toward you during the meeting.
  •          Becomes physically abusive toward you during the meeting (grabs your arm, pushes you down in a chair if you try to get up, etc)
  •          Makes any kinds of threats toward you, your friend, your safety person or your family.

 


Relevant Links

More on Safe Calls:  From the WizDomme Newbie Pages

Bad Dommes, Bad Subs, and Predators:  From the WizDomme Newbie Pages, written by WizDomme

Our TopTen Suggestions for Pursuing a Safe and Sane D/s Relationship:  From the WizDomme Newbie Pages, written by MisterCAC and Snowbabie



All material Copyright Mistress Ren and LesVoiles.  Please do not reproduce without permission.

Page Updated 08/27/05

 

 

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