We've joked about how online dating introduces you to the world of geeks, neurotics, and big fat liars, and occasionally it can even lead to Mr. Right. But a piece in today's New York Times reminded me of the dark side of internet dating, and it doesn't hurt to remind others.
A soldier who was stationed in Colorado met a woman online and, for their first date, took her to the mountains overlooking Colorado Springs. There, he blindfolded and raped her, and then slit her throat. I hate to spread the bad news, but please, anybody who reads this blog: when you meet a guy through the internet, make sure that your first few dates are in a public place. That doesn't mean a picnic in the park or a ride on his boat; it means a restaurant or a Starbucks or a walk on city streets where there are lots of other people around. Drive to the meeting place yourself -- don't get in his car. Don't invite him back to your home. And don't give him your last name, home phone number, or address. Do this until you feel certain that he is normal and trustworthy. If he's a good guy, he won't mind. And no exceptions, no matter how charming he seems. Ninety-nine percent of the men you'll meet through internet dating are harmless, but you can't tell who might be that in that scary one percent.