Male writer is scared to date in the era of #MeToo
Dear Annie: I’m a 26-year-old man who’s very nice, thoughtful and kind. I’ve dated only a few times, and I know I’m still young, but in the era of the #MeToo movement, it scares me to date someone, because things I say or do could be used against me. How do I feel comfortable in the dating world without having the fear that a woman will accuse me of doing something inappropriate to her? — Scared to Date
Dear Scared to Date: As long as you act with respect, you have nothing to fear. Respect, in this context, means taking things slowly. Never pressure a woman to do anything (and don’t let her pressure you, either, for that matter). If your date is tipsy, save that first kiss for another night.
Pay attention to nonverbal cues and body language; if you’re unable to read such cues or if you have any doubts, just ask (e.g., “May I kiss you?”). No, that might not be how things happen in the movies, but I promise that it won’t actually ruin the moment. If a woman wants to kiss you, she’s not going to suddenly change her mind because you asked. And a little communication can go a long way toward making sure both parties are comfortable and enjoying the moment.
Dear Annie: I had two incidents in the past week in which office staff asked intrusive questions concerning medical information and personal information. One was when I was at an office, and the other was over the phone. I responded with, “I would rather not say.” I am a medical professional, and I know that this was not needed information. Both staff members were huffy after I refused to give them the information they requested. What would be the least offensive reply? It seems that our personal information is no longer ours and will be entered into computer databases everywhere. — How to Respond
Dear How to Respond: The least offensive reply is the one you gave. As you well know from being a medical professional, often front desk personnel are just doing their jobs by asking questions — for example, attempting to determine how long an appointment will take. But that doesn’t mean you have to share details you’re uncomfortable sharing. It’s wise to be cautious when it comes to sharing personal information, especially anything that could be used to steal your identity or funds. Last year, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in the United States, an all-time high. Disclosing personal information over an unsecured phone line or in public — even in your doctor’s waiting room — can make you vulnerable to fraud. Your short and sweet reply — “I would rather not say” — is perfectly appropriate, even if not always well-received.
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