I was walking on California's Stinson Beach in August 2009 when I struck up a conversation with a woman who seemed utterly delightful.
Captivated, I invited her to dinner at my house that evening. While I ate my dinner, she drank hers — then refused to leave. My acquaintance of 12 hours bizarrely insisted that we were living together.
A few centuries ago, dating was sometimes described as a "courtship ritual where young women entertained gentleman callers, usually in the home, under the watchful eye of a chaperone," but increasingly, in many Western countries, it became a self-initiated activity with two young people going out as a couple in public together.
Generally, during much of recorded history of humans in civilization, and into the Middle Ages in Europe, weddings were seen as business arrangements between families, while romance was something that happened outside of marriage discreetly, such as covert meetings.
From about 1700 a worldwide movement perhaps described as the "empowerment of the individual" took hold, leading towards greater emancipation of women and equality of individuals.
They suggest appropriate behavior, but screening is minimal — so I strongly urge you to use the tips above to create your own safety zone.
Historically, marriages in most societies were arranged by parents and older relatives with the goal not being love but legacy and "economic stability and political alliances", according to anthropologists.
Accordingly, there was little need for a temporary trial period such as dating before a permanent community-recognized union was formed between a man and a woman.
The situation felt menacing — would I find a rabbit stew boiling on the stove? Certain queries can reveal a lot of info in a short amount of time about a person you've just met. As I learned the hard way with my would-be Glenn Close, it's unwise to welcome anyone into your abode unless you know them well.
— so I summoned my next-door neighbor, a woman, for help. There isn't much privacy, but you'll be grateful for the presence of others if an unpleasant situation develops. I once had a coffee date with a woman who grew increasingly angry — and vocal — over her mistreatment by an ex-boyfriend. If a coffee date shows up with a bad attitude, a bad temper or a foul mouth, head for the door. You might ask, for example, if your date has close friends: A "yes" indicates he or she is capable of connecting with others; a "no" suggests a lack of intimacy skills. If you're unsure, consider asking another couple to join you.
Keep in mind that you can block any other member if you ever start to feel that safety is an issue.