I am sure you will agree, a lot of dating is done online now.
In fact an estimated 7 million Brits are registered with online dating sites.
Yet it is estimated that the number of rapes related to online dating has risen six fold in recent years.
So, this article looks at a way that women can escape a first date that is going wrong.
Ready, let's do this
The Ask Angela Campaign
The Ask for Angela initiative was originally launched by Lincolnshire County Council and in December 2016 the scheme went nationwide and then global.
This is how it works.
You are out on your date and you feel either scared or for other reasons you just want to get out of the situation.
So, you head over to the bar and simply ask the staff:
"Is Angela working tonight?" or any variation of that such as "Can I speak to Angela please".
This is code to the staff that you would like to be escorted out of the premises as you are uncomfortable and you don't want to make a scene.
And if the staff are switched on then they should get you out of the public's view and get you to safety.
Does It Work?
The answer is ' yes it has worked'.
In 2017 it was reported that a woman used the Ask Angela system to get herself out of a difficult situation.
But the scheme is very much dependant on people understanding the code and making it common place.
Is It A Good Idea?
The answer to that is of course yes.
The thing is, it doesn't matter if the people at the bar don't know what you are talking about, it serves as a way to get away from the person you are on the date with and if the staff don't understand you or know the code, tell them you feel uncomfortable and can they take you to their office.
If they are half decent at their jobs they will do that in an instant.
Tips On Using Ask Angela
So you are on that first date and you start to get the feeling that things are not as they seem with your date.
Here is how to handle this.
1. Tell your date that you are going to ask at the bar to see if your friend is working tonight.
If he asks to come with you, just say 'no it's OK, I will only be a few minutes.
2. Go To The Bar And " Ask for Angela"
Sounds simple, but if you are at this stage I have no doubt you might be a bit scared.
Try and remain calm and just say the code words.
3. If They Don't Understand Use Plain Language
There is a chance that the person you are speaking to at the bar will be unaware of the 'Ask Angela' code word.
In this situation simple say "Hi, I am out on a first date and they are making me feel really uncomfortable, can I go to your office until they leave?
They might say that you can't go to the office (they might be inexperienced or there is a policy in place), if that happens you need to just ask:
"Is there anywhere I can go to get out of the way then, I am really worried?"
You need to direct them to take you out of the way so, he can leave and you can get a friend to pick you up or you can ask a friend to meet you to escort you to your car.
4. Avoid Going Out Of The Side Door
There has been some 'Ask Angela' advice that has told people to ask bar staff to let you out of a back or side door.
I would say this is bad advice.
The last thing you want is for him to come outside (because he thinks you have left) and have them angry or demand an explanation.
It is better to get out of the way and ask staff to tell them you have left.
5. Block Follow Up Messages
If you start getting messages or abuse after this happens then block the person on all apps/ social media.
"I Work At A Bar And I Have Never Heard of This"
If you work at a bar or club and this is all news to you, then great. This means you can help people.
Create a poster about the Ask Angela campaign, stick it up in the Ladies toilets, tell your colleagues about it and add it to the staff on-boarding training.
You can do your bit to help people easily.
Should Men Know About This Scheme?
Since this article went live, a lady has commented on Facebook to say that men shouldn't know about this campaign and by knowing about it.
I believe this thinking is seriously flawed and actually harms the whole campaign.
The scheme relies on two things...the staff and the victim recognising the code word and knowing what action to take.
If the male knows what Ask Angela is, it makes no difference because the action is still the same.
Staff help the person triggering the word.
Think about it...you are sat there feeling really uncomfortable and you say to a passing waiter "is Angela working?"
And the date says "I know what that means" and starts to kick off.....does that change anything?
No, it just brings the resolution faster, and the discretion is no longer needed.
The alternative to not using the code word is to either sit there and feel uncomfortable and scared and possibly end up in a vulnerable situation.
Or to confront the person and leave or tell the staff overtly and you are back in the situation as if the date knows.
If women won't use it because they think too many men know about Ask Angela, they are doing so based on some kind of mistaken belief that it collapses based on wider knowledge.
And based on the belief that the code word is always said in front of the date.
When in fact, there is greater risk of the scheme collapsing if people don't know about it.
And furthermore to keep this scheme in the domain of women would be to discriminate against gay relationships and assume that the problem just doesn't exist or could exist for others.
Ultimately, if you keep this campaign secret, you actually reduce its use and it won't embed into the population.
What Else Can We Do?
SHARE THIS......yes, the more people that know about this campaign the better.
So share this on your preferred network, email it to people, and tell your friends and family.
Thanks for reading.