BATH TWP., Ohio– By one estimate as many as 49-million Americans have tried online dating.
The practice, though popular, comes with some risk.
“You never know who is sitting behind the computer at the other end and that’s the danger as I perceive the danger of online dating,” said Bath Twp. Police Chief Michael McNeely.
Bath police may be the first department in the state of Ohio to adopt an innovative program that gives women a discreet way to ease out of an uneasy, uncomfortable or potentially dangerous first date.
The department is inviting local bars to participate in a program called Angel Shots.
It gives women a way of sending a message they need assistance by simply ordering a drink.
Posters are going to be put inside the women’s restrooms at participating bars telling women they can go to their server and order an Angel Shot neat, which sends a signal that they want an escort to their car.
They can also order an Angel Shot with ice which sends the signal they want the bar staff to call a taxi or Uber ride for them.
Or, they can order an Angel Shot with lime, which signals to the bar staff they would like to have police called immediately.
Brubaker’s Pub in Bath Township is the first to agree to participate in the program.
Tristin Breitenstine, an employee of Brubaker’s, admits she has tried online dating but understands how it can make women uncomfortable.
“I wasn’t comfortable with it myself so I only did it a couple of times because there was a lot to making sure of my safety, so I don’t personally do it anymore but I do see that is the way a lot of my friends have met their significant others is through online dating,” said Breitenstine.
Bath police are prepared to educate bar staff about the program at no cost to the bars.
They believe it is a win-win for the bars and their customers.
If women know the bar participates in such a program they may be more inclined to set up a first date at one of those bars.
“I think it’s an amazing idea and then that helps us bartenders know what to do in a situation for a person so we can help them out, so they make it to their car safely or make it home safely with meeting their new stranger,” said Breitenstine.
McNeely says that the participating bars can also use drink names of their own so that the male who is on an online date may not know exactly what the lady is intending.
The program has already been used overseas in South Africa and in England.
McNeely says the first it appeared in the United States was in Florida around the holidays.
It is catching on with very positive reviews.
“Always trust your senses. Everybody always has a gut feeling if they are out on a date how it’s working out, perceptions when you first meet the person. Sometimes you are going to hit it off, sometimes you are going to ask ‘what did I get myself into?’ This is a means to gracefully save yourself from embarrassment or from harm.” said McNeely.