A first date can be complicated. But for those who carry concealed, it can be even more so … and more than a little nerve-wracking too. There are no rules or roadmap for what you should and should not do when it comes to disclosing that you’re armed. And if you’re newly single or fresh in the dating scene, it can feel like you’re venturing into uncharted territory.
On one hand, you have no obligation to share your safety decision with the individual with whom you’re going out. On the other hand, your new beau’s (or lady’s) thoughts on the matter could make or break your budding relationship. People can be very uncomfortable and even downright opposed to guns, so it’s important to tread lightly and really think about your decision to share that part of your life with someone new.
Watch the video above to hear one young couple’s dating story and then consider the questions below when deciding how to navigate through your next first date as an armed American.
Where Will You Go on Your Date?
It can be difficult to be spontaneous as someone who carries concealed. You’ll need to start by looking for a gun-friendly destination and be mindful of signage on buildings. If it carries the force of the law, you need to comply. That means you could very easily find yourself in a situation where you have to disarm or leave your firearm locked up in your car. Keeping a gun mount, lock or small safe readily available is a great way to ensure you’re prepared.
And then there’s drinking. Most dates take place where alcohol is served. Depending on your local and state laws, mixing the two can either be illegal or lead to a less than ideal situation. Your reaction time and inhibitions are compromised. You can carry or you can drink; the decision is yours, so be sensible.
What Will You Wear?
Choosing what to wear is half the battle. You want to impress, but you also need to be dressed appropriately so your firearm is concealed. We’ve come a long way in regards to carry options, but choose something that will ensure you’re comfortable and discreet. You don’t want to be tugging at your shirt or readjusting your belt frequently. Loose-fitting clothing with movement and layering with a sweater or scarf are always good places to start.
If you’re going on a more adventurous date with vigorous activity such as hiking, cycling or boating, you’ll need to consider adjusting your look for that situation as well. Trust us: A little planning will go a long way.
When Should You Tell Your Date You Carry a Gun?
Informing your date of your carry lifestyle is a personal choice — and a big one at that. Regardless, there’s something to be said for honesty in a growing relationship. Besides, you never know if or when you’ll be put in a position where you have to disclose why you’re not drinking or are avoiding going to a specific restaurant.
A good rule of thumb is to hold your cards close until you feel you can trust your new partner. In the meantime, you can test the waters and try to gauge how he or she might react to your enlightening information. The best advice? Have the conversation sooner rather than later. If your thoughts on the matter don’t align, it might be a deal-breaker, saving you both some time.
When It Comes Down to It…
At the end of the day, spilling the beans shouldn’t be hard. Look for a segue in the get-to-know-you conversation and only dive into the subject if you’re comfortable. You can hint at the matter or just come right out and say that shooting is a personal hobby and safety is a priority for you. You might even find that what once felt like a hurdle to overcome is now an exciting conversation, a shared interest and a future date night at the range.
When the time comes, you might spend your night wondering if your date can see you printing, if he or she will be freaked out to find out, or if your holster will be accidentally grazed when you lean in for a hug. You might even be wondering if you should leave your firearm at home and avoid the hassle altogether. But if the idea of not being able to protect yourself is more unsettling than your date finding out, you should make the decision to feel safe.
If you can stay armed, do so. If not, take extra precautions to ensure your safety. Avoid high-risk areas and choose another self-defense tool to bring along, such as pepper spray or a personal alarm.