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October 19th, 2017

Society

Knife to Meet You!

Lenore Skenazy

By Lenore Skenazy

Published March 3, 2015

Item: "A security screener at Newark Liberty International Airport failed to spot a butcher knife in a passenger's pocketbook. ... Katrina Bell, 27, had put the knife in her bag 'just in case' before going on a blind date earlier that week."

"OK, so we'll meet at T.G.I. Friday's after work. I'll be wearing a brown sports jacket and carrying a leather briefcase."

"I'll be in a plaid skirt and carrying a butcher knife. See you then!"

I suspect this is not precisely how the pre-date conversation went. Yet when you think about it, since when do men and women ever admit what they're carrying to a first date?

"I'll be the one in a tan suit with a condom in my wallet."

"I'll be the one in a miniskirt with a picture of my ex with his eyes scratched out tucked into my bra."

There was a time — before mine — when mothers instructed their dating daughters only to bring along "mad money," cash for a cab in case they had to hurry home in a huff. I personally came of dating age in the somewhat more hard-edged '80s. My self-defense teacher instructed us to keep our keys handy as a weapon. (Yes, I arrived in New York and immediately enrolled in self-defense. That's what you did back then — when you should have been investing in Brooklyn real estate.) Clench the keys between the fingers of your fist, she demonstrated cheerfully, and you're ready to jab the sensitive parts of your date or mugger, whoever annoys you more.

Married soon after — with nary a jab at anyone's privates — I apparently missed the escalating eras in which young women started packing household items that double as weapons. "Let's see. I've got my mascara, my cellphone, my brass doorknob..." And now we have reached the era of casually tucking in honest-to-goodness murder implements.

What goes through a woman's mind before such a date?

"Ooh, I hope he likes me! I hope he doesn't think I'm too fat. Or giggly! I hope I don't have to stab him. I hope he likes sushi!"

And after?

"How was your date, Katrina?"

"Well, I didn't have to use the you-know-what even once, so I think it went pretty well. Next time I'm only going to pack a grapefruit spoon."

The airport screener who missed the lethal weapon said, in his defense, that the woman's pocketbook had been cluttered, making the knife difficult to detect.

If that's the case, I could teach a sold-out class at Islamic State Night School: "OK, first you gotta put in your Kleenex, book, banana, credit cards and a scarf, in case it gets cold, and an extra pair of socks, of course, and the hand-held nuke, yup, squish it right in there next to the Pez dispenser. And then you need a compact umbrella and..."

It would be impossible to find a smallish bomb in my backpack. Then again, it's also impossible to find my keys.

But back to Katrina, who, it turns out, was not charged with any crime other than making men even more nervous on blind dates. But probably better-behaved, too.

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