Women From Around The World Who Were Forced To Use The Bar's Safeword On A Date Tell Their Stories

Women From Around The World Who Were Forced To Use The Bar's Safeword On A Date Tell Their Stories

Safeword drinks in bars are designed to help women—and men—who don't feel safe. The patron in crisis can order a coded drink that lets bartenders and servers know that there's trouble. The concept hasn't caught around everywhere, so stories about genuine safewords are scarce, but the idea of stepping up to aid someone in a scary situation isn't new. Sometimes it's a code word, sometimes an eagle-eyed bartender, and sometimes an unknowing stranger steps in to lend a hand. Pick up some tips to help your fellow human beings.


50. On A Date With A Psycho

I met a guy on OKCupid and we went on a date. He was terrifying. I'll spare you the long version, but he completely seriously told me that he wanted to "sever my spine" so that I would "always need him to take care of me."

I made up my own mind to book it out of there, but I knew the bartender and after ordering an angel shot, she let me leave through the kitchen and made sure he didn't follow me.


49. They'll Go After Anybody

I wish they had these when I was young. There were a bunch of times when I had to go up to bouncers / bartenders and ask them to ask / make skeevy men leave me alone. This is typically after several polite “no thank yous” followed by a “What part of ‘no’ do you not understand?” and then a firm "Get lost!"

Multiple times I had to ask someone to walk me to my car too, only to find rejected skeevy man waiting nearby.

I’m not even very attractive and I’m not lacking in confidence or self esteem (I can stand up for myself). Why so much toxic attention? I’ve never understood it.

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48. Safety Is No Joke

I was on the other end of this one as a practical joke from my sister. Met for her birthday and her friend convinced her to order the "Mai-Tini Neat" I had a bouncer physically lift me up out of my chair and proceed to throw me out while my sister was in the bathroom.

The owner of the bar questioned him, then questioned me, and promptly fired the bouncer. The staff is supposed to politely ask you to leave after the lady excuses herself. This bouncer overstepped and used physical force against me.

When my sister and her friend came out apologizing to me and the owner of the bar, he told all of us to leave and never come back. He gave the bouncer his job back... the bouncer lost his job in a week for breaking up a bar fight by breaking a dude's leg sideways at the knee.


47. Hiding Behind The Badge

About a month ago, I had a couple at my bar that was giving me weird vibes. My coworker felt the same way, and we kept circling around their corner to understand what was happening. We figured the lady met up with her ex, and he wasn’t too happy that they were no longer together.

After a few hours, the guy got inebriated enough that he was verbally lashing out at her. He went to the bathroom, and I said, “If he’s doing anything you don’t like, order a Tito’s rocks and I’ll get someone to kick him out.” She looked grateful, but said their conversation wasn’t to that point yet.

Another hour goes by, and she orders the drink. I immediately get the manager and my fellow male bartender to see him out while hiding her in our back room. The guy doesn’t take it so well. He pulls out a weapon and flashes his badge. He’s a cop that works at a local precinct, and says because he has a badge, he can do what he wants. He waves his weapon around, scaring the heck out of everyone, demanding to see his ex. One of our employees called 911, and police came to apprehend this guy. He was an actual cop, just off duty, and uncaring he had a badge and took an oath. His ex was completely right to try and get our help, and I’m so glad I gave her a code so we could hide her.

Your brain may not know what the situation is, but your gut always does. Never doubt it.



46. A Safeword In Every Stall

In a previous life, I was a weekend female bartender in a factory town hole in the wall bar.

Every wall and stall in the ladies room had and still has a "help me now" drink name request.

When a female requested this drink, the staff stalled. Made nice, asked typical bartender questions until we had an ID of the male in question.

Then we called the cops to sort it out. The response was swift.


45. Unanswered Questions

A sign in the bathroom said to ask for Angela. I did and the bar staff had no idea what I was talking about. Had to handle that one on my own.


44. Aggression Patrol

I had to order a “safeword” drink because some jerk was trying to start a fight with me 'cause I wouldn’t let him know the girl's names I was out getting drinks with. God bless the GIGANTIC guy behind the bar who came out and stood next to me for like a solid half hour just so I could enjoy the rest of my drink in peace.


43. The Creeper's Confession

Not the same, but one time at a party I was feeling pretty awkward so I was sitting in a chair on my phone when I got a Snapchat message from a kid that was at the party currently, which confused me because he had my number and was sitting 10 feet away on the couch with his arm around an extremely inebriated girl. As I was opening the message, he sent me another. The first one read ‘totally gonna get with (girl who he had his arm around’s name) tonight’ and the second one read ‘sorry, meant to send that to the boys:/‘. I looked up and confirmed to myself that she was entirely too inebriated to even consider much less consent, so I got up, crossed the room to them, and said to her, "Oh my gosh, what happened to your hair? It looks like a chunk got burned or cut off or something." She instantly freaked and insisted I go to the bathroom with her to help find and fix it, leaving the guy behind. Once we were safely alone in the bathroom I told her that her hair was fine and that the guy she was with was not, and was taking advantage of her in her state. I showed her the messages and then my friend and I snuck her past him out of the party, took her home and got her McDonald’s. The guy was pissed and blocked me on everything the next day, boo hoo I guess.


42. Hulk Smash Creepy Guys

Ex-Bar Manager here. Worked in the industry for 10 years. even went to bartending school where they taught us ways to handle situations like this. I ran a downtown three-story bar that was packed all the time. The safe word is a good thing. I've had many girls come to the bar looking for help out of a situation. I've had to get guys bounced out, I've had to pull guys aside and tell them to chill out. I've cut many people off for being too inebriated in my opinion. A young lady came up to me one packed weekend night. Apparently, three guys were following her and constantly saying things to her and you could tell she just wanted to cry and get away. She had that look and she ordered the highest level safe drink, "a Hulk straight-up," and right at that time the three guys come up and one said he'd pay for her drink while the other started rubbing on her shoulders. Man, when I saw that, I alerted security and jumped over the bar and grabbed two of the guys. By that time four bouncers were there helping and they were all three promptly taken out a side exit to the alley. Later the young lady explained how they followed her to three different bars, tried grabbing her on the dance floor and consistently hit on her, trying to get her back to their hotel room. She thanked me for jumping into action so quickly. Honestly, I don't even remember thinking. I just acted. My gut knew something bad was gonna happen.


41. The Code's The Thing

I go to a bar in London and they have the posters all over the bathroom to 'Order an angel shot if your Grindr date is going wrong.' I always think surely everyone uses the same bathroom, so how is the code useful?



40. Last Call Rescue

I was a bouncer at a bar. A very popular university bar that became a night club on Friday and Saturday nights. One Friday night about an hour before the last call, I see this extremely inebriated girl (could barely stand) being ushered out of the bar by a group of 7-8 dudes. I had been working the door all night so I remember her coming in earlier and she was not with these guys.

I did not like how inebriated she was and the guys came across as “hungry” around her. So, because I’m a confrontational dude, I pull her away from the guys and ask her if she knows them. She couldn’t even answer coherently. I tell the guys she’s not leaving with them, and they complained and moaned but they left without further issue. I didn’t even trust a taxi to take this girl home given how out of it she was. So, after about 12 minutes of trying to get the right phone number from her, I called the girl’s mother to come get her. The mom was great and was there quickly and took the girl home.

The next weekend, in the early evening hours before the bar became a scene, this girl and her mom both come to the door and thank me in person for helping her out. They both suspected her drink had been tampered with.


39. Step Up And Step In

I was working at a music festival, as a promoter, and I could attend the concerts for free.

So I'm walking around the crowd, since I don't really know anyone, and I see this one guy that was obviously on some sort of illegal substances, and probably inebriated as well. He was next to two young girls, and he was just swaying left and right, shirtless, and bumping against them. And they clearly don't know him, because they are looking at him all weirded out, scared almost. I noticed they couldn't get rid of him, he would just slowly move towards them every time they tried to walk away. So I step in between the guy and the girls, and basically take the hits from his shoulder as he continued "dancing," giving the girls enough time to walk away and lose him.

It felt great to help someone out.


38. Domino's Calling

I work as security at a couple of bars in my city. The one I was at for the longest was often referred to as having "the best looking staff in the city" (I was not included in that grouping) so we had this issue come up a lot with our staff actually.

Being the security manager there I decided we needed a "safeword" to make sure no customer took it too far (previous incidents). One of the servers decided on "Domino's" (example: Hey wanna get Domino's after work?) since we could play it off. If they said it to me I would come in and play the five-minute boyfriend or remove the offending party if it got too egregious. Only happened a couple of times, but always fun! After the bar shut down we all scattered around the city but still keep in touch.


37. Everybody's Boyfriend

Not a safeword, but a random patron/regular at my favorite bar. I’m there talking to my bartender buddy, when a girl pulls up next to me; she’s pretty, but visibly distraught. What I’d noticed was, she kept looking around for someone. I noticed her texting “Hey are you near (Xxx) Tavern? Some dude came up to me and brought me a drink, and he won’t leave me alone," as I was going for my phone on the countertop.

After a few minutes of feeling her anxiety, I decided to ask her if she was okay, as she didn’t seem alright. She straight up told me she was hiding from some weirdo, and he’d been following her, even to the (unisex) bathrooms.

I said, no problem. Let me know when he’s close, I’ll help ya out.

When the dude came up, I whispered to her,“Go with it” and wrapped my arm around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head. The dude asked, “Hey, there you are! Didn’t see you around!” and she said, “Oh, yeah, I was looking for my boyfriend -- you didn’t hear me say that?” I introduced myself and shook his hand with a smile.

Dude stormed off quick after that. I bought her a drink of her choosing, and with a grateful thank you, off she went.


36. Sensitive Staff Members

I had no idea safe drinks existed, so this doesn’t exactly answer the question, but I have had bar staff follow me into the bathroom and discreetly ask if everything was ok and if I needed help. Everything was ok - I was there with my boyfriend, but I wasn’t feeling well so I think I looked anxious and uncomfortable. He’s many years older than me so people always make assumptions. That, along with my demeanor probably made them concerned. Honestly, I appreciated them picking up on it and asking. Even though everything was ok, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.


35. Inebriation Fake-Out

I used to be a bartender at a tap house/club. While we didn't have a secret drink, if a guy ordered a drink for the lady, and she seemed uncomfortable or really inebriated, we'd address the lady and say, "What would you like miss?" This usually gave the woman a chance to signal how she felt about the guy, and we'd alert the bouncer.

One night a woman that was visibly inebriated to the point of passing out, stumbled up to the bar. A guy that seemed to be forcing conversation with her approached the bar right behind her. He came out of nowhere and seemed almost sober. He ordered shots for him and the lady, so I turned to her and said, "What would you like miss?" She blurted out, "Not this creepy loser." Me and her started talking until the guy got visibly upset and left with his single shot in a plastic cup. As soon as he was out of eyesight, the woman straightened up and said, "Thanks. I was sure if I acted inebriated someone else would have gotten me away from him."



34. Of Friends And Creeps

I went to a late night sushi place with an old friend who was going through a rough patch in life. He showed up inebriated, and then he proceeded to order a huge bottle and poured us both glass after glass while we were waiting for the food. He also took the opportunity to start professing his love for me while rubbing my upper thigh. I was way out of my comfort zone, almost entirely alone at this place at like 1 or 2AM, and hadn’t even received the food. I was panicking because I knew I’d get too inebriated to comfortably leave if I kept up with the drinks he was pouring. We had a tea pitcher at the table, so I started dumping the drinks into the pitcher when he would look away. Our server saw me and made eye contact, and he started coming to the table a lot to stand between us and pick up dishes. He brought a second tea pitcher and just placed it beside me so I could drink something else. He also came outside to run something to the dumpster when we were leaving. It wasn’t much, but it was something when there was no easy way out.


33. Everyday Heroes

I was in a hotel bar and started talking to two gentlemen (I’m 31, creep was maybe 45, hero 50). Creep was clearly inebriated. Each time he went to the bathroom the "hero" would lean over and say, “He has been chatting up every lone woman all night." So "hero" and I get up to leave around 11 and get in the elevator. He says he’s going to 6. I say I’m going to 10. The creep comes running up to catch us. We ask what floor and he says 10...hero says “Oh, me too!” So floor 6 comes up and I take the hint and get off. I wait a couple minutes and hero comes back and tells me, “He is in the room right across from the elevator." I literally was in the room RIGHT NEXT TO THIS CREEP. I thanked him and snuck to my room.


32. An Alternative Idea

I was on the weird end of something.

Got together with a group of friends that just got off their work shifts and went to a local dive bar. One of the girls from work tagged along and had some drinks with us. A few in, she said, “This chocolate cake drink is amazing! I can’t even feel it! I haven’t anything to eat all day, so this is like food, right?” She then proceeds to keep drinking to the point where she can’t walk. There are three of us guys and we had to literally carry her to the car and spend the whole night making sure she didn’t go to the ER. Worst drinking experience ever.

The bartender looked at us walking out the door like we were scum bags. I never went drinking with her again.

There should be a safe word for guys to get bartenders to stop giving drinks to someone.


31. Girls Helping Girls

Not a safe word but just a shout out to the women who are aware of other females in uncomfortable situations.

On New Year's Eve I was in a very crowded bar and it had just struck midnight. Everyone shouted and it was awesome and good fun. My fiancé wanted to run to the restroom before it was crowded so I waited near the dance floor and a random guy came up to me and started getting too close for comfort and wouldn’t leave after I told him I was with someone else. A girl who had been near me and my significant other for part of the night noticed and instantly came over and said, “Let’s dance!” We stepped off to the side and she told me she thought I was uncomfortable and that I might need a save until my significant other comes back. I thought that was the coolest thing. 5 minutes into the new year and I knew it was going to be a good year full of awesome women.


30. Escaping A Prince

My mother told me a story about a guy she went on a date with from another country (back in the late 70s/early 80s). They went to a nice restaurant all dolled up and he started saying stuff about how he is from some super rich family and how he was basically a Saudi prince. He said, "I am going to fly you back home tonight and make you my princess," or something close to that, and red flags just unfurled around the dining room in front of her eyes. She excused herself to the restroom and was in the middle of climbing onto a sink to get out the window when a server looked in, asked if she needed help sneaking out, and walked her through the kitchen and out the back door. She said she ran almost three miles in heels to get to a friend's place. Never heard from him again though.


29. Hey, It Could Happen

I was at a bar alone and it was late and the guy wouldn’t leave me alone. The bartender swooped in and said he was my husband and I was there waiting for him to get off work. He grabbed all my stuff and brought it to the other side of the bar and the other bartender got the guy out, then they had me wait for a while after he left and got me an Uber home to be safe. Three years later the bartender who pretended to be my husband, is my actual husband.



28. Angela To The Rescue

Not me but my friend. Here in Sydney, a few bars have signs on the back of bathroom stalls which say that if you’re on a first date or are feeling uncomfortable with the person you’re with, you go up to the bar or just mention ‘Angela’ and the staff will call you a cab or make up a situation to get you out of it.

My friend was on a tinder date and the dude was being really creepy so she went up to the bar and mentioned ‘Angela’ and they came up to her table a few minutes later saying her mum had called the restaurant because she couldn’t get through to her phone and that there was a family emergency and they booked her a cab to get home.


27. Lost And Found By The Bartender

I don't know about safeword drinks but once in my early 20s I went on a date with a guy who I didn't know well but seemed fairly normal. About 2 drinks in he starts dropping some real creep vibes. Says that he loves how young I look. At one point he literally said, "You look barely old enough to have your period." YIKES. I make eye contact with the bartender behind me and mouth "help." She came right over and asked if I had been in recently because there's a scarf in lost and found that might belong to me. I walked with her to an employee room and explained the situation. She waited with me while the bouncer bounced him. Later that same bouncer walked me to my car.


26. A Separation Of Service

I've experienced the bartender hero before. Out with a friend in DC. Guy comes up, stands way too close, introduces himself and shakes my hand WAY to hard and WAY too long - I had to actually pull my hand away and he kept the grip. I politely told him I was visiting a friend I hadn't seen in a while and wanted to spend my time with her and turned my back. He kept standing there, trying to talk to me. I again, but more firmly, told him I wasn't interested - he stayed. He orders another drink and the bartender serves him - all the way at the other end of the bar. Actually showed him his drink and said it will be over here and walked it as far away from us as he could. I thought that was brilliant - he got a very very good tip from us.


25. Bartender On A Bus

This isn’t exactly a bar story, but a bus story with a bartender. It happened back when I was in uni, I had to rush back home for a family emergency and the cheapest and fastest option was a bus that departed at midnight. It was a 4 and 1/2 hour drive from point A to point B downtown. I sat alone, the bus wasn’t very full. I fell asleep about an hour into the ride and woke up to a man in the seat next to me with his arm around my waist and head on my shoulder. I was creeped out but also afraid to make a scene in the middle of the night where I thought only the driver was awake at this time. I asked him what he was doing and to get off me. I was in the window seat and felt trapped and frozen. He tried to make small talk with me, saying I looked cold and needed a warm hard body. He said when we arrived that we should grab a coffee because he sensed a vibe between us. I kept recoiling and I remember telling him that I’m very uncomfortable and that he should go back to his seat. In response to my request, he said, "Not before I get something," and he tried to kiss me. I pulled back so hard that I hit my head against the window.

To make a long story short, a woman a few seats behind me comes along and goes, “Oh my God, I thought it was you I saw boarding the bus. We’ve got some catching up to do girl!” She said "Excuse me sir, do you mind?" really loudly to the creep and he got up and went back to his seat. She hugged me and asked if I was okay and said she’d sit with me until we arrived at our stop. I was so glad because I really thought he would’ve followed me when we got off the bus. She told me she worked at a bar and is used to intervening when she senses something isn’t quite right. I couldn’t have thanked her enough. 8 years later and that woman is now one of my best friends.


24. Everybody Loves Lucy

The bar I go to regularly doesn’t have a ‘safe word’ drink, but we do have a drink called the ‘Lucy Special.'

If you have men that you notice are trying to buy you a lot of drinks, are sober and make you feel uncomfortable, or if you don’t trust who you are around and want to keep your wits about you, the Lucy special is a glass of ice, soda water and crushed limes.


23. The Safeword Special

Not a bar but a grocery store I used to work for had a safe word. The store did a lot of sponsorship, charities, community outreach, etc. and in particular was a partner with a women's advocacy group.

There was a product in the store that was never ever put on sale so that if any employee was asked what the sale price on that item was then one employee would distract the guy with customer service while she was "shown" to the product she was looking for (i.e. brought to the store office by way of the backroom).


22. Furries To The Rescue

One time I was dancing at a club and this guy (I'm a gal) kept following me around the dance floor. He'd work his way up to me, start dancing, put his hands where they weren't wanted, tried to get himself pressed up against me, etc., and when I moved to a different part of the dance floor, he'd show up a few minutes later doing the same thing again.

Anyway, we go through this three or four times and all of the sudden these two great big guys in fur suits (one skunk, one bunny) appear out of nowhere, greeted me with these grand courtly bows, and offered to dance. Although bemused, I took their paws, and they lead me in this dorky ass square dance that had these 200lb masses of fur and sweat stomping circles around me and deterring anyone else from getting too near. A few songs later, they bowed again and scampered off and I never saw the creepy guy again. I did wave to my animal friends several times that night. Nice fellas.


21. A Smile's Worth A Thousand Words

My bar didn't have a safeword drink, but my favorite bartender swooped in more than once and looked after me - even at times when I hadn't asked him to yet.

I remember one time in particular when I came in with my roommate. She and I were sitting at the bar with our drinks, while a couple guys were sitting on the next two stools. They bought us drinks, so we did the usual polite thing and said thanks, introduced ourselves, etc.

Within five or ten minutes of starting this conversation, they'd informed us that they were heading to an "after party" at their house and a bunch of people would be there - we should come with them. My roommate and I gave each other a "Yeah, right" look and said thank you, but no.

Well, they wouldn't take no for an answer. They just kept right on trying to somehow convince us to leave and get in a car with two strange men to go to a house we'd never been to, and then just trust that it was safe?

After a little while, "my" bartender came over to us. He didn't say anything to me or to the guys - not a single word. Instead, he leaned on the bar across from us and started to grin. I smiled back, and so did my roommate, and the three of us just kept looking at each other and smiling silently. The guy talking at us slowly got quieter, then stopped talking at all, and then he and his friend walked away.

As soon as they left, the bartender straightened up and went back to work.

I have a lot of respect for anyone intuitive enough to pick up signals something is wrong and confident enough to resolve a potential conflict with so little effort.


20. That Twist Ending, Though

The bar never had a safe word but we had a lot of reasons to get to action. Rough crowd really.

A couple came in, and the woman had smeared makeup and both looked just super angry. The girl whispered to the bartender that the guy was hitting her outside. We called the police and had her come to the back as the guy sat there dumbfounded. Cops came and put him in cuffs as he’s denying it all. The manager came in to get the video for the side camera. She played it, the cops came back out and released him and cuffed her. She tried to stab him outside and broke in his windshield. Great night and he drank free the rest of the night.


19. Foolproof Safety Plan

I met my girlfriend of five months on a first bumble date at a brewery in Connecticut. She arrived before I did and unbeknownst to me had made a pact with two female bartenders.

She told them that if she ordered this brand of scotch neat, that she felt uncomfortable but not scared. If she ordered it on the rocks, that she’d have someone call the bar for her to leave, and if she ordered it double that they need to escort her to the car.

So no matter how she felt, there was a code involved.

And one of the bartenders came over to ask if she’d like that drink now? And she kindly declined.

Five months strong for a weird first date safeword order!


18. "No" Wasn't In His Vocabulary

Literally just happened to my friend and I two days ago. Her last night in town, this old dude is hovering over us and keeps talking at us. I said maybe three words to him, he goes “Well, now that we’re friends” and keeps touching our backs.

Finally, I tell him we’re not interested. He asks us why, tells us he’ll buy us drinks. I tell him to please go away, and he gets super upset. The two bartenders had been standing there basically pretending to pour drinks and start yelling at him, asking him what else I could have done to make it more clear. This guy literally wasn’t gonna hear what we were saying, and the bartender saved both of us from almost breaking down and just going home.


17. Another Selective Hearing Issue

I was at a bar relatively early waiting for my friend and this older gross guy came and sat by me. I already had a drink and he asked if he could buy me a drink. I lifted my drink and said, “Nope, already got one, thanks.”

He kept talking at me and tried insisting on buying me a drink. Finally, the bartender came over and was like, “She told you no 5 times, do I need to ask you to leave?”

I was so thankful.


16. Spontaneous Sisterhood

Where I live, we once had an epidemic of pick up artists on every corner. There was this one guy who was incredibly persistent and wouldn’t take no for an answer. When I told him I had a boyfriend he wouldn’t let me leave and said I had to give him one of my friends' numbers. Thank god a kind girl noticed what was happening and came up to us while saying, “Well there you are! We have been looking for you! Come on, let’s go, the show is going to start!” She got me away from him and I was so thankful. To anyone out there, please don’t ever do what he did. It’s such repulsive and scary behavior.


15. Small Act, Huge Impact

I once got hugged by a random girl sitting at a bar who whispered in my ear (or actually talked normally; the music was loud) “Pretend to be my boyfriend." I grabbed her on the thigh and yelled, “Honey I’ve been lookin’ for you!” The guy who hit on her gave me the 'sorry, had no idea it was your girl' look and then she asked me to dance. She pulled me into the crowd and we danced for like 30 seconds and she gave me a smile and she left. Never saw her again but I felt like a hero. Very small thing I did but I felt great.


14. Stranger With Spidey Senses

I had a creep corner me in a bar once and tried to stroke my thigh. A dude I've never met before came up and said, "Hey sis, I've been looking all over for you!" And he put his arm around me and walked me out. Thank you so much, stranger.


13. Smoke Breaks For Safety

I'm a bartender in a small town. Anytime a new woman comes into the bar I let her know that if she ever feels uncomfortable or needs anything to ask me to go out for a cigarette with her. I've had plenty of people use it to get away from some just usual creeps. But NOTHING beats the night a guy asked this girl to go home with him. After she politely refused he grabbed her and called her a witch. We already had our eye on this situation, my bouncer immediately came out of nowhere and tasered this jerk.


12. Ex-Factor

Recently happened to me. I met up with an ex after roughly five years of not seeing him. He seemed way off when I arrived at the bar. Forgot his wallet (not surprised) so I bought the round of drinks but immediately closed the tab because I wasn’t expecting to pay for him and didn’t want him taking advantage. When I excused myself to the restroom I was already regretting the evening. I left the restroom and... He. Was. Standing. Outside. The. Door. Every alarm in my body went off but I just acted annoyed and questioned him. He mumbled something and walked over to a pinball machine. Never played, just looked at it for a solid 10 minutes. Which gave me enough time to call my bartender over and ask “Girl to girl, this dude's on illegal substances, right?” She agreed and asked me if I felt safe. I obviously didn’t so she let me exit through the backdoor and even got her bar back to walk me to my car. Not sure if anything would have happened but I’m really glad that she was so cool about it.


11. A Comprehensive Safeword System

My university town had the highest incidents of assault for 5 years in a row, the school and community took it really seriously and implemented procedures all over the place.

I asked my friend, who was a bouncer at my favorite bar/club, what happens when a girl orders the drink. He said it changes week to week in the ladies bathroom to confuse men when word gets out. You can use any of the former ones and the bartenders will jump into action.

Generally, they find a way to get you away from that person whether it be a "phone call" or they need to show you something. Once you're out of eyesight they whisk you away to the opposite floor of the place (bar is on the bottom, club is on the top) and keep the date occupied until you're gone. If he gets away from his "company," they radio that the drink got spilled and every bouncer abandons their post to try and keep him away from you.

They escort you out the backdoor into a waiting cab. They pay the cabbie to take you home and make sure you're not followed. When you get home they ask that you flick your front porch lights on and off and call the club to let them know you're safe. They also save the security cameras from that day in case you have need of it at a later date.

I never used their service because my friends were the bouncers and usually intervened before I needed to say anything. My friends did though and they said it was a relief to be in a bar that took safety so seriously because in other bars in that town you could pay a bartender $20 to spike a drink. I learned the hard way to never accept a glass from someone who had their open palm over the glass. Some people really suck.


10. Sisterhood Since The Dawn Of Time

This is a relatively new thing, but us girls have been doing some form of it for a long time.

Back when I was a bartender, I noticed a girl stumble into the pool table. She was crying and clearly very inebriated. I went over to ask if she was okay, and some guy I hadn’t seen her with all night jumps up and says, “I’m her boyfriend, I’ve got her.” No the heck you do not.

We got her to calm down and give us her phone to call her roommate so someone safe could take her home. It sucks that it’s necessary, but I’ll always love my boss from that bar because he threw that creep out, physically.

We saw her again. She didn’t have a boyfriend or remember that night.


9. The Bartender's Instinct

I went out on my own one night and was having a few drinks at a local pub. I had just moved to the area so didn’t really know anyone. A guy sat down next to me and was chatting. At first, it was just casual but he eventually became really sloppy and touchy. Then the guy actually kissed me just out of the blue and I told him I was not ok with it. He said I was leading him on - which was not the case at all. He got angry and stormed off to the washroom. I was feeling really uncomfortable and unsafe. I didn’t know my new neighborhood yet. The bartender saw that I was feeling off right away - he didn’t even know me but could tell. He asked if I wanted to be shown out the back door and if they could put me in a cab home so that I could go without the guy following me. They even paid - and apologized that I felt unsafe in their bar. I was totally blown away. I would totally go back there and feel completely taken care of.


8. Angela Strikes Again

I had to use it when on a date off Tinder. We met up and he had already got me a drink (shot of something clear). Then he said to me that I should do the shot and then he would take me somewhere better for more fun. I wasn't comfortable so excused myself to the bathroom and saw a poster that said about ask for Angela if you're uncomfortable. I went to the bar and asked for Angela and immediately this guy was playing along saying "Oh yeah she's working in the kitchen tonight." He got me a taxi and walked me out the back door and into the taxi to make sure I got there without any hassle. Never saw the guy again.


7. When There's No Safe Word

Female bartender chiming in. In the decade I've been doing this, the bars I've worked in don't have a safe word or drink. I've worked in three major cities with large universities and bar districts and I've never even seen one.

I consider keeping patrons safe a large part of my job, especially working at clubs or at music festivals. I'm watching anyone that gives me a weird vibe or people that are obviously on a newish date and most other bartenders that care do the same. There's a "look" other women will give when they need help. Either cornered into a conversation they obviously want out of or trying to turn down free drinks from some guy that won't take no for an answer.

That's when I just go over and pretend I'm bussing or wiping the bar and make eye contact with her until she gets that I've got an understanding of what's going on, then I just ask her how she's "doing" in a tone that also conveys I'm there to help if need be. If her answer is weird or she keeps eye contact too long with me, or in a "please don't leave" kinda way, I immediately get security and try and get her an Uber if she's inebriated, or find her friends. I do everything I can to make sure they get home. I, unfortunately, can tell so many stories of inebriated girls being completely out of it and having to physically keep men away from them because they all swear they'll get her home safely or that they know her or her friends.

So ladies and everyone else, you can tell your bartender basically anything is going on. We consider the workplace kind of ours and don't want any bad stuff happening to anyone that comes in. Just tell us and we'll help you.


6. A Good A Reason As Any

I've actually been used to escape by a random before. I was at a local bar with a bunch of friends and out of nowhere, a girl walks over, sits on my lap and between a teeth clenched smile just says, "Pretend to know me." I laughed and loudly said "Hey you! Where'd you wander off to?" Thankfully my friends picked up on it because inside of 10 seconds a few of my female friends were chatting with her and standing between her and the guy she'd fled.

I asked her after what about me made her know I was a safe person to turn to and she said "Because you're here with a bunch of women. Total honesty. Thought you were gay."


5. The Taxi Trick

Had a bar call 911 once after they bounced a guy who was creeping out a woman. He stood outside the bar and flat out said he was waiting for her until she came out, which he did. He started following her and told people they were together. I literally had to stand with this moron while this poor girl and her friends got into the car, and the jerk tried to stand really close so he could get the address. I told the driver her address but gave the address of the jail, which most taxis know, and he seemed to get the hint. Guy tried to complain later that we had "unlawfully detained" him just so he couldn't get the girl's number and address.

I mean... Yeah, basically that's what we did. Move along.


4. A Code For Every Circumstance

Not a safe word per se, but my mom and a friend went to a bar and a guy mugged her friend outside. She entered with her purse messed up and holding a shoe, and their male friend called over to the owner. He called out something like "Woman Down" and a bunch of men stood and went outside to search for this guy.

Turns out a few years prior a woman there had gotten assaulted. After that, the owner established a code phrase with the regulars for if a woman gets attacked. The place looks like a dive bar at first glance, but the owner was a serious gentleman and didn't even allow cursing in there.


3. That Guy Bounced

Not my story, but a friend's.

Guy was getting really handsy, we'll call him Mr. Handsy, she was not into it and even told him to stop multiple times. So, to try and escape, she goes to the bathroom. Bouncer at the restroom entrance prevents him from following her so she gets to be able to get some respite. She sees that they have safe-word drinks in the bathroom.

However, she doesn't want to go to the bar to order it because then he'd follow her there with more of those hands, so when she gets out she goes up to the bouncer. Mr. Handsy is right there and waiting but she asks the bouncer what's in your (safe word) drink. She said the bouncer looked at her seriously and, when she nodded, the bouncer picked up Mr. Handsy and basically carried him outside to the curb.

I go to that place all the time and I never even knew they had a safe-word drink. Pretty awesome.

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2. The Drinks Aren't Safe

I’ve been a bartender in NYC for over 15 years. Not exactly the same thing but I have pretended to know women who looked like they were in a bad spot or when I’ve over heard something that didn’t sound right. Something like “Hey didn’t we go to college together, how are you, blah blah blah just to let the woman know I see what’s going on and I she’s not alone. Usually the creep backs off once he realizes that his date has “friends” at the bar. Once I saw a man put something in a woman’s drink. I was working with another bartender who saw it too and we both were so shocked we didn’t quite believe our eyes. At this bar the beer tower was on the bar top. They were sitting right behind it so we were facing them as we poured beer. The lady got up to use the bathroom and the guy dumped something into her drink from his water bottle right in front of us. Like we weren’t even there! We decided we had to tell the woman so my co-worker ran to bathroom giver her a heads up while I kept an eye on it. I thought the woman would just leave but she came back and confronted the guy. He denied it but refused to drink the drink himself. Eventually he called us crazy and left. Afterward she seemed more freaked out and sad than angry. She really didn’t want to talk to us about it except to ask if we were sure, but we both saw it. He was pretty brazen. Even if it was just water - and who waters down his dates drink while she’s in the bathroom - we had to say something. Don’t leave your drink unattended ladies, even if you think you know your date.

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1. The Creeper Who Refused To Quit

Had a creeper at a hotel bar who wouldn’t leave me alone despite my best efforts to ignore him. I even asked him politely and not so politely to “leave me alone." He actually kept trying to touch me and told me that I was going to go to his room with him. He had a strange angry edge too. So I gave the bartender a “help me” look and said to him something like “I need to talk to you about that thing with my tab, remember?” and asked if I could do it when the bar closed (which was like 5 minutes later). He looked at me and said, “Give me a minute," made a phone call and then said, “So, they can help you at the front desk." Meanwhile, creeper is literally not leaving me alone and is still trying to actually hang on me and keeps talking.

So I start to leave and creeper is trying to kiss me and pull me close but I tell him I have business at the front desk and walk to the front desk. About three employees were there and I said, “The bartender said you could help me with my tab?” And one of the employees says “Oh, I need you to come here with me to fix that." And she says to the guy “You need to stay here, this is personal business." The employee (a woman) and I start to walk away and of course, the creeper followed us. She actually walked me to a staff elevator and he tried to get on with us. She told him “Get out of here and leave us alone” as a male hotel employee came up to him just then and the elevator door shut. The employee walked me literally to my room door and stayed until I had it locked on the other side.

I have had (and still occasionally do have) guys hit on me but never anything like this incident. I actually wrote a long long email to the hotel corporate office and the actual hotel about the bartender and two employees because they helped me in what I would say was “above and beyond”... the guy really frightened me. I have been as brand loyal as possible to the hotel chain ever since.