“Do you feel unsafe or even just a tad bit weird?”
In St. Petersburg, Florida, in the bathroom at the Iberian Rooster, there is a sign as discreet as it is lifesaving. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the sign reads: “Is your Tinder or Plenty of Fish date not who they said they were on their profile? Do you feel unsafe, or even just a tad bit weird?" Then order an “angel shot,” it continues.
You might be wondering what kind of concoction a bartender could dream up to discreetly whisk you out of real danger, but it isn’t alcohol at all. In fact, it’s a code that comes with a few different options. It allows the staff at the bar or restaurant to judge how they should respond.
This code is one dreamed up by owner Russell Andrade, with a little inspiration from a sign in the United Kingdom that went viral on social media last year. That sign was cooked up by the Lincolnshire Rape Crisis, a U.K. organization that urges women who are feeling unsafe on a date to approach waitstaff with a code word. The code? “Ask for Angela.”
Andrade’s iteration of the code has three levels. Ask for an angel shot neat, and the bartender or another member of the staff will walk you to your car. Ask for one with ice, and the staff will call an Uber or taxi for you. Order one with lime, and the staff will alert the police. It’s a discreet way of letting the staff at the Iberian Rooster know that something is off.
It’s also a necessary safeguard against a significant rise in the number of reports of rape and assault on women who met their attacker via dating apps. Britain’s National Crime Agency found that in 2014 there was more than a 400 percent increase in reports of these crimes since 2009. Yes, the alarming trend has something to do with the amount of people who are now dating online, but according to the NCA there’s more to it. Some attackers are now specifically using dating apps to find their victims.
Add to this the constant threat of date-rape drugs, and the “angel shot” becomes a necessary step to help keep women on dates safe.
While the owner hopes no one ever has to order the shot, at least the option is there if things get hairy.