Written by Tori Lynn
Critics and audiences are raving about Netflix’s hit series You. The show originally aired on Lifetime but seriously lacked in viewership. It was such a flop on cable, in fact, that Lifetime declared the shows end in early December 2018. It wasn't until Netflix picked it up shortly thereafter and social media sites began buzzing that the series took off, quickly becoming one of Netflix’s most watched shows. If you are like me and binged the entire show in two days, then I am sure you are anxiously awaiting Season 2’s release (which is in the works - woop woop!)
If you haven't seen the show, here’s a little synopsis without giving away too many spoilers… The show follows Joe Goldberg, a bookstore manager portrayed by Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley, who, let’s just say, isn’t only freakishly obsessed with books. Beck, a young grad student living in NYC played by Elizabeth Lail, enters Joe’s store in search of a particular Hemingway novel. As in all typical love stories, Beck immediately catches Joe’s eye, the two meet, and exchange a few overtly flirtacious words. Beck then leaves the store probably never expecting to see this guy again. However, their brief exchange was apparently all it took for Joe to decide that Beck was THE ONE (heart eye emoji). From that point forward, Joe goes to extreme lengths to insert himself in her life in the creepiest ways possible.
Okay so, I’ve watched too many episodes of Law and Order SVU to not have acknowledged how effing creepy this dude and his freaky voiceover are within the first five minutes of watching the show. As viewers, we are exposed to Joe’s predatory side early on in the season. However, our girl Beck couldn’t have even known that he was stalking her because she was blinded by his charm, wit, and rather good looks. And it looks like Beck isn’t the only one who is blinded by this... Penn Badgley himself has responded to fan requests, via twitter, to be kidnapped by him with a kind, simple, and straightforward, “No thx.” Yet viewers continue to swoon over the show’s devilishly handsome serial murderer. One user recently tweeted, “The amount of people romanticizing @PennBadgley’s character in YOU scares me.” The actor responded to the tweet with, “Ditto. It will be all the motivation I need for Season 2.” Joe manipulated Beck into believing that he is the “perfect man” for her. It got me thinking about how often real life Beck’s are tricked, manipulated, and taken advantage of. Whether you are on the dating scene or not, here are some helpful tips on staying safe in the city or wherever you are...
Get off your phone. It is so important to always be aware of your surroundings. I get we live in a world where technology is omnipresent, so it’s fine to send a text or a snapchat BUT afterwards, put that phone in your purse or pocket, keep your chin up, and your eyes peeled. Because if a creeper is lurking around and it isn’t happening to you, its happening to someone else. Be alert. I, for one, love to walk around the city listening to music, because who doesn't love a good power song to walk to and feel like a boss. But, I’ve learned to walk with one earbud in and one out, so that I can listen to my playlist but also, more importantly, be conscious of what is going on in the surrounding environment, should something happen and I need to respond quickly.
Do some investigating, yourself. If you are dating, do your own research. My mom is the ultimate social media troller. During my time dating in the city, she would badger me for these guys’ names and just straight up creep on their Instagrams and Facebooks to see if there were any red flags. She is crazy but I love her because she was able to spot things that me and my hopeless romantic eyes were blind too, and saved me a lot of heartbreak. Even so, as we witness in You, not everyone is exactly who they say they are on social media. Still, it is good to get an idea of who they want people to think they are. This says a lot about a person.
In public please! Again, if you are dating, make sure that the first few dates are in public places. Meet and part ways at the place. You don't want them knowing where you live right off the bat in case they turn out to be a Joe Goldberg. If they don’t want to meet you in public, there is your first red flag! They might not exactly want to murder you, but perhaps their intentions aren't in the right place and you should reevaluate whether going out with this person is worth it.
Have a buddy system. If I am going on a date with someone who I don’t know very well or haven’t known for very long, I always tell my best friends where I am going to be and when I am going to be there. I also let them know when I get home so they know that I am safe and that I didn’t die. I even have a code word that I send them incase of an emergency: FLAMINGO. I genuinely have no idea why that is our code word… but it is and works like a charm! But don't steal my code word. Pick your own. If you really want to be safe, turn your location services on and share your current location with a friend. Basically, just make sure someone knows where you are at all times.
Watch your drinks. Of course you should watch how much you’re drinking but also literally watch your drinks. You never know if someone is trying to slip you something. In 2014, under the brand name Undercover Colors, a group of undergraduate students at North Carolina State University banned together to invent practical tools to help students avoid date rape on campus. The group created a device known as “SipChip” that is chemically manufactured to detect date rape drugs. You simply place the small chip on the tip of your finger and dip into your drink. Similar to a pregnancy test, the chip will display one line if it comes in contact with a date rape drug. If the drink is clear and safe to consume, two lines will appear. EVERYONE SHOULD GET THIS, no matter who you are or how often you date. Undercover Colors continues to experiment with other tools in hope to avoid and eliminate date rape in the future. Check out their insanely smart and scientifically savvy products and order yours today at www.undercovercolors.com.
If you see something, say something. Whether you are on a date, walking around the park, or in the subway on your way to work, this is oh so important I cannot stress it enough: If something feels “off” to you, do not hesitate to call someone, even the police. If someone is rubbing you the wrong way, walk into the nearest building and get help. During the Harvey Weinstein scandal that sparked the Me Too Movement, each victim reported that from the get go it just “didn't feel right.” Only you know when you get a creepy feeling. Trust your instinct, my friend.
Maybe these rules seem super cynical but it’s way better to be safe than sorry. I mean, I don't know about you but I don’t want to end up locked in a book humidifying closet in a basement…. Nevertheless, Penn Badgley and the rest of the You cast knocked it out of the park with their chilling, scandalous, and nail-biting performance. You is available on Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming sites. Definitely go check it out and be sure to tweet your honest feedback about the show and tag @PennBadgley. He might just tweet you back!
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