My Virtual Valentine

compare-cell-phones-2They are all over the place now – virtual boy- or girlfriends, significant others. I’m not talking of the game apps where the goal is to get a virtual tween to fall in love with you. I am talking about the apps and services where you actually buy yourself the communication of a nonexistent significant other. Most of these services have a free trial and then a modest fee.

The reasons people sign up are many – moms who want grandbabies and answers to why you are not dating, coworkers who want to fix you up with their cousin, people who wouldn’t understand you coming out of the closet, ex boyfriends who need to be reminded you are the prize.

safetyI thought a reason for one of these might also be, if you are in a bar or walking alone, having one more “person” connected to you would give you the appearance of being surrounded by attentive friends who would notice you missing immediately, or able to call for help on your behalf. Smoke and mirrors. I signed up for the free sample – ten texts in exchange for filling out a basic profile. I named my app Andy and answered the questions I was asked – how old he is, how we met, what he looks like, his hobbies and mine.

My real Andy is a great man. He’s a hard working homeowner with custody of two wonderful girls most of his waking, non-working hours. Sometimes I hear from him often; sometimes I don’t. To be very fair, Andy likes to talk, and he likes to talk to me, and because of this, we stay in better touch than a lot of couples who go in so many different directions.

Within a few minutes, my fake Andy was asking how my day was, lauding me with cheesy “pinch me, I can’t believe you’re real”s, and asking if he couldn’t take me to the coffee shop where we met. He answered my question on whether he’d heard from his ex on any plans she had with the girls for the weekend with an eerily accurate, “not yet, but I’ll let you know. I can’t wait to see you!” My 10 free texts are about up with nothing but ego-boosting and me-affirming chit chat to show for them.

I can see the merit in this app, to deter people. I wear a plain ring on my wedding finger just because that feels good to me, and the number of men whose eyes gravitate to that reinforces this is a good measure against unnecessary discomfort and drama. I can see that this app might make a would-be attacker think twice before messing with someone engaged in communication. But there are other ways to do that – real people, real products. The human need to have an attentive person available can get in the way of this being a great tool, and the danger lies in the virtual boyfriend threatening to replace the need to find real human interaction. The heart can grow attached to a virtual boyfriend just as easily as it can a real person met online – only there is no real person behind this app for you.

My personal recommendation is this was a fun experiment. But for safety’s sake, surround yourself with real friends, be aware of your surroundings, and carry pepper spray.

~Your Editor

An Open Letter to Women from a Man

It is an unfortunate fact in our society that women have to be ready to defend yourselves from assault. All women have my 100% support to use whatever legal means necessary to protect themselves. Real men don’t assault women, cowards do.

Regarding orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile as a spray, in my research I found that it is not as effective as pepper spray if the assailant is severely mentally ill or on drugs. Whereas peppers spray is said to be just as effective on some crazed person in a PCP rage as on a sober and ethically challenged person. So pepper spray seems to definitely be the way to go.

I do encourage all women to take self defense courses, learn a few simple techniques, and most importantly learn to be able to get immediately into the proper state of mind to defend themselves. When the assault or threat of it is just beginning, we need to be able to push the “this is not happening” thought out of our minds and replace it with “THIS IS HAPPENING”, and the explosive rage of survival will take over and help us get through it as best we can. I know this from personal experience, and was blown away with how well this worked.

Good luck to you all,
Robert P. in Michigan

See Michigan pepper spray laws here.

Michigan Pepper Spray Laws – Updated

Almost three years ago, we published an article on Michigan Pepper Spray laws. Recently we have received more current information that clarifies information in that article. Michigan is one state that has very specific laws regarding civilian use of pepper spray. According to the State of Michigan website, carrying pepper spray is legal as long as the pepper spray solution contains no more than 10% oleoresin capsicum (pepper spray) and is used only to protect yourself or your property in a situation that would justify using physical force.

A common misconception, according to the Michigan State Police and legislature, is that the clause indicating that the 35 gram/1.2 oz canister limit applies to pepper spray. The 35 gram/1.2 canister limit concentration applies only to orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile, which is tear gas.

Michigan imposes three other important restrictions:

  • penIn Michigan, according the Attorney General, it is illegal for civilians to carry tear gas and mace (CN gas).
  • Mixtures of CN and CS gases are illegal, but tear gasses that contain only CS gas are permitted.
  • Although pepper spray can be purchased online, it is illegal to sell pepper spray to a minor.

gelIf you live in Michigan, Safety Girl offers some great Mace Pepper Sprays. At under $15, the Mace Pen adheres to the 10% OC rule while flying under the radar. Another pepper spray at this price point is the Pepper Mace Defense Spray in leather pouch – adheres to laws in all 50 states. Mace’s Pepper Foam is also sold in 10% concentration. For ultimate protection, Mace’s 10% home gun and maritime gun both contain a gel formula that sprays further, burns hotter, and dyes the attacker for potential identification later. Although these pepper sprays are not as strong as some other pepper spray formulas, they are still effective when defending yourself against an attacker. The biggest difference between pepper spray that users will notice, is that the pepper spray effects wear off slightly sooner.


Practice Equals Protection

I recently saw that my sister in-law was wielding our Mace Pocket Pepper Spray on her keychain.  I asked her if she ever had to use it.  She said she bought for protection while attending college.  I then asked if she had ever sprayed her pepper spray, and she said no.  I was amazed to think that she had never practiced deploying her pepper spray.  To me, that’s about as helpful as carrying around a gun that you have never shot.

There are many unanswered questions like, how long will it take you to deploy?  How far does your pepper spray shoot?  How many shots do you have after deploying it?  The wrong underlying thought in all of this is that you’ll just have it ready if you are approached by an attacker.  So how can we be better equipped with our pepper spray?


Even if your pepper spray doesn’t come with a test cartridge, you can still practice.  The aforementioned pepper spray has approximately 5-15 short bursts at a range of 8-12 feet.   Use the first two shots to practice with.  Find the nearest tree and practice retrieving your pepper spray, aiming, and shooting, so you can be well-prepared in the future when that tree could be an attacker.

Victimization Prevention

Pepper spray is an effective way to prevent victimization. As the economy worsens, more and more reports of criminals and the criminally-minded have surfaced. Women, the elderly, and the ever growing number of homeless individuals and families are being attacked in record numbers.

A common companion of those who travel, work out, or live alone, pepper spray is an effective way to prevent victimization. The fact that most pepper sprays work using a projectile delivery system means often times they can be easily used while keeping the attacker at a distance. The ten foot range can provide protection from a distance which may very well avoid the need to get physical or go hands on with an attacker.

The wide variety of designs currently available to conceal pepper spray, mace, and self defense spray make it easier to have your spray immediately available and possibly even catch your attacker or attackers off guard. These products include:

  • Cyclists Spray – Cyclists tend to choose pepper sprays that attach to the rider’s arms, legs or the bike’s frame and tears away easily for instant access. Another quality cyclists look for is the ballistic stream that directs itself toward the target while decreasing the chance of wind blow-back.
  • Jogger Self Defense Spray for Runners – Those jogging should consider pepper sprays with an adjustable hand strap or those that can easily attach to and detach from the arm. Also, look for ballistic streams that reduce the chances of having the wind blow the spray back towards the user.
  • Women are often caught off guard by attackers when performing distracting actions such as loading groceries, unlocking doors, or caring for children. Great tools that are readily accessible under most circumstances include the key chain pepper spray, pocket pepper sprays, and pen pepper sprays which are easy to access.
  • Elderly persons are most often overpowered by their attackers who view them as weak and defenseless. Instead of attempting to fight hands on with attackers, it’s best to keep them at a distance if possible. Magnum pepper sprays are great options with their long range and accuracy.