html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: I've also seen a fight in an Ethiopian restaurant, but it was men.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I've also seen a fight in an Ethiopian restaurant, but it was men.

I put this ad up on Craiglist last week, for a date this weekend. My thinking was that even I didn’t meet the guy, I would still get to do something fun.
Maybe you've lived in the East Bay or SF for a while, and you totally know that really cool thing to do, which sounds all dorky to tell people about, but turns out to be fun when you get into it? Maybe you're proud of knowing where you can get super yummy food at the place that no one would expect. Maybe you've planned out that date and have just been waiting for a girl who is game to go see that freak exhibit or amazing tree or unexpected treat.

Maybe you were hoping that girl would be a pretty blue-eyed brunette who alternates between transparently delighted enthusiasm and the occasional biting snark. Maybe you were also wishing that she were also pretty smart, so she wouldn't be intimidated that you are a geophysicist or rocket scientist or a behavioral economist or something like that. Maybe, you would be happy for good company and a sweet smile when you show me something neato about your neighborhood.

I'll be in Oakland this weekend, and free on Saturday day and Sunday day. If you are interested, please tell me about the date you've wanted to take someone on. You can send a picture, if you must, but I'll be much more interested in what you have to say. Please be close to my age and interested in the world.

It totally worked like that. I spent Saturday afternoon with a guy I don’t expect to hear from*, and it wasn’t a bummer at all. First off, he had the very good taste to take me to an incredibly good tacqueria. That was the best burrito I have had in years, and the Californians at least should understand how important that is. He paid for my lunch, which I have learned to receive gracefully, but still don’t think is right, now that the womenfolk are allowed to work outside the house and keep their own wages and stuff. I worry less about the injustice of it all, though, when my burrito and horchata came to a whole six dollars. Best of all, there was girl drama!

Yes! A very cute girl came to an abrupt stop outside the window and glared at another pretty girl working the counter. Then the outside girl stormed in, using words that my mother doesn’t know in combinations I didn’t know, and very emphatic gestures. They did posturing, and made threats! It was all very exciting. I wanted to know the backstory (one assumes a man who was not a gentleman made overtures to both of them), but instead, the girl from the outside was asked to leave. She spent some time on the sidewalk, looking death at the woman inside, although when I grinned at her and scrunched my nose like ‘what was all that’, she broke into a surprisingly cute smile, shrugged and we both laughed at her.

Even better is that I have seen a girlfight in a restaurant before! That one was more serious. We were at a Korean restaurant here in Sac. The place was nearly empty, ‘cept for one other table of Koreans. A woman came in shrieking, hellbent, and lifted a woman out of her chair by her hair. The shrieking woman did some pretty good damage; there were serious chunks of hair on the ground before they pulled her off. Of course we wanted to know why (I have to think a faithless husband this time), and Jonathan’s hairdresser is Korean and works in the same stripmall. We waited impatiently for his next haircut, but although his hairdresser knew about the fight, she showed tact and discretion, and didn’t tell us what it was about. Boooo!!!

The guy also showed me the view from the Mormon Temple, then we went up to the Navigation Trees exhibit in Joaquin Miller Park. It was a little far, but he wasn’t an ax murderer and didn’t try to stab me even a little. That proves for once and for all that it is perfectly safe to let strangers from the Internets drive you to remote woods. I don’t see why my friends keep saying “cell phone” when they cough. I was fine.

*Nice guy, handsome, mech-e. But he didn’t ask me anything about me. We talked about him for a while, then his work. I was able to ask him some decent questions about what he does, but he never wondered how I knew to ask that. After an hour or so, when I realized he hadn’t asked me anything, I decided not to tell him unless he did. We parted after three hours, and he didn’t know that I’m also an engineer, who I work for, that I play Ultimate or anything. Still and all, a good afternoon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure you are Google-immune? Try, say, Googling "Megan Sacramento" and see what comes up. Maybe he knows *lots* about you, and didn't want to lie by pretending he didn't, but didn't want to let on that he did...

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure you are Google-immune? Try, say, Googling "Megan Sacramento" and see what comes up. Maybe he knows *lots* about you, and didn't want to lie by pretending he didn't, but didn't want to let on that he did...

"Megan Sacramento" doesn't yield much beyond this blog and a few references to Megan's Law. Now, the man in question might have known Megan's last name, in which case he might have been able to find out more. My guess, however, is that he didn't know much about her and for whatever reason wasn't interested in knowing more. Some people are strange.

Iron Rails & Iron Weights

7:43 PM  
Anonymous eb said...

So, on to the important detail: where did you get that burrito?

8:40 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I won't tell you where the tacqueria was, but I'll go there with you.

Tyler and Peter:
He knew my last name and I swear, everything I've ever done in my life was put on the Internets by someone. It is actually quite an accurate portrait, except that I didn't run that half-marathon. (I went to CT to clean out my grandma's apartment and Ali used my registration.) But, my impression was that he wasn't very interested, and definitely not interested enough to google me.

I am still hoping that there is a disconnect between the blog and my full name. When that fails, I'll have to take the blog down.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous eb said...

The funny thing about that, is that I'll be in the east bay TWTh this week.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How odd. Not a question in 3 hours. I don't know about the rest of you, but I increasingly think the art of conversation is on the wane.. I said, I think the art...

2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure he didn't spend those three hours staring at your rack, driven out of his right mind by lust?

--- E

p.s. *cough* *cough* cell phone. Geez, Meggie - if you practice safe sex, practice safe dating too.

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sometimes don't ask questions about things if I think the other person might be uncomfortable receiving the question. And if I was talking to a girl for 3 hours and she never volunteered anything about herself, I think that would validate my suspicion that she didn't really want to get into it. My (perhaps false) expectation is that when I say where I work, the other person will volunteer where they work.

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He knew my last name and I swear, everything I've ever done in my life was put on the Internets by someone. It is actually quite an accurate portrait, except that I didn't run that half-marathon. (I went to CT to clean out my grandma's apartment and Ali used my registration.)

You're lucky. How'd you like to be me? I did a Google search for my full name and came up with precious little aside from my own rantings on Subchat and elsewhere. Most of the hits are to other people who share my name (a Scottish university economist, a copyist of ancient coins, and a Connecticut government official*) Not to mention a commercial photographer who's claimed my name as his .com domain name. It would be almost impossible for someone to write my biography based on Google results.

* = I lived in Connecticut until 1997 and occasionally got mail intended for him.

Iron Rails & Iron Weights

7:40 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Whatever. Being scared of people is a bad use of my time and thought. Scary people are rare.

(Don't go nuts, guys. Do not tell me about your friend who was attacked. If I get a bad vibe, I have zero fear of acting decisively to get myself into a safer situation. But within reasonable bounds, I'm not going to approach the world like it is dangerous; the costs of that mentality are too high to avoid a risk that rare.)

It's OK, I guess. If I could choose between being accurately represented and being completely unfindable, I would choose to be unfindable. But those are other people's reports and sporting events and like that, and they put my name. There's nothing to be done about it now.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scary people are rare.

I'd argue that HIV is also rare, but using a condom is a good precaution. Similarly, there's no reason to assume that everybody is out to get you, but having a cell phone handy is a good precaution since sometimes our initial judgments of people can be faulty. I wasn't saying carry a weapon, I was saying carrying a cell phone is a benign but useful thing to do when you're wandering around with somebody new, out in the woods.

And I guess I don't think of bad situations as being that rare. They're sort of like car accidents - most people I know have had at least one. Almost all of them survived, but just as it's good to drive defensively, it's good to allow for the possibility that something will go screwy.

More generally, though, there's a big difference between acting like chicken little, taking reasonable precautions, and assuming that bad things are so rare as not to worry.

Boy, I'm coming across as all serious and no fun, huh?

-- E

9:20 AM  
Anonymous justus said...

What would carrying a cell phone help prevent?

If he were going to rape and murder her all it would do is allow authorities to triangulate an aborted 911 call and find her violated, decomposing body a day or two later.

Clearly Megan needs to carry bear mace. Which has the additional benefit of also helping if she's attacked by a bear in these woods we're talking about. (Megan may be able to beat up her dates but bears, due to long training under communist Chinese monks, are unimpressed by TKD.)

And she'd need to wear an ankle brace on her dates, because she would certainly roll her ankle were she to attempt an escape over the poorly light, uneven ground.

Given the extraordinary explosion in cell phone usage and relatively unchanged rape and murder numbers during the same period I don't see that simply carrying a cell phone is a reasonable precaution. It seems more like a worthless safety blanket.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

It is true. Bear beats Ninja in Bear-Ninja-Cowboy.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous justus said...

Tsk tsk, Megan. Everyone knows it is bear-ninja-PIRATE.

the truth according to Dr. McNinja

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please tell where the burrito place is! I'm a faithful east bay reader and burrito lover.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With both your first name and your photo on this blog, I think it would be pretty easy to find it all out through google, by anyone who knew you. Peter said that "Megan Sacramento" immediately yielded this blog, so I suspect there would be no problem. Fortunately, the greatest protection in life is that unless one is a celebrity, very few people really *care* about your private life. People mostly care about themselves.

Those bear mace cannisters are enormous, I think they would really stand out in daily life. I think Megan should carry a stun gun (legal in California, surprisingly). Then she could watch her sinister attacker writhe in agony on the ground.

I sort of agree with Megan, tho. I've taken lots of risks in my life, and found the vast majority of people are generally well intentioned and trustworthy. Actually, everyone I've ever put myself in a vulnerable situation with has been that way. But for women I think it's somewhat riskier. The odds are definitely still with you, but they're not quite as favorable any more.


12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, oh, hey, Megan -- was this the only guy who answered your CL ad? Was this the only non-icky one out of hundreds? Or were there a dozen good answers, but you could only go out with one at a time? I'm intrigued with the total randomness and openness of Craigslist. It seems like for a woman it would produce a ton of responses, with an enormous variance.


12:49 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I do get a lot of responses (and talked about them more in the posts filed under PersonalAds) with a tremendous amount of variance.

There were other interesting respondents, but while I'll write about not dating, I don't usually write about potential or actual dates, on the grounds that those guys didn't mean to forfeit their privacy when they wrote me.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool ad. I like your attitude towards safety. Too much focus on the few scary people that are apparently very newsworthy, drives increasing amounts of GDP to be spent on safety devices that sit unused, and drain happiness by focusing us on what could go wrong. Simple things should be done (like commenter pointing out example of condoms) but it should be a risk/reward calculation that includes a cost for "safety" in mental thought/ and cruft that builds up (ie if you bought every safety related item in skymall you'd probably violate fire codes due to the amount of stuff you had in your newly foreclosed house)
However cell phones are useful for other more positive non safety related things (do I hear real time blogging of dates?)

Oh and there is something to be done about having your name out there if you want. Make up fake stuff to confuse matters!


1:20 PM  
Blogger ScottM said...

It does sound like a strange pattern for a date, babbling about yourself but not asking the other person to babble themselves.

Was he not very interested in you at all, or just not interested in anything beyond the one day?

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I forgot to say that I see the inability of americans to accept risk and the increasingly litigious and risk averse society spend large portions of GDP on protective measures (like the government wasting way more money on bureaucracy on grant/contract evaluation process than could ever be wasted by corruption -- or the cost of sarbanes oxley vs. the percentage decrease in likelihood of enron 2.0)

It all seems to be leading us towards the decline of the american empire under our own weight.


1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I am all in favor of Megan arming herself to the teeth, I wonder how useful it would be practically. If she is going to be attacked by someone she knows, the attacker will be on her before she has any chance to decide to deploy any of her weaponry however formidable. If she can fend off an attacker while simultaneously rummaging for a stun gun, she probably doesn't need the stun gun in the first place.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

He was very interested in Oakland, and talked a lot about the landmarks and neighborhoods we saw. He only talked at length about his job because I asked him questions because it was interesting. It wasn't that he was self-absorbed and bragging. It just didn't seem to occur to him to ask me about me.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Bob V.:
I would never be rummaging. I hate carrying bags and always have my hands free. If my stun gun didn't fit comfortably in an easy-to-access holster, or the knife doesn't slide quickly from the hidden loops in my boots, I wouldn't bother with it at all. Rummaging sucks.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just an aside. Sadly, my advice is from the experience of some people I know. Often there is a space between when the situation turns ugly and when an attack comes, and that's when it's useful to call for help. For one thing, it's a less violent way of dealing with a situation than Megan beating the shit out of a guy.

And now I'm really going to shut up b/c I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but I did want to clarify something about the way that some of these scenarios unfold.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous justus said...

If my stun gun didn't fit comfortably in an easy-to-access holster

So you're saying you need a Bat Utility Belt for dating?

That would be so hot.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Women with holsters for their stun guns: hot or not?

I vote "not" unless I'm taking her into the woods on a first date in which case I'd understand.

What about women with holsters for their Glock 36s?

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bah, the only bears nearby are big cuddly, friendly black bears. They're afraid of people. You don't need mace to scare them off, you just stand up, wave your arms and yell, and they'll go running.


4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It wasn't that he was self-absorbed and bragging. It just didn't seem to occur to him to ask me about me"

Maybe he was a touch nervous and trying to cover it up by talking a lot (making sure there were no awkward silences, etc.). Being nervous can make you unintentionally self-absorbed. I've had this problem on occasion, and have to watch for it.


6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay, maybe it's the pond between us, or maybe it's just that I'm an imaginary person, but I just don't get what you're saying.

Surely it's a matter of common courtesy to ask about the other person? "Maybe he was nervous"...what, for 3 hours?

And the idea that he found stuff on the internet and therefore didn't need to ask is just weird.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry: I feel I've known your soul for, at least according to your profile on myspace. Please.

1:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear the Internets are nought but a series of tubes that yield little more than a moribund echo when you yell into Them. No, wait--that's the Grand Canyons.

9:22 PM  

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