I live in downtown Berkeley next door to a men’s shelter. Every morning after breakfast some of the men come outside, stand around on the sidewalk, and talk. I usually pass them twice, once on my way to or from the gym and again on my way to work. One of the men is named Kieran.
I work four blocks from my apartment and once my boss compared my neighborhood after dark to the Tenderloin is San Francisco. Yes, there are a lot of encampments but it’s not the Loin. I am afraid to walk by myself alone at night in the Tenderloin. Actually, I’m terrified. I’ve never been afraid in Berkeley.
I feel like the homeless population has a lot better things to do than harm me. Also, there are not many mentally ill homeless people in Berkeley that I’ve encountered. The worst thing anyone has ever yelled at me on the street is, “Anorexic bitch!” I kind of liked it.
Kieran talks to all the women who pass by him. Sometimes he walks beside or behind me. Sometimes his buddies tell him to shut up and sometimes they join in. He doesn’t whisper as I pass. He recites the same script with vigor every day.
Kieran: Keep smiling sweetheart. You are very pretty. I like what you have on. I’m telling you that if he doesn’t marry you he’s a fool and it’s a damn shame.
Sometimes Kieran talks about his twin sister Keira. Sometimes he asks me my name or if I forgot something (when I pass by him more than once). I once heard him ask about the daughter of a woman who works in a government building. It was the girl’s birthday. Kieran is predictable but today he changed the script.
Kieran’s script change freaked me out a little bit. He said, “I probably won’t kidnap you but I’d like it if you’d spend some time with me.” I don’t feel particularly comfortable being sized up multiple times a day by Kieran. Mentioning kidnapping as I was turning the lock on my apartment building wasn’t cool. I guess I should move to Walnut Creek. No fucking way! He did say that he wasn’t going to do it. Probably.
What do you do when a man asks you out and says, “Let’s do something fun?”
Tell him that you look forward to finding out what fun plans he comes up with.
Assume he’s talking about sex and head to the family planning section of your nearest drugstore.
Research and poll all your friends. You are #1 fun date planner.
I’m the #1 fun date planner type. The date would have been tonight so my first step was to research various sites (Berkeleyside, Fun Cheap SF, etc.) to find out if there were any fun events happening tonight. A “fun” event might be an art party or when Romper Room in San Francisco turned the bar into a giant ball pit.
In this case I couldn’t really find anything. I very briefly thought about the Dirty Old Women Literary Salon at Octopus in Oakland but decided that would be weird. On St. Patrick’s Day I polled my friends who were with me drinking green beer. Lucky for me, one of my friends is the Nosh writer for Berkeleyside (that’s two mentions in one post K!).
I typically think fun dates involve some type of alcohol and play. Kink Studios tour, Thursday night at Exploritorium, and Playland Japan all in SF are examples. I wasn’t sure if he meant going into the city when he asked for fun. My friend K said that: 1. The East Bay is the best (agreed). 2. Usually people who are visiting have their own idea of what’s fun to do in San Francisco. 3. She’d ask her BF to create a Tenderloin Tour for me (stay tuned for that blog post). It’s challenging getting into the city for a weeknight date IMO.
K and I started talking about how much we love San Pablo Avenue. There are many wonders to behold from Oakland to El Cerrito on San Pablo Avenue. Here’s a short list (all great date locations as well): Albany Aquarium, Tap Plastics, Missouri Lounge, Tokyo Fish Market, and Albany Bowl is one of the most fun places in the whole world. I love taking dates to Albany Bowl with a Hotsy Totsy Club and parking lot El Autlense taco truck chaser.
Albany Bowl is the best. It’s not at all for hipsters. There are a lot of sheet cake type birthday parties going on there on any given night. There’s arcade games and skeeball. There’s a dive bar attached with darts where you can get pitchers of good beer (Lagunitas) to bring back to your lane. There’s also a diner for feasting.
Bowling is so fun even though I get worse when I drink and everyone else seems to get better. Circumstances prevented me from showing the guy that I am the #1 fun date planner. I wonder if he would have had fun? Actually, scratch that. I KNOW he would have had a blast.