By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
By Emma Silvers
By Alee Karim
So I placed a personal ad on Craigslist recently and got about 25 responses, three of which seemed like people I might actually want to meet. From those three, two people did the flaky thing of conversing back and forth for a few e-mails and then dropping off the face of the Earth. Which left one guy, whose e-mail name was Slap Happy. This either meant that he had an easy laugh or that he was a frequent masturbator. He sent a picture of himself to me, a photo where he's in a bar, scrunching his face up playfully with an interesting hat on his head ... heck, that was enough for me.
We conversed back 'n' forth for a while. He wanted to meet at Dalva in the Mission, at 7 p.m. I said OK. He said he had never done this whole ad thing. I said that's OK because I'm no pro at it, either. He said I was real, not like all those other girls out there. We chit-chatted a bit more, and then he dropped into the conversation that he had met so many freaks on Craigslist that he was starting to lose faith. I said whoa, dude, you said you had never run ads before. Which is it? He got all flustered and pissed, saying that if I was going to take apart every word he said, that I could just forget it. Somewhere, deep inside me, a little voice said, "Don't meet this guy."
I showed up to Dalva to meet this guy. Dalva is a great place. It's pretty basic, with a long bar and tables in the back and dim lighting. But the bartender that night, Jimmy, was just phenomenal, and the DJs, John and Ronnie, were playing everything from Sufjan Stevens to Hall and Oates. If I ended up liking the guy, the night was just gonna be perfect. Yep.
I ordered a Jameson with a beer back and waited. The guy to my right was laughing to himself a lot, sort of like he was insane. The guy on my left had the face of Pat Sajak and the hair of Donald Trump. Eventually the guy on my left began to poke me with a sly grin. "Heeyyyy," he said to me. "Is it you?" I turned and focused my eyes, searching for the same face I had seen in the picture. I added about 15 years to it, some hair spray, and a whiff of desperation, and I had Slap Happy in the flesh. Oh, dear.
"Sooo," he said to me. "You're 5'9"? Let's just test that theory." Oooh, I like a take-charge guy. We stood up and faced each other and were the exact same height. We sat down again and he began furiously typing into his BlackBerry. We had small talk in between his other conversations, and overall he was really giving me the creeps. It was time to have some fun. I'm not sure how I worked it in, but the next thing I said went something like this: "Well, ever since I went through surgery to become a full woman, I've really been trying to put myself out there. For the first time in my life I really feel whole."
Slappy froze a bit, with an awkward smile on his face. "You're kidding, right?" he said.
"No, I'm not," I said calmly, as if I was used to this reaction. "I like to get it right out in the open, to be totally honest about the fact that I'm a transsexual."
"Wow," he said. "I bet a lot of people bolt after they hear that, huh?" People like him, I ventured to guess. I said yeah, there were a lot of close-minded people out there. I told him that we could sleep together and he would never know. He said no way, he would be able to tell. I was surprised that a man who looked like he had never even been inside anything other than his right hand would know.
He began to giggle like someone who was actually crying on the inside. He wanted me to prove that I used to be a man. I showed him my Adam's apple. I don't have an Adam's apple, but that didn't seem to matter. He asked me why my voice was so high. I said hormones. It was at this point that I got hit with a huge allergy attack. My face puffed up, I was sneezy, and I had tears running down my cheeks.
"I'll just sit over here," said Slappy, moving away two seats. I wasn't sure if it was the sneezing or the fact that he saw me as a transwoman. Either way I was glad. I also had a newfound respect for transgender people and what they go through. Imagine if I had actually liked this guy?
Once I let my hair down and came clean about my sexuality, Slappy felt like he needed to do the same. He showed me his BlackBerry. He had a different woman's name next to the hours in his calendar: 7 p.m., Katie; 8 p.m., Melanie; 9 p.m., Ashley. It went on until 11. It turns out he does this every night. He meets women on Craigslist and blitz-dates. He figures he spends 600 bucks a week on it. Friday night was going to be special. He had dates lined up starting at 5. Then he had written in "buy condoms" at 8 p.m., preparing for his date with someone named Miriam at 9 someone who, like me, probably thought he was a reasonably attractive guy in his late 20s who wears interesting hats.