Safety and the Single Lady Volume 4
I Absolutely Hate To Repeat Myself...
But it's fairly obvious I am going to have to do exactly that. I've spoken many times, ladies, about my years on the other side of the bar and all of the human interactions I've stood and observed over a 20 year period. Outside of my own interesting takes on dating, failed marriages, and other unsavory topics, I have gathered other tales of woe from the women who write to me about my column as well. I really need you single ladies to pay attention to the tips this time around, because I'm seeing some dangerous behavior in my public dealings, and it's not a good look.
The number of women with their business plastered everywhere like a phone number in a bathroom stall is as appalling as being in a bathroom stall.
I don't even know how to make this a funny article...
I'm seriously that worried about these young women out here today, airing out their business and their every move. The number of women with their business plastered everywhere like a phone number in a bathroom stall is as appalling as being in a bathroom stall. Ladies, how many times have I said to turn the location service off. Stop telling everyone where you're headed and when you'll be there. Let me share a little something with you girls who don't seem to pick up what I'm laying down...
Have we met? Because you're telling me details about me that I know I've never told you, and that no stranger to me should know.
In my years as a bartender, I had to market myself via social media...
It's simply a part of bartending. Even waitstaff have patrons who simply come in because their favorite person is working, and they like to support the staff they're fond of. I have used social media as a marketing tool since its' onset because it's the easiest way to speak to 500 patrons at once.
I was behind the bar a few years ago, and after my standard "hey, slingin drinks from 2 to 2 today", or whatever the scenario, I got a message through social media from someone who had several mutual friends saying that he would be up for a beer later in the evening. Ok, awesome, don't forget to tip your bar staff, see you later.
Let me go ahead and clarify, I had not ever met this man. I had not ever had a conversation with this man. We were not friends on social media. He could see my posts because they were open to "friends of friends". This is no longer the case.
I knew that you lived behind the coffee shop...I saw it on your page, that you walked your dogs to grab a coffee every day...
I didn't think that putting my life on display was a problem...
I'm not that chic. I'm not that sit there, wring my hands, worry a bunch, and not address the problem chic. I'm the chic that will punch you in your throat if you get in my personal space and make me feel like my boundaries are being encroached upon.
So after an uneventful bar visit with the standard chit chat with this stranger, I, of course, continue living my life. Then I put a community assistance message out for gifts for a coworkers child. Just like I do for dogs in the public eye today, I championed for kids who needed Santa visits.
The friend of friends replies. I tell him what the child wants from Santa, and he promises to buy it and bring it by. I'm assuming, naturally, that he means he's going to drop it at the bar. Imagine my surprise and horror when the following night I come in from work and there is a wrapped gift, addressed to the child, on my front porch.
There is also a card for me. From the friend of friends. Who clearly has located my home and come to drop gifts there while I'm at work. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone, complete with the spooky ass theme music now blaring in my mind.
I send the guy a message...
I want to know how he knows where I live, first and foremost, because I don't know this guy to recognize him in a crowd, honestly.
He has deduced as much from my posts, that he knew I walked my dogs to the coffee shop every day, that there was a picture of my bougainvillea plants in front of my very recognizably teal set of chairs, that he drove that way (down my very quiet, very much undriven by through traffic street) to work every day, and he had recognized my house from this photo, etc. etc.
I'm uncomfortable to the point of sitting my phone down and walking away from it. I start rethinking the conversation that he made with me the day he came for a beer, and I realized that as he was sitting there, several of my usual suspects were talking with me about my dogs, my recent break up, my plans for the evening.
I realized at that moment that too many people knew way too much, and I was the reason for that.
It was time to make some changes, and swiftly.
He came to the bar the following day to apologize...
I'm at work, so my number one rule is not to let my personal feelings about a patron get in the way of my money. It's how I've lasted this long in the industry, and I live by that code.
So, I'm smiling and talking and avoiding the elephant in the room.
He is doing 90% of the talking, and I realize he is continuously delving for personal details that I would never share with a man that I don't know. The questions that he is asking are leading, and they're about things I care about, places I actually frequent, dogs I really have... I'm semi bothered at this point because it's clear he has made it a point to read about me like I'm the morning edition of The Times.
It drove the point home to me that some people have the time to sit and study you if they can access the cliff notes. I had written them out myself, and by practicing unsafe social media habits, I had handed them directly to someone who had an unhealthy interest in the life of a woman he had never met before.
Get on your apps, ladies, and turn off the "friend of friends" access. Turn the location service off on your phone. Stop checking in to places. Check your contacts and if people that you do not know in the real world have access to the details of your life, either limit the access or limit the details.
I'm fortunate that I learned this lesson the easy way. I've had many other lessons taught the hard way. Ladies, we are responsible for the tools that we hand to strangers that they use to approach us. Stop putting your life out like a bulletin on a board. You never know what person is going to stop and read it. And you certainly don't know what they're going to do with that information.