Findingthe mayor of Shotgun Willie's
In spite of the fact that Foursquare enables oversharing (I'm at the grocery store! I'm at the gynecologist! I'm at the grocery store, and so is my gynecologist!), the program does a fairly good job of protecting users' identities. Users go solely by their first names and last initials, and there is no gratuitous "About Me" section that lists their hometowns, sexual preferences and favorite TV shows, let alone their e-mail addresses or phone numbers.
So while a simple search of Foursquare told me that Leesa S. was the mayor of Shotgun Willie's, I didn't know whether she was a straight 30-year-old from Aurora who likes Jersey Shore or a bicurious 20-year-old from Denver who never misses an episode of Swamp People.
I also had no way to contact her. So I did what people (read: stalkers) did before the internet was invented and we all became lazy: I printed her Foursquare profile, which included a sultry photo, and I showed up at Shotgun Willie's.
It was a Monday night and the parking lot wasn't full. Still, when I walked in, I had to get in line behind two middle-aged men whom the staff seemed to know well. After the cashier finished changing their twenties for singles, he turned his attention to me.
I held out my business card and introduced myself as a reporter for Westword. "Have you heard of Foursquare?" I asked. Luckily, he had. "We're writing a fun story about the Foursquare mayors of various businesses in town, and Shotgun Willie's is one of them," I explained. Then I held out Leesa's profile. "I'm looking for Leesa."
The cashier summoned the general manager, and I gave him the same spiel. For a second, I worried that he was going to throw my ass out. But it was just the opposite. "Great!" he said. "She's actually here right now. Do you want to meet her?"
I said yes, and he turned and began to walk through the club's dimly lit main floor, past neon-rimmed platforms upon which topless dancers were doing their thing. I followed him, wondering whether he was going to stop at one of the platforms and make an introduction. Instead, he led me down a flight of stairs and into what looked like the backstage area of a community theater. Only it was populated with thong-clad women.
Sitting in front of several boxes of cosmetics was Leesa, fully clothed. The manager introduced her as their makeup artist. Then he turned to her and said I wanted to talk to her about Foursquare. I cut in and repeated the same explanation I'd given upstairs.
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"Oh!" she said. "I thought maybe you were a new dancer and you wanted to steal my mayorship!" Her comment was both flattering and unlikely -- and not just because I don't own a smartphone capable of Foursquare-ing.
Leesa was bubbly and articulate, and she agreed to do the interview right then and there. I sat down across from her and pulled out my notebook and tape recorder. Meanwhile, around us, dancers prepared for their turns on the platforms, fixing their hair, adjusting their outfits and occasionally asking Leesa for help. One dancer needed superglue to fix a broken stiletto. Another asked if Leesa could keep an eye on her feather-adorned whip. When she came back to claim it, she tapped Leesa on the ass as she walked past.
Then she did the same to me.
For more on Foursquare mayors and the odd things they preside over, read "Foursquare mayors reveal their territorial ambitions," our collective feature this week.