Longform

Foursquare mayors reveal their territorial ambitions

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Simone joined Foursquare a few months ago, after her BlackBerry was stolen and she replaced it with an iPhone. She was hooked immediately. "Once I started using it, I was gung-ho. I was like, okay, I'm in it!" she says. She started checking in everywhere: the grocery store, the vet, the dog park. Her first mayorship was of her Lakewood home. Her second was of La Bohème. In both cases, she was the first person to claim the title.

It was a different story at Shotgun Willie's, where there was already a virtual sheriff in town: the elusive Lizzie B. "She may be a dancer, she may be a cocktail waitress. I'm not sure," Simone says. "I'd just see 'Lizzie, Mayor.' And I was like, 'I'm going to get that Lizzie!'" It took about a month, but after twenty check-ins, Foursquare declared Simone the new mayor of Shotgun Willie's. Lizzie didn't congratulate her. In fact, the two have never met. "We've never had words about our mayorship," Simone admits.

Simone holds eight mayorships in all, including MAC Cosmetics in Cherry Creek; Pets N Stuff in Lakewood; the Sally's Beauty Supply on South Colorado Boulevard; and a Starbucks, where she always orders an iced soy mocha latte.

It was a co-worker at MAC who told her about the job at Shotgun Willie's. Simone spoke to the head makeup artist, who liked her work and hired her on the spot. "For me, it's just like any other job except [the clients] happen to get naked and dance," she says. "They expect you to show up on time, do your job and don't disrespect anybody."

Simone just loves doing makeup. "If I can do makeup at a bus stop in Kentucky, I'll do makeup at a bus stop in Kentucky." And she keeps her work life and her personal life separate. "After I'm done, I go home," she says, adding that she doesn't think any of the dancers know that she's the Foursquare mayor. "I just do it for fun, just to be silly."

Simone says her dad has questioned her obsessive Foursquar-ing. "He's like, 'Do you know that everybody knows where you go?'" she says. And while she admits that it can be a bit intrusive, she uses the program's privacy settings so that only her friends can see a real-time tally of where she checks in.

Tonight, she admits that she's been to five of the places where she's mayor since this morning. "This is not helping me," she adds with a smile. "This is not going to get me a boyfriend."

— Melanie Asmar

 

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Jarrod Munger

Queen Soopers

1155 East Ninth Avenue

It's fitting that the badges you can collect on Foursquare share a name with the awards that Boy Scouts earn. Like Boy Scout merit badges, they are a mark of pride. Also like Boy Scout badges, they are lame. Then again, the whole concept of Foursquare is kind of lame — something that Jarrod Munger, a 29-year-old software engineer who downright dominates Capitol Hill in terms of mayorships, acknowledges.

"I am the mayor of Queen Soopers," he says, chuckling about the dubious distinction of being mayor of a grocery store named for its location in a gay-friendly part of town. "My boyfriend was really, really sad when I got that one." Actually, that particular King Soopers, at Ninth and Corona, has three designations in the Foursquare universe: a correct spelling (King Soopers), an incorrect spelling (king's souper) and the aforementioned nickname. "I think I'm the mayor of all three," Munger admits. Then he sighs: "Yeah."

Munger has about twenty mayorships — which include the popular Releaf Center medical marijuana dispensary, BJ's Carousel, a liquor store, two gas stations and, perhaps most notably, Wash Park (again, one of several versions on Foursquare) — but what really sucked him in were the badges, especially the location-based tie-ins to TV programs or events. "I kind of like them more than the mayorships," he reflects.

What's the point? Foursquare describes it thus: "Earning badges proves that you are more social than your friends." And if that's the case, Munger is very social: He's got 25 of them. There's the one he got from the History Channel for visiting the Capitol Building and the Molly Brown House, and another he got from the Logo TV network for showing up at Tracks nightclub, which was a tie-in to Logo's "A List," a reality show that, as Munger describes it, "follows some homos around."

"Doesn't your life feel more glamorous already?" the badge rhetorically asks.

"It's more bragging rights than anything else," Munger explains. "And it's not even really bragging rights. My boyfriend is ashamed sometimes when I tell him, like, 'Oh, I got this badge.'

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