After graduating from UF in 2000, my future husband and I both had a travel bug to go west and see what adventures California had to offer. Since he graduated first and had a brother in Sacramento, he went there before me and started the job hunt. Wherever that job was would determine where we lived.
Luckily he found work with an advertising agency in San Francisco and I found work writing content for websites. We soon found ourselves in a very big, extremely expensive city with very little money and no place to live except for a seedy hotel downtown that we could rent by the week. We at least had enough to pay extra for a bathroom in our room instead of having to use the communal bathroom on each floor. We also had a vehicle, but it was parked far away by Golden Gate Park so we only had to move it every few days instead of every few hours. We would take the bus to go move the truck, drive around looking for a new spot, have lunch and go home.
We were only there for a little while when we met Dawn at a gathering for Sean’s work. I can’t even remember how we met, but it seems like we were all instant friends. Dawn invited us to go out with her friends, and again more instant friends. How could you not like a group of like-minded individuals whose past time was hunting for extravagant and free (free!) dotcom launch parties. Not on the list? No problem! We were about to learn the fine art of party crashing from the SF Girl and crew.
Dawn’s friend Patty had a website called SFgirl.com. It was mostly party reviews and pics from what I recall. This was enough to get into some parties, others we did the “walk in like you’re supposed to be there” method. Some parties had strict lists and those required some ingenuity and acting skills. I’ll never forget trying not to laugh as Dawn gave the guy at the door her name, which was mumbled and sounded suspiciously like female anatomy. As he looked confused and flustered, she grabbed the list and told him she’d find her name herself. Ten seconds later we were all treated to lavish spread of free sushi, drinks, balloons and freebies. There may have even been an ice luge. By then end of the evening, Dawn was dancing on chairs and I had snagged enough balloons to be in danger of floating away.
And so we rode the crest of the dotcom boom. Sometimes there were 2 or 3 parties in an evening, always with free food, drinks and schwag bags of free stuff. We were only there a few weeks when we ended up on the front page of the newspaper (as two blurs in the background, but still, front page!) in an article covering the SF party crashing culture. Eventually we managed to find a studio apartment in Union Square, a block away from our hotel. Me, Sean and my cat all lived in a space smaller than our current master bedroom. It had one room and a Murphy bed that pulled out of the wall. But while we may have had to scrounge for pennies if we wanted to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, we were still able to experience all the nightlife SF had to offer thanks to a thriving Internet economy.
Unfortunately all bubbles eventually burst and the launch parties gave way to Pink Slip parties as people were laid off and businesses closed. My web content work dried up as they all started to offer “exposure” instead of actual money. The chilly grey San Francisco weather started to wear on me and it was time to move on to a sunnier place and start our next adventure in San Diego.
You can see a little bit of what remains of the SFgirl.com website here:
Dawn has her own blog about her post-SF wanderings:
And Patty has an Etsy shop with vintage finds: