Safari Guide: David Perloff / Wildlife Photographer: Brevin Blach
During the ice age, saber tooth tigers walked among humans... and ate them. Millions of years later, freerange San Diego Homo sapiens face a new-fangled predator, the Finest City Feline. Rawwwrrr!
Tonight, cheetahs Gretchen and Erica are headed into the animal kingdom to see what fresh meat they can sink their single teeth into.
Picking up dates at bars may seem prehistoric, but even Neanderthals had man caves and night clubs (they used day clubs for self-defense). So strap on your pith helmets - wearing protection is critical - and buckle up for something wild.
It's a jungle out there. Someone's about to get stalked.
BY WAY: Sacramento, Calif.
STAY: Golden Hill
PAY: Property manager
PLAY: "I like to laugh, dance and play. Oh, and eat."
PREY: I'm searching for true love. He has to be funny. He cannot wear a deep V. And, for the love of God, he can't have any chin hair."
TODAY: "I hope I'll get drunk. Oh, God... that's bad. I hope that I will find true love , we'll get eloped... and then we'll go to different countries and sail the seven seas."
FROM: Thousand Oaks, Calif.
STAY: Golden Hill
PAY: Graphic Design
PLAY: "I enjoy wine tasting; going out to eat; interior design; and hunting for treasures at the swap meet, garage sales and thrift stores."
PREY: "Ideally I would like to find somebody smart, driven, goal-oriented and just funny. And good-looking is always a plus."
TODAY: "I hope Erica meets someone nice that she can have a relationship with."
The first stop on this evening's adventure is Waterfront in Little Italy . Currently celebrating its 80th anniversary, this wildlife watering hole opened in 1933, the same year Balboa Park's Museum of Natural History did.
In search of prey, Gretchen and Erica stray-cat strut among the natives. They find groups of men mingling in small herds, but struggle to snag victims for free drinks and subsequent obligatory interviews with PacificSD.
Girls Gone Wild
Minx, winks and high jinks
The hunt takes a turn when Erica Marks her territory, separating a young buck from the pack. After the two have had a chance to talk for about 15 minutes, they're split so the male can discuss his mating rituals and whether he's met his match.
Mark and his hat have been in town for a week. They're visiting from out of state and are heading home tomorrow.
PacificSD: Where are you from?
What do you do for a living? MARK:
MARK:I work for a tool company as an implementation engineer... and do bull-riding as well.
What are you doing in San Diego? MARK:
MARK:I'm here seeing a doctor, getting some rehab done for my shoulder.
Rehab from what? MARK:
MARK:Bull riding. Tore my labrum.
They can't fix shoulders in Texas? MARK:
My bad. You ever break any bones? MARK:
MARK:I have broke a hundred and eight bones to this date.
How many bones do you have? MARK:
MARK:I have no idea.
What do you think of Erica? MARK:
MARK:She's a really pretty girl, looks like Kristin Cavallari off of "The Hills."
Is this the kind of girl you're looking for in a date?
First impression, yeah. She seems like a real cool girl, a lotta fun.
Rate her on a scale from one to 10 for her looks. MARK:
MARK:I'd give her a 10. I think she's a hot girl.
Which of you is smarter? MARK:
MARK:I'm probably tough to beat in the smarts category. She'd have an uphill battle, anyway.
What's the sexiest thing about her? MARK:
MARK:I'm a big fan of blonde hair.
What's the least sexy thing about her? MARK:
MARK:The cheetah outfit she's wearing.
Playing pool with a wildcat takes balls - 15 of them plus the cue ball. Mark's game (double-entendre intended), so he racks 'em up for a quick round with Erica. From the first shot, it's clear he's the dominant player.
Suddenly, Gretchen arrives in the clearing with a male in her clutches. She caught his scent, tracked him down and tempted him with a complimentary cocktail. Her quarry, Adam, appears to have a lot of friends at Waterfront this evening. Today's his birthday.
PacificSD: Where are you from? ADAM:
ADAM:By San Diego State.
Where do you live now? ADAM:
ADAM:By San Diego State.
What are you looking for in a date? ADAM:
ADAM:Someone that's smart, easygoing, not too uptight.
What were your first impressions of Gretchen? ADAM:
ADAM:I thought she was cute. She's outgoing, easy to talk to.
What do you think of her outfit? ADAM:
ADAM:I like her style.
Rate her on a scale from one to 10 for looks. ADAM:
Which of you is smarter? ADAM:
ADAM:That's hard to tell - short conversation.
What's the sexiest thing about her? ADAM:
ADAM:She has confidence. It's nice to not have to do any work... when girls just come to you, that's nice.
And the least sexy thing? ADAM:
ADAM:I'm not into girls that are taller than me.
Shortly after his interview, Adam returns to his flock. This has been a catch-and-release program for Gretchen, who has already given up the chase.
Testing the waters over a game of billiards
Mark sinks the Eight Ball without noticing that he has left one of his own balls on the table. Despite nearly falling off the table while shooting earlier in the game, Erica wins by default and celebrates with a victory dance.
Love flows freely at the Waterfront, even during the rainy season. Despite the reproductive possibilities, however, Gretchen and Erica aren't managing to get their paws on any Discovery Channel-style romance, so they jump into the limo for the short trip over to the Gaslamp. Before the hunt continues, they discuss their conquests thus far.
PacificSD: How was the Waterfront? ERICA:
ERICA:The Waterfront bar was great. One day I will get married in the Waterfront. Someone will carry me off on their motorcycle... one day.
Talk about the guy you met. ERICA:
ERICA:He was so nice. He was a gentleman. I would never want to sleep with him.
Why not? ERICA:
ERICA:He wasn't like funny or charismatic, just like one of those nice, genuine, boring... [with a Southern twang] barrels and oil.
Which one of you is smarter? ERICA:
ERICA:Honestly, I would normally think the guy would be. But in this case, I definitely won... the case.
Do you know what he does for a living? ERICA:
ERICA:He's a bull-rider. He bull-rides.
Why did you pick him? ERICA:
ERICA:Nobody would talk to me. He was the only guy that would talk to me. He liked me, so I talked to him.
What was the best thing about the guy? ERICA:
ERICA:His Levis jeans.
What was the worst thing? ERICA:
ERICA:His Levis jeans.
PacificSD: What did you think of the Waterfront? GRETCHEN:
GRETCHEN:I like Waterfront, because it is casual and unpretentious. People there are friendly, and the atmosphere is cozy.
Why did you pick Adam? GRETCHEN:
GRETCHEN:Because he looked like Don Draper on Mad Men.
Which of you is better looking? GRETCHEN:
Describe his sexiness or lack thereof. GRETCHEN:
GRETCHEN:I thought he seemed like a legitimate person, but he's 26 and lives by SDSU. So, I'm questioning what the f*** he has going on. If you don't go to State, why do you live by SDSU?
Which of you is smarter? GRETCHEN:
GRETCHEN:I'm always smarter, and you can quote me on that. Please do.
Do you want to have babies with him? GRETCHEN:
What would your babies be like? GRETCHEN:
What's the best thing about him? GRETCHEN:
What was the worst thing about him? GRETCHEN:
Prey For Me
A search for mates at a meating place
The safari caravan lets off at Fifth and Market, in the heart of the Gaslamp. The place is a zoo.
Inside barleymash, a private table is reserved for the blind dating experiment. To nourish the predators mid-hunt, the chef sends out some of the joint's game-heavy flatbreads piled high with duck, short rib and other fresh kills.
While Erica scans the horizon for victims, Gretchen rests her legs and tries some pies. When her strength returns, she rejoins the pursuit, disappearing into the crowd in search of her hunting partner.
There's enough flatbread to feed whatever male representatives of the species the ferocious daters may scare up, but none show. Have the cats lost their scent?
Actually, it turns out the cats that are lost altogether. Despite his best efforts, the wildlife photographer cannot track them. The felines have made a beeline, so we pack our gear, terminate the expedition and head back to urbana.
The next day, we catch up to the wildcats at their den.
PacificSD: What did you think of barleymash? GRETCHEN:
GRETCHEN:Barleymash was going off. The music was great, but it was really hard to talk to anyone or find people to interview because it was so loud in there.
Barleymash is a divine place where one can hope to find true love.
You vanished. What happened? GRETCHEN:
GRETCHEN:I lost Erica in the crowd, so I went to look for her. She was talking to some Canadian guys, buying them shots. We ditched them.
I met a wonderful group of Canadians. Things were going well for about 30 minutes, but then I got bored. So I vanished on them.
What was the funniest part of the date? GRETCHEN:
GRETCHEN:Watching Erica try to play pool with the "Cowboy." [air quotes]
The funniest part of the night was playing pool with the bull-rider. I think I hight the Eight Ball in 25 times, but somehow I still won.
What did you learn about dating last night? GRETCHEN:
GRETCHEN:I learned that most guys in relationships will not mention that they aren't single until you ask them to be interviewed by a magazine.
I learned absolutely nothing about dating.
Where will you find your next date? GRETCHEN:
GRETCHEN:I have a boyfriend- that was supposed to be the surprise-twist ending of this bizarre dating game. He will be taking me on my next date. Thank God, because pickings are slim these days... unless you're into cowboys.
I will find my next date in hopefully a library of some sorts.
AFTERMATCH: Erica snared a bull-riding cowboy last night, but the animal attraction wasn't there. To be fair, Mark may be allergic to cats, anyway. He did say the least sexy thing about Erica was, "That cheetah outfit she's wearing."
A wolf in sheep's clothing can pillage a flock, but feral women in cats' pajamas are tougher to spot. As for Gretchen, she really is a cat - a lion... lyin' about being single.
Gretchen said "most guys in relationships will not mention that they aren't single until you ask them to be interviewed by a magazine," and then admitted having a boyfriend while being interviewed by a magazine.