This past weekend, I attended San Diego Comic-Con and practiced some of my crusty networking skills. Out of the many great experiences from that weekend (Jason Ritter thinks I am his stalker…which is only partially false), one experience proved to me just how similar dating and networking are. It all started when I zeroed in on the Warner Bros booth, hoping to slurp up some free swag. Comic-Con exposed my disgusting desperation for free things I’ll never use in a million years. I literally waited in line for two hours (!), pushing and shoving my way through children and the elderly, just to get a poster tube from the Fox booth. I will never use that poster tube. Ever. And yet, I felt like I would die if I didn’t get my hands on it.
Naturally, my ears perked up when Warner Bros employees started scanning badges for opportunities for more free swag. I started friendly conversation with the WB guy scanning my badge, and soon we realized we had a lot in common. He graduated from USC, I currently attend USC, he works for Warner Bros, I want to work for Warner Bros (or anyone, really). Hey folks, I was networking! Of course, he asked for a business card – which I had JUST ordered and hadn’t received yet (curse you for terrible timing, past Carly). So instead, he asked for my number (with promises of a tour of the Warner Bros studios for me and four friends!), and I complied. I should have suspected something was amiss when he hugged me and sort of ended on a neck nuzzle. And his name was something stupid, like “Disco”.
Over the next two days at Comic-Con, I got various texts from Disco. One asked me to stop by the DC booth and see him again, another gave me his e-mail, another wondered if he had missed me because he never saw me at the DC booth, and another gave me his e-mail AGAIN since I hadn’t e-mailed him in the last four hours since he first gave me his e-mail. Of course, these all came in at various hours in the morning, including 2 AM.
After rinsing the bad taste of Disco out of my networking history, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s a fine line between awesome and creepy when it comes to networking and dating, and you’ve got to take risks in both. Some will work out beautifully; you exchange information after an initial spark, meet up again, and they help make your future a better place. And then there are the Discos of the world, who abuse your information and hint at the possibility of gracing you with the stalker you wished you never had. If you’re reading this, Disco…I sleep with mace under my pillow.