The solution to SF dating woes
This week, the San Francisco Chronicle ran an article titled, “Is San Francisco actually the worst place for single women?” The piece follows on the heels of a study conducted by the Wall Street Journal and Facebook to determine the U.S. cities that are most conducive to finding a significant other. Sadly, out of 50 cities, San Francisco came in last.
In the SF Chronicle story, I was quoted as saying that I feel invisible in SF and attractive whenever I leave—and it seems I’m not alone. All of the women interviewed for the article said as much. And the one male interviewed, the founder of a dating app, made a kindred statement, “The courtship culture is just much less aggressive here.”
Less aggressive, indeed… The men here are different; they don’t fit into the mainstream bro culture from which they came. They left their home states and landed on the California coast to be arty or nerdy or both. They don’t want to be the kind of men who walk up to women in bars with cheesy pick up lines.
The women here are also different—they’re independent as hell. They want to start and run companies and travel the world. They don’t want to be the kind of women who wait around for guys to approach them, yet they do, because after a long day of acting like men to gain respect at work, all they want is feel like a woman.
San Francisco is a place that defies gender stereotypes. It’s a city in which both men and women embody masculine and feminine characteristics—and that’s a good thing. Our men are sensitive and our women strong. This is also a city where commitment (to anything) is hard to come by; it’s a place where there is no social pressure to settle down—do whatever you want, whenever, with whomever and you’ll still fit in. All of this makes for a group of people with a lot to offer and a dating scene that’s tricky to navigate.
Go to any San Francisco bar and you’ll see a bunch of single men and women standing around ignoring each other…pulling out their phones to strike up superficial text convos on Tinder and OkCupid—because it’s seemingly easier. What a waste of a night out on the town!
This strikes me as bizarre, as San Franciscans display tremendous ambition—or aggression, as it was referred to earlier—in their professional lives. People take big risks starting their own businesses, work their asses off to land (and keep) gigs at Google and elsewhere, and push themselves to physical extremes running marathons and wind surfing. Yet (!) these same go-getters turn to stone in the face of mingling, flirting and asking each other out in person. I just doesn’t make sense.
This piece is a call to action—for men and women. For those of you who are interested in more than casual sex, it’s time to get the f*ck out there and act like you care. Check people out, smile at them, walk up to them and start a conversation. Several things will happen: a) you’ll get more dates, and maybe some new friends, b) you’ll have more fun as a singleton, c) you’ll get better at communicating, and d) you’ll get over your fear of rejection—ALL of which will help you be a better person in the rest of your life. Huzzah!
It’s time for all of us to stop complaining about the dating scene in SF, wishing it were different. Instead, try making it different. I chat with strangers all of the time, and what do you know, I have no shortage of dates. Try getting flirty IRL and see what happens…