feb. 12, 2004
Stuff that happened to me this past week
feb. 4, 2004
San Francisco: The City of Lazy Singles
I don't usually buy the uber-WASPy San Francisco magazine, but as I was standing in line at the store to buy my bulk of vitamins for the month, the cover was staring right at me and I had to pick it up. Bascially when a single gal like myself sees a cover headline that says, "Looking for Love in the Nation's Toughest Dating Scene," I can't NOT pick it up. Plus the girl on the cover slightly looked a little like me and I wanted to see if she had much luck dating... of course, I realized half way into the article that: (A) she was a model not someone they interviewed, and (B) models never have trouble finding dates. Duh.
The article discussed exactly what I suspected all along. I'm in the wrong city if I want to end up in a relationship that lasts longer than the typical lifespan of a Winger tribute band. Ugh.
Apparently unlike New York, Chicago or Boston, this town I dwell in is full of people who refuse to flirt, who never go out to mingle and would rather watch TV with pals than hit the dance clubs. And I have to admit, I'm one of them. The closest thing I get to first base (though I think it counts more as a foul run), is when I shameless flirt with coworkers who have no clue I'm hitting on them. Oh, and the pizza delivery guy and I have a secret romance. It's so secret he doesn't even know about it.
So yeah, I'm part of that statistic of San Fran city dwellers who never venture out into the singles' scene. Granted, for me right now it's all by choice. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't date for a full year after a painful breakup. No rebounds. No flings with cute boys in indie bands. No nothin. And my 12 months are almost up. In fact, mid-March is when I'm officially back on the prowl. But now that I've been alone this whole time, I'm not so eager to get back in the game.
And this article didn't help matters much.
The article, "Generation Single," starts off telling the incredilbly horrifying tale of a desperate woman who decides to go to a fly fishing expo to meet a future hubby because that's where she claims the quality, rugged guys hang out. Well, lots of guys hang out at strip joints and steakhouses, but I don't think I'll be meeting any soulmates there. I mean, come on. I've been to plenty of bars, indie rock shows and hipster art galleries/cafes in San Fran, and there's just no interest.
Chatting somone up in the Blockbuster checkout line is a potential infraction. So is being perceived as trying too hard. This puts Bay Area singles in an impossible bind: You somehow need to flirt without flirting, which leads to dating without dating, which leads to...confusion, cynicism and Celexa.
"Here, you're supposed to be a laid-back guy in a T-shirt," says Jeff, the equity guy. "Everyone is so damn self-righteous about not being overtly single. You don't get dressed up, you go to the Regal Beagle in your fleece. Shit, it gets so boring."
So true. If I'm gonna hit the town it isn't gonna be in a flannel shirt, jeans and clogs. But no one here seems to bother. It's like everyone has silently given up. And if they haven't, they're either naive, horny or drunk. The only other option besides begging your pals to set you up with a stranger is to troll Friendster for a possible love match. Of course, even if you find someone who digs the same movies, TV shows, artists, bands and even sugar-coated cereals as you do, there's no guarantee that when you meet face to face that there will be any chemistry. Half the time you end up meeting the male version of yourself and he's annoying.
Then there's the flipside to the trend of relationships here in the Bay Area. In a place where people are used to getting exactly what they want, it rarely stops at material goods.
"Dating has become like a job interview," says Judy Foley, a high-end matchmaker. "It's not a salad bar where you can say yes to celery and no to corn. This is really small thinking." So many people complain the good ones are taken, when in truth, they've eliminated the mere mortals. The dotcom boom exacerbated this phenomenon. People who leapfrogged professionally thought they could do the same romantically. Those who made millions often felt more entitled, applying a consumerist mentality to romance.
"This is the land of custom-built mountain bikes," says Julian, 36. "People who come here want the best. What comes with that is an unwillingness to settle. So they stay single until they find an exact match."
Of course, if you do want to find love in the city, you're going to have to avoid hanging with your pals for awhile. I can vouch from experience that once you make a strong circle of friends, you'll end up dating half of them if you don't watch yourself. Don't end up like me -- dating two guys back to back from the same band. (I'm not joking.)
I suppose if I'm truly serious about dating, I need to give the WASPy, clean-cut, non-tattooed, not-in-any-band fellas a chance. But quite frankly, I don't picture myself having much success in the usual Marina and North Beach sports bars. I'm more of a Christina Ricci type, and those boys want a blonde bombshell trophy girlfriend who works days in an advertising firm and secretly moonlights at Hooters. I'm not that girl.
At any rate, the article was fairly eye-opening and made me realize it wasn't just me who's having a hard time finding some kind of romantic connection within the city limits. Plus, it had me laughing in a few places. Here's one of the more humorous bits:
As anyone who's logged on to Friendster will tell you, there's often only one degree of separation. Public nightlife options for gay men are almost nil beyond the Castro and SoMa.
"You want to hide but you can't," says Guillermo Perez, 24. "You show up at Badlands in the Castro with a new guy, and a guy you dated is yelling 'Whore!' from across the room."