"The courtship culture is just much less aggressive here," acknowledges Colin Hodge, 28, CEO of Down, an app that lets users connect to date or "get down." He says that many men might find women in the Bay Area harder to approach, partly because there aren't as many of us to go around.Kevin Lewis, an assistant professor of sociology at UC San Diego, blames the Bay Area's progressive gender norms, with men less likely to believe they need to make the first move."It's easier when you have a script to follow - that is, 'You're a guy, you have to do the work here,' " Lewis says. To increase my odds of going on a date, I developed a thrillingly distracting Tinder habit.
After a 30-second setup that pulls photos and basic stats from a user's Facebook profile, users scroll other Tinderites filtered by age, gender and geographic proximity.With each profile, you can see shared friends and interests, browse photos and swipe left for "no," right for "yes." When two people say "yes" to each other, the magic happens: You're given the power to chat.The premise is simple; the practice, revolutionary. ' " my friend texted on a recent Tuesday while I was riding BART. For the past week, I realized, I had been too busy living "The Bachelorette." I'd been juggling guys and dates in a refreshing whirlwind of activity that, until recently, had been entirely foreign since I'd re-entered the singles scene almost a year ago. Census data show there are more single men than single women under 65 (though in San Francisco that doesn't necessarily mean single men who want to meet women).And according to a Facebook study of its users conducted last fall, San Francisco rates highest among major American cities on the ratio of single men to single women. That's the (ballpark) number of men who have approached me, a single 30-year-old woman, since I moved here almost two years ago.
Matchmaking service the Dating Ring has even launched a crowdfunded campaign to send New York's single women to meet all of San Francisco's "eligible bachelors." But dating here is not a numbers game. At first, as women do, I internalized the problem ("the glasses are distracting"; "I'm going to the wrong places").
It didn't help my ego that in January, Marie Claire pinpointed our fair city as one of the top five "great places for single girls." After attempting almost comical displays of "approachability" that have to be seen to be believed (trust me), I acknowledged the sobering truth: The courtship culture in San Francisco is not normal.
Despite loads of single men, getting a date is a no-man's land. "I'd forgotten what it was like to be flirted with," says Kink and Code blogger Emma Mc Gowan, 27, who noticed it during a recent visit to New York.
"I can't get over how reflexively men flirt in New York." Forget flirting; it sometimes seems as if guys don't see gals, period. It's easy to blame smartphones for replacing the normalcy of spontaneous face-to-face interaction.
"I can't sit at a bar in Chicago or New York without a guy striking up a conversation with me, whereas in San Francisco, guys don't even look up from their laptops when I walk into a cafe," says Beth Cook, 34, a local business and life coach. "A lot of people are quick to blame tech, but that's oversimplification," counters Mc Gowan.
"I feel invisible in San Francisco and attractive whenever I leave." No surprise, then, that in that same Facebook study, San Francisco also ranked dead last in the likelihood of relationship formation, based on the number of Facebook users who changed their status from "single" to "in a relationship" during the period studied last fall. Is it possible that single, straight guys in San Francisco are just not interested in meeting women? We've all heard about Silicon Valley's epic "Peter Pan syndrome," in which thousands of young workers from around the world prolong their independence while carving out careers, heading west to strike (tech) gold.