San Francisco Whine Country — for the ladies

by GK on May 6, 2010 · 3 comments

This is a topic I’ve been wanting to cover for months. For all of San Francisco’s sophistication — its cuisine, wine and culture — we seem to be resorting to some childish temper tantrums when it comes to one thing: hooking up. Or, rather, not hooking up.

Both sexes are guilty of this, and I’ll get around to the guys later. But this one is for the ladies, and after giving two smart women some love on my blog recently, it’s time for some tough love. (I’m sure my gay and lesbian friends here could use the same discussion, but since my expertise is in hetero relations, I’m sticking to that.)

I’ve heard all the complaints from women out here. All the good ones in San Francisco are taken, or gay. Guys are too vague here and don’t have the guts to show interest. Or they’re immature and just want to play the field into their 40s.

I’ve especially wanted to write about this city’s love of whine since reading the popular SF Weekly article earlier this year, an entertaining piece where a famous pickup artist takes some frustrated local women on the town to pick up men. (I have a more personal reason for taking an interest in that article, and I’ll mention it in my next post.) I love the idea of sarging for guys — if women approached more men, they’d be a lot less single. One girl approached me at a club as I was taking a break from dancing eight years ago, and she became my girlfriend for a year.

But centuries of hard wiring and decades of pop-culture programming are tough to break, and I can see why most of you girls just can’t do it. I have a little chivalry in me, too, and if I were a woman, I’d probably want the man of my dreams to get the conversation started. A little machismo is a good thing. It even worked for the homeless guy in that article.

So no, that’s not the bone I have to pick with you. You should want a man with some cajones, and I know San Francisco men aren’t exactly the best endowed in that area. I feel you, and I’ve tried to help.

But you could make it a little easier for us sometimes. When I watched that scene in “Hitch” where Will Smith says he’s just trying to help women get out of their own way so they can meet a great guy, I nodded my head in agreement vigorously.

So here are some friendly suggestions that women might learn from, and guys might feel some catharsis reading.

We’re not all gay: I know we dress well, smile a lot and like to dance, but just because our shoes match our belts doesn’t mean we like belts and whips. Or that we’re lacking in manliness. Though I must say, I kind of like being mistaken for gay because it makes demonstrating my staunch heterosexuality that much more fun. At any rate, don’t presume a man gay before straight; get to know him first.

The odds aren’t against you: Both genders in SF use this as a crutch. Yes, the gay population is higher here, but so is the male population as a whole, especially at meeting spots like bars and parties. I’m surprised if I find myself at a bar or even a dance floor where the women outnumber the men. And if you’re really hunting for guys in the Castro, I have to question your strategy. The rest of the city is crawling with single, smart dudes. So stop using that as an excuse. And in an emergency, there’s always Man Jose to the south.

You’re not perfect, and neither are we: You might blame Disney for creating an inflated expectation of men; I don’t blame you for it. We’re not even Prince, let alone Prince Charming. But I blame Disney for making many women think they’re Cinderella. Newsflash, Miss Thang: you’re not a princess. Monarchy is antiquated for government, and it’s likewise antiquated for relationships. We’re all just common folk trying to get along here.

I’m as picky as the next guy when I’m scanning a room of women. But if you haven’t even talked to anyone yet and are claiming “There’s nobody I’d want to bone with,” maybe you can’t see the good men because you’re too busy looking down.

I know you like your gadgets in the Bay Area, but men are not an iPhone app. You can’t customize us according to your preferences (it’s one reason I dislike online dating). We’re flawed and lumpy and nerdy and we don’t always know what to do. Once you accept that, you can better differentiate between flaws you can put up with, and the ones you can’t. Once you get past the shyness, I’d say San Francisco men have a whole lot to offer.

But if you want a guy who’s rich, and tall, and assertive, and sensitive, and has lots of free time, and has a great body, and likes the opera, and paints, and will remember your favorite Jane Austen novel, I think you might want to shop for the perfect cat instead.

And I know women here deny being too picky. But I’ve met enough of them to know they can be.

Bring something to the table: This is related to the Cinderella sense of entitlement that I referred to earlier. I can see why women here have a high opinion of themselves. They’re cultured, successful and have intimidating levels of education.

But then again, so did lots of my male students with Charisma Arts. As those guys had to learn, your resume doesn’t get you very far in a conversation, and if you want to mate with someone of high quality, social skills are essential. I remember one blonde bragging to my buddy at a bar about her Harvard degree, and he walked away from her on the spot.

If there’s one personal complaint I have with San Francisco women, it’s that their flirting IQ is lacking. East Coast women flirt with bluntness, and Southern women do it with smiles and touches. Both ways work, as does the sophisticated wit that so many SF girls have when they show it. But I don’t care how good you look — if you’re just going to stand there and make platonic conversation while I crack all the jokes, I’m not calling you. And asking me questions about myself isn’t enough. I want to know what makes you you. So take a page from the Big Four and talk about yourself a little.

It seems like career women in their 30s here especially have this problem. I almost exclusively date 20-somethings not because I only want hot young girls, but because I find 20-somethings to be more normal. 

Help us approach you: You want us to take the initiative? Fine, I’m on board with that. But you could take those oversized sunglasses off in the mall. Or smile when you see me from across the bar. Or stop texting and fiddling with your iPhone. Or take your iPod off when you’re on the treadmill or the bus. If you want us to be your white knight, at least take off some of your armor.

Stop acting like you don’t want to be hit on: I was at a restaurant with a date last week and this girl next to us was complaining to her girlfriends about this “creepy” guy following her on the street. But my companion and I agreed that she wasn’t saying that to complain; she was saying that to brag. I actually read a San Francisco woman saying that if a guy approaches her in a bar, he’s not worth talking to.

It reminded me of an old “Saturday Night Live” sketch where a homeless guy looking into a restaurant is making lewd gestures toward three of the four women inside. Each one acts like she’s offended, but the fourth one is so hurt for being left out that the other ladies had to pay the homeless guy to hit on her too. Yup, that’s women in a nutshell.

You see, we men are literal people. When you say it’s wrong for us to approach you in virtually every social and non-social situation, we tend to think you mean it. So guys become chicken-sh*t about walking up to you, and then you complain about how you can’t meet a good guy. It’s a vicious cycle, and it could breed all intelligent people out of existence if we’re not careful.

Most guys do want to commit: We just want to be sure it’s with the right person. And we don’t want to be forced into it. If you’re chasing rich playboys who you know are non-committal, don’t blame the rest of us.

Date an Asian guy: It’s pretty much understood here that Asian guys have an uphill battle in the dating scene, both with Asian and non-Asian girls. Part of it is cultural — a lot of Asian men are raised to be polite and career oriented, which hurts them with women — but I think it also reflects some negative stereotypes. Now, we all have our preferences of what we’re attracted to — my friends mock me for avoiding most Asian girls, in fact — but face facts, ladies. If you’re denying a large chunk of the male population here without even giving them a chance, you’re making things a lot tougher on yourself. So take an Asian guy for a test drive. I hear they’re pretty durable under the hood.

The SF boys are on the chopping block next.


1 Jonathan May 8, 2010 at 8:56 am

I LIKE this post. I feel more confident because it helped me to understand that if I get shot down or a someone acts cold, it may not just be me and my game. I think I’m going to sell my 911– i’m convinced I don’t need it like a Harvard Degree…

2 GK May 8, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Game goes both ways, Jonathan! Girls have to bring it too.

3 Eric May 16, 2010 at 3:50 am

Awesome post. This word “creepy” makes me wince every time I hear it. Yes, we live in a world with sexual predators and other unsavory folk, but let’s not blur the lines between them and the rest of us normal guys who’re simply showing a little bit of interest.

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