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Why Dating in San Francisco is The Worst

From crappy dating apps to constant flaking, is finding love in the 7x7 even possible anymore?

Dating in San Francisco sucks. There. I said it. Again. ‘Cause yeah, I know: I’m not saying anything new. But, that’s not going to keep me from saying it. And, yeah, there’s a good chance I’m just rehashing the same issues we all moan about often. But that’s okay, because if we’re all still complaining about how awful it is to date in San Francisco, that means we haven’t really done anything to change it… which means, bringing up these issues is still necessary, and will continue to be necessary until we change how we date. Or, until I meet someone I like enough to stop reflecting on this issue. At which point, I promise I’ll stop writing articles about how much it sucks to date in San Francisco, and move onto discussing the troubles with divorce in California. Kidding! (Ish.)

While I hate to caveat, well, anything, I think it goes without saying that this critique on San Francisco dating is from the perspective of a heterosexual woman. ‘Cause that’s who I am, and that is the perspective I’ve got. So, please, do share your own perspective in the comments—but first: six reasons why dating in SF totally sucks… and a conclusion that you may or may not like.



The Ubiquity of Dating Apps

Complaining about Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, The League, and all of the other seemingly hundreds of dating apps is nothing new. But, if I’m to talk about how much dating in San Francisco sucks—and fail to bring up the very real and often negative effect these apps have had on the dating scene—it would be like bringing up how much the 49ers suck, and not even mentioning the disaster that is Jed York.

Of course, the problems with (and benefits of) dating apps hold true all over the country, but I’ll venture to say that it is even worse in SF, because this is where most of the apps are being created. So, we’re using them first, and more frequently. While I definitely know people who’ve fallen in love because of these apps, and are happily together today… mostly, these apps give everyone dating ADD.

I mean, am I crazy (well, yes), or does it seem like people use these apps for validation (just as much, or maybe more?), than they do for a potential date? I’m only newly back on these things, but even in the last week or so, I’ve found that I’ll have a match with someone and send them a message, but won’t get a reply. Like, why did you swipe “right” to me in the first place? Oh right: because you wanted to know if some random chick on the Internet thought you were attractive. Needy much?

Listen, if I’m willing to admit I prefer napping over using an app where every single dude is looking for someone who’s “active and fit,” the least that those people (the ones that are only there to get their egos—or selves—stroked) can do is just be honest about it. In the meantime, I’ve placed all of the dating apps in the “Games” folder on my phone as a constant reminder about exactly what I’m getting myself into, if I choose to play.

With so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all.


So Much FOMO

Dating apps provide us a seemingly endless stream of potential mates, but like Barry Schwartz says in his TED Talk (that a million people linked me to when I was asking why they think dating in SF sucks so much), “With so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all.” The problem with dating in the era of dating apps is that we’re too scared to make a choice—to commit to just one person—because what if we make the “wrong” choice? Plus, why choose at all, when there are so many other people to date/screw/ghost?

The thing is, though, assuming you are dating because you eventually want to find a long-term partner, you can’t worry about if you’re missing out on someone better. Dating is a numbers game, which is why those apps have merit. But ultimately, if you meet someone you like, and they like you, you should probably go on more dates with that person.. because the odds of that type of connection happening again any time soon are, like: ZERO.

Oh, and if you’re not into a girl, that’s totally cool! Don’t text her fifteen times and tell her how much fun you had, only to completely ghost her until you send her a text six months later about something she posted on Instagram… not like I’m speaking from experience, except that obviously, I’m totally speaking from experience.




Screen Protector

I’m old enough to remember a time when, if you were waiting for a friend at a bar or restaurant, you did so while either reading a book or, wait for it: while taking in the scene around you, free of any devices or distractions. Yup, that’s right. People used to be alone and just: be alone. While it may sound terrifying not having a screen to bury your face in, it was actually kind of great. It meant that people were paying attention to the world around them, striking up conversations with strangers, and experiencing new things outside of their Internet bubble, in tangible and meaningful ways.

Now, if you walk onto a bus or into a bar, everyone is too mesmerized by the glow of their iPhone screen to look up, and see what’s happening around them in the world they actually inhabit. Again, I realize this is a clichéd complaint that we all make, and yet, do nothing about. So, here’s my challenge: next time you’re alone in a social setting, leave your phone in your pocket. Make eye contact with someone. See what happens. And then, take a selfie with them for Snapchat! (No, I’m kidding; please don’t.)

Perhaps, if we were all a little less reliant on technology to do, well, everything for us, we’d be able to meet new humans (dates, even!) on our own. In real life. Which, turns out, is a much more effective way of figuring out how you actually feel about someone, than, you know, a slew of gym selfies and generic emojis.





Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

Considering “everyone” in San Francisco is loaded these days, you know, except those of us who aren’t, it seems like money shouldn’t really be an issue when it comes to dating. Unless you factor in the fact that it requires so much money to live here, and the only way to get that money is to work your ass off… which means: more focus on your career and not your sex/dating life.

Plus, considering so many people move to SF for their start-up or tech career, it’s pretty imperative that they find success in that arena. So, is it really any surprise that all of those tech nerds we complain about constantly aren’t able to put any real effort into dating, and instead, rely upon the instant gratification of apps… or, alternatively, just don’t care about dating at all? Sigh.

Dating is time consuming, and sometimes, annoying as hell...


Flakes (& Lack of Weekend Dates)

It actually shocks me how often my friends tell me that they’re excited about a date, only to inform me (when I ask how it went) that the dude “rescheduled.” Except, when people in SF reschedule, they just reschedule to “another time.” In other words: “never.” Granted, flaking is just part of the culture in SF (whether you like it or not), but when you take two strangers—one or both—with a predilection for canceling plans, and try to get them into the same space at the same time (for what might not even be a fun encounter)… I mean, why even bother trying? It’s literally never going to happen.

It also doesn’t help that most of us won’t date on weekends. Whether that’s because we’re escaping the city for a trip, or just don’t want to deal with something as potentially annoying as a date, Friday and Saturday nights are off the table for hanging out… and, so is Sunday (unwinding from the weekend), and Monday (getting back into the work week). That leaves only Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, and really, everyone’s just going to flake anyway, which renders this entire point moot.

Dating is time consuming, and sometimes, annoying as hell, yes. But, the only way to stop dating is either to resign yourself to a life of solitude—or keep goin’ on dates until you meet someone who makes you want to stop. I’m not happy about it either, but that’s just the way it is. I should probably start adopting cats.




Bogged Down by Fog

Occasionally, the east coast suffers through a miserable winter, one that requires turtleneck sweaters and full-length puffy coats—two things that are terrible for everyone’s sex drive. But, as soon as the temps rise and the sundresses come out of the closets, that problem is immediately remedied. The power of bare legs, even pale legs that haven’t seen the sun in five months, is a real thing, my friends. In San Francisco, however, it’s basically always puffy jacket weather. And while I’m not saying that women should have to show a little skin to get everyone in the dating mood… I’m also not saying that if the weather permitted, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world either. And no, going from puffy jacket to puffy vest doesn’t count. Trust me, I tried.




I’d Do Anything For Love (*But I Won’t Do That)

So, San Franciscans, here’s what I’ve figured out: there are a ton of single people in this city, and a lot of us would love to meet someone. But, we won’t stop relying on the apps. We won’t let ourselves be open to the idea of dating just one person. We won’t put down our phones in public. We won’t be open to meeting strangers in real life. We won’t stop working impossibly long hours. We won’t stop making, and then breaking plans. We won’t date on weekends. And we definitely won’t ditch the hoodie for a sweater—or the jeans for a dress—in a minimal effort to make a good first impression.

So, uh… Maybe it’s not dating in San Francisco that sucks. Maybe it’s just us.


Daisy Barringer moved to San Francisco when she was six years old and though she considers herself a “local,” knows better than to ever call herself “a native.” She resides in the Upper Haight/Cole Valley, but spends a lot of time in Tahoe with her 150-pound Saint Bernard, Monkey.

More articles by Daisy Barringer



  1. Being honest, I gave up. Years ago. For virtually every reason listed. Resigned to a life of work, ultra running, and solitude as you say. But my hobbies have never been more pro, and at least we’re all alone haunting this 7×7 rock with our iPhones together. We have that, right?

  2. Great article! Yes, all have been said before but I think it just underscores the points even more. It’s interesting that even if you try to go “low tech” by striking up a conversation with somebody at a bar, gym, park, store, etc, you get that “why are you talking to me” look…. But maybe it’s just me.

  3. Elizabeth

    Hi Daisy, you are saying all things I say about saying in Boston. Especially that in public places (bus, airport, coffee shop, in line at PO) everyone is filed to their phone, so no flirting or casual conversation is available, and that was how I always met men. Anyway, I love your blogs. More please!

  4. Tracy Tracy

    Let’s also talk about the chance of meeting someone in SF who isn’t looking for “just you” but has that affliction of the ego called polyamory. Most people who use this label to describe themselves are really saying that they’re just passing through looking for whatever they can get from whomever is offering. It feels like a Burning Man cultural infection that needs a vaccine… Quickly.

  5. Tonya Silver

    Love your article Daisy, and your writing style. I’ve been here 25 years. I know so many amazing single women, it’s crazy! Funny you didn’t even mention the obvious, that so many fabulous men here happen to prefer men. They sure do make great friends though. Malcolm, yes, there is plenty of sex to be had. Not many want to commit. Brian, you want to go out on a date? Find me on FB. 🙂

  6. G Chan

    I agee with all of the above and I certainly appreciated a well written article espousing the issues of attempting to connect with others on a romantic level. Just two other points, sex and dating are not the same. Dating for all intents and purposes is an attempt to develop into a possible long term relationship and sex is merely instant gratification that generally leads to nothing more. If the two happen to happen in the course of experience then great.
    The seco d point is that lgbt folks have a difficult time with the dating scene as well, not worse due all of the same reasons/hang ups mentioed.
    One word, serendipity.

  7. Totally relatable and a great article Daisy! Too many options and the pressure of finding the right one is draining, but if people didn’t flake and treated others how they’d like to be treated, then most of us won’t be bothered by the fog(for most of us would have someone to snuggle close to :D)
    Also less or no time on dating apps will mean more time for the real world. So I guess I’ll take my chances with no apps at all, sounds much more adventurous haha!

  8. Joseph

    I’m a native from Indianapolis and couldn’t agree more with EVERYTHING in this blog. It amazes me how so many people have become so dependent on their “tech toys” that they can’t seem to function without them. As a guy from the Midwest I like to do things the old fashioned way by picking up the phone and calling someone when I’m interested in dating, but here apparently women here think that’s “weird.” It’s been kinda hard to make friends in this city as well if you’re not in the tech industry. Sad.

  9. Holy shit folks, this topic has been beaten to death, I’m looking at you, millennial-induced-narcissism. How about instead of using dating applications to throw a net out for a love-connection, we instead, go about our lives challenging and enriching ourselves through our hobbies? ::Gasp:: Surely there are members of the opposite sex, who are single, looking to engage in their passion with another.

    I get the sense these articles are popular because many of my peers are too afraid to go outside their comfort zone and talk to a stranger in the book store, at the climbing gym, in the grocery, or god forbid, on the street!

    Also, approaching late-20’s doesn’t give any profound wisdom (i.e. “being old enough to remember waiting at a bar for someone without a phone”) that adds to the point of this story. Or maybe, I just missed the point. If that’s the case, so it goes.


    Your writing style is very good, but maybe, just maybe, try pursuing your hobbies and engaging folks who seems interesting in that arena? Male or female, learning to build connections with people in face-to-face interactions will reduce the “flakes” in your life by a large percentage.

  10. Romann Arithmetic

    What could possibly be a “non-starter” for date, with an eye toward eventual partnership? You gave it in your bio: A DOG! A big big dog, that requires great attention, food, room (who has plenty of usable backyard??) and is a hindrance to renting a place in SF!! Are you kidding me? A dog kills any seed of romance possible, in 95 cases in 99!! Were I looking, I don’t care if you are financially six-figures, with a great body, PhD from Stanford…I see a St. Bernard (who may =never= like me) and say, “Pass” ASAP…..ASAP!!!!

  11. Landy Tang

    First let me say that I’m married and glad I don’t have to do the dating thing today. That said I’ve often thought it would be far more effective to have a party with 20 of your close single friends and the only thing is that they have to bring a friend of the opposite sex who is also single. Dating is more than just a photo. Pheromones and voice count for a greater portion. Good luck out there among the English!

  12. I couldn’t agree more. I had an amazing dating life, and when I moved here (many years ago), it screeched to a halt so fast I almost got whiplash. Relationships aren’t a priority here.

  13. joseph jones

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. Being Bay area transplant from Indianapolis it amazes me how so many people here can’t seem to function without their “tech toys.” Women think you’re “weird” if you do things the old fashioned way by picking up the phone and calling them. Even worse it’s hard to make friends here if you aren’t in the tech industry. I’m a voice over artist and have experienced a lot of what was said in this comment section as well as the blog itself. Tonya I would love to meet one of the amazing women you mentioned above. Can I add you on FB?

  14. Tricia

    Love your concluding paragraph—people love to complain, but aren’t willing to try something different. I’ve had long discussions about this with a friend in Houston who feels he’s exhausted every dating app but won’t take that same amount of time and put it into getting involved in a social activity that at worst gains him a friend group and at best might get him a girlfriend.

    I think friendship is another super tough SF social issue—everyone says they’re lonely and yet no one puts themselves out there to actually get to know others. The FOMO factor is so, so real. Dating or socializing, I’d personally much rather invest my time with new people I like and can continue getting to know rather than collecting new acquaintances like Pokémon.

    Despite being an introvert (woohoo for reading in bars!), I found I was much happier and more successful if I was the one proposing concrete plans—and honestly, I can get away with that more than your average straight dude because a woman is less threatening. And while guys complain about not getting inbound messages from women, I found that women in the bay area were far more receptive to this approach than men. I got a lot more dates with ladies—and yet ended up in a relationship with an incredible guy I met on Tinder. Go figure.

  15. @RockPhotoChick

    My sentiments exactly!
    “Dating app” does not equal “escort service app”
    I was in a ltr for a few years, and after that ended, decided to go explore the world for a few years. Now I’m a bit settled, and would like to take part in some of the events that make this city worth the rent- ideally with someone.
    Boy the game has changed.
    I have a friend who is constantly telling me that surely it must be easy to meet available guys in the city.. She has, however, been with her bf for 6+ years and doesn’t understand how times have changed.
    It’s a reverse of the chat room days where ppl were apprehensive about talking to someone new online, but open to chatting face to face.
    Now, you meet on an app and they’re asking you to meet up for a hookup within 3 minutes. Try to chat in person, and [as another commenter said] they just look at you weird.
    Another commenter made a great point about there being so many people in “open relationships”, or “poly”. Srsly…. everyone?
    Let’s all strive to put a little more effort into app convos than the typical one below:
    Me: hi there 🙂
    Dude: sup
    Me: where is your favorite spot to [fill in the blank with a mutual activity we have in our profiles- dancing, dinner, etc]
    Dude: you like big dicks?
    Me: ::double checks phone to make sure I didn’t end up on a male escort service app::

    I still have faith in SF :-]

    btw- if you’re reading this and like hanging out with dogs, karaoke, drum n bass or house, and middle of the night walks to explore the city, hit me back.

  16. So right and so wrong. I left San Francisco twenty years ago thinking it was me — (its not SF, its you). The culture of ego and ‘my perfect bubble’ works against real connection or even having on honest fuck you conversation on the street. Much less bars or coffee shops where trying to break a conversation with a woman results in a look of shock, disdain or downright suspicion (if her dog doesn’t bite you first). In NY philly etc many other cities I might have 3 dates in a week and more importantly real connection with people who would call you back and show up lol. And yes leading to real gf/bf stff too.
    And now even tinder in SF has become a cheapskate version of eharmony instead of a chance to actually interact with a real human being in person (doesn’t have to lead to hookup BTW maybe just a fun moment). Sf ladies if you want a date with real men (not flakesters) get over yourselves be friendly at least and don’t swipe left on men who aren’t 6 ft tall ivy league athletes with stock options.

  17. Lamarr

    I’ve come across so many women in this city who insist that dating sucks but these women never put themselves out there, never make eye contact when the men they would like to approach them, and disregard the men who take the initiative to say hi. My friends insist that they can’t land a man because the good ones are gay but there are many attractive straight men and I just can’t help but think that the big reason that these women desire those men is because they are unattainable

  18. This is validating. I can’t believe the amount of people I match with on hinge, bumble and tinder that will never reach out – even though they ‘picked’ you. It is a culture of validation. It doesn’t matter if I reach out, say ‘hi’, say something elaborately quippy, or wait for them to reach out. Radio silence. Its an increasingly discouraging dating scene and even the ones that do reach out end up flaking or ‘taking a raincheck’…

  19. Stacy Brinkley

    And guess what? IT DOESN’T GET ANY EASIER THE OLDER YOU GET! It actually get’s worse, because you realize you’d rather be home, in your jammies, with your dog/cat/snake/ex in-laws. Because dating is paaaaaainful these days! So many times I want to smack the phone out of my never-dating-you-again guy sitting in front of me. Unless it’s Jesus, hang up the *^&%$@ phone! Siiigh…Just remember: Mr/Ms. Right can’t find you if you’re hanging out with Mr./Ms. Wrong. Okay, off my soap box, that’s all. Off to Tahoe.

  20. So right, so painfully right. Plus throw in the x-factor of those of us who don’t live in the city, and it is all screwed up. Oh and let’s not forget the fact that the majority of people have pics on those dating apps that do NOT actually reflect what they look like. There’s always that disappointment. Then there are people like me who make sure to post pics that truly do look like me and not some amazing angle that makes me look 10 times better, but the issue is that it is assumed I am using an amazing angle and am subconsciously docked points for it. That’s why they need a dating app with video. Make a standard profile video. Make short answers to questions videos. As soon as a company makes a video dating app, I think the success rate will be much better. Until then, we are left with the people who actually do follow through with plans (and mislead others in the process) or those who flake completely.

  21. Patricia

    When I saw the title I thought it was an article I read about 4 years ago … a little after I moved to SF, I was catching up (aka complaining) with my best friend from college, both talking about how dating sucks, for me here in SF, for her in NYC. I was working at Yahoo!, she was at BCG… If you read the article you would know where I’m going. Basically the (long) reading explains how SF attracts overachievers, and how after you subtract the geeks, the marrieds, the gays… it leaves people like us alone (truly alone).
    To Dyaln: I do Rock Climbing, Yoga, gym… people will say “hi” back to you, but as Ted said, there is no real connection.
    I’ve tried meetups (not looking for a ring, just thinking about having fun) and I’ve meet funny grampas or re-meet the gays I’m not really into.
    I’m not in my 20s anymore so I don’t blame it on iPhones.
    I recently went to San Diego and noticed how genuine people are, and their strong family values. I’m starting to think that it might be because they have a simpler life (honestly after my work day I didn’t have much to do but to walk to the beach and watch the gorgeous surfers or the kids play in the sand -yes lots of young families-).
    This is the Postlude, but I recommend reading it all:

  22. Laughed so hard at this…it’s all true, from my single female perspective, and I don’t even use these apps. I broke up with a guy because after 6 months together, he refused to understand that I LIKE talking on the phone and expected him to call me once in awhile. Constant texting kills any form of intimacy. Now that I think of it, he would hardly ever see me on the weekends because that’s when he would get together with his friends. Oh, gee, excuse me for not being as relevant as your friends. Another time I met a guy after work and came up behind him at the bar. He was trolling for girls on Tinder. So rude! He recently told me he has a GF that he met on Match two months ago. He’s probably on Tinder right now.

  23. JMirlow

    Given that SF is one of most beautiful places on the planet and offers so much to do with just a little bit of effort, I find the complaints that dating sucks is as Dyaln sez “millennial-induced-narcissism.” Get your face out of the smart phone, look up and around, and speak to people and get to know them. Don’t be surprise that you only get flakes on the dating apps given that they are likely socially challenged 20 or 30 something brats that spend more time on their phone or laptop then actually talking to “people.” And sorry to burst a bubble ladies, but my experience with the online dating scene resulting in dates that more job interviews than dates… In fact, I have had actual job interviews that had more flirting going on then these so called dates. Do what I did to meet someone that I currently dating — go up to a person at a friend’s dinner party and say “hi.”

  24. Sandidddy

    Daisy!! You made me laugh OUT loud. I love everything you wrote and its all relative. It’s funny because some relates to me and some are so true. One of the funniest articles I read in awhile. Thank you!!! I recently deleted bumble and rather spend that 30 mins enjoying whatever sun SF has. Lets see what SF brings without the dating sites. hahhaa

  25. Daisy-Love your articles. As a guy who has right-swiped on Tinder and then not said anything to the girl, I can honestly say it has nothing to do with validation for me. It really is more about time and choice. It is so easy to get a long list of connections on Tinder, but a) I don’t want to be serially speed-dating and b) I have a limited time for devoting to the low possibility that I’ll meet somebody on Tinder with a real connection. And since there are so many options to pick from, I will try to focus on the top options, those people that I have more in common with or similar fitness levels, and leave the rest dormant. I’m sorry if I’ve ever right-swiped you and not chatted. But it wasn’t just so I could feel better about myself.

  26. Awesome post, Daisy! And yes, it all rings painfully and hilariously true for me as well, a heterosexual female (over age 40, lol) living in Oakland. Let me add a few more points. Being within 20
    miles of two major airports on a GPS-driven dating app makes me feel like a hooker on the Barbary Coast (I said, feel like). Second, what’s with the grainy pics, pics of animals, pics of
    dudes with chicks, pics of mountains, pics of dudes so far away, etc.? After enough dating app exposure, one cannot help but treat the entire culture as just one giant video game — as you alluded
    to — and one colossal pathetic social commentary.

  27. CalGirl

    I am a straight woman in south bay. After a couple of years meeting guys in meet ups and tinder, I met my live-in boyfriend on the last one and we have been together for 1.5 years. But before him I also met my share of creepy guys, those who couldn’t commit, ghosted me, or liked me for some time and got bored months later. It is actually a lottery. BTW, I was using tinder for “coffee dates”, no hooking up.

  28. Barney

    I’m in Berkeley, not the City, and I’m a gay man who’s… monogamous (cue gasp.) But I completely relate to every part of this article and think those who complain that the subject has been beaten to death either didn’t actually read it, or don’t get the point. If it’s been beaten to death but nothing’s changed, let’s talk about it more and see if we can actually start to do things differently. Since I became single in February ’14 from an 8 year relationship with a guy I met, ironically, on (we met in person the same day) I’ve been on exactly 1 date. We met drunk dancing at Toad Hall, in the Castro. We seemed very compatible, except he’s effeminate, and I’m not attracted to effeminate men. Having not dated is not for lack of trying. I used to go out to gay bars fairly often. I met a few really attractive guys with whom I really felt there was a connection. Unfortunately, they were there with their girlfriends. I love that the gays can go to straight bars, and vice-versa, but c’mon! Straight people have a vast majority of the bars! It’s a little frustrating to go to a gay bar and find that half the eligible men are only eligible to women. And I’m on every gay, mixed, sex and dating app (which are virtually the same thing these days), but everyone flakes. That’s if you can get them to send or respond to a message after you “match,” at all. One really hot guy with whom I matched, and who was even so bold as to send the first message, even told me he wasn’t gay. He just really liked the rush of being “liked,” by guys. Awesome. Thanks. Because it’s super easy dating as a gay man in a straight world. And yes, even though it’s SF, it’s still the straight world. For straight people, let me give you an analogy: Think of a deal-breaker quality a member of the opposite sex might have. Now imagine approximately 90% of the opposite sex have that quality. So you’re down to 10% of 50% of the population. I’m no scientist, but I think that’s 5% of the population that’s even remotely in the running. Then consider whatever other preferences, likes, dislikes you might have – like age, height, race, ethnicity, weight, intelligence, scent, hairiness, shape, attractiveness, political persuasion, hygiene, work-life balance, sexual compatibility, shared interest… You get the point. As bad as dating is in the City, it’s exactly 99.999% more difficult as a monogamous gay man. Trust me. I did the math. (Like that’s a thing.)

  29. This article may have been written from a single woman’s perspective, but could have just as easily been a man’s. I’m a man, and this was spot on to the T in numerous facets. Especially poignant is the last sentence, “Maybe it’s just us.” (standing ovation)

  30. Is-Common-Courtesy-Gone

    Hi Daisy, I think you echo a lot of the things that we all feel but I think the problem is further grounded than that…

    For my part, I find it quite frustrating that people who put themselves on dating apps don’t have basic common courtesy…

    Is it TOO much to ask in 2015/2016 to receive a reply to a nice thoughtful initial message [based on what the person wrote or their picture(s)]?
    Well, it does seem to be the case… as someone who has by some unknown force MANAGEd to actually match with 48 people on Tinder [ in 2 yrs – out of over 2,000 people swiped] and taken the time to personalize each initial message, I only had a conversation with 18 women so far… and of those, only met with 7 of them…

    [The Stats on:
    CMB are a bit more encouraging,
    Happn is a bit better –
    Bumble horrible – match with 5 women, none of which ever engaged conversation]

    Yep SF dating sucks…

  31. Great story! I too used to live in Cole Valley but thankfully way before those stupid apps! Still didn’t meet people that easily. I met my husband while on vacation in Europe!

  32. I related with every single point you made! We need to go out and make our own fun, and hopefully the men leave behind their phones because they will see the love and life dancing right in front of them. Or maybe they won’t, and we can keep just dancing. Oh SF dating, you suck!

  33. Bailey

    Are you sure you did not read my diary and post it here. This is NYC to a tee. Everything you said. Online dating is a huge waste. After thousands of hits over the years only a few dates and still single. I don’t get it?

  34. Great article, well written in an upbeat style on a actually painful subject for so many of us. As a transwoman and a lesbian, I thought it was me being trans that no one answered back even though the dating site declared us a wonderful match. Oddly, or perhaps not so odd, it is encouraging to read that cis people have this same trouble. What are these people waiting for? Why are they even on the dang website if they can’t even answer a request to meet for coffee? There is Twitter you know.

    Do please keep writing. You are an inspiration for all of us, even the rainbow people!
    (And people reading this, please spare me any transphobic hate you may feel welling up. I HAVE heard it all before. Really not needed. )

  35. I am a straight single guys, and I am moving out of San Francisco shortly, primarily because dating is awful here. When I travel elsewhere, I find women are much more likely to give you that smile, make eye contact, be approachable, and accept and go through with dates than woman in San Francisco. There is no way to say this without being considered cocky, but I get called attractive all the time. I am not saying I am gods gift to women, but I am confident and am not shy at all to approach and chat up girls. Yet, I find it’s like pulling teeth to meet a girl in San Francisco, get her number, and set up a date. Girls are incredibly likely to flake at any moment in the process. There’s an odd feel you have to be “perfect” to be given a shot.

    I’ve traveled through the East Coast and Europe pretty extensively, and have always been blown away by how much less entitled women seem to be in those places- and have had plenty of success in those locations. Eventually, I just had to make the decision that playing life on “hard” mode is not worth it, and move to places where the dynamic will be in my favor.

  36. Really tired of the complaining about not finding a “goods quality man”. The truth about the real problem is staring you right in the face, just look in the mirror. Did you buy into those shameful lies Disney told you? THEY ARE STORIES FOR A REASON!!! They are supposed to be like old proverbs. You are supposed to understand the lesson (or moral) of the story..
    1– everyone’s favorite Cinderella- if you work at being yourself, not what others want you to be, that prince-of-a-man will come to you in time. Arielle, Fiona, Belle– your prince may be beyond where you are looking and/or the man may be the one needing saving. I could go on about Disney but I shan’t.
    In this area unless your guy is a doctor/lawyer/real estate agent/pro athlete. Guess what you’re going to have to work also. 3- If you want me to consider you myself equal partner then guess what… work as hard as I do.. or be the mother of myself children and stay home and make sure the house is clean and myself dinner is ready for me when I get home…

  37. SF Male

    The article below was written in 2009, and in my humble opinion, is STILL the definite reason dating in SF is the worst..the rest of the blog is a funny and intellectual social commentary on the city

    San Francisco people like “to do things during the day.” You’ll hear San Franciscans say this all the time, they’ll go out of the way to say it, often with slim regard for its conversational relevance. It is the sort of unsolicited, nonsequitor declaration that poses as throw-away small talk but is really a test. It’s like announcing to a stranger that you’re a cat person, it’s less a statement than a question: “What kind of person are you?”

    In San Francisco you’re either a person who “likes to do things during the day” or a totally different person, the kind who “likes to go out”, AKA a nightlife junkie, a person who shotguns beer, yells obscenities at strippers and drunk drives orphans to Cambodian killing fields. You’re that guy.

    The reality is no one, except hyper kinetic 23 year old girls with fake boobs, likes to go out. You stand in lines, get sweated on, experience the anxiety of being judged, spend $75 on alcohol that retails for $2.29 at a corner store, and alternatively feel harassed or ignored. Emotionally, going out feels the same as a job – it’s not very pleasant, you certainly aren’t excited for it a half hour before you leave the house, but once you’re in the flow it’s endurable, even if you’re surrounded by freaks, and most importantly it has to be done in order to lead a halfway normal life.

    San Franciscans attitude towards this reality is akin to that of Belarussian Jews towards the Nazis – they are having none of it. They are going hiking Saturday morning on Mount Tam and the departure time is 7:30 AM, right after they get back from a pre-dawn jog.

    This perspective is partly just a Ponzi scheme of peer pressure, a socialized pathology like Sex in the City feminism, but only in part. After all, sailing in the Bay is nice, Napa wine-tasting rooms are nice, so is a hike in Yosemite; and the night scene is drab enough by comparison that treating the two as mutually exclusive lifestyles isn’t insane. It’s a bit like avoiding the shoddy circus by the rail road tracks when there’s a world class museum down-town. You could do both, they are not really the same thing, yet both are recreational and one is so obviously superior to the other that you’d really only visit the former when you felt like slumming it, when you were in the mood for genteel irony.

    The casualty is that day activities are rarely conducive to large-scale social interaction. You may bump into a stranger or two at the trail head, meet another crew at the boathouse, pass some folks in the bike lane, but the sheer numbers are way, way smaller than those of a night scene. The odds are against you. Moreover, without the lubricating effect of an alcoholic buzz, randoms are less likely to start chatting away. This contributes to the oft commented upon Girl Mirages of San Francisco: veritable squadrons of pretty ladies appear out of the wood work on weekend afternoons – jogging, driving, at the counter of a coffee shop – visible for but a fleeting moment, never actually seen socially, standstill, at a bar, event, a party, or any other place where a guy could actually meet them.

    And herein lies the underlying, chagrining hypocrisy of day culture that even its believers can sense. Human nature is such that as much as we like sunshine and fresh air we like other humans a lot more. That’s Darwinian theory and the power of sexual selection at work. So when we proclaim, “I like to do things during the day,” what we’re really saying is, “I’m lonely.”

  38. Though the world knows a book called “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, here the title is different. “men and from mars and women are creepy, pathetic social retards. often the thing that I would feel is appropriate to say the women I encounter in SF is ” I’m so, so, so, so, so sorry I accidentally caught your eye and gave a you a civil half smile. I promise to never attempt to speak with you”.

  39. BayVoice

    The core, since no one wants to say it, is that the Bay Area is an antisocial, hostile environment where people view social contact as as something wrong with another person. People are burnt out and jaded and don’t see any merit in meeting another human being, or changing whatever worldview they exist in. It is a mean and nasty and harshly superficial and narcissistic place where everyone also always assumes the worst. Add in the abominable morals of out of control SF, and so it is. And as a man, I will say many, not all, women in the Bay are completely stuck up and full of themselves, (I said it) hating on men and men’s attempts to socialize and allowing their friends to control their lives and ruin their relationships (a real sign of strength and independence).
    Good luck everybody.

    I have hope, but in either a unicorn (or normal person) here or in another area.

  40. As a male that’s been in SF for awhile, it’s a big problem. I don’t know if it’s our bad fortune to be born in the wrong side of the twentieth century, or if it was always the case, but girls here are so entitled it’s unbelievable. And most of them cheat, which is the nasty little secret they don’t want you to know. Couple that with all kinds of prejudicial biases, and voila: you’re screwed homeboy. It’s easier to get laid here than to get in a relationship. When did girls want one nighters more than men?

  41. Good men of the Bay (not creeps, rich mean and entitled people, ruthless exploiters, etc)…..Wake Up!! The women in the Bay are not appreciating you for the human beings you are, it’s okay to be a man. Believe in yourselves, most women in the Bay don’t deserve you, remember who you are, you don’t have to prove yourself endlessly to them, they need to wise up, if you stop cowtowing to them and start respecting yourselves, maybe they will too. Stop being little b******. Granted the Bay doesn’t support strong men, and the women are fighting you for (the ability to get to know them????) Nevertheless, you need to do it and you don’t need to be beaten down anymore, it’s sexist. What a messed up situation. I’m leaving it.

  42. I live in la and its the same problems the poster 2 posts above me stated. Nobody will give you a chance in person. Most people wont date outside their own friends social circle other than through apps. Women are too judgemental and conceited about who theyll date, and shooting for way above their own league only to find they arnt happy because theyre only meeting idiots. Entitlement is off the charts. And getting a relationship is pretty much near possible unless you win the lottery and find a stable mature female that doesnt have dating a.d.d. (very few exist now). Women have too many options these days, and dont know how to maturely handle them. I have a ton of female friends, and it terrifies me to see how much dick they get on a regular basis. Several of them are already in the 100’s as far as how many partners they’ve had. I know 2 that literally bring a dif guy home every week (thats 50 men a year theyre sleeping with).

    Getting laid is easy, but finding someone that actually listens and is present when youre together is a whole nother story. Cant be intimate with someone thats too busy looking around for the next possible upgrade

  43. Unfortunately this article doesn’t shed light on the real problems with dating in SF.

    A lot of people there are REALLY racist, and will only date people of a certain race. Yet that certain race has TONS of options and they don’t want to commit to anymore.

    Also there’s a TON of men there. Not just gay men, hetero men too. Women have a ton of pickings but a lot of them are tech nerds who they would never date.

    Overall SF sucks because of the mismatch. You have the really picky women, and the loser men. That’s a recipe for disaster.

  44. John J.

    A friend of mine, Kristina K., posted a link to your article on Fb.
    Very informative…very funny.
    I used to live in SF. “Dating’ is VERY difficult for all the reasons you’ve mentioned and another topic someone mentioned above. Racism.
    Hidden yet HUGE in The City.
    I’ve met women I hit it off great with. Good conversation…fantastic chemistry…etc.
    So why didn’t we hook up? Couldn’t be that fact that I’m “brown”? Nah….lol
    So…I. bagged “dating”.
    I would just go live my life and did the things I enjoyed doing by myself and I would purposely do the things I’d like to do one day with someone. How else will you meet someone with “something” in common?
    Ended up meeting someone and got engaged.
    It didn’t work out but it increased my faith in Love in SF.
    Well, now I live in Fairfield, CA. : / (smirk)
    Give me SF any day…lol
    Talk about flakes and phone zombies and instant settlers. (Those that settle just to be in a relationship).
    Been single for five years but willing to wait.
    Don’t settle. : )
    You’re way too cute to settle.

  45. Reality Check

    Most of the women are just so very horrible to date anywhere these days since they’re very stuck up and have the worst personality ever altogether as well.

  46. bob dogs

    how is a man supposed to start a conversation with a woman that has a “don’t you dare!’ look on her face. And what women am I referring to in this city? 9 out of 10….

  47. Sammy

    I might be a “millennial” because of my age (20’s) but I am not hooked to my phone, I love to observe the world around, it makes me inspired to work on my movies and drawings. Saldy for San Francisco, I only see the ugly side of amny things, like gross people going to the bathroom on muni, phone addicted narcissistic Millennials, and other things. When I take the public transportation, I am usually the only one who is not glued to an Iphone, everyone of all ages is glued to an iphone including children, teenagers, people in their 20’s/30’s/40’s/50’s and even the super elderly, I only saw one brave girl who was probably 19 or so reading a book, an actual book, and the fact that she was 19 and reading a book was amazing since no one under 40 likes to read books anymore.

    As for dating in this city, I am terrfied to even try.

  48. Hunter

    Totally agree. I’ve lived in SF for 15-years and the only, and I mean only reason I live here is for the topography and weather. The only way I will probably find myself in a relationship is if I go back to Texas and convince a girl to move to a most beautiful place with some of the biggest douchebags in the world!!!

  49. British gal

    It is an interesting article, surprising really. I am a single medic relocating to SF. I’ve had a brief experience of dating in the UK and I am not impressed. Just looking around the streets of SF I was amazed at how many beautiful people lived there. The vibe and the dynamic of the city is invigorating. Perhaps it is easier to accept that one can fall in love with the place and forget about trying to meet their other half? Despite the IT addiction, the dating pool is so much better there than anywhere else. Chin up

  50. I agree with you. I am new to dating 30 and for some its still young and they are right but.. I have been off the market since I have been this new way of dating for me and its new and craxy..but it seems usless since It doesn’t seem to work. However Im a man and that never works well since its 95% men. My point is simple I guess, I suck at picking up girls in bars and now apps lol. Its frustrating! As far as you (author of this page) Its crazy that a woman..who is clearly intelligent and beautiful has the same issues, make someone like me at least feel less horrible lol, so thank you for that 😉

  51. Surprised this is written by a woman as everything says SF has far more single men than women, but there are a lot of factors at play. Similar in other cities where there are supposedly more single women than men.

    I think we have become too dependent on social media for arranging social events and socializing and do not know how to handle meeting people in person. There is also no reason that only men should approach women, especially these days as many women suspect men who approach them to be creeps and react very negatively unless it’s in exactly the right setting or they are exactly their “type” and very smooth. Most guys just don’t bother rather than risk being treated like a creep and possibly worse if the person they approach really takes it the wrong way and makes the guy sound really bad as they tell others.

    I also think dating apps have spoiled women in terms of expectation. After using them and matching with the hottest guys in the city who swipe right a lot or on everyone, they start thinking that is their league and then start ignoring other guys both on apps and offline. They also think that someone better is always a swipe away and very few dates are going to be perfect in every way, especially on the first or second date. This mentality certainly carries over offline as well.

    Both men and women are really busy. It costs a lot to live in SF and other major cities and companies can be very demanding. On top of that is the constant competition from your workaholic, overachiever peers, so you have to keep pushing your skills and connections outside of work.

  52. Overwhelmed

    I notice an interesting cultural norm in SF. When passing a woman on the street, she will rarely make eye contact. In fact she will often turn her head and “big league” men. Sometimes she might look, but the instant men look back, she will often turn away and even make a disgusted face. Sort of a passive aggressive entrapment to establish herself as superior. All my friends notice the same thing.

    Some men are now afraid to approach women on the street. With “rape culture” being taught in schools and “street harassment” claims common, why risk the encounter? Meet someone at work you like? Don’t even think about asking her out. You’ll be jobless and possibly facing legal action.

    So we use dating apps. Fine. But why does everyone misrepresent themselves? 20 year old pics, saying you are “average” weight when you are actually at an unhealthy size? Do you think we won’t see you on the date? A fundamental lie is a bad way to start a relationship. And ordering 2 appetizers and 3 martinis before dinner and not even fake offering to split the bill? It’s not a good look.

    Not sure how many other dating options there are.

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