"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.
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"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.
In debates with his single female friends who waited for men to make the first move, the Bay Area native noted, "Probably precisely the type of guy you're interested in meeting would love to have a confident, attractive woman come up to him and make the first move." But Mr. Like the So Ma-based app Down, Tinder is one of a number of digital platforms that allows users to look for love (or lust) while standing in line or riding a bus - not sitting in front of a computer.
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Call it digital courage, where "approaching" a girl is as easy as jamming out a text message and in which there are unlimited (and willing) fish in the sea.
Given all of the above (tech-friendly early adopters, jacked-up courting habits, rejection-shy geeks), it's no wonder that San Francisco's residents are flocking to the efficiency of dating digitally.
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.
But why it has all but replaced a time-tested mating ritual remains a mystery.