Saturday, June 6, 2009

#1 Day Culture

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.

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."


  1. Genius. You are dead on my friend. Mad Kudos, you are doing us a huge favor with this blog and validating a lot of the shit that we had to go through in SF. Its not us, its the girls.

  2. Someone does not know what sexual selection is.

  3. Mr. Snodgrass, who are you and how old are you? Please share - you're hilarious.

    I have an idea for your next entry:

    Read this NYTimes article: "The Well-Paid Flirt"

    This may impart insight into your "why there are no women in San Francisco" theory. It's not that there's no women, it's that they respect themselves too much to be displaying themselves for solicitation at bars! As you point out in this article, "going out" is such a meaningless thing to do, and logistically laborious and not worth it, which is why, if you read the above NYTimes article, women get salaries just to go out and talk to men in bars in Japan as hostesses. They're paid just to converse with lonely men. American women who hang out at bars are doing so for free?

  4. There are no girls in SF because they are too sober to be interested in you.

  5. hey, there are plenty of hot single women in SF, in fact, I think the odds are against the women here. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to go back to a guy's place. "He" seems charming, funny and intelligent but in the end if you don't go back that night, you won't get a call back. It seems all the "nice" guys are taken. No one wants to go on a date, it's always "let's hang out". No, I am not a super babe, nor am I fugly but c'mon the douche factor is high here. Everyone is a little freer up here, so guys don't waste their time on women that don't put out right away. How about a phone call instead of a text? How about a little effort? You like us dressed up but you guys can't shave or put on a clean shirt. Believe me, I understand your need to use facial hair as some sort of manly declaration, but really, no one wants to kiss that. As much as I hate the douchey guys that prey on the drunkest girls, they make an effort. They say hello, and unfortunately, that makes all the difference. Still, I brave the night life, hoping to meet a guy that wows me, but I have no illusions about it. Nightlife has always been this way, it's always just been a matter of when you will get tired of it. As for those hot day girls, they look at hot guys in the day time too. It could be that maybe they're out hoping to meet a nice guy in the "day time" because they are more likely to believe some one is interested in them if they aren't 3 sheets to the wind.

  6. well written, funny, and informative! Good stuff. Women in SF are either mid-late 20's looking for some crazy ideal Matt M. or over 30 and too bitter to think a guy might actually be decent and care about them. I think the "no good girls no good guys" argument is pointless. It's more about the ratio and the attitude. How is a guy supposed to prove their nice when a woman has 15 suitors causing static and you've got 3 minutes to make your pitch? Get a clue ladies, you're passing up the good ones for the d*ckheads and when you're in your mid-30's wondering why you're single or why you married mr. wrong, I'll be sailing with my family in the bahamas. Maybe the radar of the modern woman is just f'ed up because of women's lib? Not sure but something is fundementally wrong here!

  7. ugh i said 'their' please edit that!

  8. this is a perfect appraisal of the situation. Clearly the solution is to start drinking at 10am.

  9. I find this so funny because as an eligible, attractive woman I can't find a man. ANYWHERE!

  10. This blog is dead on. Even if women out there don't agree, they should understand that many (most?) guys in SF share this blog's perspective. I can't tell you how many times I've had the "Where are all the girls?" conversation in the 5 years I've lived here. Sure, maybe I'm just hanging out with losers, but my friends in Atlanta don't complain like this...

  11. I like doing things during the day. I am open to meeting new people--men and women and yet, the last time I went for a jog one morning, and I was asked by a young man for directions, he followed up with "would you look at my junk and tell me what you think?". Then proceeded to proposition me at 9am. I mean I know a sweaty sports bra and baseball cap wearing girl is super sexy but REALLY?
    And you say there are quality men in SF. ;-)Maybe you guys should hunt this guy down and make sure he doesn't scare off any other women who while enjoying their friendly day time activity were willing to chat with a stranger they thought were safe.

  12. this is a blog of self fulfilling prophecy, a funny one, but still dog...

  13. Mr. Snodgrass, you are a genius!

  14. Brilliant stuff, but a correction for this entry: You're talking about a particular (generally Marina/Russian Hill centered) San Francisco.

    This is a hard, hard partying city. I'm not talking about the trash-clubs like Ruby Skye where people from San Jose hang out. I'm talking about the huge dive bar culture, especially in the Mission, and the whole burning man extravaganza. The amount of boozing that goes on here is rivaled by few other cities. The difference is it's not happening in sports bars or trash clubs.

    Definitely worth exploring for better anthropologic work.

    That said, the women are rarely better looking in that world and as full of closed-off attitude as they are in the Marina. Unless they're ugly, in which case at least you have someone to talk to.

  15. *snore*. Another article-writing geek who boosts his ego by constructing linguistically dense sentences about nothing. If you want a large vocabulary, go read Ulysses. No need to start a blog.


  16. This is all spot on regarding the nightlife vs daylife, except for the "I'm lonely" part. Maybe some are like that, but I think Daylifers are more the types that are in a long term relationships and don't need be surrounded by 500 randoms to feel like they have company. Well, that's MY experience anyways. :)

  17. My sister lives in SF and says there are "no least no straight guys worth spending time with." So, can you tell us where to find the boys?

  18. This is actually rather comical, coming from a man that admittedly lives in FRESNO? I mean, WTF?

    Have you ever really visited San Francisco?

    Your comments about "bridge and tunnel" sound more like you've spent way too much time in NYC as that's a term they use there...not so much in SF.

    You know there reason there aren't any women in SF is rather simple:

    There aren't any MEN in SF.


  19. The responses here by women seem defensive. Their placing the blame on there "not being quality men" Honestly I think a group of women who see men acting as MEN... as a bad or unattractive thing is giving themselves few options to meet a quality man. Perhaps we should relabel this "SF the city with the largest ratio of HOT single women and NO quality guys" LOL, or perhaps women in SF should grow up and live by realistic standards rather than feminist ones that alienate men and make their paths to meeting a quality man few and far. The next time a guy approaches you at a bar, or in a book store appreciate his confidence, rather then writting him off as a douchebag.

  20. Seriously, you have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. I only swear to convey my utter disbelief in this fools understanding of what makes San Francisco tick. San Francisco runs on elbow grease and a yearning for sunshine. People here are fit and pride themselves on how they utilize their personal time to better themselves psychically and mentally. The women here are beautiful and yes, it may be intimidating to approach that bombshell at Pete's in the Fidi, but that's not to say it can't be done. In addition, San Francisco has one of the best live music scenes in the country. We are littered with historic venues, such as the Bill Graham, The Fillmore, The Fox Theater (Oaktown), and The Greek Theater (Berkeley). The shear magnitude of interesting and attractive women that gravitate to these musical heavens is mind boggling.

    Come to hardly strickly in the fall or hit up a show at the boom boom room and you will be pleasantly surprised by the number of sexy and approachable ladies. Put down the bud light, pick up racer 5, saddle up on your bike, and stop that random hottie on valencia and ask for directions for christ sake. Do you expect these women to just toss back a few natty lights and fall in love with your boring ass? Sorry to tear you apart, but really you obviously have never lived here and if you did or still do then your doing to wrong.


    Guy that thinks SF may have the best population of women this side of the rocky mountains.