Saturday, June 27, 2009

#7 The On-Shore Breeze

The myth of San Francisco as a balmy beach town has largely been exploded, in no small part due to the oft-quoted adage that the coldest winter ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. The reality is more nuanced though - since absolute temperatures in San Francisco never dip very low. What really kills you is the on-shore breeze.


This is a lesser known fact since sea breezes are generally associated with vitality, beauty enhancement and a top-selling Mexican beer. Sea breezes connote a certain lifestyle aesthetic ("I'm on a boat mother f***er"!) that makes us happy: Dutch mills, girls in bikinis, expensive sea craft, waving palm trees, etc. AND provide that dramatic slow-motion montage effect we've seen a million times: a statuesque beauty backdrafted in an entryway, a sun-kissed blonde with sea-breezed bangs, and, giving us the vapors, a brash kid from steerage at the prow of an unsinkable ship.  

Sea breezes and humans, in other words, are usually on the same side, just a couple of laid back dudes working together on Corona commercial. Not so in San Francisco. As soon as temperatures heat up in the California valley, somewhere around mid-March and lasting until mid September, gales of cold coastal air sally forth like crazed Germans out of the trenches. 

Hostile air currents like this, especially since they do not abate in the evening, have a profound affect on a city's nightlife. A girl dolls up to the nines, checks herself in the mirror a thousand times and then the second she leaves her apartment gets air blasted. Her skin is chafed, her eyes water and, most saliently, her hair becomes a wind torn mess. All that time poofing and curling and straightening, wasted. She shows up at the bar or restaurant or theatre looking like Bruce Willis at the end of Die Hard.


Guy would not disqualify a girl for this. Errant locks, bruises, even raggedy clothing - guys have a super-ray vision that sees through this stuff. It's what makes them hit on girls at the gym.


But girls care about style and personality. They like having a certain aesthetic flair, a panache, and they like going to places that encourage those things. And if the process of achieving these things is frustrated or undermined, by, for example, inclement elements, then the incentive for a girl to present herself to the public for judgment is likewise undermined. Hence, the paucity of ladies out at night. It doesn’t help much to blame the wind of course, it’s not consciously undermining the single most compelling motivation for a guy’s continued existence, but what’s the alternative?


  1. Sir Snodgrass,
    I write a publication called Thrillist SF. I've lived here in SF all my life and find your musings quite poignant. I'd like to feature your blog. Thrillist covers all manner of local events, restaurants, websites, etc, all over the country. This would go out to our San Francisco audience -- approx 65,000 readers. Is there anything you'd like me to highlight, about yourself, or about why you started this blog? I think people might find some additional personal info interesting.

    Please check out our site to get a taste for what we do.


    Nick Elliott
    San Francisco Editor
    521A Vallejo Street
    San Francisco, CA 94133
    (c) 415.577.2810
    (f) 415.776.6223

  2. Hey Nick-

    I am a 30-year-old investment banker who receives Thrillist NY and Thrillist National. I am ecstatic, however, that I have not had a need for Thrillist SF or any similar newsletter since I moved from that social gangland to NY several years ago. (Actually, Thrillist SF launched after I moved and I briefly considered adding it to my Thrillist subscription list just to see what content you guys could come up with for SF but for many of the reasons cited in this blog I decided there couldn't be anything worthwhile so I didn't expand my subscription. This is not a knock on your newsletter but rather a sad reflection of the SF "scene".)

    Mr. Snodgrass, your site is genius and the URL has been passed around my group of friends (guys and girls) - with particular relish from those of us who broke out of the SF nightmare into the light of NY.


    I do think it would be nice to move back to SF or the Peninsula one day when I'm more "settled".

  3. snograss don't ever reveal yourself. consider yourself like batman or superman, except you are protecting the average SF engineer who can't get a date for his life. it would be funny if you conducted phone interviews with a voice scrambler.

  4. It's more than just on-shore breeze, but the point is valid. Unlike LA, Phoenix or Miami, girls in SF hardly ever have a chance to show off their bodies, and that factor alone will prevent many beauties from living here.

  5. Girls here don't reveal there bodies? Clearly, you haven't been to a Donovan party :p