Tuesday, August 18, 2009

#18 Unaggressive Guys

Once everyone gets into the hustle of life we learn pretty quickly that the years and years of straight talk from authority figures - do your homework, be nice to your sister, don’t nap on railroad tracks, etc. - all concerned things on the periphery. The things we want as grown-ups, our motivating aspirations, everyone’s, are horrible, selfish, often disgusting things - world-wide domination, vile sexual fetishes, death to our enemies - not good, morally-minded things at all. We’re monsters. But we can’t own up to this, not publicly, if we want to stay alive or not be hookers, so we speak the Code; we pretend, for example, that when we start chatting up a pretty man or woman we’re just being friendly and that a midnight invitation to to come up for coffee doesn’t involve something super dirty or that Levitra enhances guys' ability to throw footballs through a backyard tire swing.

Women are Code speak mavens. They are so advanced they sometimes forget they’re talking code, and imagine whatever bullsh*t or distraction they're using to leaven the truth is really the thing that they care about, which, research indicates, is supremely useful in both being OK with really shallow behavior and convincing other people to carry your handbag.

Women, for example, get away with saying they’re attracted to guys that are “funny”, by which they mean guys who make them feel attractive and sexy and fun!, which is brilliant if you think about it, because that’s almost the same thing as funny and yet not the same thing AT ALL. When Gwyneth Paltrow insisted in an magazine interview years ago that Brad Pitt is “funniest” guy she ever met, what she really meant was his soft supple hair is so FUNNY! And his washboard abs are so FUNNY! Look at his perfectly formed jaw line, it’s HILARIOUS!” An outrageously handsome man is paying attention to little me! Giggle, giggle, giggle.

Men, on the other hand, generally suck at Code speak, especially when approaching the ladies. They bollox it up like toddlers presenting some Crayola crayoned abomination for display on the fridge, which doesn’t make any strategic sense at all, since the space between what men want and what is socially appropriate is really, really huge, abhorrently huge, it could fill Oakland Coliseum with fantasy-beast anime porn.

BUT in the rare case where guys do master Code speak, what you get is an unstoppable force. You get the guys of Manhattan. You get black guys. Devastating banter. Girls heads spin. These guys talk talk talk until resistance yields.

Now SF women claim that these guys are AMAZING. SF women say they long for a day when these players from Manhattan ride into town because SF guys, by comparison, are mild mannered, socially uncoordinated candya**es. SF guys, they complain, lack the skills and cahones to chat up the ladies. They're stuttering, epicene, unkempt wimps.

This kind of attitude, you might note, seems rather confrontational. It makes you wonder if SF guys live in a scary environment. It makes you wonder about the value of aggression in such a place. It makes you wonder about that guy in a turban who waved a scimitar at Indiana Jones: aggressive maybe, but stupid, absolutely, because Indiana had the gun.

SF women seem to have this hybrid sensibility of hill-billy southern gallantry, where prescribed gender roles dictate who should aggressively pursue whom, and a regionally specific 70s-style extremist feminism, where there is hyper sensitivity to being hit on. According to San Francisco magazine, “Bay Area women have been known to react to innocent flirting as if they'd been groped ... Marie, a 32-year-old executive recruiter [says]: ‘If a guy walks up to me at happy hour, I think he's a friggin' cheese ball.’”

That’s the paradox. SF women get sort of annoyed when guys attempt to seduce them. Not bemused or bored, annoyed. The fact that the average SF guy has the charm of a yard rake doesn't matter. SF women want men to make advances on them but without them knowing that the advance is being made, which requires not just Code speak but pretending to be gay.

This creates what anthropologists call a double bind dilemma. A successful response to one message implicates a failed response to the other, so that the person will be automatically wrong regardless of response. It's pretty much the kind of thing that broke the Union in 1861 and makes the Middle East a total mess. So if you’re a guy in San Francisco and there's a pretty girl sitting next to you, what’s the right move? You keep quiet, keep your head down and hope no one starts yelling.


  1. I think the biggest problem with guys in SF is that they are bookish. They speak in facts and not in emotion. They aren't big risk takers outside of maybe work. I'm generalizing here of course. Maybe it's the engineering culture that is overly represented out here.

    Women don't want this. They want men largely unafraid of offending sometimes and being their own person that is driven and passionate about their own goals. They hate men that are constantly acting as if they are trying to please them. That comes across as dishonest after a while.

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  2. I see a correlation b/w #18 and #15, especially with Asian guys (I don't know any Hispanic men, so can't say if this applies to them as well). Culturally, they're not aggressive when compared to white Americans. If a woman is looking for an aggressive guy, she should go to a football game in the midwest :) I found my fantasy man (tall-ish, aggressive, believes-in-marriage)... but he's from Boston :p

  3. How are you so funny and on point? I'm startled and choking!

  4. In SF, if guy tries to be aggressive, he's seen as being predatory. Has anyone spent any considerable amount of time in the sorry clubs that we have around here? Have you seen the look of disgust when guys try to be aggressive? You can't win.

    1. Fucking on point anonymous person!

  5. As an SF lady hailing from NYC, I couldn't help but find this article intriguing. It seems like one implication of the entry suggests that SF men are allowed to be held unaccountable for their social awkwardness. Instead of attempting to simply partake in an honest conversation, or god forbid, just be a gentlemen, we women should accept this character trait because if we hope for better we're considered shallow and close minded.

    But my real difference of opionion stems from where I see myself positioned in the SF community. I can be just as socially awkward and unagressive as all of the men you are targeting. And I am a woman who says she longs for a "funny" guy and means it. I don't need a guy to be funny AND good looking, personally, good looks make me nervous. I left NYC for many reasons, one factor being the mentality of a lot of the men I dated; I wondered if I tried a new city if I would encounter new people and when my career sent me to San Francisco I was excited to find out. And while, yes, I have found some wonderful new personalities, I think some things are universal. Unfortunately, men seem to be attracted to bitches and women are attracted to assholes.

    The women in this entry seem like Marina pretty girls who don't have much more to offer than beautiful appearances and sharp attitudes. What about the other girls of this city? Because, as one, I have to say there are plenty. Plenty of smart, funny, quirky, and yes, still attractive women out there. And I know this is the premise of the whole blog and it's entertaining and interesting... I'm only suggesting that perhaps instead of looking to justify the behaviors of men using assumptions from a particular group of women you look outside that group.

    If we were all just a little more honest maybe it wouldn't be so hard to find each other. There are girls in San Francisco, but sometimes we can't see what's right there.

  6. Anonymous, and just where pray tell are women like you to be found? Downtown? Bars around the Financial District, SOMA? The Embarcadero?

  7. I think the problem is going into bars expecting to find actual chemistry with someone that's not related to the dim lighting or the drinks. And perhaps ladies act a certain way because unfortunately, it's hard to take a guy seriously in that type of setting even if he is being honest and genuine.

    Lucky for us we live in a city that has other stuff to do as well... I can at least say on my part, if I were to be approached at a book store or a coffee place I would be much more willing to listen and give someone a chance than if I had met that same person at a bar using the same lines. Go to places that the type of the girl you hope to find would be: Giants games, museums, the theater, the park, whatever. Then just be yourself. As unagressive or as aggressive as your nature permits. Keep your eyes open and if the mood strikes, be strong and try to make a new friend. San Francisco is consistantly voted "the most romantic city in the country" so give it a chance to work for you.

  8. Very interesting indeed. A whole dilemma being touched upon here -not just the SF guy.
    (And don't get me wrong but there is no justification for their behavior in the article, implied or non implied)

    What happens in SF is what happens everywhere in the world with all men and even with all women: yes women are attracted to "assholes" and men to "bitches".

    Lets get to the heart of that though. What's an asshole and what's a bitch? Personally I think the asshole is simply living your own life so much and so well that most other things seem like clutter.

    This has nothing to do with being selfish, or arrogant. Those two are active adjectives and I'm talking about a passive action. Put another way:

    "I am so busy living my own existence, that pretty much everything else around me -when I choose to pay attention to it- is acknowledged by me intentionally and with a purpose."


    It is at this point where decisions become simplified: I don't even ask myself if I should or should not talk to her; the impulse comes and "boom" I'm already there.

    Validation in my life has nothing to do with third parties, and everything to do with myself: I feel validated by me because I do what I say I want to do, I pursue my goals and I accept myself as the person I am. I do not whine or complain, I grow, I evolve I become better at all of that which I choose.

    Most importantly I have DISCIPLINE, Self-control. Which is nothing more than the ability to follow through on our words, on our wishes on our thoughts. And since all I go for I accomplish there is a crisp, fresh and REAL tone to my voice and my movements and my attitude. As a consequence of my own ability to "walk my talk" I have high standards and a silky ease about saying "no" when I mean no and "yes" when I mean yes.

    That's a man that attracts women, always and forever. It's not about controlling others but about controlling oneself. Not with restraints (why would I need restraints if I'm in control?) but with action.

    As far as the whole being too aggresive vs. being a wimpy flirt goes... These are issues that happen only when a man is not yet a MAN. Because when he is just himself and his life is this huge reality that encircles people around him, then...Well women can only explain what they feel about him in code.

    BTW, the comment about code language in women and there use of regular language to cover up is incredibly interesting...

    It's not what you say it's how you say it; it's not just how you say, but what you mean by it.

  9. Snodgrass, you said, "SF women get sort of annoyed when guys attempt to seduce them." I think you may have overlooked something...the caliber of guys attempting to seduce these SF women. I believe guys overvalue themselves (I am not saying all guys, but many). Perhaps this can be attributed to the engineering culture where things are seen as being right or wrong. So, an engineer type might think to himself, "I am either a 1 or a 10. I think I am a 10." Notice how he might not say 3 because his options are only 1 or 10. So yes, when a 3 approaches an 8, she gets annoyed and possibly offended. This does not take into account personality, intelligence, etc. Looks are the first thing a person notices. Come on, the truth...when you are at a bar / bookstore / grocery store and see a girl, does her shining personality grab your attention from across the room? I didn't think so...

  10. Adventuresaurus girl, I wouldn't talk if I were you. Your blog reeks of so much narcissm, it would take a Caterpillar 330D FM Forrest Machine to pull that stick out of your tight ass.

  11. i've never laughed so hard at a blog before. You have a permanent subscriber here.

  12. Haha! Wow, yeah, if you read Adventuresaurus' blog, it's kind of...... living proof for several posts on this blog. Fascinating. I found myself collating her posts and points here. Until I got too bummed out about the whole fscking thing.

  13. The editors of WTANGISF were also diverted by adventuresaurus girl’s blog. If we have any anxiety regarding the narrowness or myopia of Sam Snodgrass’s perspective, this blog helps assuage it. WTANGISF’s favorite passage from adventuresaurusgirl.blogspot is below:

    "...Top 5 reasons why guys should not over value themselves in the SF Bay area:
    1. There are exponentially more guys than girls in SF (take a look at every bar I have ever walked into) = the demand for girls is much too high and the market is over saturated with guys
    2. In general, girls in SF are not attractive (number one complaint from the guys, especially from those who have visited / resided in LA and / or New York) = with the already low supply, we just lowered it a lot more if a guy is looking for a cute girl
    3. Not many girls in SF are capable of holding a conversation (this is the number two complaint I have heard from the guys) = already scarce supply of attractive ladies just got lower with the addition of intelligence / being interesting
    4. There is always a better looking / smarter / richer / nicer / more athletic / etc guy around the corner = competition amongst the guys is very high and it is difficult to differentiate oneself and demonstrate value
    5. Getting a girl's phone number is nothing (that girl probably gave it out to at least 3 other guys that hour) = too many substitutes / competitors, lack of a captive audience and low switching cost for the ladies"

  14. In San Francisco it comes down to one thing and one thing only: we're all a bunch of douchebags trying to be successful and nothing like the small town people from where we came. This includes "settling down" and/or "acting like adults".

  15. Hi Sam,

    The dating scene is not optimal in SF. There are a variety of reason this might be true which you have been delving into in a more organized fashion than I have (lack of desirable single women (in my case, men), culture, weather, etc). In many instances, I agree with you and your editors at WTANGISF.

    For the disagreeing parties of WTANGISF and Adventuresaurus Girl: yes, there are desirable single men and women in SF (I would argue much less than other major cities); we are just sharing our own views and experiences, as well as, those of our friends/associates.

    Adventuresaurus Girl

  16. ^ Has it ever occured to you that the problem isn't out there, but between the keyboard and the chair? Just think about that for a second, as impossible as it may sound.

  17. Maybe there is something wrong with me, but as a single and available SF girl, I love it when guys hit on me.
    If I'm not interested I'll excuse myself after a few minutes of chatting, but is that really so bad?

  18. I don't believe the name of this whole thing should be "Why there are no women in S.F." I think it should be called "Why There Are No NORMAL Women in S.F." I see plenty of women in this city. Come on, they're everywhere. The problem is, and I'm really not generalizing, (I've talked to a lot of women in this city) they're either gay, shutdown, really, really stupid or completely out of their minds. I've had many gf's where I'm from (Buffalo,NY) but it took coming to S.F. to find a girl who claimed "I'll commit suicide if you leave" after only knowing each other for 4 weeks and dating for 3! Guys? Girls? Anyone else agree?

  19. haha this is hilarious...all these comments. I think you guys should all meet each other in person and see what you think of each other.

    BTW i have to give that one girl credit above who mentioned getting hit on in a public place besides a bar. Very true, a coffee shop, bookstore, grocery store or in any neutral setting a girl would be much more interested in a guy approaching her here as opposed to guys at bars, who are usually just trying to go home with you.

    p.s. i heard girls from NY were the aggressive ones

  20. Hi! I agree with the girl who moved to SF from NY. There are tons of cool chicks in SF and they are all over town. Get to know your neighbors, chat with new people when you are out and about during the day like at farmers markets and cafes. Its all completely complicated and I can see the guys point of view, sorta. I moved to London last year and I again agree with the NY gal...there are universals. The thing I can say is, be yourself and talk to people. If a girl rolls her eyes, walk away because you probably dont want to talk to her anyway.

  21. wow, a lot of generalizations here. Maybe you are all just lame...ever thought of that? I have no problem meeting people, and that is because I approach men, make them laugh, have an intelligent conversation, you know, things like that. Try that instead of blogging and get back to me...

  22. I think the point that is being missed here is that a lot of guys (including myself) don't approach most of the girls we encounter, b/c we don't see them as equal caliber to ourselves, or to the girls we've dated in the past. That goes as far as looks, career, ambition, fitness, maturity, etc. Sure its not hard to pick up some random chick at the bar, but why would you invest time, money and effort into dating girls who don't measure up?

  23. Who needs to be aggresive with a pocket full of roofies? We work smarter, not harder in SF.

    Besides, the shortage of women is because it's like shooting dead fish in a barrel with a shotgun for international slave traders. Most of the 'missing women' are now making Nike®'s in China, or have been turned into soccer zombie moms.

    Tee hee.

  24. Oh my GOD. I just found this blog. FUCKING AWESOME. Finally someone says the shit that needed to be said.

    On that note, may I say

    @Anonymous: "Who needs to be aggressive with a pocket full of roofies? We work smarter, not harder in SF. " Brilliant.

    @Anonymous: "Adventuresaurus girl, I wouldn't talk if I were you. Your blog reeks of so much narcissm, it would take a Caterpillar 330D FM Forrest Machine to pull that stick out of your tight ass" Awesome, but I doubt that ass is that tight anymore.

    @Adventursaurus Girl: Seriously, suck on it. Women like you who blew in from somewhere else and now think you're the fucking Marlo Thomas 3.0 or whatever the fuck, who think you're so fucking clever, are more superficial than any LA woman. The sad part is you're just not that worth it, and yet somehow you position yourself as all that. Sorry, sweetie, back of the line for you and all your blogbitch ilk.


  25. I was recently out with a friend who moved here last year from the East Coast and his roommate, who was born and bred in the Bay Area. My friend is the epitome of what I think it means to be a man. (Well, almost...Marlboro Man of Pioneer Woman is the true epitome, but I'm so never gonna meet that type out here.) He pays - even for friends when he can. He makes decisions, he open doors, he carries heavy things, he takes risks, he displays confidence, he walks girls home or hails their cab...as I'd say it back home, his mama done him good. So, knowing my friend's answer already, I asked the roommate if he always paid on the first date. Without hesitation he said no. We delved a little further and he emphasized that he behaves out of a belief in equality, not out of being a cheapskate. He said that he does usually offer to pay, but that the girls frequently argue with him and he's not going to let that go on all night. It seems like maybe the women are the cause of confusion rather than the guys not manning up. Unfortunately, I'm starting to think neither the men nor the women of SF were properly taught the rules (or they let go of their training in the confusion of SF liberalness)...

    Read more: http://balancingononefoot.blogspot.com/2010/01/from-mouths-of-sf-men.html

  26. Yeah, it takes a lot of aggression to start a blog and complain about why there are no chicks in the Bay Area instead of living happy with or without a chick.

    Sounds aggressive to me. Keep it up and you'll get more chicks.

    Sarcasm now off.

  27. Hail to you from NYC! You hit the nail on the head when you said and I paraphrase, "men seem to be attracted to bitches and women are attracted to assholes" which is a universal paradigm irregardless of what city you live in. If we would all put down our protective armour and just be whoever it is that we are, we would inevitably find each other, the true other, we are looking for.

  28. @Adventuresaurus Girl

    Clearly you're not the engineering type. A true engineer would not think of himself as either a 0 or a 10. He's either a 0 or a 1. Maybe the real problem in the dating scene is in ignorant b1tches like you who doesn't understand the REAL CODE language.

  29. From my personal perspective it's is the ratio combined with the type of people out here. Of course if there is so much more of guys then girls, the engineering ones. This is why these things get a little tricky. Let's face it, most engineer dudes out there suck at having any genuine and valid approach to woman (if they manage to get the balls together) at all. And they are probably "oh you are so beautiful"-direct that they manage to intimidate the girl right from the start. I mean cause of the gender ratio guys need to understand that girls are very fed up with direct approaches and bad lines. They get hit on ALL THE TIME. This is why lots of 5:s think they are a 10. The solution is to try to know them very indirectly, give the girls some space to get to know you, build up a trust-vibe between each other first. This is why other activities then bars are good, as you can show your selfs to each other in an indirect way.

  30. @anon 201204061612

    Social commentary aside, I got the impression that adventuresaurus girl understood the math. Mathwise, yes, for some computer guys, a binary, 0 vs 1 paradigm might be ingrained. However, really how many of us are actually coding XOR assembly language bit-wise operators for a living? Not many.

    Oh, and, 1 vs 10 is a nice similarity to 0 vs 1 -- as opposed to 0 vs 9

  31. Women really know how to speak code. Unless you get it as a guy you will always wonder why you shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to approaching the opposite gender.