Urban Chivalry: Dating in the City of Apathy
By Paije Alexandra West
It's no surprise that dating in your twenties is no picnic, & at the ripe age of twenty-two I've realized the pond I have to choose from is nil, especially in the beautiful city of San Francisco. When I moved to this extraordinary place, I was full of hope & just coming out a VERY tumultuous long term relationship; a HURRICANE of a relationship if you will. Little did I know, I was in for quite a rude awakening.
I knew only one person in the city of fog & being the wild child that I am, making friends in the classroom was really not my style. So naturally, I dove head first into 'the scene' of San Francisco. You know the type...HIPSTERS (even I cower of embarrassment typing the term so I am hardly offended if you are reading this whilst rolling your eyes). They all wear the same uniform: deep v neck t-shirts paired with far too tight designer skinny jeans, one leg rolled up so as not to interfere with the chain on their fixed gear bike.
Fashionable bikes. In Southern California, superficial women gawk at men in their fast, flashy sports cars. Here in SF (& of course Williamsburg, New York)...a sleek fixed gear bike is enough to make our knees buckle. I have no shame admitting this, it's the nothing but the truth. My girlfriends & I often sit on my fire escape over looking Market street, inhaling cigarette smoke & gossiping all the while scoping out the cute boys on their bikes decked out in flannel riding on past us. American Apparel ANYTHING is a staple. They strictly listen to Indie rock bands you've never heard of, shitty underground hip hop & repetitive electro tunes. These are hipsters - they exist in various permutations, but all of them come from the same mold of escapist-bullshit & insecurity cloaked as pretentiousness.
So, I had fallen head first into this scene of scummy kids. Every night we'd troll block to block brown bagging booze on our way to various dive bars in the Mission district of San Francisco. I was still a virgin to the dating game here & far from aware of the tomfoolery (yes, I said tomfoolery) that these men spit at women like no body's business. Soon enough, I, like many in the city had fallen prey to a bartender slash DJ slash photographer slash party promoter (gag). His elusive charm in all of it's ironic, witty hipster douchebag glory is blindsiding...really. If I ever expected a phone call before 11pm, I was in for looming disappointment because that kind of notion is unheard of. Being taken out for a meal is plain archaic in my book. Truly, the most romantic gesture I can think of is having a guy pay for my two dollar transfer on Muni & I swear if it ever actually occurred I would undoubtedly have a heart attack.
Needless to say, us women of San Francisco are screwed. Apathy is considered sexually attractive in this city. We all spend our time gladly putting on the charade of ignoring the others existence during awkward run ins at the usual Sunday spent at Dolores Park. This is all despite that fact that we are most likely hiding last nights panties in our purses from that morning's walk of shame. I like to call it my walk of fame but that's besides the point. No one would ever guess that as we drink our cheap beer on that grassy knoll, the boy who's glances we're diverting in the most aloof of manners is really making our stomachs fill up with butterflies.
So, what to do? Most of my girlfriends have nearly given up. As you can probably imagine the range of men is cut a bit short here. Nearly all of the attractive dudes are gay & take to going to Q bar in the Castro for 80s night & one dollar cosmos rather than giving us a second glance. Le sigh. So, we are stuck with the scruffy hipsters of the city & we accept them. The boys who have Morrissey haircuts, awkward beards & ironic mustaches...we allow them to treat us this way because really, what choice do we have? Someday, I'm sure, when (if?) they graduate from whatever pretentious art school they're attending or realize that tending bar is hopefully not a lifetime profession, they'll get the picture. But for now, we get to be those in between girls that they treat like shit & they get to be those guys we realize are far less swoon-worthy with age. Cause really, you can't be a scumbag forever...right?