Like many people living in a major metropolitan city, I came here to make bank and add some sparkle to my résumé. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. While I was trying to get out of a bad relationship, I was offered a job in San Francisco. But in addition to starting an exciting new job, I moved here with the intention of finding a new man.
Little did I know that the dating scene in San Francisco is a little different from that of the rest of the state. Even Broke Ass Stuart agrees that the dating scene here is weird. Back in SoCal, where I lived previously, I was surrounded by friends on the marriage and baby path (no thank you!) and hordes of commitment-phobic men. But in the San Francisco, I saw a whole different side of dating.
I’ve met two different types of men here: those who are too busy to even think about socializing (unless it’s with an executive) and those who date with no strings attached, i.e., they’ll bang anything that moves. So I decided to try my hand at dating with convenience and nonmonogamy / borderline polyamory in mind. I finally saw and experienced what I was missing out on.
In a city where time is money and convenience is king, here’s why convenience relationships—dating someone because of ease, geography, money or their access to resources—can be an amazing thing.
Location, location, location
I live in the Outer Richmond. I love being as far as possible from the screaming sirens constantly running down Market Street and the insanity of the bar crowds. But do you know how hard it is to convince someone to come to my ’hood, let alone hang out in the wee hours of night?
Me (10:30 p.m.): So what are you doing tonight?
Tinder/Bumble/Thrinder/OkCupid/Hinge Guy (10:31 p.m.): Trying to find some trouble to get into. Let’s meet up.
Me (10:33 p.m.): Oh, I’m so down. Drinks, late-night dinner? Netflix and chill??
Guy (10:34 p.m.): Yes, please. Forgot to ask, where’s your place? I’m in the Mission.
Me (10:36 p.m.): Really? Thought I told you. Err, I’m far. In the Outer Richmond. It’s nice, though. I can hear the ocean from my bedroom.
Guy (10:55 p.m.): Damn, that’s far. Had no idea.
Me (10:56 p.m.): Yeah … it’s quiet, though! Tons of parking.
Guy (11:30 p.m.): Yeah, cool.
After that, radio silence.
That’s why it’s amazing when you click with someone who lives in your neck of the woods. And if you can walk to their place, even better.
It’s hard to act on a spur-of-the-moment rendezvous if you’re broke, don’t have a car, can’t afford a $17 Lyft ride to the other side of the city or don’t want to ride the bus for 45 minutes to get their place. If you’re in the city and your love interest is in the East Bay, it’s an even taller order. (Real talk, though: why does it cost almost $20 to get from the Outer Richmond to downtown San Francisco, but $12 from downtown Oakland to Union Square? Give a girl a break!)
On the flip side, the person gets extra points if they live close to your office, yoga studio, gym or other place of frequent visitation. Or if you’re a foodie like me who refuses to wait in crazy lines, extra brownie points if they live by the brunch spot du jour. Set your alarm early, and you can guarantee a spot in the first seating. Imagine never having to wait for a table at Al’s Place or Brenda’s on a Saturday morning ever again.
It’s all about finding the happy medium.
Join forces and funds because the rent is too damn high
There may come a time when you want to play house with your significant other. They have rent control, your roommates are crazy, your landlords are selling, and you don’t want to deal with the court case, whatever it may be. You save a ton of money, save time on driving to see each other, and share meals, household expenses and groceries—if that doesn’t add an element of convenience, you’re doing it wrong.
I had a hairstylist in the city once tell me that one of the perks of the guy she was seeing was the fact that he owned his own house. He paid about $2,000 in homeowner taxes every year, and that was it. Not a penny more to live here. If that’s not a unicorn by San Francisco standards, I don’t know what is.
You weren’t lucky enough to land a place near a BART or Muni line
I dated someone who lived right on the N, and it was a freaking godsend. If I was at his place and needed to get downtown, riding Muni saved me 20 minutes compared to my usual commute of an awful 38 bus. If you meet someone who lives within walking distance from BART, Muni or essentially any other semi-high-speed-rail system, hold out for as long as you can before breaking up with them.
They have a medical-marijuana card, and you don’t
Having a medical-marijuana card in a city with legit and artisanal dispensaries is like having a golden ticket in real life. But if you don’t have a card or a reliable hookup, you might want to think twice about breaking up with your stoner boyfriend or girlfriend.
Just as mixologists and craft cocktails changed the social scene, growers and artisanal strains of weed are changing the way we play and entertain ourselves.
One of my old roommates had an app through which he could order and have weed delivered to the house in less than two hours. We picked from dozens of items from the Apothecarium, and someone magically delivered our goodies. Whether you’re dating or living with someone who has a card, keep them close by, because you’ll never know when the mood strikes.
Their disposable income blows your salary out of the water
I’m all for being an independent woman and making—and spending—my own money. But some people are all about spending their honey’s money. In a time of sugar babies, sugar daddies and beyond, if the person is content with spending their money to make you happy, then go with it.
My date recently dropped his AmEx Black Centurion Card at dinner without skipping a beat. Granted, he’s a bit older and owns his own law firm. (I’m not one to discriminate about age, people!) While I was shocked, I definitely didn’t feel terrible ordering another cocktail or suggesting that we move on to a fancy restaurant. He definitely made up for the other guys I was seeing, who, though they all live close to me, still suggest we go Dutch on dinners.
They say money doesn’t buy happiness. But a healthy disposable income in a big city can buy a lot of fun.
For decades, San Francisco has been known to pave the way in terms of culture, food, politics, social issues, technology, music and so much more. While the idea of friends with benefits isn’t new, the people in the city—and all our casual sex/dating practices and Peter Pan–syndrome attitudes—are definitely changing the way we date.
If you’ve read this far, I bet you’re thinking two things: this chick is crazy, and why would you ever date someone just to use them for where they live, because of how much money they have or because they have easy access to drugs?
Dating on the basis of convenience isn’t for everyone, clearly. My requirements for dating me are still the same: make me laugh, don’t roll your eyes when I suggest we go to yoga, and have the ability to converse intellectually. I went from lackluster monogamous dating to going on some of the best, most adventurous dates in my entire life.
I made the mistake of falling in love during my first convenience relationship, even though he laid everything out on the table beforehand. While we don’t see each other on the reg now, we can still catch up, laugh at all the stupid things we did and share stories about our recent conquests. Convenience relationships require a strong foundation of communication, trust and understanding. If you’re not on the same page, there’s a huge probability that someone’s heart will break in the end.
We all choose to get into relationships for a number of reasons. Maybe it’s for love, maybe it’s because we share common hobbies or maybe because it’s easy and super-convenient. For whatever reason, share the love.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Kelleher.