The city is full of brilliant, young working professionals — a vibrancy of transplants with well groomed pedigree degrees and backgrounds, a bulk of which makes a homogenous population of tech employees. All of them are all ambitious to a fault. Fiercely dedicated to their work, they work long hours to prove a point for their career and are inspired by the reoccurring wave of millionaires making it big from grinding at early stage startups or starting their own companies.
But finding time to date and to find love? Seems like a secondary thought to most people while they’re focused on building up their careers, but loneliness is real and what better way to find someone quickly through a dating app?
Modern dating has evolved. The stigma of dating apps has faded, and has become the normal gateway to meet your new potential SO. What was meant to open more doors of possible connections has turned into a revolving door of new faces, all who are interchangeable, replaceable, and better than the next.
Popular dating apps, like Bumble, Hinge, Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Her saturate the phones of young working professionals in San Francisco. You bump into preened profiles of CEOs, venture capitalists, engineers, business directors, etc, most likely all working or related to tech. Some don’t even disclose their actual titles, probably in fear that a tech gold digger might sniff out their stock shares.
But just as a recruiter scans a resume, users scan a profile as brief as 5 seconds, creating judgements about a person first on their photos, length and even content of their bio, and predictions about this potentially working out.
The other person most likely does the same. Dating is expensive, and I always appreciate the effort a man puts into being chivalrous. But half of the guys don’t pay; why bother when you have 10 other girls on an app to take out on a first date?
If a date is on, it’ll most likely start with coffee or $14 drinks. When it’s a planned dinner, the guy is usually more invested in the potential of it working out — just a small observation I’ve made from the intentionality of the men I’ve dated. Talking to men on dating apps has its perks and negatives — ghosting happens, where you think you’ve had a pleasant conversation with someone and never hear back again. You find some guys interesting, and they woo you over the app with just their words.
I had a brief stint with a civil engineer, ending it because we were incompatible. He was a lot of what I thought I wanted and needed. Intelligent, handsome, tall — all great qualities of a driven working professional who was working on his second MBA. Humorous and witty through text, but cold and unmoved in person. It was like dating a robot. I tried to overlook these blaring issues, but couldn’t and ended it via text.
He reached out to me after a month and asked to work it out. When I asked for his reasoning, he said, “I thought I could easily find someone better, but you and I had a connection. My friend told me that the grass will always be greener than the other side, but sometimes settling is okay too.”
How f*cking romantic. It obviously did not work out.
Another date I had started and ended with my date being 30 minutes late to pick me up, completely changing plans, and until this day, I am not sure how I even ended up paying for his beer. San Francisco is even small enough that I’ve awkwardly bumped into previous awkward dates on the muni or in passing in the financial district. One even takes the same cable car to work as me, which is why I’ve avoided taking the 9 am one.
I’m not against dating apps though. I’ve had some amusing, and not so amusing experiences with the men I’ve met through the apps I’ve used. Using Coffee Meets Bagel led me to a three year relationship of happy and warm moments, but also an abrupt breakup that became a pivotal life changing experience for me. It has also given me some of the funniest narratives to share and bond over with my girl friends during happy hour. I have also seen my friends’ hearts break over the failed possibilities of finally finding true love, including mine.
I am happy for those who found love in this small 7x7 city through an application built for human connection — I wish them all the best. Finding and making those human touch points is easier now than ever, but sometimes at a cost. Am I just another profile nestled in a dating app? Will I ever meet someone at a coffee shop or through a friend? How will the dynamics of love continue to change with dating apps?
Funny how technology has transcended into many channels and points in our lives, including dating. The dating pool is bigger, smarter, and shinier, but more finicky and restless. Using apps to date to find love in San Francisco almost seems hopeless, but it has been done.
Watch Dating in San Francisco | girl talk, how we evolved, dating in 20s vs 30s
Emily is a US expat currently living in Singapore to learn about the tech communities growing in Asia. She has worked 4+ years in dev relations, community management, and event marketing within the tech and travel industry. Her time at OmniSci, Google and Booking.com gave her cross-functional expertise. In her free time, she is the host for the Asian Female Lead podcast and documents her life journey in digital at The Fang Girl.