There is saying amongst women trying to date in Silicon Valley: The odds are good, but the goods are odd. There are tons of guys, but they tend to be socially awkward, career-obsessed, and prone to a Peter Pan mentality.
What's it like to try to find love in the Valley? This lawyer, in her early thirties and living in the heart of Silicon Valley, has tried everything: online dating, going to clubs, and even Linx Dating, a high-end Valley matchmaking service. On the condition of anonymity she agreed to tell all.
They call it "Man Jose," and it is so true.
If you are even an average or above average female, finding a date isn't an issue. You have a lot of guys you can go on dates with, but what makes it difficult is finding a viable partner. Most of the men went to Ivy League schools, are ambitious, and came out here because it's the mecca of the tech world. There's a great mix of guys from all over world, and there are interesting types of people to meet. That said, not a lot of them are viable. And the men that are viable know it.
A lot of them are socially awkward. They are extremely smart and logical and think, "I can apply that to a relationship and be rational and logical and that will work." They don't realize that as women, we can be emotional — a lot of guys don't have tolerance for that.
A lot of people in the Valley have started meeting people through salsa dancing — it's really big — and so much social awkwardness comes up. I don't think a lot of guys even interact with women on a consistent basis. You dance with them and some actually shake. They can't look you in the eye. They act like, "Oh my goodness, there is a woman who I'm touching." They get super nervous. It makes it difficult to date someone who doesn't even know how to act in a social context; it's just frustrating.
I went on a date with a 25-year-old who told me in the beginning, "You are the second person I've ever gone on a date with. Ever."
It was the worst date. It was clear he had never dated. He told me all these things that you wouldn't ever disclose on a first date. It almost felt like an awkward high school setup; we met at this yogurt place. And that's another thing — it's not really typical to go on formal dates. Everyone does coffee for the first date. In other parts of the country, going to dinner is pretty standard; here, when a guy mentions dinner for a first date, it's like, wow — that is shocking! Most people in the tech industry are very laid-back and don't have a lot of time. The mentality is, "Am I going to invest in this or do sort of a pre-date?"
On dates, guys wear flip-flops, shorts, and jeans. It's what they wear to work, so they think it translates to date attire — just wearing their scrubby clothes. I wear dresses when I met these guys. They don't put in that effort.
Guys who are successful, who dress up, are good-looking, and who aren't socially awkward are a rare breed. And they know it. They have a ton of choices. They're the type that's always looking for a better option. There are some like that in Silicon Valley, but I find a lot in San Francisco. I've been on dates with guys you would say are the "whole package," and while they're with you they literally look at other women as they walk away.
Guys in Silicon Valley spend lot of time on their career and don't have time to devote to relationships. I'm a lawyer and I work a lot too; most tech guys I meet put in as many or more hours as I do. Sometimes when they have a deadline or are pushing out a product, for instance, they put in 90 hours. They typically say they would live at work if they could. A lot of big tech companies, like Google and LinkedIn, make it conducive to these guys spending every minute of their time there, with great perks like food and showers and the like.
The companies where they work promote a bubble mentality. There is an immaturity level that prevails — like they are trying to promote the idea that they are still in college. At Google they have Nerf gun wars. At work, their food is provided for them and they can, essentially, act like they are still in college. A lot of guys, even in their twenties and early thirties, have roommates even though they are making well over $100,000 a year. It makes it difficult to have a serious relationship.
There are two groups of guys. A lot of them are 23 to 28. They are into their career, and most are quite immature. And then there are a ton of early-forties guys who never married. They have waited and were starting companies and then they hit their forties and realized,"Now I'm ready to get married and have kids."
These groups are the only two we get hit on by. Where are the early-thirties guys? We can't figure it out. We don't know where they hang out or what they do. Especially online, if a guy in his mid-thirties messages me, it's a rarity. My friends and I are done dating anyone not in their thirties, and we don't know where these guys are.
I've heard that San Francisco is known to be the number one city for gold diggers, but I haven't observed that at all. It isn't realistic, because if you live in this area you have to be able to make quite a bit of money — it's very expensive. It's actually the other way around: There are definitely very accomplished older professional women here. Older women are just picking up the 28-year-olds because they can. It is totally cougar central, and it's hilarious.
Everywhere I go, it's 23- and 24-year-olds. I'll say, "You're too young for me. It won't work," and they tell me, "I've dated older women, and it is so much better." It's pretty common. They'll latch on to us, and they think, she'll take care of me. They're being taken care of at work, so why not be in a relationship where they're taken care of too?
It's so comical — to the point where when I go out, the first question is, "How old are you?" These younger guys try to persuade you that they really are mature, but they're not. Some of them just latch on and are very persistent. It's flattering, sure, but at the same time, it just doesn't work.
A lot of guys have the mentality that they'll wait and they'll find the perfect woman. They don't realize that relationships aren't about perfection. At work, it's all black and white. They say they love their job because it's about fixing a problem and there is always a solution. They don't realize that this isn't how it works in real life.
Contact Justine Sharrock at email@example.com.
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