where is a better dating location, SF or SF peninsula?
June 8, 2012 6:01 PM   Subscribe

Where is the dating better for a straight woman: San Francisco or the Peninsula?

Hello, recently single 28 y/o female trying to decide between living in the city or the Bay Area peninsula. I will be working from home in the next year. I have about an equal number of friends in both locations, maybe slightly more in the Palo Alto area. The city is much more expensive, and it would probably mean living in a not so central location, sharing a bathroom (which I hoped I wouldn't have to do again in this lifetime), etc. On the other hand, city more fun and meet more people in the city? On the first hand, save more money on rent and spend more money on restaurants with friends in the city on weekends?

Maybe the main reason I'm asking is, people keep mentioning that the city is not a great dating scene for single women ("many gay men! many men who don't want to commit!"), whereas the peninsula is filled with deliciously geeky guys (Man Jose, etc). Anecdotally, how are your single female friends faring in either of these locations?

No, it's obviously not the only consideration, and I actually probably won't be dating for a while anyway, but I am thinking to the future.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
SF and the peninsula are so close to each other that it makes no difference where you live. You can to to the city/peninsula whenever you want.
posted by twblalock at 6:31 PM on June 8, 2012

My single female friends hated living on the peninsula. Everyone lamented that the odds seemed good until you realized all the even vaguely normal dudes were either taken, or so married to their work that getting their consistent attention was difficult.

No idea whether it was any better in the city.
posted by town of cats at 6:41 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree with twblalock. You should live wherever will make you happier, and as long as you aren't really far south, you can get to either place. If you're bummed about your housing, it might even make it harder to motivate to put yourself out there and go on dates.

Incidentally, when I was single I lived in Menlo Park, and dated a lot (mostly guys I met online). I ended up meeting a great guy who was living in SF. We now live here together and I love it. When I was dating, I definitely went on more dates with guys from the peninsula, most of whom were perfectly nice and normal.

Final thought: of your friends in the area, where are more of your single friends? It'll be good to be near them, so you have someone to go to parties and events with. Sometimes friends who are coupled up are less interested in going out, because they're not looking to meet someone.
posted by pompelmo at 6:58 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been single(ish) in SF for the past 8 years. I run in pretty queer circles and have almost never run into the "All the good ones are gay" problem. Plenty of straight single and bi guys.

I would probably not be single if I weren't so married to my job.

If you want to live in SF, live in SF. If you want to live in PA, live in PA. They're so vastly different in so many ways--lots of variables to consider outside of the potential dating pool. Walkability, weather, cost, parking, culture, etc.
posted by mollymayhem at 7:07 PM on June 8, 2012

Seconding Ms Mayhem; live where you can achieve total best life happiness, and let dating come after. SF and the PA are so, so different, there's a ton of non-dating variables that will make a bigger difference to how happy and social you are.

I wouldn't live in the PA for any reason (too suburban for my tastes) but I recently moved from SF to Oakland and adore it. It's really a pretty small region, especially if you have a car. SF is awesome, and I've never noticed "all the good ones are gay", even a little bit.
posted by mostlymartha at 7:38 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

The opinion that SF and Palo Alto are trivially close together is not a universal one. I am taken and therefore have no firsthand experience, but I can think of quite a number of breakups where my friends claimed that the distance was one of the major strains on their relationships. It's much more of a problem if one or both people live car-free.
posted by tantivy at 7:38 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

[Disclaimer: I'm a guy]

I've been single in both Palo Alto and San Francisco, and Palo Alto sucked a lot more. Once I moved to San Francisco (and got roommates) there was _always_ something going on with lots of single people. Also you bump into friends of friends all over the place in the City, that almost never happened to be in the south bay (likely since everyone drives in the valley, but walks/bikes/buses in the city)

When I lived in PA, I found myself going up to San Francisco every weekend anyway, finally just moved.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 7:47 PM on June 8, 2012

Hi! I am a single 28 year-old female living in San Mateo. I have lived here for almost two years, and before that I lived in the city (Inner Sunset) for four years while attending grad school. From my own experience, I would say SF definitely has the more exciting dating scene; it's much easier to meet like-minded single people just because there's always so much going on.

Speaking in broad generalizations, it feels like a lot of the guys in the Peninsula are already taken or are married to their work. Anectdotally, one of my girlfriends lived in San Jose for a while and her conclusion was "Yeah, there are a ton of single guys here, but none that I would actually date. They're all socially awkward or totally arrogant." She met her current boyfriend in SF. In the Peninsula, I've only had luck meeting guys through online dating. I haven't met anyone on the bar scene or at Meetups. Also, in spite of living so close to SF, I go there much less often than I would have anticipated. Parking is a pain, and Caltrain can be a drag. I typically end up driving to Millbrae and taking BART in. That said, the Peninsula is a nice place to live. There are a ton of amazing restaurants, especially in the Palo Alto/Mountain View area, and many neighborhoods that are quite walkable. I think you'll have fun in either place. :)
posted by cucumberfresh at 10:04 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding everyone who said first choose to live where you'd want to live and adding more weight to what MollyMayhem said.

I was single in San Francisco six years ago (is that a song title yet? :) and had I actually been actively wanting to date, I don't think I would have any trouble. iirc one of my first positive experiences with the difference that is that wonderful city was going out with friends to a bar and coming back with my pockets positively filled with business cards and phone numbers of guys, some of whom were actually attractive :)

Also as someone who grew up in the ASEAN region and didn't like cars, being able to live with gorgeous views, within walking distance to a fullblown Chinatown, was an added attraction.

I'd move back in a heartbeat any day but can't/won't for a variety of unrelated reasons.
posted by infini at 2:23 AM on June 9, 2012

When I was single I lived in SF. Being in the city means that not only can you do stuff on weekends, but on random weekday evenings you can meet friends at frijtz or wherever. You're less likely to go into the city on a weekday evening for that kind of thing. I dated a bunch of guys who lived on the Peninsula, and it seemed that the idea of a girlfriend with an apartment in SF certainly seemed to hold a lot of a appeal. I did not have a car during that time, and getting down to Palo Alto is certainly doable.

Now I am married with kids and live on the Peninsula, and I'm glad I had that time in SF. I have a number of female married friends who tell me wistfully that they had always wanted to live in the city, but never did. There's a real tone of regret there. I know some people who tried SF and found they preferred Oakland/Marin/Pacifica for their own reasons, but they don't regret having tried it.

The Peninsula is pretty suburban, kid-oriented, rolling-up-the-sidewalks-early kind of place. It would be really hard to live down here without a car; it's possible, but you'd have to be really careful about choosing housing. Also, living in SF makes dating guys on the Peninsula possible, as well as guys in the East Bay (mr. ambrosia was living in Berkeley when we met, for example) whereas living in Palo Alto would make dating a guy in Oakland or Berkeley a PITA, especially without a car.

Metafilter has a pretty active meetup thing going in SF. MeFites are awesome and wherever you move, you should come to some meetups. It's a great way to meet people!
posted by ambrosia at 9:57 AM on June 9, 2012

Nthing "live where you want to live." The so-called "man shortage" in San Francisco is more fable than fact. I never had a problem dating when I lived there. In fact, I think dating was easier when I lived there than where I live now (East Bay suburbs).

It's also easy-peasy to live car-free in San Francisco. They now have Zipcar for those times when you just want to get away for a weekend, or need to lug a week's worth of groceries and kitty litter, or other occasions when you wish you had a car. You don't need to hassle with owning your own car in San Francisco (in fact, it saves you the HELL of parking; parking in SF is seriously the circle of Hell that Dante forgot to mention). OTOH if you live on the Peninsula, you'll need a car. Plus it's more of a trip and a hassle to get to whatever nightlife-type things you want to do. When I lived in SF, I could walk almost anywhere (even at night), take the bus or if I really needed to, take a cab.

San Francisco's biggest drawback is not the dating scene, it's the cost of housing. However, most worthwhile places on the Peninsula are not that much cheaper, plus you'll need to factor in the cost of having a car there. So I'd say go live in San Francisco, ditch the car and have fun dating!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:23 PM on June 9, 2012

San Francisco seems to have way more profiles on the popular dating sites, it seems to indicate more single people within the city than the peninsula. Also, people frequently go from peninsula to the city to party/date, but much less the other way around. Since you are female you won't have trouble in either place, but San Francisco seems to have way more going on and people out and about.

I think I've found that people, or females at least in the city would prefer to have a guy who lives within the city boundaries so they can be closer and take public transportation. However, it's much cheaper for me to live outside the city yet only 20 minutes by car. It's frustrating that it seems more 20 somethings want to live in this most expensive city, many making probably less than 1/3 my salary (around 100K). Back in the midwest 20-30 min by car is nothing and around here SF city people don't like cars and like to avoid us outsiders from the peninsula I guess :-/

I guess I need to start a new question about dating BETWEEN San Francisco and Peninsula.
posted by megustaelsol at 7:11 PM on December 26, 2012

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