Straight Dudes Have It So Hard

That’s what she said.

I’ll see myself out.

When I started to get more serious about planning this blog, I performed some market research. What did other people have to say about dating in the Bay Area? I stopped short of doing a 2×2 or writing up a competitive landscape analysis, but this was one of the first things I found:

Hacker News is a social news website focusing on computer science and entrepreneurship run by YC, an iconic incubator in the Bay. Content includes “anything that gratifies one’s intellectual curiosity.” That’s right, nerds.

In the thread, dissatisfaction and disappointment abound. This dude was seriously reconsidering a fucking job offer because of how awful it is to be a single, straight dude here. Based on my experience, this wasn’t wholly surprising. Something about supply and demand and basic economics.

After researching a bit online, I decided to go straight to the source. My primary research included asking fwb’s and platonic friends for their thoughts. Aside from validating the existing literature (see here and here), the conversations allowed me to piece together a rough “user journey”.

Template courtesy of the Interaction Design Foundation.

Journey maps are a key tool from b-school. They also might be BS.

The routine for dating as a straight guy seemed to go something like this: Go for drinks at a nearby bar. Ask “What do you like to do for fun?” Words like “Hiking” and “Work on my startup idea” or “cryptomining” are exchanged. Usually on a subsequent date, intercourse may or may not occur if there’s acceptable pretext for going back to his apartment. Then as time passes, we swipe some more for someone new.

Inevitably, frustrations due to time, expense, and the seeming dearth of remotely enjoyable conversations grow. Full disclosure, the same men I asked opinions of also seemed fairly annoyed that women in the Bay are “not as good looking” as they would otherwise want.

Women in the Bay may be turning a little witchy as we approach thirty, but did you seriously expect to go on a date with an Instagram ass model?

In contrast, I’ve been on just north of thirty first dates in my adult life, most of them in SF or the surrounding areas. I’ve only had one that was straight up bad. I enjoy talking to new people, and usually insist on paying my own way. I also regularly put out; I’m in a “connecting with my roots” phase of thirsting after and sleeping with attractive Asian men (there are a lot here).

Many of my straight female friends can relate more to men than me as far as dating, albeit for different reasons. My current working theory is that I’m lucky to honestly have limited expectations. I couldn’t even define “my type” if I wanted to except for (kind of) smart and ideally no facial hair. My profiles often include some language about “not about boyfriends rn.”

If I’m being super honest, what I do want from dating right now (aside from dick) is attention. I want the other person to engage and smile at me, and to know that I could be considered a “catch”. It’s a bit more nuanced than feeling “hot” or desirable. As a single person, I crave validation from someone else that I am dateable, fuckable, whatever-able. And that while someone at some point might want to “lock it up,” I am deliberately choosing to be single.

It’s hard to admit, but I truly am that insecure. I crave that external validation, at least right now. On the upside, I’m also vulnerable (okay maybe that is a downer too).

And what if that’s not the case? What if I were like everyone else who actually wants a serious relationship? To entertain that idea, my brain pushes back with its own narrative:

  1. I already had serious relationships before, and I lost them.
  2. I valued those relationships, but I failed to keep them. It’s not like I fucking lost them on accident.
  3. I was trying really, really hard. Somehow, it means losing them was my fault because I wasn’t good enough.
  4. Therefore, I must not be “choosing” single life at all.
  5. Rather, being single is a consequence for my deficiencies with previous partners.
  6. Q.E.D. I suck.

Holy shit I’m smart, even when I’m insecure.

I’m not really sure how to end this one either. The truth is fucking scary, I guess.

Even attractive stock photo models are insecure. This is what came up when I used that search term.

In the spirit of putting my energy out into the universe, if you’re an Asian dude at my gym, please hmu. I probably think you’re hella fine and it would do wonders for my ego.

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