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Ask HN: I've been slacking off at Google for 6 years. How can I stop this?
1337 points by futur321 20 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 970 comments
I joined Google straight from college 6 years ago as a SWE, and by now I'm used to the style of work of "do the minimal work possible to do the job", I never challenge myself to deeply learn about what I'm doing, it's almost like I've been using only 10% of my mental capacity for work (the rest was on dating/dealing with breakups/dealing with depression/gaming/...). Even when I get a meaningful project, all I do is copy code from the internal codebase and patch things together until they work. I was promoted only once.

Now that I'm thinking of jumping ship to other interesting companies, I'm having serious doubts that I really learned what I should have learned during all those years. Especially since I'm considering companies with a higher hiring bar than Google.

How can I keep myself accountable while I'm still at the company to deeply learn the FE/BE technologies to be better prepared for other companies? Should I start by preparing a checklist of technologies and dive into each of them for a month and continue from there?




Hi there, I did the exact same thing as you (at Google Sydney), before eventually deciding that I must strike out into the wilderness.

In the few years since I left; I worked as a solutions architect managing a team, a team lead, a remote dev, and now in a startup. Front-end, back-end, flip-side, all the ends. So I've been deliberately trying different angles of my career to see what suits.

I'd describe this process as grueling, ("challenging" is too friendly). I honestly think I would have been happier staying at Google, farting around, and being social. I agree with a lot of the comments here. However it's a catch-22, because the me that exists now wouldn't choose to go back and overall I think this has been good for me – and not just because of the, er, _character building_ aspect of it.

If you stay at Google, make the most of it by progressing deliberately in your social life. If I'd've stayed, I could have comfortably raised some kids with my wife by now - but that's still on the todo list.

If you leave, just jump right in. I didn't study anything, I just picked it up as I went along. If you were able to follow Steve Yegge's advice and Get That Job At Google, then I'm sure you're a smart cookie and can fake it til you make it.

Basically I'm saying you can be happy either way. If you leave, know what you're getting yourself into. If you stay, don't waste this time but use it on yourself.


"If you stay at Google, make the most of it by progressing deliberately in your social life. If I'd've stayed, I could have comfortably raised some kids with my wife by now - but that's still on the todo list."

THIS all the way.

When we are young, we think that we will be remembered by the company that we worked for and the people that we worked with. The sad truth is that in 99.9999% none of those people will remember you the second you walk out the door.

The family you raise will remember and love you though.

I'm in my 40s and got fired a very cushy job like OP has. The reason was cause I wanted to challenge myself and I worked myself into early alcoholism which resulted in my dismissal. My co-workers don't call, the company doesn't call, they don't care. My marriage broken up cause of the job and me wanting to pursue my so called dream. I'm alone and will most likely die alone this year by my own hand since the pain is too much bare sometimes. I miss my wife and my little Pomeranian terribly.

OP... if you want challenge in your life, challenge yourself to being a good partner to someone in a marriage and raise some kids, get a Pomeranian :) Have something in this world that will truly appreciate and remember you when you are gone.

"I never saw a tombstone that read. 'If I had only worked more'"


I was there. Now in my 50's with an amazing life. I'm grateful every day to my alcoholic, depressed 40-odd-year-old self who didn't kill himself. I could not have seen from there how happy I am now, and I could not have predicted the adventures I went (am going!) through to get here.

Hang in there, buddy. Just keep breathing. It will change.


I had the same experience my first few years out of college. Had a long relationship end, started drinking, went through several jobs and within three years found myself alone, severely depressed and an alcoholic. I contemplated suicide frequently, but held out hope my life would change if I could just get to tomorrow. My life started feeling like the movie "Groundhog Day".

Eventually things did change, and my 30's have been a whirlwind of happiness, sobriety and a GF who loves me unconditionally for me. Like you said, if I knew this is where the black hole I fell into would lead to, I would've pushed harder to get sober, try harder to put myself back together sooner. But I'm here now and am grateful I held out and often think about this wonderful life I almost passed on.


Of course, the "just keep breathing, it will change" is just as true for the good times, too.

I try and remember every day to savour and make the most of this happiness, and be grateful for it.

Because it won't last. Nothing does.


Happy to hear you're doing well. Coincidentally, you and I have very similar names.


I used to have access to the UK electoral list. In about 2003 there were 32 "Marcus Holmes" in the list. I also had their addresses. I was contemplating inviting them all to a get-together ;)

I spoke to the guy who owns marcusholmes.com when I got my domain (marcusholmes.biz). Nice chap. American, of course.

Maybe we should have a convention or something. Because we're obviously related. Sherlock was our great-great-uncle (at least, that's what I tell people).


Hey brother, I've been in some rough places too. Wanna talk? Might not feel like you do... but some chance you'll feel 5% better after. I'll be up for another hour, feel free to email me on a temp email and I'll write back from my real: aloha@janmail.org


So true. I've worked at the same company for 18 years. I've seen lots of people move on or retire. Literally within days they are wholly forgotten or at least never mentioned again. I've never seen anyone that is not easily replaced. It has drilled into me over and over again that we are all just cogs in the machine. Even someone who has been at the company for 30 years and is celebrated when they retire is totally not missed and forgotten within days of their leaving.


I'm sorry to hear that you are going through such tough times.

If you still have issues with alcohol use I strongly suggest you check out an Alcoholics Anonymous (https://aa.org/) group near you. Give it a chance, it will likely be very helpful.

About depression/emotional pain/suicidal thoughts first of all it would be very good to see a professional (doctor / psychologist) about this, they can help you. You may also talk to a friend if you have someone you feel you can talk to.

Try some daily activities that occupy your mind and/or body for a while: reading, running, walks in the park, workout in the gym, yoga, prayer. Whatever you can do.

You don't have to face everything alone, it's ok to ask for help.


Hey, I've been in a same situation except that my problem was not alcoholism but an addiction to painkillers and then opiates. Lost pretty much everything due to the complete disaster I became. I was a security engineer back then and you can guess that my responsibilities didn't play nice with drug addiction.

The latter arose from my chronic depression and the lack of ability to create any long-term social relationships which are not based on professional interaction. I have never had friends outside of "workplace buddies" mindset for all my 33 years of life. They were lost instantly when I left the job. I've managed to find a way in remote consulting which lets me pay the bills and have some food (I quitted drugs cold turkey two years ago). But nothing hits you harder than a feeling that it's all over and you are tamed with your loneliness, the only thing that is left is your aging you don't want to face.

I can give no word of advice to you, but I want to say that I feel you. You are strong, don't let 'em get you this easy.


Dude, you are still young! You made some mistakes in the first half of your life, but your second half can be better due to the experience you gained. There are lots of people who start a second relationship in their 40s, after going through a divorce. And you can always adopt another dog... What I'm saying is that even though life seems bleak right now, you still have many years of happiness ahead.


Sending you a lot of love, friend. There are a lot of resources for help out there just to have someone to talk to: http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org for example.


I encourage you to reach out to others in the same place - r/SuicideWatch/ is a good place to start. I don't know you or what you've been through but I am certain there are things in your life that are still worth living for.


Hi there, I can relate to a lot of what you said. I too fell very hard into alcoholism while trying to balance my performance at my fairly high stress job. I won't say my alcoholism was caused by my job, it was bound to happen for me regardless of any job. Anyhow...

Just logged in to say, there's a lot of us out here in the world. You're not alone. I've lost a cushy job due to it, lost more than one actually. I guess all I'll say is that it's possible to get out of that hellhole, you'll get there one day. And as someone else said, the fact that you talked about all this is a big deal. It means a lot. I'm rooting for you. If you ever want someone to talk to, let me know!


Just the act to say loud everything you got trough and what you think is a step to move forward. Be strong and the light to share the others what you did wrong and find the path to make you happy.

Hanging in there buddy :)


It can be tough to have hope in the moment, but things will get better again if you hang in there, and you'll be eternally grateful to yourself for toughing it out. You'll also wonder how you could have been so pessimistic and silly to think there was no hope, you'll want to travel back in time just to slap yourself.

You're young, you made some mistakes, but you learned from them. You are better off than those who still haven't learned. You have plenty of time to build a new, better life for yourself. With a new, younger wife, if that's your thing. Some people will probably take offense at that last part, but I'm not talking Epstein young, I'm just saying his ex was probably 40 something, and his new wife can be a hotter 30 something if that's important to him.


There can be a thousand reasons to do die, but we need just one reason to live.

Since you clearly wanted to do something worthwhile with your life, do check www.drawdown.org.

Do write to me if you want to talk ( sriramNRN at gmail ) . I can share a few worthwhile things that I've picked up to do for the rest of my life.


See I am pretty scared of early alcoholism because I've heard all the fun stuff is getting into alcoholism during your late 60's and early 70's.

More seriously though, thank you for this comment, it made me smile.


When I had dark thoughts I went to a doctor and talked it out and it really helped. It doesn't have to be a doctor but try and talk it out with someone.


I'm so sorry to hear this. If you ever need a non-judgemental stranger to talk, please feel free to message me (temp email robbrobsonnn@gmail.com) and I'll respond on my real one.

Things can always get better.


There is middle ground between being slacker who don't even learn and overworking yourself to the point of ineffectivity (alcoholism is definitely there).

It is quite possible to have familly, care about them and spend time with them and not be either.


What was the dream you wanted to pursue?


sure you will agree that are people in this world who lead far miserable life than you. just relax and try focussing on hobbies, social/community work/... To err is human but to realize that you made mistake, you are already on the right path to a better life.


My heart goes out to you. Please email me (elwell dot christopher at gmail dot com) to chat.


Current Googler here; my solution to staving off complacency has been constantly asking myself if there are other problems I can and will work on - and they don't have to be problems on your team. (Although, I will say that at a certain point, if you're growing, I think your responsibilities should be shifting from solving problems to identifying/prioritizing the problems.)

Every team has a looonnngggggg list of things that they want to do but can't because they don't have the people for it (even if they're not keeping track of it). Frankly there's also a non trivial amount of core language work that's done by people who don't actually work on any of those teams. Getting context can be hard sometimes, but I've done it plenty of times.

Am always happy to chat, my username is pretty obvious from my profile.


It's amazing to me to learn that you can help other teams solve problems at Google.

Every big company I've worked for (none of them FAANG), helping another team is a recipe for disaster. You will get your hand slapped, punished, blamed, and basically make your life much worse. Each team is super insulated and tries their best to hide behind their management chain because of this.

It's great that you can feel bored and look for other problems to solve and not just teach yourself something new to stay challenged.


Having spent 7 years working in the Ubuntu community and another 5 now at Google, it's striking to me how Google is internally similar to an open source project.

It's not uncommon to send patches to completely different teams because you need something to work a little bit differently. Or even just because you were there and noticed something fixable and are being a good citizen.

Some parts of the code are nearly abandoned and destaffed, but might still have some users wishing that weren't so. And some parts of the code are only used/improved by a very specific group of people.

Some of this is technology (the monorepo, lots of good infrastructure to base things off of), some of it is management (such as recognizing/rewarding contributions that have "wider impact"), some of it is culture (a lot of Googlers come from or still work in open source).


Those places are the ones who care primarily about tickets being closed, and you probably won't have much ability to be involved in the feature ideation process, and probably won't even have a real way to prototype things before they're all in JIRA.

My place right now is in the middle where much of the absolutely most useful work in the company is getting done because people behave autonomously, but the formal review process has had trouble recognizing that work as it can be difficult to put a number to it. Not knowing the 2nd and 3rd order effects means you can't say "I went over and cleared up this team's misconceptions and saved them a month of work" isn't something you can say because you have no way to know you saved them a month of work, so you just say "communicated and collaberated" which sounds suspiciously like you did nothing if the process hard numbers to avoid things like favoritism.


> Every big company I've worked for (none of them FAANG), helping another team is a recipe for disaster. You will get your hand slapped, punished, blamed, and basically make your life much worse.

This. More work, much of which won't improve your review or bottom line. You get a stack rank from your boss and your team, not the guys two offices over. Then, if your upgrades screw up its on you.

Apropos of a a saying I'm fond of: "not your circus, not your monkeys".

> Each team is super insulated and tries their best to hide behind their management chain because of this.

That's what Mgmt is for, and why things can be escalated as "Mgmt Issues" so that the leadership, PMs, etc. can figure it out.


At Amazon you literally can't get promoted to Senior Engineer (SDE3) without showing influence outside your team.


Current Google-ish company person here, and this can be just as dangerous as it is beneficial. I was on this team, more than once, where I’m complacent and no one is asking for more from me... so I started helping. I thought I was moving towards leadership because I was identifying and solving the right problems for others. I felt successful.

None of this work contributed to my career path, although it was development work. I felt like a hero, but the people who respected my new work didn’t complete the feedback loop and/or my current leadership didn’t care.

It actually stole time from work that would have gotten me promoted/provided more challenges.

I felt like I lost my role as SME and instead became a jack-of-all-trades.

It was good experience and luckily did not get me fired. When I look back I realize that the problem was the team/leadership’s lack of growth-focus and support. If I had transferred teams or left the company I may have been better off. I say may have, because other than feeling like I wasted a few years learning this, I’ve ended up in roughly the same place I would have been.


2 problems that can cause that, the first of which is by far more common:

1. You haven't developed the skillset to both track and evangelize your impact.

2. The company's review process doesn't properly value out-of-band contributions

I find that when I really look into it, #2 is actually rarely a problem if you are good at #1. As I've worked on getting better at #1 I've found I'm far more comfortable at work, it helps my career, and I still get to just do what my instincts tell me and what is best rather than shift that to what will look best.


You guys should quit wasting your time on this BigCo BS and do something that will actually benefit your real career.

http://paulgraham.com/lesson.html


Big +1 to this

For a specific idea, come help kythe team build out a new indexer (say, rust or maybe swift).


Snoo@? :)


hm. dropped an email in my profile.


I have been in two such developer roles - combined around 8 years. I am currently at the second and every morning I struggle with the idea of not going to office and quitting but this job is what puts food on the table.

I don't even want to be in the software field. Whenever I have tried to think about it, write it down, brainstorm I have come to one vague connotation that I'd be interested in something that's a combination of art/history, architecture, product, UX. I have tried finding masters, PhD in fields that would appeal to me, tried to search for jobs and I have found none. There are some (very remote) - but at my experience level they either look for experience in the field of higher education.

I have to leave this job and I am planning to move to some other software company - preferably some big org where I can look for something that's a fit for me or something closer. But I won't even know whether I should do that. Some evenings I just try not to think about it.


> make the most of it by progressing deliberately in your social life

Ironically the Bay Area is among the worst places on Earth for improving your social life if you're straight and male. I noticed that you don't live in the Bay Area, you're married, you probably meant a much broader meaning of "social life", so your experiences are likely very different. But the typical clean cut, well-spoken, hard working, respectful, male SWE in the Bay Area making $120K+ a year in his 20s or 30s, who should be a magnet for women, turns out to be living in one of worst places because of male-female ratios among singles (and some other cultural factors).

My advice would be work hard, save your money, travel when you can to better locales to improve your social life, but with the eventual goal of permanently moving out when you've saved enough. If you pick your destination within the USA well, dating prospects will improve greatly, and if you look worldwide (and can overcome the language and immigration issues), it could improve dramatically.


I guess I've only lived in the bay area 20 years, but this strikes me as quite dramatic. I know literally dozens of men in tech happily raising families in the Bay Area. It's true the male/female ratios are worse (although we should certainly adjust for the large gay male population). But when I talk to friends who are dating, it's the women who seem to be struggling to find anybody decent, not the men.

Perhaps the problem is in thinking those things mean a guy "should be a magnet for women". I regularly get an earful from women about guys who think they're God's gift to the populace. And one of the first hits for "Bay Area dating as a woman" confirms that: https://violetfog.com/dating-in-san-francisco/

In a section about what she hates most, she writes: "The number of guys there that have a disgusting sense of entitlement and attitude towards dating. THAT was annoying. Often they’re the ones getting such great praise (and pay) at work that they think it translates into them being hotshots outside of work as well. Like they are too good or something. What sucks about these bad apples is that they often come off as charming at first. But alas, the arrogance and shallow attitude always reveals itself eventually. So just run when you suspect that big-paycheck-big-ego persona thing going on. Don’t walk, RUN."


> It's true the male/female ratios are worse

The fact that there are way more men than women in the Bay is a statistical reality, which you admit yourself.

Then you bring an opinion blog-post by a single woman as counter-evidence.

Ironically, all these complaints about "guys there that have a disgusting sense of entitlement" just go to show how picky she is, and can afford to be, in San Francisco.

Nothing in GP's post exhibits an arrogant attitude. He makes the simple observation, that the sort of guys who would be considered attractive and desirable in most other locations, are struggling to get dates in the Bay. This is easily explained by the high male/female ratio, which we already established as a fact.

Given this fact, no amount of hand-wringing will help: if there are far more single men then women, then the women would set a very high bar, and the men below that bar would have to remain single.

There are simply not enough women for all the single men in the Bay. No spectacular feats of mental gymnastics, nor nice-sounding dating tips, nor seeking to blame men for being "arrogant", will get around this reality.

As a final anecdote, I did know women who dated executives and VCs in the Bay. Some of these guys had mammoth egos. Curiously, that didn't prevent them from having far better dating lives than any engineer I knew.


> guys who would be considered attractive and desirable in most other locations

Your conception of what women are looking for in a man might not hew as closely to reality as you think.


You write like "what women are looking for in a man" is some absolute thing, but it is decidedly not! It is highly context-dependent. As an extreme example, there are some places on Earth where simply not being an alcoholic can make you a desirable mate.


Actually, it was the parent post that created the context I was responding in. I totally agree with you.


Hey, don't talk about my home country like that! :)


Exactly. A lot of the single women I know moved here for pretty specific reasons. Maybe he's right that these poor, poor men are exactly what women want in Ottumwa, Iowa, although I doubt it. But I'm quite sure that many of the people who live in the Bay Area are here precisely because they want something different than what they could get elsewhere.


Everyone, literally, is looking for different things. Most ppl try to extrapolate from their personal preference to the whole population, and think their place is somehow unique, but that’s wrong. And, barring extreme inbalances in gender ratio, most people eventually find their match.


In this thread, all people are talking about dating, but looking for a life partner and looking for one night stand are very different things. All genders and sexual orientations look for different things in those two scenarios. A person who would easily find an awesome life partner would have a lot of trouble finding casual sex, and vice versa.


...and might explain some elements of the conclusions.


I think you missed Ps point completely. It was that if the ratios are off, the lower side has more of a supply.

What specifically each individual is looking for doesn't matter. It's supply and demand.


I don't think that's a counterpoint to the comment you responded to in any way at all.


this right here: "Your conception of what women are looking for in a man might not hew as closely to reality as you think."


I'm shocked at the responses to this comment. It is delusional to claim that if all men collectively work harder, they can succeed in one of the most male skewed metros in the United States. This isn't some oil field in North Dakota either, most of the surplus men here are high earning and well educated.

There is a lot of data showing that even with a balanced gender ratio, women are much more selective picking partners than men are. This is for obvious evolutionary reasons. Now, take that and add in a 50% male surplus, and you have a city where most women openly say they only date 6/6'1+ and high earners. This can be verified on practically any dating app with a few hours of data.


> As a final anecdote, I did know women who dated executives and VCs in the Bay. Some of these guys had mammoth egos. Curiously, that didn't prevent them from having far better dating lives than any engineer I knew.

Dating != relationship. Women can have fun too, just dating, and sometimes they are the ones using you just because your ego doesn’t allow you to see it.


>Ironically, all these complaints about "guys there that have a disgusting sense of entitlement" just go to show how picky she is, and can afford to be, in San Francisco

It’s not a matter of being picky. It’s a matter of self respect.


One person's "self-respect" is another's "disgusting sense of entitlement". That's just the way it is.


I am woman, living in area with equal amount of males and females. Being clean and able to be respectful in basic causual communication is pretty standard here. So is not being narcisstic egomaniac.

And my observation of relationships with those high ego men is that being alone is better. Regardless of how much money they earn, they look more like trap then win.

I think that one parallel issue is the low opinion men have of other males. They assume everyone else is dirty and instantly rude and it just is not so.


That is not in fact how it is. Self-respect involves belief that you don't deserve harm. Entitlement involves belief that you deserve good things from other people, generally without proportionate giving in return.


> As a final anecdote, I did know women who dated executives and VCs in the Bay. Some of these guys had mammoth egos. Curiously, that didn't prevent them from having far better dating lives than any engineer I knew.

Considering how many executives and SVPs in tech have been caught in sexual harassment (if not outright sexual assault), you might want to think quietly for awhile about what your definitions and standards are.


I agree with you 100% and have to say that the replies on this particular thread are some of the most toxic I’ve ever read here on HN, and completely indicative of both what you describe as well as my own observations from living here in the Bay for pretty much my entire life.

I live in the South Bay, don’t work in tech, make well under $100k a year, live comfortably and have had no issues dating. I’m a local, white and over six feet tall, so that probably helps, but I’m certainly nothing special looks wise.


Being tall is a huge advantage. Over 6' is tall in the Bay. So is being white. Don't sell yourself short.


The parent commenter doesn't realize just how large of an advantage this is. There's lots of empirical evidence demonstrating that height is one of the strongest preferences women have for men. I have personally made fake dating profiles with the same pictures/bio, but different heights here in the Bay Area. The 5'6 profile did not get a single like in a week. The 6'4 profile had inbound interest from a wide variety of women, racking up more likes in an hour than my real profile gets in 2 weeks.

OKCupid's dataset also shows white men are the most desired on average.


Right. I don't know why pointing this out without whining or complaining about it seems to make people upset. I'm not tall or white, so it's not like I'm bragging. I'm also not trying to use it as an excuse, or to bring others down for having to try less. It just is what it is.


No doubt, and I definitely can’t speak to how it is to date as a short/nonwhite guy other than what I know from my friends. My comments are more directed towards the economic side of this discussion, which started to veer into the “women are all gold diggers” incel-type territory that I’m beginning to hear more often. In my opinion and experience, nothing repels positive relationships like that kind of mindset. Anyway, that’s why I mentioned my salary, which is practically a joke compared to the kinds of numbers people are talking about here.


a programmer friend of mine used to date online. he's not a tall guy and he was convinced that he would never get a date let alone a girlfriend... he started dating offline & has now been with his gf for a number of years! online isn't the only way to go.


The latent shallow male entitlement is gross. However, there is a valid point made that if all the single, unhappy men became cool and attractive, many would statistically still be out of luck. So my suggestion is that in addition to becoming interesting, learning about feminism, etc, they should also recognize the statistical disadvantage as the socioeconomic problem it is, and fight those broader socioeconomic conditions that are causing a massive number of career-obsessed dudes to be dropped into a handful of west coast cities. In the short term that could mean taking your nest egg and moving elsewhere. In the long term we should dismantle the system where a couple of companies collect massive, exploitative digital rents from the rest of the world, thereby necessitating the concentrated labor force within an inherently sexist and exploitative system (capitalism). I also recommend banding together to fight against tech companies' firing disproportionately non-male employees who protest against bad things they do. But that's just my two cents.


"...there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our “human capital” in economic terms) to create something new, whether that’s a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.

But there is also a second way to make money. That’s the rentier way: by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others’ expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.

For those who know their history, the term “rentier” conjures associations with heirs to estates, such as the 19th century’s large class of useless rentiers, well-described by the French economist Thomas Piketty. These days, that class is making a comeback. (Ironically, however, conservative politicians adamantly defend the rentier’s right to lounge around, deeming inheritance tax to be the height of unfairness.) But there are also other ways of rent-seeking. From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, from big pharma to the lobby machines in Washington and Westminster, zoom in and you’ll see rentiers everywhere."

-

Ceptr.org - the most promising attempt I've seen who are trying to better make visible, and then democratize and distribute, the rents.


Yes, absolutely. My one quibble is that I think their point is slightly less valid in that if the men in question got it together to become better humans (and therefore better partners), the imbalance wouldn't be nearly as bad. Partly on the socioeconomic level, because then their companies wouldn't be alienating or excluding so many female employees. But also on the personal level, because somebody from their past might see them as a good catch.

But yes, they should definitely be fighting the system, not getting mad at women and/or society at large. Of course, the whole of incel culture is pretty good at explaining why no woman wants to come near them.


i agree with all of this.


> (although we should certainly adjust for the large gay male population)

Just curious, why wouldn't there be an equivalently large lesbian female population?


Major gay cities aren't necessarily major lesbian cities. The Castro happened because the military discharged gay men from the Pacific theater and a lot of them ended up there - was there a comparable dynamic for lesbians? I don't know of one. And I don't think Atlanta is very significant to gay men.


Exactly. Surprisingly, I can't find any statistics. But San Francisco now has zero lesbian bars, and quite a number of popular gay bars. This is a good article on the contrast in community resources: https://hoodline.com/2016/07/is-there-a-place-for-lesbians-i...


> Exactly. Surprisingly, I can't find any statistics. But San Francisco now has zero lesbian bars, and quite a number of popular gay bars.

Your statement that "a city that has a large group of gay men doesn't necessarily have a large group of lesbians" is accurate, but this is a bad piece of evidence to cite in favor of it. Almost all cities with large LGBTQ+ populations have far more bars and clubs targeted at gay men than at lesbians.

San Francisco had a few lesbian bars a few years ago, all of which have since closed. That pattern - lesbian nightlife disappearing - is pretty consistent across other cities that have large LGBTQ+ populations.


Could be. But it could just as well mean that gay men tend to move to cities in a way that lesbian women don't. Note also that the piece I linked goes well beyond bars.


That does not mean lesbians don't exists. It means they were there all along - just not so visible.


Actually, most research in this area points to the percentage of people being gay among males to be about twice that of among females.


I dunno if we are just rare, or simply not as vocal or active about being out as gay males, on average - but firsthand I’ve seen a lot more gay guys than I’ve seen fellow lesbians. (Much to my dismay...)


There are dozens of us ;)

There's a greater concentration of lesbians and other queer (not cis gay) people in the East Bay — especially those in families, raising kids and so on.


> But the typical clean cut, well-spoken, hard working, respectful, male SWE in the Bay Area making $120K+ a year in his 20s or 30s, who should be a magnet for women, turns out to be living in one of worst places because of male-female ratios among singles (and some other cultural factors).

Yes, it's quite simple: there are many more men in the Bay than women, so women have their pick, and they can afford to raise the bar far higher than $120k.

Also, $120k can be a nice annual salary in much of the US, but doesn't go far in the Bay where median house price is over $1m.

Consider just FAANGs in the Bay. There's probably not enough available single women just for every straight FAANG male employee (who would be making more than $120k/yr).

Anecdotally, I know some women in the Bay, working in areas like recruiting and marketing, who are dating VCs and CEOs exclusively and consider dating "plain engineers" to be beneath them.

Fair or not, your "male SWE making $120K+ a year" has become the "common guy" of the Bay. The number of women is small enough that most of them can aim higher.


> it's quite simple: there are many more men in the Bay than women

I’m in Manhattan. The single sex ratio is reversed. (More single women than men.)

Male FAANG employee rants about how they should be magnets for women, but can’t find a date because something is wrong with all women, are equally prevalent here.

They’re all (a) the same rant and (b) as boring as the last one.

There’s a selection effect among well-paid software engineers at large tech companies that explains more of this than local statistics. That or these jobs turn interesting people into those who believe they should be magnets for the opposite sex, which tends to be a turn-off for most people.


> That or these jobs turn interesting people into those who believe they should be magnets for the opposite sex, which tends to be a turn-off for most people.

Tech selects for people who are object focussed as opposed to people focussed.

Most women prefer to date men who are good at wooing and entertaining them. Which means more people focussed than object focussed.

The tech men are frustrated because they are basically their best selves -- financially and professionally successful, able and willing to support a family. Traditionally that would be enough to make them a catch.

But dating women with careers limits the value of their financial support. And they don't have the skills to wow the women socially.

Realistically they can't develop those skills easily.

This is probably going to sound incredibly cynical, but the best advice I've heard for NYC techies is to try to date ballerinas.

They're beautiful and disciplined. But they retire before 30 and have to decide to either start a family or open a studio to start teaching. At that point most of the men they know are married or gay.

So likely to be more willing to overlook the social weaknesses of tech men.


Don Quixote appears from behind the curtain up stage left--his left arm confidently and lustily on his right hip, right arm arcing gracefully over his head like half a rainbow.

There's so much going on in this response, but my favorite parts, in order of appearance:

> The tech men are frustrated because they are basically their best selves

The tech men are frustrated because of entitlement. Handed everything on a silver platter hand-delivered to them by a person of color driving a rented Toyota Prius for half of their monthly income.

> This is probably going to sound incredibly cynical, but the best advice I've heard for NYC techies is to try to date ballerinas.

Leave my goddamn ballerinas alone.

> But they retire before 30 and have to decide to either start a family or open a studio to start teaching.

Most of the people I dance with are software engineers of one kind or another. San Francisco may be somewhat unique in that regard--I wouldn't know, but most of the dancers I know both professional and retired are insanely enterprising and know how to hustle better than most of the people I know in tech.

> At that point most of the men they know are married or gay.

Most of the men I know that dance both professionally and at an amateur level do not identify as gay--some have families--with other dancers.

> So likely to be more willing to overlook the social weaknesses of tech men.

Nope. It's _impossible_ to overlook the social weaknesses of tech men.


"Realistically they can't develop those skills easily."

software skills can't be developed easily either, yet programmers have powered through, persevered, and figured it out. where would programmers be if they shied away from skills they couldn't develop easily?

also, if you have underdeveloped social skills, you are not 'basically your best self'. i believe in the tech men! i believe that they can put their cleverness & perseverance to work developing their social skills! you can do it!


> The tech men are frustrated because they are basically their best selves

> And they don't have the skills to wow the women socially.

Your standard of what qualifies as a man's "best self" is pretty low.


It's interesting how co-occurrent some genetic/behavioral traits are. I read an article about a study of domesticating foxes. After many generations selecting for propensity to come forward when a human puts out food, the semi-domesticated offspring showed a wide array of physical traits associated with dogs in addition to the behavior that was selected for.

Yet... as computing becomes more popular, I expect this stereotype to become obsolete. It roughly applies to myself and many of my friends. My wife calls me a robot. But hey, somehow most of us managed to find a spouse.


Thank you for your anecdote. I'm sure as soon as enough Bay area engineers read it, thousands of women will materialize out of thin air to compensate for the fact that there are 55-65% more men than women in counties like Santa Clara and Marin.

While I don't doubt that some guys have trouble in more favorable conditions, nothing will change the mathematical reality that even if every single man in the Bay found his perfect match, 40% of them would remain single because there are simply not enough women for all the men in the area.


I've been away from the bay for a while, but it's amazing how bad the dating scene is, for exactly the reasons you described. I'm currently engaged to an amazing woman who has only ever lived in working-class suburbs and smaller cities. Her exes and her friends' husbands are shockingly anti-intellectual, didn't attend college, have some substance abuse issues, and/or make well under 6 figures. She keeps telling me how amazing I am as a partner, even though in my mind, I'm just being a decent human being. Engineers in places like SFBA severely underestimate how attractive they would be anywhere else in the country/world.


> Engineers in places like SFBA severely underestimate how attractive they would be anywhere else in the country/world.

I agree completely.

> Her exes and her friends' husbands are shockingly anti-intellectual, didn't attend college, have some substance abuse issues, and/or make well under 6 figures.

Here's what happened:

Guys who are intellectual, attended college, have good discipline, and stayed away from substance abuse and similar problems - they moved to the Bay to get that "six figure job".

The Bay has thus become chock-full of these men.

The few women who moved to the Bay can have their pick. What would be a rare find elsewhere, is commonplace and boring in the Bay.

One of many anecdotes I could cite:

A friend of mine is a 25yo female working in recruiting in the Bay. If you pitched a date as an "intellectual, college-educated man with a good life and a six-figure job" she'd literally laugh in your face. She had 2 different guys courting her at the time, a startup CEO and a VC. She once showed me her Tinder account. Just by swiping 30-40 times, she'd find at least one guy who is an exec or VC making 7 figures per year, and it would usually be a match.

"120k/year"? You'd make her laugh.


> she'd find at least one guy who is an exec or VC making 7 figures per year, and it would usually be a match.

> "120k/year"? You'd make her laugh.

I don't understand this fixation on earnings, I wasn't making half that when I found my partner. Making 7 figures won't get you a girlfriend, but thinking it will makes it likely any partner you do find won't stick around long.

One of two things are happening, either a, all the women you're meeting truly are fixated on nothing but a man's wallet (highly unlikely but possible) or b, you have some seriously unhealthy views towards women and relationships that you should work on before attempting to enter a meaningful relationship.


Women find men with more money to be more attractive. It isn't the only factor, but it is a significant factor like for example height.

> "A man can move himself two points higher on the attractiveness scale we used if his salary increases by a factor of 10," study author John Speakman told The Times.

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2018/01/women-are-more-...


The book "The Red Queen" by Matt Ridley goes into depth about how men and women choose their mates, based largely on evolutionary biology.

People treat it like a character flaw for a woman to choose a man based on wealth and status, but why? A woman committing to a relationship likely means pregnancy and that requires resources and protection for years and years.

That's how it's been for hundreds of thousands of years. Expecting widespread birth control and changing societal norms to overcome all those years of evolution in only a few generations seems foolish.


You're right, but the flip side is that men are actively shamed for pursuing their own evolutionary incentives. There are two layers of competition going on, the sexual-economic one and the fluffy interpersonal one, but some people gain leverage by maintaining the fiction that one of them is obsolete. This fiction is enforced by calling everyone who notices it a misogynist or an incel.


Indeed. I don't fault women for preferring wealthy and successful men. I don't fault men for preferring young, beautiful women.


> That's how it's been for hundreds of thousands of years.

Try "millions" :)


I found my wife when I was unemployed. I wouldn't have it any other way. As a result, I remind myself to never forget it, and be extra good as a husband. Relationships are hard enough, if you're using your income (I had none, was on unemployment), or inheritance (I have none) as a carrot, you're in for a rude awakening someday. Apologies to Red Green, but while I'm not wealthy, I'm just a run of the mill software developer in Chicago.. she does find me handy and handsome!


It's not always the money you're currently making that matters. The potential to make money is also subconsciously considered in dating.


Finding a spouse when you aren't well off or rich is the wave. From what I see/hear from my friends, dating is grueling. I've been with my mine for almost a decade.


attempts at explaining macro-scale socio-economics with the kind of game-theoretic arguments in this thread assume you can nudge one factor while keeping "all other things equal". It's hard to do this with perdonal anecdotes, yet that's what all of us have direct experience of.


I'm mostly impressed that anyone on this hellsite is paraphrasing Red Green.


ding ding ding: "Making 7 figures won't get you a girlfriend, but thinking it will makes it likely any partner you do find won't stick around long."


> If you pitched a date as an "intellectual, college-educated man with a good life and a six-figure job" she'd literally laugh in your face.

That literally says nothing about what makes that person interesting or fun to be around.

Thinking that people boil down to salary and education level will make you only able to display those things.

Find a hobby that you like, enrich yourself in ways that aren't measured by the IRS.


>she'd find at least one guy who is an exec or VC making 7 figures per year,

Does she have them audited? Because my "Tinder Salary" is an order of magnitude greater my actual salary.


I assure you, she is quite astute. The Tinder demonstration was just a fun way to show me how many options she has.

For example, with LinkedIn and its profile pics, it's very easy to figure out whether the guy you're chatting with really is the CEO of a hot startup.


I'm not sure if this doesn't fall under the definition of something like "delusory rape" these days


Most startup CEOs don't make much. Are there really very many VCs out there?


> Most startup CEOs don't make much.

Depends on the startup and what stage it is. If it's a successful startup, then the CEO is sitting on a pile of stock that will likely be worth millions. If it's also a later stage startup, then likely he is making at least as much as his senior developers on top of that.

Either way, he's a much better bet if you want to be a millionaire's wife some day. Also, executives typically have expense accounts that afford them a very nice lifestyle _right now_, even if their salary isn't that high. You can be making a modest salary, but leading a jetset life on business expenses.

> Are there really very many VCs out there?

Yes there are. Here's just one random list of them:

http://www.calstartuplawfirm.com/venture-groups.html


I've had shares worth millions on paper that later turned out to be worthless many times... It really need to be a later stage startup with real traction for that to really mean anything.


You and me both, man.

However, it's a different path for top executives versus the rest of us.

If you follow folks at that level, you'll notice that even when their startup fizzles, they tend to come out on top.

There are ways to get paid well at an exit even when your stock are nominally worthless. If you're an executive. Not to mention that if their startup was worth $100m+ at one point, they would likely get a chance to start another.

None of this is criticism, by the way: many of these guys worked harder and longer than most engineers.

They did get disproportionately compensated for it, though.


What are the ways they get paid at exit with worthless stock?


One example: if you're the one who approves the sale, you can arrange for a cushy job with a golden parachute at the acquiring entity. Say, $1m/yr comp with $30m mandatory severance whenever you leave for any reason.

Congrats, you just got paid $30m+ as an exec for an exit that paid nothing to all other shareholders.


Of all the women I know, not one of them aspires to be "a millionaire's wife".


Funny coincidence, I never met such a woman either!

I did meet plenty who just happened to only date men who make high six to seven figures. It was a serial coincidence!


Me too! Unfortunately none of them ever married those men and most of them remain pretty unhappy with their dating lives. Another serial coincidence!


That's a pretty expected outcome when you pay that game.

If you take the sum of all the comments, it goes something like this:

1. Women are disproportionally flocking to a few guys at the very top of the income / success curve. 2. Those guys have amazing dating life, and no pressure to commit. 3. They will go through dozens of women and eventually settle with one. So if they date X women in their bachelorhood, only one 1/X will end up marrying them, and X-1/X will be left disappointed and unhappy. 4. X can be 200+, so that's a lot of unhappy women. 5. Meanwhile tons of guys below the top would love get a date, and can't. They're also unhappy. 6. Evolution isn't optimizing for happiness.


Sounds like a self-selection situation


"How could Nixon have won? Nobody I know voted for him"


To contrast this, I think at least a quarter of the ones I know have this as an ambition. Knowing people that do want something or that do not has nothing to do with averages, unless you happen to know everyone :)


I guess I know better / more ambitious women than you. :)


I try not to put value judgements on people just for what they think they want in life, so I don't know that I agree.


if what she cares about is income, that's pretty damned sad.


In her defense, I don't think she only cared about income. But she could easily screen out everyone making less than seven figures, so she started from that reduced pool, then further screened it for personality, etc.


Being a woman dating in the Bay Area is like that gif with the hot dogs thrown at your face. You’ve gotta start cutting somewhere and why not there?


> The few women who moved to the Bay can have their pick.

I don't think so. It's only when males are desperate to settle; living alone and spending their money on their hobbies/travel might be a much more attractive option to them than to bind to an unattractive female that went to SFBA specifically to capture a high-value male.


I think you underestimate the situation haha. Your perception of attractiveness is based on who’s around you. If the average around you is by New York standards a 5, then a 6 is above-average attractive. And a 7 is a solid catch.

Women in the Bay Area can easily score a few points higher than in more competitive cities and the opposite is true for men.


> I know some women in the Bay, working in areas like recruiting and marketing, who are dating VCs and CEOs exclusively and consider dating "plain engineers" to be beneath them.

That sounds more like bullets dodged than a loss (for the engineers that is).


Sure. If that appeals to you, you're welcome to move to the Bay. You'll dodge so many bullets, that you'll forget what a date with a woman is ;-)

More seriously, while we'd love to impose moral views on reality, the simple fact is that when people can afford to be picky, they will be.

I don't know what you value in a romantic partner, but for simplicity, let's assume it's looks. If you arrived at some magical island where it was just you and hundreds of women, and 50% of those were supermodels, would you ever date an average girl?


Maybe. If they were better at fishing than anyone else.


If hundreds of supermodels are competing for your attention, I'm sure many of them would become amazing at fishing, modern dancing, pottery-making, or whatever other random skill you find attractive.


Obviously the point is that you still gotta survive on this island, and the reason why we have diversity in personality, physicality and intelligence is because different combinations of those things matter for survival. And it's unlikely that you would "date" at all in an island with such ratios.


>> If you arrived at some magical island where it was just you and hundreds of women, and 50% of those were supermodels, would you ever date an average girl

I would start acting like an asshole because that would be the only way of keeping most of them from making advances on me all the time.


I have no idea what your point is... i'm talking about avoiding women who are only interested in money or power, i.e gold diggers - that's not a healthy relationship for anyone.


>Anecdotally, I know some women in the Bay, working in areas like recruiting and marketing, who are dating VCs and CEOs exclusively and consider dating "plain engineers" to be beneath them.

No matter ones income, it's better not to go anywhere with that kind of women. Also life tends to adjust this pretty quickly: they can be that picky until their early 30's, maybe even late 20's. After that available options narrow down substantially.


Galaxy brain: maybe the same qualities that make a guy more valuable in the professional marketplace and qualify them to be VCs and CEOs instead of entry level SWEs (interpersonal skills, superior judgement, long-range vision, managerial skills, identifying win-win solutions and building consensus for them, etc) also make them better romantic partners. So the salary is a correlation with an underlying shared root cause, not a direct causation.


Not that I disagree (what you said is almost certainly true) but it's funny how both sides can unite on this Randian take. Horseshoe theory.


Idk, $120k is still a lot. You are still begging the question that money even matters. There's an elephant in the room:

Basically men have vastly overestimated the importance of wealth.

A chart of the importance of wealth would drop off a cliff as you go from third-world conditions to a non-starvation civilization. Then it approaches zero as you get to NYC/SF where literally everyone is rich or else they wouldn't be living there. Guys who get mail order brides are basically arbitraging this (probably temporary) geographical difference in the importance of wealth.


>> Guys who get mail order brides

Are not usually exactly the winners in life.


I like how a guy earning a fairly unremarkable-when-we-adjust-for-cost-of-living salary with a bunch of fairly unimpressive table-stakes credentials: "clean cut, well-spoken, hard working, respectful" (whaddaya want? a cookie?) is meant to be a Amazing Pussy Magnet.

One of the major factors - aside from the gender ratio - behind tech guys not finding partners is this weird expectation that if they shave, clip their fingernails, and don't act like an outright dirtbag that women will flock to them, regardless of whether they have any personal appeal or not.

A lot of dudes in tech are just bores with zero interests and a outsized sense of entitlement to the opposite sex (talking about the het guys, don't know how it works on the other side of the fence). Just to top it off, they expect to be magnets to interesting women, too - these guys are the first to sneer at gold-digging women who are, frankly, their appropriate mirror image. That is, if the only thing you can say about yourself that isn't table-stages normal person stuff is that you're "a SWE making $120K+ a year" who exactly do you think you're going to attract?

Bonus points: deciding that the one thing that's missing from the above picture is being swole, and filling in any extra time not spend being a "respectful male SWE" with incessant iron pumping.


Yeah folks could try on a little humility... when someone is uninterested in you, it's not a personal affront. You expressed interest and they didn't reciprocate. Big deal. When _everyone_ is uninterested in you, maybe you're not interesting. You could think about how to change that, rather than complaining that the world is judging you on the wrong metric.

Do Bay Area men really think interesting women would be irresistably drawn to their unremarkable income and mastery of basic hygiene if they moved to New York?


Totally agree. Being interesting as a human and working on yourself is so much better than trying to get credit for being "respectful". That's like saying: "look I shower every day!"

Be interesting.


> Be interesting

To expand on this: Develop yourself outside of your work. You are not your career.

People don't really care much about what exact job you have, as long as it provides stability - both financial and mental. You're no good for anyone if your job takes up all of your time, energy and attention. Your significant other should not need to carry your work-related burdens.

Have interests outside of what you do for a living. I got weird looks when I admitted at my previous job that I don't do much coding in my spare time, but honestly the guy I talked to did coding for work and most of his spare time, all the time. I mean good for him if he's enjoying himself but it's just not for me.

Use your intelligence to expand your horizons. Know what's going on in the news and politics. Read books outside of your niche (outside of fantasy/sci-fi, biographies of people that aren't called Steve or Bill, history of countries on the other side of the world). Find people and social communities outside of your industry. Get out of your comfort zone.


What do you personally do to be interesting?


I climb outside, I backpack, I was the first person in my college to do study abroad at a specific smaller uni, I became a beginner in breakdancing (good enough to do some moves at a party, not to perform), I've learned to scuba dive, I've learned to AT ski, I participate in a book club that has roughly a 50/50 gender balance (important for hearing view points and books you might not have), I've spent literally years fixing my dog's horrific separation anxiety, I taught another dog I cared for to close the door behind them, I cross dress about once a year. I can cook.

All of this makes for better conversation on a date, or to get a date than what you do for work or how much you make.


I personally moved to locations that don't have 50%+ more single men than women. That seemed to have made me a lot more, uhm, "interesting".


You could literally be the only man in town, if you're not the kind of person other people want to date, they'd rather be single.


Any pointers to a list of those locations?


New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Nashville, Austin, Dallas and many more.


Almost anywhere that isn't a major tech hub.


Come to New Orleans. The city will probably be more interesting than you and you'll be forced to compete.


> What do you personally do to be interesting?

People who do what they enjoy and try new things, instead of trying to be interesting, tend to be interesting.


Accept that you are the way you are and like the things you like. When people talk about what they like, engage with them. Be a human being.

From experience, this will already put you so far outside of the usual spectrum of what people meet that this is more than enough. There's a nice side-effect that you don't need to feel like you need to "do things" to be interesting, which really isn't a healthy stance to have towards yourself.


I'd also say that pushing your comfort zone is healthy behavior and will likely leave you a more well rounded person.


A general advice would be curious in multiple things in different domains (tech, sport, politics, literature etc) be well articulated, confident and most importantly look happy.

My anecdotal advice is to change environment. Depending on where you move to the demographic (men/women ratio), race preferences and what is considered as interesting changes. As an engineer in engineering university, I had more luck on dating apps focusing on women from non-tech field with different men/women ratio. As a half-asian guy, I had way more success in an Asian country than a predominately white country. (independent from race/age of the women)


Become a multi-deminsional, multi-faceted person.

Starting with exploring genuine interests which have maybe not been 'listened to'. Being a bit adventurous (determine if things you've been curious about you actually care about), and trying new things (discover and identify new areas that exist) which could end up being interesting to you.

From what I've seen, the key to being interesting is weirdly being more of "your true self".

(not sure if any of that is actually helpful)


> Become a multi-deminsional, multi-faceted person.

According to census statistics, there are 1.63 single men for every 1 woman in Marin County. 1.34 single men per single woman in San Mateo County. 1.55 single men per single woman in Santa Clara County.

So I really like your advice; if every man in the Bay became a "multi-deminsional, multi-faceted person", they would transcend the boundaries of plain arithmetic so there would be enough single women to date every one of them!


The advice is for an individual, not all men collectively. But yeah the advice is not "be interesting", it's "be more interesting than a typical man in your area". The issue you describe is very real though.


My point is that it will be really hard for straight men to date when there's 130-160 of them for every 100 women.

Yes, each one of them could become ultra-competitive about it, and crawl on top of the others to be among the fortunate 60% who get dates, instead of the 40% who don't.

But do you really want to live in an area where 40% of men can't get a date because there's simply no women available to them?

We also haven't discussed the downsides to these fortunate 60% men. You worked on yourself, became interesting, and got a girlfriend. However, she knows with 50% more men than women in her area, she can easily replace you. That may make the relationship less pleasant than you think.

"Just become more interesting to overcome all adverse effects from 50% gender diversity" is unfortunately quite naive.


Solving the dating problem was not the question.

> "How does one become more interesting"

Sure, you can change your environment to be more *relatively interesting. But that was also not the core of the question as I understand it.

Rather, providing a method or tips to be more OBJECTIVELY interesting today than your yesterdays self is something useful in any kind of 'dating market'.


How to become more interesting (as a guy in the bay area):

- Make (significantly) more money (than most other guys in the bay area)

- Be more attractive (than most other guys in the bay area)

Making $120k in the bay area obviously isn't impressive. Neither is being fit without being on gear. It's all about the other guys around you. Both quality and quantity. These things would make you interesting in other parts of the country, or outside of the USA. Not here, though.

Now how about $500k? You can afford a starter home, a nice car, custom-tailored clothing. Plastic surgery if you think you need it.

You're presumably good at something that you're passionate about if you're being paid that much, even if it's "just" software engineering, and that's something people like. You can even date other software engineers who will be impressed by your skills and knowledge. Yeah the gender ratio sucks, but this is also the best place in the world to make your dual-FAANG-engineer-income power-couple dream come true.

Come up with something that isn't (video/board)gaming, cycling, bouldering, or photography, that you do maybe once a month and say it's your hobby. Yoga is a decent choice.

Grats, you're now interesting. Assuming you don't have any physical or psychological dealbreakers that can't be overlooked no matter how rich or ripped you get, that is.


Your definition of interesting might be the most interesting thing in this comment.

I would not say that any of that makes you particularly interesting. Some of it might make you attractive to certain people, but I think that's quite different from what was originally intended by "interesting" in this thread.

"Say it's your hobby"... I suggest actually finding a hobby. Because it will make you happier, not because it will make you "look interesting".


>but I think that's quite different from what was originally intended by "interesting" in this thread.

Is it? Being interesting is a competition. You are competing for the interest/attention of others. How interesting you are depends on how much better or worse you rank compared to others, in regards to the factors that make a person interesting. Relationships, friendships, jobs -- it's all competition for limited resources.

>"Say it's your hobby"... I suggest actually finding a hobby. Because it will make you happier, not because it will make you "look interesting".

Obviously you should have hobbies for the sake of personal fulfillment, and I don't see what would make you think I feel otherwise. But your hobbies are also part of your personal brand, and a factor in making you interesting (or boring), so it's important that you project as someone who has interesting hobbies (whether they actually qualify as hobbies or not, depending on the time and effort/money that you invest). Right? People list their hobbies on dating profiles. People (usually) talk about their hobbies on first dates. It's not uncommon for hobbies to be a discussion during job interviews.

>Some of it might make you attractive to certain people

Yes, hopefully (but not assuredly) attractive to certain people that you want to attract in the first place.


Your view of the (lack of) intrinsic value in the enjoyment of hobbies is off putting. Maybe try a hobby that you enjoy just for the heck of it rather than to check a box on your personal brand? Guaranteed that being legitimately interested in something outside of work will make you more attractive to a potential member of your dating pool. It doesn’t even matter what it is necessarily!


Not sure how you got that impression. I like my hobbies. Your presented hobbies != your actual hobbies. I'm just sharing advice that will potentially better your odds.


The entire concept of "presented hobbies" is what we are taking issue with.

What wwould this better your odds for? Short-term dating success perhaps. I'm pretty sure there are better long-term strategies for happiness.

Be yourself, like what you like (unashamedly), and you will likely attract people into your life who like those same things, and indeed you.


What do you have against short-term dating?


My point exactly.


So shallow, where do I start.


Universities have dozens to hundreds applications per available seat, good jobs have more. So competition here is relatively moderate.

I like traveling to experience different cultures and personalities, getting out of your comfort zone can be very rewarding. If you have the means, organizing social events in a safe space for other people to join is great for creating connections and making friends. Host a potluck dinner, or go on a roadtrip, invite random people. Who do you find interesting? Try to be that person


[flagged]


If those men are transplants, isn’t the demographic skew partially their fault?


Yes, if you move to an area that's known to have dating demographics badly skewed against you, don't be surprised when your dating life there is disappointing.

However, when we have a discussion about Bay Area dating, and most comments blame men for "not being interesting" and completely ignore, deny, or fail to even mention the gender imbalance, I don't think it helps men to make informed choices.


The fact is that either because of infanticide or nature there are fewer younger men in the world so you’ll have this problem in most places.


> fewer younger men

I'd expect fewer young women?


Yes that’s what I meant to say.


I’ve been speaking with my girlfriends friends, about the paucity of eligible men in the SFBA. Most of them ask me to introduce them to a nice person. Looks aren’t as important, but having a decent job is. Maybe it’s the age, but I found simply being kind and knowing your target market (women who like kind guys, who are everywhere, and are often smoking hot) works.

Late 30s is a good time to date. I had the same issues as OP describes in my 20s, not in the Bay Area. It was all about how I subconsciously chose to approach things. I worked on myself, was genuine, and have had great success finding a mate up here.

(Not all that attentive, about 50 lbs overweight, fwiw)


> Not all that attentive, about 50 lbs overweight, fwiw

That's one hell of a dating site opener.


Haha.. this is now taking an interesting turn.


Lifestyle design and the wider world is stereotypically antithetical to most engineers. If you’re not one of those, and even if you are, you should often deflect the “so what do you do? (how much do you make?)” question with a humorous contradictory “title.”

I know a guy who makes $350k and has a security clearance but wears white socks, is overweight, eats with his mouth open and is super awkward. That’s not a “catch,” in women’s eyes, unless he owns it without the usual creepy awkwardness, shame and/or insecurities.

Sense of humor, directness, interests outside tech, goals in life, socioemotional self-awareness and demonstrated relentlessly-resourceful go-getterness is what makes women run. And don’t be so damn predictable.

PS: skip Tinder unless you’re a 19-year-old sports player or an 20-/30-something model.


I think it’s also interesting to point out that the kind of person who hears “improve your social life” and thinks “that’s impossible because there aren’t enough women willing to date me” is probably dealing with some self fulfilling prophecy.

When I think of my social life I think of my community and the people in it. Board game nights at my friends’ apartments, playing destiny 2 together, going canvassing with folks politically aligned with me. I’ve met so many interesting platonic and romantic relationships by intentionally building community first and my romantic life second.

If your entire socialization scheme is build around winning at dating and you come from it with a scarcity mindset... you’re the problem.


wow, i'm just sitting here imagining there are 150 applicants to 100 jobs and reading a response like this. "you need to work harder - a lot of people are just not that talented to employers - why aren't you outcompeting the others?" this seems straight up victim blaming.

if there are 150 applicants and 100 jobs, there are 50 people who miss out. waging war to "one up" those other 149 (or 99 i guess) is certainly an avenue of possible pursuit but is likely to lead to misery IME.

alternatively, removing yourself from a systematically horrible situation is probably pareto optimal. if there are 100 jobs and 80 applicants, you're suddenly in a way better situation.

if you make six figures and can work remotely, the world is literally your oyster. there are opportunities to arbitrage your income and freedom and create the life you want - but it starts outside SFBA.


Hacker News is full of advice for people attempting to get successful outcomes in situations where there are 20,000 applicants to 100 jobs, so I'm amazed that a discussion of how you can improve your outcomes under a 150:100 ratio is now "victim blaming".

Also, newsflash: not getting attention from the gender(s) of your choice doesn't make you a "victim". We're back to the entitlement thing, I guess.

But yes, moving out of the Bay Area will help. However, I'd hazard a guess that unless someone moves to somewhere where a six-figure salary makes them a minor princeling, your problems may follow them. Because a boring dude in SF or the Bay is still a boring guy in Des Moines or Scranton.


I suspect most of them were told (by their mothers, continuously for the first 20 years of their lives) that this was in fact the way to land a good woman. Be a nice clean cut guy and earn $120K a year.

If you know so much then what's your prescription for them?


Well, first of all, lose that sense of entitlement. It's hard to think of much that's less appealing than petulance.

It's also a pretty great way to blind yourself to what 'league' you're actually in. A number of my tech friends have wasted an extraordinary amount of time chasing women absurdly out of their league because they've been convinced that "having a decent job", "being well-spoken" and "eating with their mouths closed" somehow puts them in the top 3% of desirable men. Really, no.

Second, go have a life. You know, other activities outside work? Socializing? This is important anyhow. Preferably do activities because you're interested in them and socialize with people you like, not because you're there to "pick up chicks". Nothing is more tiring than dudes relentlessly on the make in every situation.

This isn't guaranteed to work... especially with dire male/female ratios (although not living like a schlub probably evens the odds a bit). And plenty of people are just really unattractive, uncharismatic, whatever. Not sure what to do then.


> lose that sense of entitlement

When you are told you need to meet specific criteria to achieve a goal, it's not entitlement to expect those criteria to lead to that goal. When trying to get people to listen to what you are saying, try not to start with a put-down.


I'd say it's precisely entitlement to expect that fulfilling criteria will lead to a goal. Entitlements like that come from pervasive societal messages, and getting over them is hard. You can't see it until it's pointed out, and that is always going to come as a blow.

It's even harder to fix the overall messaging than it is to realize it in yourself. But each person who realizes that they have been sold an entitlement, and gets past it, is one more person who can say, "No, all of the assumptions you've been sold are wrong."


You're saying that "if someone tells you some entitled garbage, and you believe it, it's not entitled garbage?". So essentially it's not entitlement because someone else told you?


friend, i'm afraid you've been lied to. it's not your fault. we've all absorbed loads of lies. when i was a teenager, i thought no guy would ever want to date me because i wasn't skinny or "pretty". a number of humiliating experiences drove that home. but over time, it turned out to not be the case at all. i had to revise my understanding. and i had to not give up or get grumpy about it.

the good news is now that you know that you've been sold some bad goods, you can start to figure out what the real story is. and only good things can come from that :} there is some great advice in this thread, especially this comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21977225


When you are told something that is wrong, holding onto it after you learn that it is wrong is entitlement.


Who on earth (in USA I should say) actually listens to their parents in this matter?


These tech guys who's only relationship is with their mother? I'm pretty sickened by reading all the comments on this post. So many incels it's not even funny.


Ah yes chauvinistic men who feel entitlement to "pussy". You are what's wrong with the world. Women are people, not objects.


I’m going to guess they won’t have an answer to your question of how single men in the Bay Area working on themselves and “becoming interesting” will suddenly make tens of thousands of single women materialise in the Bay Area.

It was merely a rant about how they felt people shouldn’t feel entitled to anything and that expecting to be able to date if you’ve got your life in order is too much entitlement.


This is a strange response, mostly a wilful misreading of what I wrote. But yes, having your "life in order" isn't actually all that shit-hot, and yes, "expecting to be able to date" if you're not very interesting is actually "too much entitlement".

Because last time I checked, "expecting to be able to date" involves the decisions of other people and you're not really generally entitled for other people to do much more than treat you with decency and respect. Not, necessarily, want to jump your bones. Sorry.


Why do you need to be “hot shit” in order to date? Why isn’t being able to provide for your SO emotionally/physically/financially sufficient?

By your standards I’m not hot shit but my girlfriend loves me so I’m wondering why I should even care what you think?


It's weird you keep cropping up on this thread interpreting me saying "women are not going to flock to you just because you meet some basic criteria so it is foolish to start behaving that you are entitled to this" as "obviously, philosopher1234 cannot possibly have a girlfriend, q.e.d".


I claim that being kind, having a stable job, and capable of love is enough to find a woman with those same qualities. I think it’s weird that you keep running around this thread telling men they’re not good enough in such a vicious tone. It comes across as bitter


OK, once more: at no point did I ever suggest that people can't find love if they don't have much more than table stakes things like "clean fingernails" and "stable jobs" and "capability for love", only that they should not feel entitled to attention from the appropriate gender.

I'm curious as to what's driving your serial misinterpretation, if anything. I suppose it's possible you're just having difficulty with parsing out arguments and reasoning about them (is English your first language?), but it seems just as likely you're on the insecure side. You keep cropping up and asking complete strangers on the Internet to validate your relationship.

So, ok. Dude, you're probably fine. Although it's not a guarantee; there's still a possibility that your girlfriend runs off with Mick Jagger, or a rock-climber who works in a cafe who has $18.23 in his bank account, or a temperamental chess player with a huge schlong who bathes once a month, whether he needs to or not. Keep your eyes peeled at all times!


How are you not getting this?

This is not a problem of interestingness. This is a problem of skewed gender ratios. In India and China there are way more men than women. That means that some men will remain without partners regardless of what they do or how interesting they become.

That's their problem you might say. Sure, but only if you ignore the negative consequences of young men being unable to find partners.


OK, so you're still going, too. Neat.

The analogy to India and China is pretty good, aside from a few tiny differences, like the fact that most single males in the valley we're talking about intentionally came there from somewhere else, are hugely wealthy relative to poor Chinese and Indian workers, and that it's ever so slightly easier to cross a county line to somewhere less bizarre than Santa Clara than it is to emigrate out of India or China.

It's funny how I can post a ranty-but-true thing about how the world actually works (i.e. "having some table stakes attributes will not make you a 'pussy magnet'") and just get bombarded by people like you complaining about the dreaded ratio and philosopher1234 who clearly is wondering whether his girlfriend is about to leave him for a rock-climbing jazz musician who doesn't bathe or something.

All these dudes come flooding into an area to work in a dude-dominated industry and collect Big Valley Salaries and somehow this is a problem that needs to be worked out? If it's that big a problem, leave. Geez. How hard it that to figure out?


So now your solution is for them to leave and go elsewhere. That's fine, it's workable.

I just objected to this idea that they should work on their interestingness and that doing so would somehow solve the problem of them finding someone. I think you acknowledge that even if they all become incredibly interesting, they wouldn't all be able to find partners.


If there’s one thing I know about dating it’s “don’t take your mom’s advice.” So little of it appears to be grounded in reality.

Wearing dress shirts instead of t-shirts was a good idea though.


[flagged]


Why is being a competent, stable, kind adult not enough to be in a healthy relationship? Is it better to be mcjagger than mr Rogers? What I bring to my relationship isn’t primarily mystery or entertainment or coolness or “being interesting”, but an emotional connection, stability, and love. Everyone here is talking like that’s not good enough and I don’t understand why. Clearly it is enough for my girlfriend and it’s what I want from her as well.


> Why is being a competent, stable, kind adult not enough to be in a healthy relationship?

Because no one owes you shit. If you don’t like your circumstances change them. Either change yourself or change your surroundings. You are not owed a relationship of any kind, for any reason. Being a single man in the Bay Area is pretty awful because of the ratio, even if you are reasonably good looking, professionally successful and confident. It’s no fun being a young professional woman in New York City either. The ratio is the ratio; it has its effects. People give women marginally more lip service sympathy but they do exactly as much to actually help. Nothing.


Clipping nails is probably all you need from that list. You can still be unshaven (provided your stubble looks like man stubble, not pubes) be a bit of a dirtbag, earn slightly less money and get more women. No one gives a shit if you are well spoken, you can have a silver tongue without using the Queen's English, in fact it helps if you enjoy abusing grammar.

As for attracting interesting women you actually wanna marry. Yeah you should probably have interests outside of tech. If all you are interested in is tech that makes you really boring because it's one of those subjects with no spillover. If you're an artist people might not appreciate the technicalities of mixing oil paints but they will enjoy looking at your paintings. Tech is impenetrable unless you are also in it. No one gives a fuck about that graph problem you solved that just made your distributed system more scalable because they don't understand half of those words. Imagine two people speaking a language you don't speak to each other and all they want to do is talk in that language. So boring.


> I like how a guy earning a fairly unremarkable-when-we-adjust-for-cost-of-living salary with a bunch of fairly unimpressive table-stakes credentials: "clean cut, well-spoken, hard working, respectful" (whaddaya want? a cookie?) is meant to be a Amazing Pussy Magnet.

It's obviously not the case in the Bay Area, but it is in a lot of places. To be honest, I was a bit shocked with the kind of mismatched couples I saw in San Francisco. Lots of appealing men with less appealing women. Ratios do matter. Also, a SWE salary is not unremarkable in most of the country (look up salary statistics).


"so-so women"

Wtf dude.


I'm not a native speaker, didn't mean to be offensive. I just meant that there's a lot of couples where the male half seems to score quite a bit higher on attractiveness, career, appeal, etc. I should note that this observation was also shared by my wife. Changed the wording.


Don’t apologize to people who are attacking you. It just encourages them.


Maybe in addition to be good looking and earning money, that dude also was not looking for trophy wife and had different preferences. Dude sounds like catch.


I'm not talking about a specific man and physical attractiveness is just one of many aspects. In aggregate, it seems reasonable to believe that the gender imbalance causes men to lower their standards.

> Dude sounds like catch.

That's sort of the point.


The interesting think for me is that all discussions about relationships on hn boils down to money and looks (gym for guys, I guess makeup and diet for girls).

And the idea of match is "willing to let me pay for her". There is no other standard for suitable partner ever mentioned. No expectation of shared values or similar livestyle (except valuing looks). No expectation of mutual support.

And the experts on what women want are people who "dated" over dozens of people last year - meaning none of them trying for long term stable relationship.

And everytime I read those discussions I kind of think I would not want to date them either. Mostly because they primary think in hierarchies instead of relationships and because I would not want a guy that would use his money as leverage over me.


It gets a lot easier to understand when you realize that most women are looking for a life partner while most men are looking for a sex partner. You are more careful with life partners, so there will always be a surplus of men available for dating looking for sex, and most of them will fake looking for a life partner just to get more opportunities since there are so few women who are into the same things.

This means that for you as a woman dating is first and foremost about separating life partners from sex partners. Your advice goes in that direction. But it is totally worthless for men, most women they meet will be looking for a life partner so they are not hard to find. Instead men face the problem that most women are very reluctant to date them, so men mostly need advice how to get more dates.


You'd be surprised at just how many women are looking for sex partners rather than life partners. But women are taking a lot more risks when they have casual sex: the chance of pregnancy, a higher chance of disease, a higher chance of being physically harmed. There's also, to be blunt, a higher chance of really bad sex.

So women apply a higher standard to their casual sex. They want to know that somebody is going to be kind and considerate. That's going to take several dates, which means they're also looking for somebody who's interesting over the course of several evenings. And once they've found that person, they'll often want more -- not a lifetime, but weeks or months.

Maybe that turns into a commitment, but the stereotype that every woman is looking for a ring misreads the situation. If you go on each date assuming that sex is completely off the table for the first week, you'll find that a lot of women are willing to have sex after that without visiting a judge or priest first. And being genuinely interested in them during that time, rather than just counting down the days, will improve your odds.


Which would be ok if they subsequently did not complained constantly about loneliness and being single. Partner for regular sex is relationship still, as much as partner for any regular activity.

And complained about women they date being primary interested in them paying for them. Like, he trying to attract her primary on money, who is going to take that offer?

If males look for sex date and women look for relationship, you have mismatch. And no group should feel angry or entitled about the other not being interested in them - they want fundamentally different things. In that case, he is not getting date because he is player and women around happen to be not interested in that.

And then he sees another dude in long term relationship with a woman that seeks that and is all offended about unfair world.

And also I kind of thing that if this is the need, prostitution should be an option. It is kind of same thing, except transaction is clear from get go.


I think the open secret is that prostitutes don't count, because the sex isn't about having orgasms, but about having one's merit validated. They must earn the thing that they cannot buy. Sex is the ultimate compliment, being chosen by a woman who dubs him worthy -- ideally, the most desirable woman (as perceived by other men). And for many, the more the better -- a second time doesn't count as much.

They generally don't get that, and will give other reasons why they can't just hire somebody. But I believe that's the real reason: it's the one thing that they cannot buy, and therefore matters most when they have all the money in the world.


This way, it simultaneously objectify women making us basically boardgame victory token and simultaneously giving women too much power or too much consequence of having sex.

The assumption that the decision to have causual sex is somehow result of valuing the dude is imo wrong.


Indeed, another common false assumption is that sex is something women don't want, especially casual sex. They're invested in the idea that sex is something a woman has to be bribed into, preferably with a lifetime commitment to her and her children.

Not only is that incredibly demeaning to women, it's self-defeating. If they could just believe that many women actually enjoy sex for its own sake, if they can have it without being abused, harassed, and stuck alone with the consequences, they could get themselves laid a lot more.


Dating in the Bay Area as a male engineer with average (or worse) looks is extremely easy if you're a white (or white-passing) FAANG employee (or you work at any other company that is obviously paying you $300k+ in the bay) who is willing to date PRC citizens.

Gold-digging isn't relevant imo given that they also have tech incomes, and generally have rich families overseas to boot. I really don't understand why most guys here pass on them. The only reason I ever get from my friends when I ask is "I just don't like fobs". Whatever, more for me.


For anyone else wondering what "fobs" means.

Oxford dictionary plural for: A chain attached to a watch for carrying in a waistcoat or waistband pocket.


I believe it is an acronym for "Fresh Off the Boat", i.e. an immigrant. It's a slang term and I personally don't use it too much but have heard it used fairly often.


I'd argue that the modern definition has nothing to do with immigrant status, and is entirely about whether or not you can pass as a native English speaker. It just so happens that most people who have accents are immigrants, and you can reasonably assume that anyone who didn't grow up speaking English as a native language is going to have an accent.

You are not a fob if you moved here from China at 9 years old, didn't read or speak your first word of English until then, and have no discernible accent as an adult.

No one would call a Hong Konger with a HK English accent a fob either.


> you can pass as a native English speaker

Also clothing :-)


thank you for this comment. I've been in the Bay Area for about a year, and it pretty much encompasses all my dating experience here


Does this mean that womens aspirations are wildly different than men in SV? How do they manage to be significantly more interesting than men? What do they do to become ‘crotch magnets’?


> male SWE in the Bay Area making $120K+ a year in his 20s or 30s, who should be a magnet for women

here's your problem


Agreed. Money is a step function. You need to make enough to live comfortably. But after that, having good interpersonal traits is everything.


My own observations of the Bay Area dating culture is that:

1. Lots of people in their early to mid 20s who aren’t interested settling down.

2. Lots of people who are career focused and not interested in settling down.

3. Lots of people who are students and not interested in settling down.

4. Lots of people who are already settled down. Long term, stable relationships are very common. Marriage, less so, but not uncommon.

5. A higher than average population who will have their parents arrange a marriage back in India.

Honest the whole social situation feels like an extension of college - not much opportunity for match making.

People don’t move to the Bay Area to find a spouse. They move there for career opportunities.


I see a lot of the opposite in the south. So many people want to settle down relatively young. I'm got shit to do with my life first.


> the Bay Area is among the worst places on Earth for improving your social life if you're straight and male

Why does social life only mean dating?

There are tons of social circles in the Bay Area. Hobbyist groups, aficionados of all stripes, non-profits galore and strange entertainment options. There is a diversity of bars and restaurants, and California’s unique outdoors are close.

Perhaps it would be more rewarding to focus on those, and be a little more passive when it comes to dating while you build up your interests.


I saw this circle jerk and have to say:

I and the vast majority of my friends grew up in the Bay Area. The vast majority of those I went to college with (and studied CS or EE or whatever) ended up working in the Bay Area. Almost all of them have girlfriends/fiancees/are married.

None of them are CEOs of hot startups lol. None of them are unnaturally attractive either. Just regular ole average programmers. :)

I dunno what's going on but I will take the circlejerk with a giant mountain of salt lol.


> respectful

Serious question: why do you think being "respectful" has any positive correlation with being a magnet for women?

I can't prove the "chicks digs bad boys" cliché is scientifically accurate, but as the only convict I personally know is both objectively ugly AND a magnet to girls half his age, I am pretty sure the converse is wrong.


https://pipubs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/The-Dark-Triad...

The Dark Triad personality: Attractiveness to women

It has been suggested that the Dark Triad (DT) personality constellation is an evolved facilitator of men’s short-term mating strategies. However, previous studies have relied on self-report data to consider the sexual success of DT men. To explore the attractiveness of the DT personality to the other sex, 128 women rated created (male) characters designed to capture high DT facets of personality or a control personality. Physicality was held constant. Women rated the high DT character as significantly more attractive. More- over, this greater attractiveness was not explained by correlated perceptions of Big 5 traits. These findings are considered in light of mating strategies, the evolutionary ‘arms race’ and individual differences.


This applies to males in general in the bay area. Not just the white ones. I got fed up with the loneliness and left the country entirely. Had a girlfriend a month later after picking from several whom were interested.


This is the basic premise of Dateonomics [https://www.amazon.com/Date-onomics-Dating-Became-Lopsided-N...] - the author looks at dating through the lens of gender ratios of college-educated people in different cities.

Outside of SF though, the situation is likely reversed - many more women than men are graduating college, and people tend to want to pair off with people of similar educational achievement.


Really?

My advice, stay in the Bay Area until you get your head screwed on straight.

If you think you are a "magnet for women" that very attitude repels any woman with enough self-respect to see through the bravado.

Concentrate on liking yourself enough that being single doesn't bother you and next thing you know....bam....there she'll be.

Or not, in which case like the person you see in the mirror each morning. Get there and the rest is easy.

Sincerely,

Single by choice (Female) Software Development Manager in the Southeast US.


Or maybe changing your own notion of being a "magnet for women" because you have a job might improve your social life, just saying


there are many ways to improve your social life that do not involve dating. Don't limit yourself.


Here is my advice, as a married engineer, for those who are having difficulties in this area:

1. Your fatalistic attitude about m/f ratios (or whatever sexual orientation you fancy) is the least helpful and accurate response you could possibly have to dating travails. This is not a game. Nobody's keeping score. Statistics by itself won't land you the relationship you crave.

2. On the flip side, finding a relationship isn't just a test you need to hack. There's no formula to success. Stop thinking that a good salary, or being clean-cut, or avoiding substance abuse, are what you need to land a date – regardless of where in the world you look! For one thing, people date against these types all the time. For many other potential partners, they're table stakes at best.

3. You will have the best luck if you think of your potential romantic partner not as an automaton to be gamed, nor as a resource you ought to be entitled to, but simply as a human being with interests and needs that may align with yours, or not. Forget salary. Forget trying to look interesting. Be genuine, and care, and look for partners who appreciate that.

3a. (corollary) If you think of potential partners as only interested in some Scandinavian ideal that is tall, blonde, good-looking, and makes way more than you, then you are almost certainly projecting your own shallowness and anxieties onto them. You are failing to engage them as human beings. Stop doing that.

3b. (corollary) If you think female software engineers are just not cut out for this engineering stuff as a whole, you are probably going to have a really rough time trying to court them -- to say nothing of how miserable you are likely to make them. It will be nigh impossible for you to engage them as human beings with interests that deserve your full respect and support.

4. If you can't find the partners you want on Tinder, or in the marketing org at work, then (and it kind of dumbfounds me that I should have to explain this) don't look for a date on Tinder! Or in the marketing org at work! Get out in the world. Make connections. Join clubs. Have friends introduce you to friends. Stop thinking like a Silly Valley hacker, and start thinking like a human being.

5. Stay far away from Jordan Peterson, MRA, red pill, and all of that. It's not that there isn't a good idea or two in there somewhere, but it's all drowning in a toxic stew of entitlement, self-loathing, and objectification of women that won't get you where you need to go. If you can't discern between the good stuff and the bad stuff, best to steer clear altogether. Go read some Anne Lamott or something and flush that stuff out of your system.

6. If it doesn't work out, move on. Do not come crying to HN about how tough engineers in Silicon Valley have it (because facts!). Do not obsess over them and hope they'll turn their eye later on. C'est la vie! Be the troubadour who sings about their romantic woes with a twinkle in their eye.


a great and detailed reply. really appreciate it <3


> My advice would be work hard, save your money, travel when you can to better locales to improve your social life, but with the eventual goal of permanently moving out when you've saved enough. If you pick your destination within the USA well, dating prospects will improve greatly, and if you look worldwide (and can overcome the language and immigration issues), it could improve dramatically. The Bay Area will seem like a bad dream.

I just created my HN account to emphasize this point. After 4 years in the Bay Area, I've come to the same conclusion. I've been saving money for 9 years now & should be at the $1,000,000 mark within 2 years. First 5 years of saving in Los Angeles got me to $200,000, and the last 4 years have pushed me to $700,000. Assuming Trump is re-elected, my portfolio should hit the $1,000,000 mark within two years.

A million bucks isn't much here, but its a sizable nest-egg in most places in America. Saving money in the Bay Area is much easier to do than anywhere else. I plan to move to a rural state as soon as I get to a million. The misery of living here has to end at some point.


With 1M USD, a really good place to live would be Buenos Aires, Argentina.

OK, this will sound like I'm from a travel agency, hahaha, but here's why:

If you are single, spending just 1200 USD per month here you can live a middle-high class life, renting a cool and spacious apartment in a nice neighborhood, good health care, gym, car, dining out. (To give you an idea, most of the middle class singles would spend half that amount...)

There's a very nice tech scene (lots of startups, and several unicorns), where having a work exp. in SV companies is an instant door opener.

Climate is temperate, (lots of sunny days year round, average weather 8C winter / summer 29C).

Huge restaurant scene, very cosmopolitan city, with ethnic restaurants of all kinds (lots of euro, american and asian origins). Also, some of the best meat in the world, at very good prices.

Lots and lots of cultural activities.

Huge mass transport network. You really don't need to own a car, (but I prefer having one, just for convenience... specially if you want to improve on your social side). European looking city. But as a most big cities, it can get chaotic in rush hours depending on where you live.

And lastly, considering your quote: you have LOTS of pretty girls, that love dating foreign guys.

Although I should warn you there's very few Asian-origin girls... and almost no [black | Indian | Middle Eastern] girls, comparing to the Bay Area. It's mostly euro-descendants or latinas; so depending on what you are looking for (if you are that specific/picky) it might be a concern.

It's the kind of place where with 1M, you can afford to not work actively anymore (e.g. living off rental income, or investments abroad).


Move to South East Asia instead. Burgeoning tech scene, some incredible nature, dating is considerably easier, both with locals and other expats, health care is first-rate and a couple of orders of magnitude cheaper ... "a rural state" sounds like all the worst bits of living in the US.


>Move to South East Asia instead.

No thanks, I prefer to live in a free country.

>"a rural state" sounds like all the worst bits of living in the US.

I don't have the level of contempt for my fellow Americans that you have


> I don't have the level of contempt for my fellow Americans that you have

I was going to ignore this as an obvious troll, but I'll take a stab at it. Rural Americans aren't the problem, America is the problem, but some of that is made up for by the cities.

Rural America has the same terrible public transit, the same grotesque healthcare problems, generally appalling internet and cellphone, the same incredible incarceration rate, the same terrible problem with opioids, the same terrifyingly divisive politics, the same endemic racial divide, the same problem with gun violence as the rest of the US, except that some of the cities have made some headway with these problems.

If y'all lost New York, LA and the Bay Area, GDP would fall by ~25%, and you'd be just another upper-middle-income country. America's greatness comes from the cities.


Ah so because someone else like a non-American place, he is having contempt for his fellow Americans? That's so polarising and typically what gives Americans such a bad name abroad.


I'm from a rural state and while I've been to I've been to over 12 countries and lived in 3 US states, my rural home state is the best kept secret in the world.

My wife is from Latin America, and while it's cheaper down there, none of those countries are as good of a deal as the rural US. More developed, safer, better public services. Can be nearby a major city for work.

I do like southeast Asia, my cousin's wife is from Thailand and I have a lot of connections there through her, they own a chain of hotels there. But I would prefer Latin America. It's a western culture for the most part, which if you're from Europe or the Americas, is less jarring in more ways than people realize. There's some indigenous elements, which actually enhances the culture, they're very cooperative and team players. I love Latin America, at least as much as I love Anglo America.

Just wanted to add two more cents in there, because there's good things about every place. Everything in life is a trade off!


Out of curiosity, where specifically in SE Asia would you consider living (or actually do live)?


Bali and Thailand (Chiang Mai and Bangkok) are fantastic.

Medellin in South America as well


Singapore is a great choice.


I've visited a few countries in SE Asia and could never see the appeal of living there longterm, at least in the metropolitan areas. The food and living costs are cheap but in return you get terrible air quality and lack of clean tap water.


Costa Rica is where I landed. Pretty nice. Let me know if you need advice.


I don't think Costa Rica is in SE Asia though..


You don't have to live in the cities. A luxury villa in e.g. Phuket with views of the ocean and water purification system and other international-standard amenities can be bought for what you'd pay for a small condo in SF or Palo Alto.

I'm strongly thinking of doing this with the family when I retire as well.


Just out of curiosity, why do you say "Assuming Trump is re-elected, my portfolio should hit the $1,000,000 mark within two years."?

Do you believe the stock market will get bad if he doesn't win the election? or is it the other way, i.e. if the does get re-elected, the market will be better so it will take you less than 2 years to reach your goal?

I've never heard this take before so I'm genuinely curious.


Apolitical answer:

Markets prefer political stability. Average annual S&P 500 returns are around ~7% adjusted for inflation, but ~12% when a President is in his second term.

Political answer:

A Trump loss would be presumably be to one of the self-avowed socialists running which would certainly crash the markets.

Furthermore, even without a market crash, a socialist implementing mark-to-market capital gains taxation while also doubling the long-term capital gains rates (15% to 32% for me) would drastically slow down my march towards $1,000,000.


I see. Interesting what you say about returns during second terms. I'll need to read more on that.


> A Trump loss would be presumably be to one of the avowed socialists running

Oh bless, the tendency in the US towards labelling people still right of the centre by most countries' standards as "socialists" for being left of the Republicans is cute.


I'm not American, but the Democratic party self-describes as social-liberal.

Of course people can agree or disagree with the ideology, but only you here seem to have attached stigma to the word.

(Though the same could have been said for 'fascist', which certainly now has widespread stigma attached, and most proponents have stopped self-describing as such.)


> I'm not American, but the Democratic party self-describes as social-liberal.

Social-liberal isn't socialist. I live in a liberal-social democracy, but very few workers own the means of production here.

> but only you here seem to have attached stigma to the word.

American society as a whole has attached a stigma to it. Claiming otherwise is either disingenuous or ignorant, I'll let you take your pick as you listen to the dulcet tones of Ronald Reagan disclaiming the dangers of socialised medicine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYrlDlrLDSQ


edit: self-avowed socialists


Further up in the thread he said he wanted to live in the USA because it’s a Free Country too, so I’m assuming he’s not being entirely serious.


Don't move anywhere without visiting several places for at least 1-2 weeks each. Trust me on this. You may have a picture of a place but being there can be very different.


Not so sure I agree, I moved to Beijing, China having never spent a second there, probably the best decision I made ever. (Though, I had no pre-conception on how it would be like prior to landing...)

While no longer living in mainland China, I still haven't left Asia (nearly seven years on)

Sometimes pushing yourself right out of your norm/comfort-zone can really help you find yourself.


> If you stay at Google, make the most of it by progressing deliberately in your social life. If I'd've stayed, I could have comfortably raised some kids with my wife by now - but that's still on the todo list.

Uh oh. Unseen Risk Fallacy

Just because you don't experience risk, doesn't mean it does not exist. The company just hides risk from you, but it's still there, culminating without feedback.

As raising a child is a 19+ year project and the OP has already a few years of not stellar performance and risk - if not dealt with - grows exponentially (risk factors attrackt more risk factors).

So the stay in place is actually a very risky proposition. One huge bet, without much feedback.

As the OP is Young and doesn't have kids or other major spendings a much safer strategy would be to try different gigs. With his resume then (Google, lots of other gigs) he can prop. return to a low maintenance job at a big company at one point anyway.


Speaking of fallacies, how about the one where parenthood increases your risk of underperformance 'exponentially', or is in any way a 'risk factor'. Check your bias. Parenthood is as likely to make you better at your job.


And how about the strawman? GP didn’t argue that parenthood may make OP lose his job, but that he already is in a position where he might lose his job due to underperforming previously. And if that happens, he’s unquestionably better off without kids.


Is he really in any risk of losing his job? I do not see how either your or OP came to conclusion.

I have met people who were under impression they were performing poorly, but actually they were doing great work. They just were disinterested in the job, which is a different issue.


The point is OP won't know if he it at risk, and yes Imposter Syndrome exists, so it's true that we don't know whether he really is at risk or not. But having kids still raises the stakes a lot.


> Parenthood is as likely to make you better at your job.

Have you got any evidence to back that up?


I’m explicitly not making any claims about the affect of parenthood on performance in saying that in the absence of any evidence, it is as likely to make you better as it is worse. The burden of proof lies with the GP, who sees it as a risk.


I highlighted the claim that you did make and asked you to respond to that.


My point is that I didn’t make a claim, I refuted GP’s by saying that either outcome is equally likely as there’s no proven link between parenthood and performance. If GP wants to claim there’s a negative causal link, the burden of proof lies with them.


You didn't refute GP, you refuted a strawman. And snidely.


> Uh oh. Unseen Risk Fallacy

a bit off topic, but couldn't identifying fallacies in arguments be automated? how much better would the discussion be if comments were labeled with likelihood of fallacy?


Given that this thread is the only instance of the phrase "Unseen Risk Fallacy", I'm not too sure that it will work as well as you'd hope. Fallacies are subtle and even in the best of cases only point out holes in someone's argumentation, which doesn't tell you much about the conclusion.

If anything automatic labelling of fallacies just risks running foul of the fallacy fallacy.


This would be a tall order for any NLP algo. I would hazard a guess and say no, not yet.


Which company you are working right now? I almost get a chance to join Google Sydney but failed at the last round. If there is any other company cooler than Google I will definitely want to try to apply.


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