You've heard it all before: No one wants to date seriously in New York; everyone's too superficial in LA. Every city comes with its own unique set of dating problems. But what's it like in Oakland? We've assembled some tips for making it easier to find that someone worthy of your heart in the East Bay.
1. Avoid the across-the-bay LDR
Try telling someone in an actual long-distance relationship that Oakland to San Francisco is an LDR, and they'll probably laugh in your face. But we understand. Those $30 Lyft rides add up. BART is only open so late. Your Tinder match lives in the Outer Sunset? Bye. And watch out for people being sneaky with their whereabouts. Sure, they work in San Francisco, but wait until you find out that they live in Sunnyvale. Thank u, next.
2. Expect flakiness
Ghosting is an epidemic everywhere in the texting age. Why commit to anything when you can easily summon another warm body on your phone at a moment's notice? But add in public transportation that doesn't get you anywhere near where you want to be half the time, and you've truly got a case of the undead on your hands. If you think you had a date scheduled for tonight, remember "yes" means maybe, and if your date finds out your place is more than a 10-minute walk from a BART station, you'd just as well assume they've died.
3. Be wary of tech bros
Avoiding tech bros feels like whack-a-mole in San Francisco, and Oakland increasingly feels that way too, as more tech companies set up shop in The Town. Yes, their paychecks may make you grow dollar signs for eyes, but many of them still struggle to feed or dress themselves. Peter Pan syndrome is real. For them, adult life is nap pods and personal chefs and spending piles of disposable income on Postmates and overpriced cocktails.
4. If you're going to cuff, cuff fast
Rent is expensive. So if you think you've found the one and you're already spending every night at their place, you might as well cut to the chase. Sure, moving in too quickly may put unwelcome strain on your new relationship as you discover your new roommate believes in letting the yellow mellow and leaving globs of toothpaste in the sink every morning, but your wallet will thank you.
5. If you identify as a woman, expect to split the check
The Town is also woke as fuck. People are feminists here. So if you're a cis-hetero woman, don't expect the archaic laws of chivalry to apply. Sure, it's always nice to get a free drink or dinner as compensation for the emotional toll of having to spend time with a strange man, but you're going to look like an asshole if you don't at least reach for your wallet when the check comes.
6. Keep it lowkey with the side-pieces
Even more so than San Francisco, Oakland is small. You probably already know this as a result of running into your ex on a bad hair day more than once. So if you're dating around a little bit, maybe expand your pool beyond the reaches of The Town to avoid an awkward encounter. Related problem: You'll probably hook up with someone one of your friends has already dated. But this can be reframed as a good thing — your friends can immediately tell you if someone is bad news before you waste your time.
7. Don't be too good for the apps
"The apps are just not for me. I prefer meeting someone in real life." We've all heard this. Maybe this is even something you've found yourself saying. But news flash: nowadays, dating apps are real life. And to date within the reaches of Silicon Valley means the apps are particularly unavoidable. Literally every single-and-ready-to-mingle person you know is on them. Maybe you're a little old-fashioned, but it's time to stow away the top hat and monocle. Your meet-cute is not going to happen because your potential paramour is going to be too busy swiping through Tinder with headphones on full blast to hear you when you deliver the perfect witticism about their coffee order. So buckle down and download 'em all. No one is too good for Tinder.
8. Dress casual
Settle down, cowboy: If you show up to a first date wearing a suit and tie, your date is going to scream and run the other direction. Even more points deducted if you emerge from a limo with a bouquet of roses and greet them with a "good evening, m'lady." We keep it casual here in the East Bay, so hoodies and sneakers are a perfectly acceptable uniform for wooing a new flame. That said, you can make yourself stand out if you try just a modicum more than your average tech-hoodie-wearing Joe. Put a little extra thought into the shoes and jacket but keep it cool with jeans and a T-shirt and you're golden.