What's up with San Francisco?

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    Jul 08, 2010 7:35 PM GMT
    Hey guys,

    I moved to San Francisco from New York last spring. I thought it would be a great change for the better in terms of the gay scene, with older, more mature guys on average, a smaller and tighter community, less emphasis on being "seen". But it isn't that way at all. If anything, exactly the opposite. I live in the Castro, and all the guys my age (mid-30s) seem to be part of one big clique here. They all work out at Golds in the Castro together, go to the Russian River over July 4th together, hang out at the manbench in Dolores Park on weekends together. It's a clique that I'm not part of and can't seem to break into, for the life of me, even though I've made an effort to meet people by getting involved in gay team sports, yoga, and networking groups. While I've made a lot of superficial acquaintances with guys my age by doing those things, I've got nothing real to show for it, not even gay friends that I can hang with after work or on weekends. On the plus side, older guys, the ones in their 50s, seem a lot more welcoming. It would nice to be in a group my own age, though. It would be interesting to hear from other local guys what their experience was when they first moved here
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    Jul 08, 2010 10:10 PM GMT
    Why are you limiting yourself to the Castro? That's about as gay-cloned-hood as you can get? Gay people live all over the Bay Area, and in large clusters in certain areas.

    It would be as if a gay person moved to New York and lived within a block of Stonewall.

    Anyway, Golds Castro? Golds on Brannan St. has mostly gay clientele. Golds in Oakland near Lake Merritt and 24 hour fitness on Webster Streets are mostly gay.

    Areas in which gay people live include Noe Valley, which is a much more vibrant neighborhood than the Castro in terms of having something beyond circuit party mentality, if that's what bothers you. Likewise Rockridge and Piedmont Ave in Oakland.

    Join a club...there are gay softball leagues. Get away from the bar scene..

    Mostly, though, it's always to make new friends and to find your rhythm when you move to a new area. Give it time...things will turn around.
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    Jul 08, 2010 10:11 PM GMT
    I just moved back to the East Coast after living in San Francisco for the past four and while it is a beautiful, interesting city, I experienced the same thing you are. It is Extreamly clickish and very hard to make close friends. One thing I will say is that it tends to take two years to really get settled in S.F, or so I observed in myself and others, so try not to sweat it too much if your still inside that window.

    I also know the Castro area, and the Golds Gym, to which you refer... Personally, it is not my preffered area of SF; much of the group there lives in the Castro (or might as well) know the same people, sleep with the same people, etc. It's all very Mormon. No offense to the Castro peeps, but it's not exactly a crowd I would go out of my way to join. But to each his own. One thing I will say is that pretty much any organization you get involved with in S.F (food drives, Naked jogging, Community gardens) is bound to be flush with like minded homo's, so don't limit yourself, or think that the "Castro Queens" is like an A group in High School. It's all a matter of perspective..
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    Jul 08, 2010 10:22 PM GMT
    Wow... So similar to my experience. I 've been single since last march and I go to openings, hike, attend classes, hike etc and I too find that at the end of the day I have no one to hang out with on a regular basis. I have only been invited to one party.I thought it was my age since guys my age seem to be too tired or sick to do much. I am particularly astounished when I see 6 guys pack into a 4 person booth at a restaurant when I am eating alone. You
    really can't break into it...., I have tried. The same thing happens at bars Groups of guys walk in but never a single guy.
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    Jul 08, 2010 10:28 PM GMT
    Yes, the Castro resident crowd is VERY clique-ish and aloof to outsiders! This is no surprise to hear since I've witnessed it for many years! And I'm GLAD I'm not part of their odd little scene because I just don't correspond well to it, socially, politically, or deviantly. Not to mention, they definitely live within the "Castro Bubble" that anything outside their little gay realm is considered odd, unacceptable (hmmm, so much for "liberal open-mindedness"), or "too far" for them to travel to UNLESS there is another gay mecca for them to feel comfortable in, like brown-colored, polluted Russian River.

    You shouldn't limit yourself to the Castro. The Bay Area in its own is a vast world to explore! I have many gay friends who live in other parts of the Bay Area, and enjoy their co-existence with a more truly diverse crowd, including real open-minded heterosexuals, to pass the time with in hanging out, hitting the gym together, going to the movies, or attending to other social functions with. And through some of them, they've met other quality gay guys to help expand their circle of (gay) friends. In the end, I believe you'll feel much more superior and happier than being around that crowd of very narrow-minded, exclusionary gays in that neighborhood.
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    Jul 08, 2010 11:59 PM GMT
    There's definitely one big clique in the Castro and surrounding areas. I'm friends with a couple of other guys here who are part of the in-crowd, and it's obvious from Facebook that there's a group of around 100 guys or so in the Castro and the immediate area in their mid-thirties who are friends mainly with one another, and it's been impossible for me to break into this group. Ugh, why am I even trying? It's depressing, it's like being back in high school and trying to be part of the cool group. They're not even particularly desirable, just a bunch of not very good looking, aging dudes. Also, it's really interesting how you very rarely see people of color around them. Only a handful of Latino guys, one or two token Asians, and never any black guys. I'm white myself, but this is disgusting.

    It's unfortunate, because I love this city and want to stay here, but socially it's been a complete dead end.
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    Jul 09, 2010 12:18 AM GMT
    Well, if you just stick around with being JUST IN the Castro, then the city will be a complete social dead-end. It doesn't surprise me that you're mentioning the racial inequality that exists amongst these gay guys because it's something that's been going on for years! There's even a cool historical documentary called "The Castro" which touches on how many African-American gay men never felt welcomed or embraced by the predominantly white gay neighborhood in the 1970s. So the level of exclusionary perception you get is very likely. The only other San Francisco neighborhood I get this vibe from is the very clique-ish Marina District with it's predominantly young white professionals and blue blood / old money residents.

    But as I previously stated, you should allow yourself the opportunity to socially explore beyond the small perimeter of the Castro and network with people from other areas of the city and surrounding townships. Don't frown upon them just because the gay limits seem to end in San Francisco. That's the mistake many gay people make: That there's little in common with unique areas that aren't necessarily gay populated.
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    Jul 09, 2010 12:21 AM GMT
    nyc2sfo2010 said...Ugh, why am I even trying? It's depressing, it's like being back in high school and trying to be part of the cool group. They're not even particularly desirable, just a bunch of not very good looking, aging dudes...


    Tell me again why you care so much about these people you seem to dislike so much? How long has it been since high school?

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    Jul 09, 2010 12:44 AM GMT
    Hey - just a quick comment. No intent to hijack the thread. SF is a great city, but if you want to stay on the West Coast and are at a point when you are considering a move, consider the LA area. There is a large gay neighborhood, West Hollywood, plus many other neighborhoods that are friendly. I haven't heard of the areas being described as cliquish, but I know there can be challenges when new in any large city.

    There is a recent thread in the Travel section, Moving to Los Angeles, with more info on neighborhoods.

    Back to SF discussion...
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    Jul 09, 2010 2:12 AM GMT
    Well, the thing is, having spent a lot of time in SF, is that, despite how the residents (both straight and gay) like to portray the city as the best place in the world, it's really a very small city with somewhat provincial attitudes. Extremely liberal cities can be provincial also. It's not New York, it's not London, it's not Tokyo, and it's not, horror of horrors, even Los Angeles despite how much people in S.F. try.

    So you take the smallness of the city and pack a lot of the gay population into a few square blocks and you will encounter cliqueness. Still, I wonder, did any of the posters complaining about the city have any connection when they moved there. Even one person who you know can help a lot in getting an "in" in a new city. Good luck.
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    Jul 09, 2010 3:41 AM GMT
    iguanaSF said
    nyc2sfo2010 said...Ugh, why am I even trying? It's depressing, it's like being back in high school and trying to be part of the cool group. They're not even particularly desirable, just a bunch of not very good looking, aging dudes...


    Tell me again why you care so much about these people you seem to dislike so much? How long has it been since high school?



    It's not that I dislike them. It would just be nice to develop a group of gay friends my age, but it just seems impossible to get a foothold with anyone here because I'm not part of a group already. I moved here without knowing anyone, so maybe that's why. It's not this way in bigger, more cosmopolitan cities--I've lived in a couple myself.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 09, 2010 3:43 AM GMT
    Grass is always greener.

    Go back to NYC. SanFran is an insular, provincial, close-minded gutter.

    At least in NYC, you can tell people to fuck off and they will think you're just saying "nice meeting you."
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    Jul 09, 2010 4:36 AM GMT

    Ugh! Hey guys quite picking on the kid. He is going through a small period of adjustment. He'll realize you can't limit friends to a small area soon.

    Besides this site doesn't need more than one "chucky" or wannabe "Chucky".

    However JackJrzy cool "Fuck Off" comment about NYC. Made me laugh so hard I fell over my walker, 60 you know!
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    Jul 09, 2010 4:49 AM GMT
    Intersting comments about SF. My partner and I were there over the fourth and loved so much that we are considering moving there - looking for job opportunities.

    We spent sometime in the Castro but probably wasn't there ling enough to see the cliques. I don't think we would move to that area but would look at cow hollow, marina, etc. Also open for other suggestions. We are more into a mix crowd - don't really care for the drama that comes from being around nay gay guys.
  • sfboy987

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    Jul 09, 2010 11:27 AM GMT
    I wonder what people in this "clique" think when they see posts like this because I am sure there are those type of guys on this site. Btw lol at "Roccoe" for that "Chucky" comment
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    Jul 09, 2010 12:10 PM GMT
    nyc2sfo2010 saidOn the plus side, older guys, the ones in their 50s, seem a lot more welcoming. It would nice to be in a group my own age, though. It would be interesting to hear from other local guys what their experience was when they first moved here

    My partner & I only know SF slightly from previous brief visits, so we're not qualified to specifically advise you. But regarding one more general point you raise we might have some thoughts, if we may be allowed.

    A number of guys (and a few girls) in our social circle are barely half our age, and we all seem good with that. I know you would prefer more of your own age, and that's completely understandable & reasonable. But I do wonder, like you seem to, if there is a generation gap regarding how our gay community behaves, whether in the Castro or anywhere else.

    Just last week I related the story here of how my partner & I treated a stranger to a little impromptu celebration for his 30th birthday at a local gay bar. He was all alone and depressed, by his own admission, but left us much happier than we found him (do try to ignore the obvious connection with leaving us and thereby experiencing immediate joy).

    But no credit to us, because any of our friends of our age would have done the same thing. Is it paternalism, or a bit of creepy old guy stuff, or what? I really don't know, but I think it could also be observed that much younger guys might not have done the same thing for him.

    Has it always been that way over the ages? Or is it just in our own times? In any case, why not make the best of your 50+ acquaintances? Maybe through them you'll meet more of the age group you want, and a nicer social set, at that. I always say, never turn down a chance at gay networking. Networking leads to more networking, which is why it's called networking, whether for professional or personal purposes.
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    Jul 10, 2010 3:31 PM GMT
    nyc2sfo2010 saidHey guys,

    I moved to San Francisco from New York last spring. I thought it would be a great change for the better in terms of the gay scene, with older, more mature guys on average, a smaller and tighter community, less emphasis on being "seen". But it isn't that way at all. If anything, exactly the opposite. I live in the Castro, and all the guys my age (mid-30s) seem to be part of one big clique here. They all work out at Golds in the Castro together, go to the Russian River over July 4th together, hang out at the manbench in Dolores Park on weekends together. It's a clique that I'm not part of and can't seem to break into, for the life of me, even though I've made an effort to meet people by getting involved in gay team sports, yoga, and networking groups. While I've made a lot of superficial acquaintances with guys my age by doing those things, I've got nothing real to show for it, not even gay friends that I can hang with after work or on weekends. On the plus side, older guys, the ones in their 50s, seem a lot more welcoming. It would nice to be in a group my own age, though. It would be interesting to hear from other local guys what their experience was when they first moved here



    FYI: The castro is tired and sad and depressing; it's lost it's charm. What happened, I don't know (that's a whole other topic). I agree with some people on here, San Fran, has so much more to offer than that castro; try the mission, I love that hood. Or, figure out what kind of friends you want first. On another note, you have to ask yourself do you really want to "break into" that group of prissy little Delores Park queens anyway
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    Jul 10, 2010 3:39 PM GMT
    nyc2sfo2010 saidHey guys,

    I moved to San Francisco from New York last spring. I thought it would be a great change for the better in terms of the gay scene, with older, more mature guys on average, a smaller and tighter community, less emphasis on being "seen". But it isn't that way at all. If anything, exactly the opposite. I live in the Castro, and all the guys my age (mid-30s) seem to be part of one big clique here. They all work out at Golds in the Castro together, go to the Russian River over July 4th together, hang out at the manbench in Dolores Park on weekends together. It's a clique that I'm not part of and can't seem to break into, for the life of me, even though I've made an effort to meet people by getting involved in gay team sports, yoga, and networking groups. While I've made a lot of superficial acquaintances with guys my age by doing those things, I've got nothing real to show for it, not even gay friends that I can hang with after work or on weekends. On the plus side, older guys, the ones in their 50s, seem a lot more welcoming. It would nice to be in a group my own age, though. It would be interesting to hear from other local guys what their experience was when they first moved here



    Oh, another thing, putting up a picture (in 2010), will really give a better impression of you than a faceless one. For me, anyway, (just my thoughts), It gives a mixed message of hiding and whining verses a pic saying here I am and I'm taking action
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 10, 2010 4:08 PM GMT
    LMAO.. NOW ya know why I left Calif! (and i'm a native!)

    Its now called "Plastifornia"!
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    Jul 10, 2010 4:11 PM GMT
    moobey said
    Oh, another thing, putting up a picture (in 2010), will really give a better impression of you than a faceless one. For me, anyway, (just my thoughts), It gives a mixed message of hiding and whining verses a pic saying here I am and I'm taking action


    Thanks for writing that. I was wanting to myself, but with all the sympathy for the OP, I figured the timing would be wrong. It's hard to take the posts of profileless-posters very seriously....and it's even more difficult to take the responses from a "Hidden/Deleted Profile" poster seriously.
  • slimnmuscly

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    Jul 10, 2010 4:37 PM GMT
    I lived in San Francisco from 1997 to 2004, so my perspective is a little dated (and, of course, my memory a little faded). I seem to remember it taking a long time to build friendships, but then all of a sudden waking up after a few years and realizing I had quite a few of them. And I developed quite a fondness for many of those superficial acquaintances over time, even if we never grew particularly close. Something about running into them all the time made my life a little richer. And there were guys I'd never exchanged two words with for years, and then one day we somehow got to know each other out of the blue. It's hard to put my finger on exactly how all that happened, but I think it's a subtle part of SF's mojo -- you come to feel part of a community with people you once felt alientated from.

    As for why it can seem so different at first, I think people might be -- probably subconsciously -- waiting to see if you'll stick around before they invest in getting to know you. SF is a small town, but it's also a mecca for transients -- part of the Gold Rush legacy, no doubt. Constant comings and goings. And I seem to remember a general elitism among people who'd been in the City longer towards newcomers. It was like you needed to be there a certain period of time before you could call yourself a San Franciscan. Fortunately, because people do come and go so much, you actually don't have to be there that long to feel like an old-timer.

    I'd say keep doing what you're doing re going to events and yoga classes, etc., especially the ones you enjoy or get something out of for their own sake. It'll pay off in the (not as) long (as you think) term.

    Another thing I don't think has been brought up yet: More so than any other city I've lived in, the overwhelming majority of my friendships -- all but less than a handful -- was with guys I'd slept with. Don't know how true that is for other guys, but I took it to suggest something about the local culture, though it may just have been where I was at in that stage of my life.

    Good luck.
  • KnuxNole

    Posts: 219

    Jul 10, 2010 4:46 PM GMT
    I have visitied San Francisco, and Castro Street kinda turned me off. No offense or anything, but the cliques of the "flamer" type of guys seemed to be prevalent in all the gay clubs and stuff. I felt like I couldn't really relate...I don't know much about fashion or celeb gossip, but sports and movies, I could talk for hours about that icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jul 11, 2010 12:38 AM GMT
    moobey said


    Oh, another thing, putting up a picture (in 2010), will really give a better impression of you than a faceless one. For me, anyway, (just my thoughts), It gives a mixed message of hiding and whining verses a pic saying here I am and I'm taking action


    I totally hear you, but I don't want to dig myself into a deeper hole here than I'm already in. This city is REALLY small, when you get down to it.
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    Jul 11, 2010 12:40 AM GMT
    slimnmuscly saidI lived in San Francisco from 1997 to 2004, so my perspective is a little dated (and, of course, my memory a little faded). I seem to remember it taking a long time to build friendships, but then all of a sudden waking up after a few years and realizing I had quite a few of them. And I developed quite a fondness for many of those superficial acquaintances over time, even if we never grew particularly close. Something about running into them all the time made my life a little richer. And there were guys I'd never exchanged two words with for years, and then one day we somehow got to know each other out of the blue. It's hard to put my finger on exactly how all that happened, but I think it's a subtle part of SF's mojo -- you come to feel part of a community with people you once felt alientated from.

    As for why it can seem so different at first, I think people might be -- probably subconsciously -- waiting to see if you'll stick around before they invest in getting to know you. SF is a small town, but it's also a mecca for transients -- part of the Gold Rush legacy, no doubt. Constant comings and goings. And I seem to remember a general elitism among people who'd been in the City longer towards newcomers. It was like you needed to be there a certain period of time before you could call yourself a San Franciscan. Fortunately, because people do come and go so much, you actually don't have to be there that long to feel like an old-timer.

    I'd say keep doing what you're doing re going to events and yoga classes, etc., especially the ones you enjoy or get something out of for their own sake. It'll pay off in the (not as) long (as you think) term.

    Another thing I don't think has been brought up yet: More so than any other city I've lived in, the overwhelming majority of my friendships -- all but less than a handful -- was with guys I'd slept with. Don't know how true that is for other guys, but I took it to suggest something about the local culture, though it may just have been where I was at in that stage of my life.

    Good luck.


    Really interesting perspective--thanks. It gives me some hope.
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    Jul 11, 2010 12:48 AM GMT
    It's cliquey in DC too, but I'm easily entertained so I'm not too concerned with it.