Silicon Valley has a bit of a reputation. While the Santa Clara Valley was once known as “The Valley of Heart’s Delight” due to its many orchards and flowers, it has abandoned this name in favor of its silicon moniker in recent decades. And while it is full of opportunity for entrepreneurs and techies, it seems that the opportunities for the heart to be delighted have declined in recent years. Singles of both genders face difficulties in their search for love. The men often struggle to interact well with women, especially on a romantic level. Thus, women face having to deal with potential partners who are completely clueless. This article goes into greater detail about this problem.
Data from the US census indicates that the ratio of men in the San Francisco area is above the national average in all age groups until you reach the 60+ years of age category. You can view plenty of data here at this very useful census reporting website. Despite the exceedingly high concentration of men in the bay area, accounts from women looking for partners tend to lament the struggles of finding a decent date. This account from Vogue magazine states “The odds are good, but the goods are odd. People love to say this about the singles scene in Silicon Valley.”
A concept with basis in evolutionary psychology is that of the E/S brain types. This theory separates the human mind into two categorical spectrums, that of empathizing and that of systemizing. The empathizing component refers to observing, interpreting, and responding to human emotional cues. Essentially, it is about what we would refer to as “human interaction.” On the other hand, systemizing refers to an outlook involved with organization, the more logical frame of mind involving rules and therefore, systems. This theory comes from Simon Baron-Cohen and you can read more about it here.
When it comes to Silicon Valley, the interaction problems often associated with the male population can easily be characterized as an empathizing issue. It seems that the tech industry correlates with male individuals who favor the systematizing end of the spectrum. While the entire population of the bay area into E or S type brain categorizations based on gender is undoubtedly an over extension of these principles, the basic idea helps to understand the gender interactions and the difficulties many have with the San Francisco area dating scene.
Empathy is obviously an important part of romantic relationships, and is also a field that the stereotypical nerd or techie, silicon valley’s primary resident, is known to be lacking in. As a result, those looking to date in this environment tend to have trouble finding a date that they don’t quickly get frustrated with. These yelp reviews of the SF dating scene show lots of complaints people have made about dating and dates that they weren’t too happy with. From hoodies and sweats on a first date, to not paying attention to their date, it seems that there is a lot the male population has to work on.
This sort of behavior results in a population where the vast majority of men doesn’t fall into categories normally associated with things like high reproductive fitness. Even those who women are expecting to show these characteristics (from the yelp reviews) blanket them in the stereotypical programmer/geek attributes.
Still, there plenty of happy couples living in the world of tech, so this atmosphere isn’t resulting in a lack of relationships, and it’s probably not lowering people’s standards. Rather, the standard for “high reproductive fitness” is changing. What is considered the most desirable characteristics for a partner are having to change and adapt to this new environment.
See similarities and differences between this modern setting and the gold rush in this post.