couple kiss.jpgThe San Francisco dating scene is not typical. No two 20-something mostly-straight women will have the same experiences, but they will theoretically come across the same men, especially because the university-educated label “sex positive” is code for slutty–ethics undetermined. And no San Francisco sex columnist trying to make a grand comeback can refrain from an easy list of do’s and don’t’s thinly disguised as lessons from her own haphazard dating adventures.

Without further ado…

DO make sure he uses proper spelling (or at least spellcheck) and grammar. This is key and of course the most important measure of his sanity and your chemistry together. Clearly you want a man who understands not only how to use a semicolon correctly but also whether quotation marks go inside or outside the aforementioned punctuation. It is OK, however, if autocorrect mixes up his words because that is funny and there is a website for that. Also, you kinda like how it always wants to change your ex’s new girlfriend’s “porn starlette” moniker to “porn dysentery.”

DO meet at a bar. Or somewhere else public and easily escapable. Only order food if you are assured he is not a toad. Otherwise, when you you say “yes, yes, that’s fine” to the waitress because you didn’t actually hear her tell you that a pizza would take 45 minutes, you will be stuck with this schlub (because you are a Nice Person) who has only ordered a Coke because he’s taking antibiotics for his stomach ulcer that he got for drinking too much (mostly Jager), which is his favorite thing to do and oh one time he threw a rock through a car windshield just for fun because he was drunk…well, you are, how do they say, screwed.

DO NOT talk about anal rape, or more precisely, do not talk about forcefully taking his ass with your array of strap-ons. OK, so the joke about the “rape cave” went over pretty well as you talked about jaunting across the beach, but now he realizes that you weren’t joking about *him* being the predator. Now, in fact, you are slightly frightening him and he may be vaguely turned on, but he’s not one of those men In The Know About The Prostate. Don’t lecture him on the benefits of prostate play; he lives in San Francisco and will probably discover these joys in his mid-thirties to early forties.

And yes, San Francisco does have a comparatively robust kink scene, but you don’t want to spoil the romance just yet. Actually, scratch that–if you met through a fetish site, feel free to tell him just how big all your strap-on cocks are. Otherwise, the acceptable amount of jokes about anal rape is one.

DO let him pick up the tab. Yes, you are a Feminist, but being a Feminist you also know that you make 77 cents for every one of his dollars. And if we’re really being real here, you work for a nonprofit and he is a developer/engineer for a tech startup that has a foosball table in the office and weekly bagel deliveries. Why did you major in history again?

Either way, you are a lightweight, and he’d have to pound back at least six drinks to feel the same buzz of your two. Besides, you ordered a Sierra Nevada, so he already knows you like the taste of beer and we all know what that means. So…

DO wear the nice bra and panties. Don’t try to kid yourself and think “if I wear the laundry-day bra and the gym panties, there is no way I will drop trou’ on the first date.” You are an oversexed, underwhelmed, twenty-something sex-positive Feminist in San Francisco. He doesn’t have an ironic handlebar mustache and he’s wearing a cardigan and it’s kind of endearing. You’re going to fuck. Be prepared. Hell, go a step further and match the bra and panties if you want to earn major first-date brownie points. This is probably the only time you can get away with a padded bra, so go ahead and throw that in there as well. Nota bene: this is not a time to experiment in various pubic hair topiaries. He will not understand.

DO NOT leave without getting his last name. Casually whip out your phone and quip about having too many Johns in your address book. Forget this step, and you will never decide on when the right time to ask for his last name is. You will go home and try to Google him based on what little clues you have. School? Somewhere in Boston. Email address? Don’t have it. You will realize that no matter how much you learn about him, you will never find him on Google because he is one of those sick people who are institutionally un-Googleable and now you are too embarrassed to ask for his last name because we all know that’s so that you can Google him and debate about friending him on Facebook after your fifth “date” in his bedroom.

And, above all, DO complain to all of your girl friends (and guy friends who secretly want to bang you) about how you’re not getting any sex even though you just deleted your online dating account because you got too many messages from creeps and losers shorter than the requisite 6′. By any means DO NOT try to meet anyone the “normal” way, like hanging out at Dolores Park or going to a bar on the weekend. Everyone will be too busy checking into foursquare to notice each other anyway, so you should just stick to your crush on your soon-to-be-ex-coworker. He totally smiled at you yesterday and that must mean something. Besides, you already know his last name, AND though you haven’t friended him on Facebook yet, you do have his page bookmarked. You’re practically there.

Image from Nicki Varkevisser.

The Sexual Manifesto is Christine Borden’s weekly column on sex in the city, sex and culture, and, well, sex. Got a tip for Christine (and it’s not in your pants)? Email her at

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