Single in SF: The 49’er Syndrome

TDR_LouisaL005-EditBy: Louisa Liu, Three Day Rule Matchmaker

“Forty-Niner,” the term which originally meant one who took part in the 1849 California gold rush, is now often affiliated with the San Francisco 49ers football team.  This term actually carries another meaning in the modern dating scene as well. The city of San Francisco, “Home of the 49ers,“ also happens to have a considerable population of singles infected with the “49er Syndrome.”

I’ll let you on in a little secret.  The “49er Syndrome” is a phenomenon sweeping the Bay Area that originally affected mostly just single females between the ages of 21-35.  Today, it affects both male and female of all age ranges in Silicon Valley.  In case you’re lost, “4-9er” originally referred to the average woman (a “4”) believing she was really a “9”. Because of the highly skewed male to female ratio in Silicon Valley (stemming from the influx of mostly male engineers, developers, etc. flooding the Bay Area to work in start-ups and tech giants like Google/Apple/Facebook), it became easy for women to think they were a hot commodity.  This shortage of competition caused the average woman to have a ton of guys chasing after her, which naturally led her to think that it must be because she was well…pretty hot. And thus, her standard of seeking her ideal partner then became someone who was not only rich but also charming, smart, funny, kind, liked to watch romcoms, and looked like George Clooney. Right…which is not very realistic.

Truthfully, while most may think that this “49er Syndrome” only affects young women, don’t be surprised when I tell you that it affects most men in the Bay Area as well. As a TDR Matchmaker, I meet and interview hundreds of singles to learn about who they are and what they’re looking for in their ideal partner. I can tell you that Bay Area women are no pickier than the men are. Because of the tech boom in Silicon Valley, there is a large population of men working in fields like engineering, law, venture capital, and investment management. It’s no doubt that many Bay Area men are successful and have a knack for easily making well over six figures. Because of their monetary success, they have the ability to lavishly spend on dates with young ladies (sometimes even half their age) who…truthfully…are often just temporarily in it for the money.  Because they get these dates, these men naturally think that they are at least 9’s on that scale of 10, so they feel like they deserve to match with a hot model who also went to an Ivy League school, has a successful career, and can be an amazing housewife. They are looking for a unicorn of a woman. But let’s look at reality.  

No one is perfect. So, if you are not that perfect person, then it’s unrealistic to expect a perfect partner to match you as well. 

At Three Day Rule, I ask all my clients what they are looking for in their ideal partner. Sometimes, when I feel that their expectations are unrealistic, I politely challenge them to think in the other person’s shoes. If you are that person you’re describing to me that you want to date, would you want to date someone like yourself? I encourage my clients to be open-minded and have realistic expectations. TDR also has professional date coaches and relationship experts to work with our clients in different areas to continue to improve themselves and bring out the best version of themselves. It may be hard, but ladies and gentlemen alike, I encourage us all to be realistic and not let outside factors like shortage, demand, and monetary wealth skew our perception of ourselves.

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