It’s hard enough to be in a cross-city relationship (Inner Sunset – sorry, guys – is a long haul from SOMA), but throw in the San Francisco Bay, and suddenly the difficulty of your dating life is taken to a whole new level.
See, I’m dating a guy from San Francisco, and I live in Oakland. And despite the mere 12 miles between our apartments, I’ve been congratulated more than once on sticking to a long-distance relationship.
Still, I’m here to say that transbay dating is possible and – dare I say it? – a good thing. We all need to fortify connections between the fine folks on either side of the water. After all, there’s a reason we have BART and the Bay Bridge.
But as you ready yourself for your transbay love connection, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Extreme climate change
Those living in the East Bay enjoy warm, consistent temperatures that ill-prepare them for San Francisco’s finicky weather. They’ll need to learn the ways of the layering technique. For city-goers making the journey to Oakland, they’ll need to learn the ways of unlayering. Flannel that’s fit for SF wind tunnels and Karl the Fog will get all sorts of sweaty in Temescal.
Some people say you don’t know a person until you’ve seen them at their worst. Perhaps we can alter that to “until you’ve seen them on BART.”
If a BART ride doesn’t kill your relationship prospects, you probably have a winner on your hands. It involves a perpetual gamble of sucky possibilities: Will a strike strand you? Will you catch ANOTHER cold from the BART poles of disease? Can you long-jump your body through the doors before the last train leaves at midnight?
BARTing together is akin to the stress level of fighting over who left the milk out. You’ll learn a lot about each other – namely, how you react in times of strife.
3. When deciding whose house you’ll stay at, prepare yourself for some epic games of “Would You Rather?”
Would you rather…
…go to an A’s or a Giants game?
…get vitamin D or moisturize your skin with fog?
…go row-boating in Golden Gate Park or gondola-riding in Lake Merritt?
4. There’s no quick turning back
You’ll soon become a master date planner, but even the most organized person will eventually face the reality of “the point of no return.” Forgot to pack an extra pair of underwear? Want to storm off dramatically post-spat, only to return 15 minutes later after you’ve simmered? These are the luxuries of those engaged in single-city courting.
5. The cost of the commute
Yes, people, there’s a financial cost to transbay romances. The toll, the gas, the public-transit passes, the mental strain of seeing yet another person pee on the BART train. Such are the things you must now factor into your budget.
7. The weekday walk of shame
Despite all your planning and preparation, you’ll inevitably end up staying unexpectedly on the opposite side of the bay...on a school night, with nary a toothbrush in your bag and an alarm set for 6 a.m. When this happens, you’ll encounter the weekday walk of shame.
To be clear, there’s the walk of shame, and then there’s the weekday walk of shame. On a Sunday morn, you can wear your stale, beer-stained duds for the second day in a row and be in fine company. Monday through Friday, early-morning weekday crowds smell of fresh deodorant, coffee, and focus. When you show up for work, your coworkers will know…and they’ll let you know they know.
8. The awkward moment when people kind of judge you
There’s a lotta competition between the two sides of the bay. Because of this, you’ll be judged at some point for living on one side or the other, and you’ll feel strangely loyal to your city. Instead of igniting awkward tension, let it be an opportunity to act as an ambassador to your home digs. Carry a fun fact with you to offer to the skeptics, e.g., “Well, did you know that [fill in amazing and unique fun fact about your resident city]!”
If that fails, quote something from Romeo and Juliet.
9. There will always be a large body of water betwixt you
There’s no way around it – you’ll face major physical barriers between your bodies. Mainly, a big-ass body of water. The physical middle ground is Alcatraz, but unfortunately, it’s not currently renting. And even if it were, with the high rental competition, you probably wouldn’t get an offer anyway.