I was talking with a former colleague a few months ago, explaining how unsure I felt about everything since my move to San Francisco -- from where to drop off my dry cleaning to navigating the dating scene. Both make me queasy.
"Oh, but you're in the best spot," my source crooned. "Think about all the companies that are going to IPO soon. You just have to know where to be. " Go find a guy. A soon-to-be rich guy.
Quelle horreurs! With my two Ivy league graduate degrees and a solid decade of working at a premier news organization, I should resort to finding someone who fulfills my bank statement and little else? My pride had a little parade for itself.
Slowly my feathers became unruffled. Not everyone has had the chances I've had. And for some people, strategic dating is a smart move. And rather than be judgmental, it was a matter of admitting that fulfilling our needs sometimes fall outside societal boundaries of acceptability.
And so this story was born; the story about people who seek beauty and acceptance -- and those who seek security and a certain type of economic freedom in this land of melting gold. Enter the Facebook IPO.
I knew it would hit a chord when I first ran it past CNET Editor at Large Rafe Needleman on the elevator. His eyes lit up. "Facebook sugar daddy," he mused. Leave it to Rafe for the one-liners.
And so the next challenge was finding one. And admittedly, you won't encounter any in this story. You won't find a gold digger either. It's tough getting someone to talk about that on camera. Just ask photojournalist Jared Kohler and reporter Kara Tsuboi who joined me in the crusade to see what we could find about the unseemly Silicon Valley dating scene.
Jared and I attended a mixer in Palo Alto where one single gentleman from Texas lamented about the materialism of dating in the Bay area on camera.
"Here it's all about what kind of job you have, how much money you make, whether or not your company is about to go public," he said.
His best tips for landing a sugar daddy? "Go to where the high dollars are like Tesla Motors or some of the cool wine bars and lounges and eventually you'll find someone who works for Google, or Facebook or Linked in and they have some nice stock options under their belt they're waiting to cash out. It's a pretty easy strategy to follow," he said. And the men? He says they're just as bad.
"The guys aren't off the hook at all. They'll take a job that they hate and work long hours doing something they don't like doing just to be able to make the money to afford the trophy wife that won't like them in the first place," said my source.
Now that's an opinion. But unfortunately, he e-mailed the next day requesting that we don't use his filmed interview or his name on our story.
Then there was the young woman who recently moved to the Bay Area from Washington, D.C. She said the dating scene was bleak. Turning her back to the din of mingling eligible Silicon Valley singles and lowering her voice, she said, "The odds are good, but the goods are odd. "
And then there are people like Caterina -- a Roman spitfire from District Bar in San Francisco. She can seize you up and spit you out with a cute Italian accent and a stamp of her high heel. She has seen it all -- including a hair-pulling fight between two women fighting over a man. She told Kara about how some patrons of the bar stake out their time.
"Some women will order a diet Coke or a glass of Pinot Grigio which is $10." They'll spend hours waiting for a guy to start picking up the tab. "And then at some point you'll see them ordering a $16 or $20 glass of wine," she says.
So if you're wondering about what all those techie hotspots are--here are some suggestions that our team heard about: The Rosewood Hotel's Madera restaurant in Menlo Park, Nola, Coupa Cafe and Old Pro in Palo Alto, District wine bar in San Francisco, 25 Lusk and the St. Regis Hotel Bar.
In the end we took inspiration by witnessing people just trying to make real connections in a place as dynamic and fleeting as the goals we all try to aspire to.