Quora is my favorite places to read interesting answer from people. So a guy asked this question on Quora, and a reasonable answer from this woman basically explained all, and I can empathize:
“It’s cold. Too cold. People who are tanned and wearing flattering clothing are usually perceived as more attractive. Attractive people who like being tan, wearing flattering clothing, and looking their best like being around other people who are tan, wearing flattering clothing (and thereby encouraging them to do the same), and like to look their best. San Francisco, in general, fails on all counts–unless you’re into the non-mainstream grungy, non-showering, jeans-and-hoodies kind of look and are menopausal/have a crazy cold tolerance. If so, kudos to you. Add in culture and all-encompassing sexual harassment. I’ve done enough complaining for the past 2.5 years and finally have my career established, though, so I’ll see myself out to a place I can be happy, put on makeup, wear my dresses and bikinis, and picnic in the sun during blistering hot summers. And hopefully I’ll be around males who like doing the same (minus the dresses, hopefully. There are plenty of attractive gay men in SF; it’s the straight men straight/bi women are after).
Okay, so I actually found this answer in my search for the opposite question–“Why does the Bay Area appear to have so few physically attractive men?”–but I’ll add my few cents anyway after having lived here for over 2.5 years. And I do think it’s important to note that this question comes from both genders and is evidenced all over the web. I personally find the majority of the women who live here gorgeous (obviously I’m biased, being a woman myself and having been inspired by some crazily badass women out here), but here are a few things that affect the perception of the attractiveness of women (and probably men) here:
And it’s motherfucking cold. All. Year. Round. Yeah, I know, it never drops below freezing, and it’s not “cold” in the traditional sense, but it’s also very rarely ever above 65. And while other cities like Chicago might have freezing winters, all houses and restaurants are super well insulated, the doors stay shut, and the heat is on to a reasonable 70/72. In San Francisco, you can pay $$$ to sit in a fancy restaurant and still be exposed to drafty windows, open doors, outdoor seating when it’s in the 40s or 50s or low 60s because people love the weather (obviously not me), and people rarely turn on the heat in their homes (and suffer outrageously expensive PG&E bills if they do due to the aforementioned severe lack of insulation).
Men, this might not matter to you in that your suits (not that they’re ever really worn in this city, which brings me to my next point) are perfectly suited to this type of weather, but these temperatures are goosebump-inducing when you’re a lady that just really, really wants to wear her wardrobe of hot (ie meant for places that are climatically hot) dresses, short skirts, and so on. Instead, I am forced under multiple layers of super unflattering pants and jackets year round. I’ve been perceived as super attractive in every city with a summer (not that I haven’t been told the same in SF–I have), but in San Francisco my boobs, ass or legs are all hidden under warm but less flattering layers of clothing.
On a more comical note, I have literally texted my boyfriend (I’m straight, and we’re monogamous) complaining that I never see legs. Women’s legs. Even my own legs look foreign to me, because the only place I ever really see them is when they’re being scalded in the shower. Other women’s legs also look weird to me, because I never really get to see them either. It’s ridiculous. And infuriating, damnit, because I really like my dresses and the only way to wear them is to commit to shivering and feeling wildly uncomfortable or to otherwise completely cover up a cute outfit under oversized coats.
Given that it’s never really warm enough to comfortably–or out of necessity–shed all these layers, vitamin D deficiency is a legitimate problem in San Francisco. Never have I ever overheard so many talks about melatonin, Vitamin D, entire companies of tech workers having deficiencies, and so on. Accordingly, people are crazy white here (relative to whatever their skin color is), myself included after several months of living here. This might be controversial, but I definitely perceive someone who’s tan as much more attractive than someone who’s pale. While Chicago and NYC have freezing winters (I lived in Chicago for 15 years, so I feel justified in complaining about the cold in SF), they have some beautifully hot, sun-tan inducing weather during their summer months. While there are definitely warmer and colder months in SF, the warm months are never warm enough for me to be comfortable to expose more than maybe half my body to the sun, at most. And if nothing else, I won’t be *uncomfortable* under my usual layers.
*I’m sure I’ll get lots of hate for this, and I’m also sure that this is influenced by me being in tech, but rarely do I ever see men in suits. Jeans and a hoodie–or ironic tshirt–or dress shirt is the norm here, whether it be at work or at a bar or at a cover-paying club. Dress codes are very rare, rarely strict, and dressing to impress is not a societal norm. Disgustingly, I’ve even had roommates critique me for showering daily or flushing the toilet. While this obviously only applies to a certain segment of people, it’s hard for me to convince myself to expose my super-white legs in a shiver- and mal-humor-inducing dress or to makeup myself up when going out to a club, bar or restaurant where experience has taught me that I’ll be the odd one out for doing so, and that I won’t be “rewarded” with males who’ve done the same. Maybe this is cyclical and goes both ways, but regardless, it happens. As a result, I only ever look “hot” / put in extra effort / decide to shiver the night away when I’m going out with my boyfriend (and have convinced him that being the only 2 fancily dressed people at whatever place we’re going is totally a romantic and acceptable thing to do) or on super rare and usually short occasions.
*On that same note and on one that’s sure to cause more hate, most of the men here are not very muscular. Obviously, again, there are exceptions, but for those that do work out there seems to be an emphasis on yoga, hiking or running rather than on weight lifting, bodybuilding, etc. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this, of course, but it does result in men who don’t conform to the traditional ideal of beauty. Instead, I’ve found many skinny-armed, weak-pec’ed, non-6-packed guys who’d struggle to carry my 100lb self. In fairness, they rarely *need*/get the opportunity to ever show any of this, given that hot weather isn’t really a thing that happens here. I think many (straight/bi) women are attracted to this traditionally beautiful man (who also takes time to shave his beard and tend to personal hygiene), and their scarcity in San Francisco.
*Super generally: large gay scene, large poly scene, large hippy/hipster scene promoting non-typical ideals of beauty (again, not necessarily a bad thing, just not my thing), weird tech/anti-suit/anti-dress culture that boils over into the weekend and bar/club scenes.
*Final thing, although it feels incredibly wrong to have this very serious point in the same post as all the silly superficial points above: Whenever I do dress up, I am inundated with male “attention”. Sometimes, it’s dire–it’s overwhelming and sometimes downright dangerous when I’m on the street or at any type of tech anything (work, events, conferences) and is especially pronounced as a woman who’s in the minority for both simply being a woman and for being nicely dressed.
This frequently occurs no matter how little effort I put in or skin I expose, and I definitely take drastic steps to limit the amount of attention I receive, even when all I want to do is dress the way I want. Other times, it’s much less dire/dangerous, though unfortunately I’ve met many (probably “just” socially awkward or insecure) males at bars/clubs/on BART who will either engage in super shitty practices like “negging” and/or will attempt to charm me until I turn them down, at which point they’ve sometimes become outright dangerous, threatening, or physically abusive. While this stuff all happens even when I’m doing my damnedest to look as ugly and unappealing as possible (really. I’ve been catcalled while wearing my boyfriend’s sweatpants, a way too large for me coat, uncombed hair, and eating), I definitely don’t like exacerbating what’s an already hostile environment to women, even if this exacerbation is just in my mind and propagated by misogynistic and victim-blaming beliefs. I’ve also found that men in other cities are largely much more confident and secure than the guys in SF. Men who are truly confident and secure take rejection well, don’t see it as some bizarre personal reflection of their value, and therefore do not harbor any ill feelings or resentment towards the ‘rejector’. And so as much as I bitch and whine about how I hate the cold and miss wearing dresses, my first thoughts when leaving my home are usually along the lines of how-can-I-make-myself-look-as-unattractive-and-unappealing-to-men-as-possible.
It isn’t my first time living in a city or living as woman, and I definitely experienced plenty of sexual harassment, stalking, and catcalling prior to moving to SF, but San Francisco is nevertheless the city where I’ve experienced the highest concentration of this both on the street and on BART, at work and work events by well educated, high profile, well respected men, and while out at bars and clubs. While I want to avoid any semblance of victim blaming or excuses for harassment (“she was asking for it” because she was wearing a professional skirt suit that went to/past her knees and told me she wasn’t interested while growing visibly uncomfortable), this environment does not encourage women to go out of their way to look good, especially when paired with all the reasons listed above.”