not because it’s good, but because everyone else seems to like it. The idea is this – if there is a line outside the door, it doesn’t matter whether it’s something you actually like or not. You should stand in that line, because if others do, it must be worth waiting for, even if it means wasting two hours of your morning waiting in line to have breakfast. It’s not like you have anything better to do besides eat and drink, if you can to SF for 1-2 days.
Why bother and employ your own taste and preferences. The decision has already been made for you – on Yelp or elsewhere. All you need to do is to follow the herd.
It’s not a secret that a guy who is out at a bar/restaurant/club with a group of female friends gets more attention from other women than if he was out with men or even worse – alone. Different reasons have been suggested as to why a man is more attractive when he is around other women. I rarely buy any of them because if we look at the big picture – we come back yet again to the same fundamental cause of this greater interest in a guy who seems to be socializing with other females – it’s nothing other than the good old herd mentality.
The same “people are waiting for two hours in line, so it must be good” sheep mindset that makes people stand in line for breakfast in the morning is at play here. There is a perception that if that guy hangs out with all these women, there must be something attractive about him that makes all those other women interested in being in his company.
You often hear people refer to French as assholes. But they are not. They are just not big fans of one of our core and most unattractive quality – sense of entitlement. And the French are not afraid to show how much this obnoxious signature US trait bothers them.
We are used to thinking that just because we pay someone for something, they have to dance around us to please and cater to our every little need in person or on the phone. That’s not how it’s done in France or many other places.
The customer is not always right. In fact the customer is often wrong, too demanding, inconsiderate and plain rude. The American customer has been spoiled for decades, so it’s not wonder he acts like a little baby when he opens his wallet.
The same applies to pedestrians. I have bashed road rage before, linking it to our herd mentality, but in drivers’ defense, I have to say that I often can’t blame them for being pushy. SF pedestrian are just too damn slow and casual when they cross the street. They know that others around them are in a hurry to get somewhere but they don’t care. Like their shopping, their walking is also governed by sense of entitlement. Because the rules say that cars have to yield to pedestrians, they take advantage of it, strolling slowly across a road and in so many words telling the drivers “Fuck you, you will wait as long as I want you to wait.” When you need to get somewhere as soon as possible, it’s only natural that you will get angry.
This article about why San Franciscan’s are so busy makes a few great points. Ironically, it doesn’t answer the very question that it poses. I am not going to give an exhaustive answer to this question, but I am going to draw your attention to four major reasons for this social perversion:
1. Being busy makes you feel and appear more important. In the city where people are so desperate to appear important and successful, they believe that loading and overloading themselves with both professional and social obligations raises their socio-economic status and value in the eyes of others. The overused notion of being a challenge and being unavailable also plays some role in this, and it goes far beyond dating. The biggest irony is that being too busy makes you look less important and less in charge of your life, but more of a slave of your own obligations and circumstances.
2. Being busy validates flaking. When you make it clear that you are extremely busy and you are not available to meet or even talk on the phone for the next 2-3 weeks due to non-stop work, traveling, family in town, and all the “amazing” events you are attending, you implicitly communicate that even when you make yourself available and make plans with someone, you are quite likely to cancel or even flake.
3. Confusion between being busy and being happy. Being happy in SF means coming home dead tired after overbooking yourself with “fun” activities – hours of hiking, biking, dinner, coffee, yoga and a gym. Being happy means you shouldn’t be sitting still. God forbid you aren’t as outdoorsy and as adventurous as you should be. Imagine the disaster if your friends finds out that you ended up spending your Sat afternoon laying on your couch, eating ice-cream, and watching a few movies you picked up at Redbox. Somehow, taking it easy these days makes you boring. Last time I checked, being boring makes you boring, but what do I know?
4. Herd Mentality – if everyone is super busy, so should I be. Enough said.
I won’t lie – I find yoga pants on many women to be a pleasing site. However, knowing that the prevailing herd mentality is the only reason that these pants are so popular take away a lot of my excitement about them. Yeah, yeah – I hear about how comfortable yoga pants are, but give me a break – there are plenty of other sporty outfits that are as comfortable or more comfortable than yoga pants. Perhaps it’s time for women to come out and tell it how it is: “I like and I want to look slutty, but I need a legitimate reason to wear something obscene on all the other days, besides Halloween.”
I am just waiting for the next best thing from Lululemon. My guess is that it will be skin-color yoga pants or see through yoga pants. I am fine with either or even better – with both.
I really think that the recent controversy concerning stem cell research and cloning should extend to the San Francisco women who wear their Lulu Lemon uniform way too often. The overpriced yoga attire seems to be the dominant fashion among (white) women on weekends, especially in the Marina and adjacent areas whether these women are on their way to or from yoga, or whether yoga has never been on their agenda at all. So much for sense of uniqueness and creativity in the city that purports to be cutting edge in just about anything. If that’s the best that the local “urban” and “accomplished” women can do, then they have a long way to go toward claiming that they have a sense of style.
I like looking at women who wear yoga pants just as much as the next guy, and I am not at all offended by the protruding camel toes that I get to see on a warm Sunday morning on Union st, whether it’s through black or grey spandex pants; it’s the herd mentality of these women that saddens me and sends a not-so-flattering message about them, as they blindly imitate each other’s style without giving much thought or putting any effort into seeing if they could come up with anything more interesting and more eye catching to wear.
I am hopefully that sooner or late women will be liberated from this monotonous yoga fashion and will let all the other many choices they have, including summer dresses come back and accentuate their femininity. And if, while doing that, they will also take off their sunglasses and headphones every now and then, all the more power to them.
Herd mentality is as common among San Francisco’s tourists as it is among its residents. Every time someone asks me about visiting or going out in San Francisco, my first advice and the advice that every deserving SF resident should give is: “Don’t come on a weekend, but instead take a day of on Wed or a Thursday” and you will have much more fun going out. Of course, not everyone can afford doing that, but whoever can is going to have a much better time sightseeing during the day and going out at night. During the day, they will have to deal with way fewer people at the touristy sites, and will get access by car to all the important destinations much faster and easier. At night, they will be able to experience the local vibe rather than deal with bars and clubs polluted with the ghetto-fabulous out-of-towners from East Bay and South Bay.
When I walk by Lombard steps on a Saturday or Sunday I feel sorry for the many drivers who stand in line to go down the steps. Besides the 30-45 minute way, not being able to roll down the steps freely and being stuck in traffic while doing it takes away a lot from that experience. The same traffic nightmare takes place near on the way toward the Coit tower, except there, people get really angry because due to the very limited parking space at the top, they can’t even stay long after waiting to get there for over an hour and are forced to drive down back. The same ride later on a Sunday evening or on any weekday is so much more fun and romantic.
It goes without saying that skipping the ridiculous line to get on the cable car on Powell & Market by catching the ride anywhere else off pick hours would also serve well any San Francisco visitor. But again, somehow herd mentality sends the entire herd in one direction, even though many other directions seem to be so much more attractive and more accessible in just about every way.
I had a friend who used this very convincing comeback every time someone would say that a particular restaurant was very good since it was always so busy and popular. He would say: “Well, so is McDonald’s.” Indeed, just because a certain restaurant requires reservatinos 2 weeks in advance, or has a line outside its door every morning, or because it has been around for 100 years or more doesn’t mean that its food is flavorful or that its atmosphere is either warm or romantic. In fact, the opposite is true. A number of very popular hotels, restaurants and even pizzerias live off their past reputation when in fact today they don’t have anything special or anything that great to offer.However, like in many other aspects of San Francisco’s scene, herd mentality comes to the rescue of those overrated restaurants. The “if it’s busy, it must be good” logic still keeps a number of dining venues in San Franicsco alive, that otherwise would have been long gone. Every time a tourist asks me for directions to one of those well established restaurants that serve bad food, I am tempted to try to talk those people out of going there, but I haven’t dared to do that yet, due to fear of having bad karma.
Many people are still willing to stand in line or even simply wait outside certain restaurants that are hardly worth going to at al ( not sure which one is more humiliating) in the city that is notorious for having so many options when it comes dining. Why? Well, we know for sure that no matter where they go, they are not going to see or be seen by celebrities. This leaves only one other reason – they have nothing better to do with their time?