Beauty and the beast
46TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL Living in San Francisco means accepting the constant love/hate battle between beauty and the beast, privilege and poverty, art/music/literature and, "Ew, what the hell did I just step in?" It's balancing the sweeping bayside views against the looming threat that at any minute we could crumble into the sea. Living here means accepting a certain level of hypocrisy, from ourselves, our government, and each other. It's understanding that you can't please everyone all of the time so you'd better figure out how to please yourself.
We're a city that believes the good things in life should cost money, but heaven forbid we raise property taxes or are asked to pay cover at a club when we think we're "on the list." We're sex-positive, frequently hedonistic, and culinarily spoiled. We float easily between roommate potlucks, Napa Valley wine tastings and pop-up restaurants (where bringing your own 6-pack is not only encouraged but another urban validation of just how in-the-know we actually are).
We dedicate our weekends in drunken tribute to America's Cup/Folsom Street Fair/Bay to Breakers, then shock our livers back to life on Monday with an all-juice cleanse, delivered right to our shared workspaces. We'll wax poetic about the exhibits at the MOMA and the DeYoung when secretly the Academy of Sciences is the only museum most of us like.
We vehemently fight for the rights of all our residents to know the joy, solace and comfort of family life, but hate waiting behind the poor lady struggling with her stroller on the bus (eyeroll) and why doesn't she just get a Baby Bjorn already? We hate drivers while we're bicycling, hate bicyclists while we're driving, and collectively despise anyone on a motorcycle.
We're a city that is constantly forgetting which days street sweeping are on and remain almost adorably hopeful that maaaaybe this time our bumper can hang six inches into the red without being noticed by DPT (it can't). We're a city that spends too much precious time getting our cars towed/ ticketed/ broken into.
But then there's the love. We are a city who falls in love all the time; with ourselves, with our chosen urban families, with that girl on the BART, the view from the bridge, Dolores Park movie nights, hikes in the Presidio, with yoga, politics, new ideas, farmer's markets, the Giants. We're a city of, "hey, let's give it a shot," a destination for people of alternative mindsets to finally belong.
We love this city with a passion akin to a lover you just can't leave. San Francisco is in our veins and we keep coming back for more. Sure, we flirt with the notion of trading up to some sexy Oakland loft (free parking!) or a peaceful, tree-canopied Marin cottage (we could get a dog!) but the allure never quite goes away. We may fight like crazy, but no matter how mean we get, she always welcomes us home.
Veronica Christina is the editor of Sex + Design magazine, www.sexanddesign.com