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Amazon is killing my sex life

31 May 2014

From Salon:

I sat across from him and listened. He was trim, tall, bearded (as they all seem to be), a recent transplant, having only lived in Seattle for a year or so and worked at a start-up, after burning out at Amazon (as they all seem to have). He rode his bike around town; he had good taste in food and wine; and he lived across the street from where we were meeting. He was a software engineer or did something in tech (as they all did). And he was utterly unmemorable.

I don’t think he asked me a single question about myself. Our date—if you call these impromptu Internet meetings, dates—lasted an hour. It felt more like a job interview, but not the way a date is supposed to be a job interview. There was no grilling about where you were from and what your family was like and what you were looking for.

No, I spent a half hour or more listening to him talk about his job. Since I am not in the tech industry, I don’t understand any of it.

. . . .

I hadn’t been out of the house all day, I work from home and I see no people except in a computer monitor, so human company, any kind really, was necessary. The restaurant was about to close and we had to go elsewhere or part ways. Even though I was bored, I wasn’t ready to go home, and I wanted to get a second drink. He offered wine back at his house and I said no. He was good-looking enough, but I wasn’t going to be able to get it up for a boring tech dude. And my city, Seattle, like San Francisco is lousy with them.

As technologist and writer, Jeff Reifman, pointed out in a post titled You’ve Got Male: Amazon’s Growth Impacting Seattle Dating Scene, Amazon, which is located less than a mile from my house, has had a huge, awful impact on Seattle’s dating scene. He estimated that in the 25–44 age group, Seattle “has 119 single men for every 100 single women, slightly better than San Francisco at 121—but equal if you add in the impact from nearby Bellevue, which is an awful 144.”

. . . .

But Reifman’s post confirmed that as Amazon grows, the number of (boring) men grows too. The gender disparity is bad enough in San Francisco that one company, The Dating Ring, has resorted to flying women into San Fran from other cities.

Hold the Champagne, girls.

You might think an abundance of men is a great thing, but as a wise woman once said, “The odds may be good, but the goods are odd.”

“I’ve lived in Seattle for seven years, single most of them,” Annie Pardo, a 31-year-old freelance event and communications consultant in Seattle, wrote in an email. “The only thing that has changed is the increase in men I’d never want to go out on a date with.”

. . . .

The exact same scenario has been playing out in San Francisco for the last few years. One woman, Violet, a 33-year-old who has lived in the Bay Area for eight years, with one of those in the “belly of the beast,” Palo Alto, experienced many of the same things I and other women did. They had money, but they were boring. They had a lot to say about their job, but their development as a complete human being seemed to be stunted. And they exhibited little to no interest in the other person at the table.

“There were a lot of tech men. I could talk a blue streak about them. I don’t have much positive to say. The biggest thing, the thing that bothered me the most is I felt like my intelligence was greatly devalued,” she wrote. ”I am a smart woman. I have a master’s from Berkeley in philosophy. My brain is very abstract, though, the exact opposite of so many men in tech who have very concrete/literal brains. They interpreted information as intelligence. I constantly felt like I wasn’t seen or valued by them, even though I experienced a lot of them as having a very limited view of the world.”

Link to the rest at Salon and thanks to Chris for the tip.


84 Comments to “Amazon is killing my sex life”

  1. I enjoy the part about how she copes with a perceived devaluation of her intelligence by explicitly devaluing others’. Nice going, Vi.

    Information doesn’t necessarily equal intelligence? Neither does a degree in philosophy.

    Please note that I refrained from going off about how idiotic the article’s premise is in the first place.

    • Yes many of the women quoted sound so arrogant and stuck up!

      I remember being “bored” in the accounting class I took in high school and would say things like “wow that class is sooooo boring” to my girlfriends. But when I grew up and started my own business and saw the value of knowing what accounting and bookkeeping can do in terms of helping me keep more of my money it suddenly became ” very interesting.”

      The woman who called the tech guys “boring” has not progressed beyond my high school self in emotional IQ and basic maturity in my opinion. I don’t care WHAT degree she says she has. She is a child.

      • Sometimes people *are* boring. Sometimes people are bad matches. There can often be something a bit asperger-y about highly mathematical people, and that’s not for everyone. It certainly doesn’t make anyone who dislikes it a “child”.

        If you actually read the article, she went on a date with someone who talked about himself all night. And that seems to be a trend for the women she knows. She has the makings of a good point there, even if she does spoil it somewhat later on, and getting weirdly protective of those poor, poor menfolk in technology doesn’t help.

        I don’t see why people are getting so defensive and protective of these guys. They *can* be arrogant. They frequently *do* disparage and disrespect other types of intelligence. Of course, there are exceptions – possibly even the majority of the tech guys. Obviously, she phrased the entire thing in a way that poisons the well and gets peoples’ backs up. But there are good points lurking in there.

        • “Woman has bad date. Film at 11:00.”

          • Dan your the only reason I read the comment section! I am sure I’ll get a whole bunch of hate from ‘the sisterhood’ for saying that!

        • I certainly did read the article (please do me the courtesy of not implying otherwise) and I’m definitely not being defensive about ‘the guys’ at all. I’m merely focusing on the women because I am one and it interests me. I stand by my point that she is a child. Its not to say somebody is a bit “asperg-y” rather than they are merely acting like a child. But it is far more likely she is acting immature than that she (this specific person) has a bit of a neurodevelopmental disorder. Please do not put words in my mouth I did NOT say “anyone who dislikes it”: I am not talking about “anyone” but about this particular woman and yes she definitely strikes me as a child in emotional maturity. I have met these kinds of people (men and women) in the office but especially the women.
          Of course some people can act boring but I simply do not believe any human being is “boring” –it might be a habit he or she has fallen into or it might be shyness or fear. My point was not to have somebody to take offense at my post but merely to point out that many times when we call something or somebody boring it says more about us than the person or the subject. I’ve met this kind of woman and these kind of men. More often than not the person calling the other ‘boring’ is exaggerating a bad habit of the other in order to make herself/himself feel better for rejecting them sorry to say. Is she doing this? I don’t know her but I stand by my statement that she is certainly acting in an immature manner from the way she generalizes in the article and from the manner in which she colors her encounters. I can only shudder what my fellow sisters would do if a man wrote this about single women!

          • Personally, I love how its in vogue now to throw around complex problems like Asperger’s even reducing them to a cutesy adjective in describing what normally would be attributed to immaturity. I agree with you Elizabeth.

          • I agree with Elizabeth.

            If you’re not into nerds, Palo Alto is a rough place for a single person.

        • Having worked in the industry I fully understand the situation. Many tech guys are boring and narrow focused. It is what makes them good at what they do. The women should worry about dating them since they are not good fits. There are tech guys out there that are more well rounded, since my wife thinks she snagged one.
          But this problem is not new – http://www.datehookup.com/content-the-guide-to-dating-a-geeky-guy.htm.

          • I don’t think tech guys are boring or need to be more well rounded. I think they have an interest or interests that might not be everybody’s cup of tea. It’s really a matter of perspective.

  2. Other stories coming soon to Salon Magazine:

    * “Amazon’s mama dresses it funny”
    * “Amazon’s mama so fat…”
    * “Amazon is a big fat doody-head”
    * “Mommy, Amazon beat me up on the playground”

    • Amazon causes cancer in lab rats.
      Amazon workers don’t floss.
      Amazon wears white after labor day.

    • Amazon Killed Dumbledore.

    • Old Canadian joke, with one bit changed:

      A long-suffering farmer from Saskatchewan woke up one morning to find that half of his cows had mysteriously died and the other half had stopped giving milk. After calling the knacker and the vet, he drove out to his wheat fields to find that half the crop had been eaten by grasshoppers and the rest pounded flat by hail. He called his insurance man and went out to get his mail. He learned that the price of wheat had gone down by half and the government had set his milk production quota to zero, so that even if he rescued something from the wreck, he would make no money from it. And when he staggered back into the house, he found a note from his wife saying that she had left him and taken the kids. And just then, the hail started again.

      The farmer leapt up and ran out into the storm, and shaking his fist at the livid sky, he put all his anguish into one mighty yell of hatred and despair:


    • Amazon doesn’t flush the toilet when they’re finished.
      Amazon doesn’t wash their hands after using the toilet.
      Amazon doesn’t put the toilet seat down when they’re done.
      Amazon doesn’t put the toilet seat up before they start.

    • Amazon Cheated on Me With My Mother-in-Law and Now I Have an STD

  3. We need to setup a game.
    How evil is Amazon? Amazin is sooo evil they…

    Two statements stood out for me:

    – “They had money, but they were boring.” Having money is important enough to mention, huh?

    – ” ”I am a smart woman. I have a master’s from Berkeley in philosophy.” ” Oh. That’s why money is important!


    • I would suspect that for far more women than would admit it money matters. It’s just part of being a practical, rational human being (even when madly in love). Hey, you want someone who can provide for those babies’ orthodontia and college tuition, ya know? 😀

      Amazon is so evil, that Dr. Evil pays THEM a billion dollars.

      • In the end that’s what matters.

      • I’m a woman, and money does matter, but not for the reason most people think. The real reason is this:

        If he has money, it means that he most likely has a job. If he has a job, it means that he won’t be spending the rest of his life sitting on my sofa playing video games while I pay the bills.

        Most guys would be amazed at the number of men who just want a mommy to take care of them.

    • Amazon is so evil, they’re bringing back indie bookstores just so they can put them out of business again!

      Amazon is so evil, it’s just released a drone that delivers your package and then kicks your puppy!

      Amazon is so evil, Monsanto won’t even hug them!

    • damn, I need a keyboard cover! Spew waring.

  4. Morlocks and Eloi.

    I want to weigh in on this – but there is no winning side.

    I want to move to Seattle or SF, and start an agency to help some of the geek guys speak a bit more ‘girl’ – but not if this is what they find.

    If women systematically and deliberately ignore the tech that underlies all the little things they depend on – Facebook, smart phones, the internet, telecommunications… – they are going to find the guys who do these things (and make good money at it) boring.

    As a woman with a PhD in Nuclear Engineering (plasma physics), who is writing what she hopes will be an epic love story (mainstream), I see both sides of the two cultures – maybe I should write a book on making bridges. Really people, there are good things on both sides. Why not share?

    • God bless you, Alicia! Unlike the woman who wrote the article, you do not see in terms of ‘either . . . or’ but in terms of both.

      Only an impoverished mind does not find beauty in both poetry and calculus.

    • “As a woman with a PhD in Nuclear Engineering (plasma physics)” = Geek Girl Love Affair

      Damn, I wish I leaned that way.

  5. TL;DR.

    I’m sure there are interesting tech guys (I’ve known a few, and they’ve been as interesting as any others, and I don’t consider myself a ‘tech’ person–but probably to others I am–I could probably make heads or tails of some more advanced tech-speak), but it sounds like she’s blaming Amazon for a problem she would have had anyway.

  6. I date a tech guy. Sure, I can’t (don’t want to) understand the intricacies of his job. He doesn’t bother learning the intricacies of mine either.

    His Harvard education offered way more that just education in “tech” and he can speak deeply on so many topics it often blows me away.

    I live just North of San Francisco in Wine Country and I’ve never even heard of this big problem with “too many men so we are importing women.” The problem I hear is “so many well paid tech employees, the SF rents are going up and driving out long-term residents who aren’t in tech and can’t pay the high rents.” THAT is a big issue.

    Google is typically the bad guy in that scenario. Not, funny enough, the property owners who are the ones actually deciding to ask higher rents!

    • In the article the blame Microsoft, too.
      (The Bellevue reference.)
      Funny how none of the media types complain about Cupertino…

    • They also don’t blame the progressive, regressive politics that keeps housing costs high.

      • Seriously. This right here.

        And don’t even start me on the minimum wage b.s. Prepare for even worse housing cost hikes and a mass migration of all those people who will make the $14.00/hour “minimum wage” in three years to the suburbs.

        P.S., while we are dicking around with a silly, job-killing minimum wage law, the Alaskan Way Viaduct is STILL STANDING, ready to fall at any moment and crush several thousand commuters into pancakes. Oh, also, I’m sure we won’t have another big earthquake ever, so let’s not bother with continuing to retrofit all those piles of death-masonry in Pioneer Square.

        I love this city, but I just can’t with the jacked-up politics anymore. This is why we’re going to buy a place in Bellingham next year. ‘Bye, Seattle. It’s been fun.

        • Now I know who to contact when I destroy Seattle.

          *In a book! I swears!*

          • Hey Libbie, don’t forget the giant tunnel borer stuck under there, lol.

            We just moved out of down town in October and went back to port Townsend. We were there for 3 years for a job and its so nice to breathe clean air again.

            And I never drive the viaduct. *shiver*

  7. Srsly? I thought this was a satire, and still hope that it is.

    Yes, there are problems with tech dudes. Yes, they needs to be addressed. I personally always avoided dating them – stop crying, guys. But this article is done so obnoxiously, and told in such an entitled manner, that it’s poisoning any change of a rational discussion.

    And will someone please explain how Amazon is to blame for this?

    • That’s Poe’s Law for you.

      I’m sure that around Salon’s offices, every time someone’s drink goes down the wrong way, or whenever the printer runs out of toner, or when they get to a stoplight just after it changes, or when a black cat crosses their path, it’s always Amazon’s fault.

      • “if the printer runs out of toner, … it’s always Amazon’s fault.”

        Because … don’t tell anyone … but they bought it from Amazon.


  8. That’s fine. Plenty of women like me-married 31 years to a software quality engineer who got scouted by MSFT and Amazon but we wanted to stay near family in Miami, so here we are–are more than happy to take the “boring” engineers off their hands.

    And no. Hubby is not boring at all. He writes music, plays drums, is spiritual, plays guitar so I can sing along, goes to art events with me, plays ultimate frisbee, has coached little league soccer and baseball, roots for Brazil and US and Japan for the World Cup, volunteered at the jail and the children’s home, dances salsa with me, and generally makes my life a joy.

    Yes, leave those boring software and engineering guys to us gals who know how to appreciate, draw out, and love them properly. 😀

    • THANK you. I know many, many tech guys due to my being a programmer and web manager for the past fifteen or so years. Most of them are quite nice, friendly, and interesting. Some of them are pretty serious introverts, but gee, those manage to find wives, too.

      This author, and the whining women she interviews, are bigots. Pretty sure that any tech guy who dated them for a while would drop them in favor of someone like you.

      • Welcome. And as I told hubby after reading this, “Those women probably have no idea how to have a conversation with an introvert, so they probably sat there hoping to be entertained somehow instead of drawing them out. Why didn’t SHE ask about his family and steer the conversation in a mutually agreeable way?”

        Nervous people chatter about what they know best (be it philosophy, films, books, or their jobs). And a first date is a nerve-wracking thing. I’ve known many engineers and software folks due to hubby having worked with Motorola and Blackberry,etc. A lot of them have varied interests from the usual things like video-gaming or RPG gaming to sports and music (seems like a lot of the engineers also play some instrument) or concert-going. Many of them fall in the “introverted” category (hubby and I are both INTJs), too, no doubt. One of the groups down here like casino-going together (and have systems, yep). Fishing. If a woman dates one of these guys, it just takes some conversational finessing to winkle out of them what they like to do besides software or tech stuff.

        My software guy and I like anime and SF cons. We like to “zombie rave” (sans drugs or booze) with the youngsters until the wee hours as long as our middle-aged energy holds out. We took taiko drumming classes together.

        So, if those women found the guys boring, they have to take a good share of the blame for not diving into what they had to offer besides job-talk. Every human has lots to offer besides job-talk. Even philosophy major bored chicks.

        • Nervous people chatter about what they know best (be it philosophy, films, books, or their jobs). And a first date is a nerve-wracking thing.

          Yes. That was my thought. Help the poor guy out! Ask him questions about things that do interest you. Volunteer some information about yourself. Help the conversation become a two-way street about things that interest you both.

  9. I like tech guys, they are awesome. Her loss.

  10. With headlines like that, Salon is pretty much the kind of rag I’d expect to see on the impulse rack at the supermarket checkouts.
    Honestly, what comes next as they try to find the lowest common denominator?

  11. Romance writer Vicki Lewis Thompson has an entire line out of nerd-based romances (they all have “Nerd” in the title). As comedic romances go, they’re actually pretty good. Long on character plus intelligence (in a humorous way).

    Recommended, if you read that sort of thing.

  12. I’ve been married to a tech guy for almost 16 years now. I am not a tech person, but we still manage to have fascinating discussions–some tech related and many, many that aren’t. If she’s not having them, maybe she could try finding a topic that’s interesting to both of them. Most of the tech guys I know have interests outside of work, but if they aren’t finding those topics, then both parties are definitely to blame.

    In any case, Amazon isn’t responsible for people who can’t communicate.

    • She’s a Berkely grad.
      And a philosophy major at that.
      Their points in common end with the air they breathe.

    • We often have cool talks in restaurants. Have had more than one waiter or waitress join in with questions or comment, “Wow, you guys always talk about the coolest stuff.”

      And I”ve learned to keep a notebook and pencil handy-not just for poem or story ideas, but for when one of our conversations sparks an idea for a patent. 😀

  13. Salon should be ashamed of themselves for letting the writer embarrass herself like this. Salon is turning into a reality tv show.

  14. So now ADS is blamed for rubbing out romance?

    And all this time I thought Amazon was the sexiest thing in the universe.


  15. Oooh, I know! See, the tech guy, doing his research, bought a book on how to date women from (wait for it…) Amazon! And the first piece of advice it gave was “Don’t monopolize the conversation, women love a good listener.”

    So yes, it is all Amazon’s fault.

  16. 1,328. That’s how many excuses my “Reasons I Didn’t Get Laid” list now has on it. How ’bout yours? Add Amazon yet?

  17. Anecdotal evidence: I’m a tech guy and I somehow managed to stay married for 19 years (death, not divorce).

    None of these women sound like any one I’d want to date (or even be around, really).

  18. Never thought of San Francisco and Seattle as city of techy-robot-software-programing men. But then I’m a man, and women have different opinions, if money is ignored. Are there techy-robot-software-programing women? How do they act, other than being egocentric like the men counterpart?
    To me this blog sounded like a good scenario for a satirical novel.

    • Not only am I a techy-robot-software-programming woman, I’m in Seattle. My secret to happiness is never reading Salon. 😀

      Techy guys are a lot of fun. They understand my witty jokes (“There are only 10 kinds of people–those who understand binary, and those who don’t”). They instinctively understand that a movie *cannot* be good unless it has explosions or swordfights. I suppose I act very differently than the author of the article, and having read it I am very glad. Not saying I have a hot date every day of the week, but when I do date I have fun and I think the guys do too. Quality over quantity, every time…

    • I have two very good friends of that species that work for MS. Writers, too.
      Very smart. So smart they’re prepping their first indie book releases. 🙂

      • Hubby has had a textbook on software testing out for years (made a few thou). He’s gonna issue his upcoming tomes on testing as self-pubbed on Amazon. I’m so proud of him. 😀

  19. I love tech guys. They are not boring at all. I wish I could meet more of them.

  20. Seattle “has 119 single men for every 100 single women,

    Just another reason to love both Seattle and Amazon.

    MOAR MENFOLK, PLZ. Especially the skinny, geeky, be-bearded types who like to talk about tech stuff. LIBBIE LIKEY.

    Also, in spite of Seattle being allegedly full of nothing but “boring” tech-focused men, I have managed to have plenty of hot sex and even some interesting relationships with all kinds of men who are not even at all, remotely, tangentially employed by the tech industry. So maybe these people just need to look a little harder.

  21. An essay of limited insight on her part and nothing that’s useful on ours, unless you like listening to bitching.

    Yes, I’ve no doubt tech guys are boring to her. But she’s equally dull. She seems to want to be entertained, to be swept off her feet, to be the pursued, instead of making the effort to make herself interesting.

    For example, if the guy is talking all about himself, one option is to regain control of the conversation, either by talking about something that’s meaningful to you, or, if you want to be devilish, ask him embarrassing questions. At least get some comic relief out of it.

    Heck, if it’s really dull, what’s wrong with walking away? Even to tell him he’s boring?

    But it takes a particular type of person to do that. One who doesn’t mind being interesting. One who’s curious about other people. Someone who’s willing to “go there” when it’s too dull to stay.

    Dating and sex are wasted on the young (says the old, married geezer).

  22. I’ve met a few self-absorbed men in my life (and women too), but Amazon never had anything to do with it. I also live in Seattle, and know tecky nerdy people of both sexes. Never saw them as being any more awkward, or boring than any other group of people. Plus, there are a whole lot of tech companies to be employed by that are not Amazon. So many things wrong with this article. Basically it reads like one very young woman with a poor opinion of very young men. Don’t fret, you’ll grow up and so will they.

    Just more Salon click-bait.

  23. It’s the surplus of men that makes them boring. I lived in a place with a similar gender ratio, though not quite as extreme, and women wouldn’t even look at me. In another city with the ratio reversed, they would come up and talk to me in the mall. What an absurd thing to blame on Amazon.

  24. I know this is coming late… but my reaction to this headline is that I’m not sure I want this woman to breed. So….

    I guess one more thing to thank Amazon for?

  25. When I was very young I was attracted to men who were fascinating, dashing, iconoclastic, unconventional, free spirits, witty, artistic. Now that I’m a busy middle-aged homeowner, I’m attracted to quiet men who have a lot of DIY skills.

    One changes over time.

    • Or one realizes things one values early that it sticks hard enough not to require change: All I needed was 1 bad brief relationship with Mr. Creative, Iconoclastic, Artistic, Witty, Risky-Boy to make me realize that’s NOT at all what I want. I’ve been a fan of the dependable, kind, faithful, patient, sweet, skillful, nurturing, home-loving, handy, quiet (at least when not drumming), unselfish type since age 20. That worked out real well, learning my lesson early–31 years of wedded bliss in 10 days.

      Failure can be a very good teacher. 😀

  26. I wish there was a surplus of men where I lived. I’ll take the techies off her hands for her. Sheesh!

  27. Oh my. Maybe I should move to Seattle. I love rain and introverted, geeky guys.

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