Moving To San Francisco: How To Blend In

With nicknames like Fog City and Paris of the West, who could resist moving to San Francisco? Monikers like these make it seem really easy to assimilate and get lost—especially helpful if you have an irate ex-spouse or the Feds hot on your trail. In this extremely diverse and opened-minded city no one will bother you if you leave your house in a different disguise each morning.

While you’re out and about trying to give someone the slip, you can experience the city’s rich art culture, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge—the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1964 (since then its been demoted to #12). But if you’re planning on moving to San Francisco, here’s how to really blend in with the natives:

Wear a parka and scarf—in the summer.

Yes, you read that right. Doesn’t matter that San Francisco shares a state with Los Angeles; other than the time zone, these two cities have nothing in common. The average high in the summer months is 67 degrees Fahrenheit due to its being surrounded by water on three sides. Yikes.

Get used to the fog.

If you ooh and aah and talk about the fog all the time (“It’s so thick today you could cut it with a knife!”), you’ll be a dead ringer for a tourist. It’s foggy all the time, so get used to it. And by the way, the fog has a name—Karl—and it even has a Twitter account.

Claim your medical marijuana license.

Living in San Francisco and not having a medical marijuana license is like living anywhere and not going to Starbucks three times a day. The hippie subculture began here (in Haight-Ashbury, to be precise) and not much has changed since the summer of love in 1967. Well, except the Financial District gentrification, the dot-com boom, the dot-com crash, the tech industry boom, the 6.9 earthquake in 1989, the….

Grow a beard (if you’re a man). 

The lumberjack beard exploded into popular culture a few years ago, but it seems to be more prevalent in some cities than others. In general it’s a sign of rebellion, counterculture, and bad hygiene. In San Francisco it is also an alternative to the full face ski mask. Don’t fight it.

Don’t cry about the ridiculously high rent.

San Francisco has the 3rd highest cost of living in the United States (and 8th in the world), so expect to pay about 130 percent of your monthly income on rent. No, seriously. The average rent for a one bedroom is $2965 (and $3853 for a two bedroom). But that’s the price you pay for living in the best city for trick or treating, my friend.

Recycle, recycle, recycle.

As per SF’s mandatory recycling ordinance, every residence and business has not one, not two, but three bins outside of it—for garbage, recycling, and compost. The city recycles 80 percent of its trash and its goal is to achieve a “zero waste state” by 2020, so tossing an empty gum wrapper into the street will get you a more severe sentence than killing a guy.

Get used to nudity.

San Franciscans share a love of three things: cycling, protesting, and nudity. They recently celebrated the 12th Annual World Naked Bike Ride Day to protest our dependence on fossil fuel. Besides this au naturel event, the city boasts three nude beaches, several other “clothing optional” events, and your garden variety naked guy just strolling down the street. Thank god for all the hills in this city, because if you’re going to be subject to all that nakedness, it’s best that it be tight and toned.

Selena Templeton

Selena Templeton is a writer and editor who sees the world through Giggle Glass, a type of wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display plus false nose and mustache. It reveals the absurd, amusing, and inappropriate goings on of daily life and displays it in a lap top-like hands-on format, from which she posts to various blogs such as Self Storage Finders, Romantically Challenged, and SelenaTempleton.com. As a former professional organizer and a current Virgo, she is a self-diagnosed authority on storage, packing, organizing, and general neat freakishness.

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