Why are so many people afraid of San Francisco?
When I told my friends I was going to San Francisco about a year ago, the responses were mixed. Sure, they were generally happy for me, and of course they all had visions of me seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and the Transamerica Building and Chinatown and the trolley cars and the murals in the Mission district and all the touristy stuff that compels people to come here. But often, there was a faint but distinct undertone to it all:
San Francisco may infect and change you.
The funny thing is that, despite what Rush Limbaugh or your minister or your Dad told you about it, San Francisco is not "overrun" with gay people or hippies or socialists or any of the other things people often loudly fear... usually for entirely personal reasons. Yes, it's absolutely true: I have seen more naked men (except for a bondage harness) flogging each other in the streets than I have anywhere else. Yes, I have seen more angry protesters demanding that everything, everywhere should be nationalized immediately than I have anywhere else. I've also seen more drunken hooligans dressed like Santa Claus, more completely whacked out junkies, more damaged hippies, more people wearing outfits that match what their Chihuahua is wearing, and more cupcakes here than anywhere else I've lived.
Yes. It's true. There are a lot of cupcakes in San Francisco. A lot. They don't tell you that in the tourist guides, but they should.
What I learned about San Francisco is this:...