Maggie #1: The Art of Man-Brewing*

July 6, 2014

When people ask me why I moved across the country from New York City to San Francisco, leaving behind family and friends, an easy but maybe too comfy job, and a city—The City—that I loved, I usually ramble off one of the following answers: I came for adventure. I came to “try on the Left Coast for size.” I came because of Manifest Destiny. I came because … GOLD! I came after reading Jack Kerouac and drinking too many glasses of California wine. I came to live out my progressive values and get in touch with the hippie spawn activist within me. But really I came because my boyfriend wanted to move out here and because I love him.

We landed in Bernal Heights in mid-June. Our place, which we share with one other guy, is adjacent to my boyfriend’s brother’s apartment, which he shares with three of his friends. The male-to-female ratio of my home life is six to one.

I can’t really complain too much. Moving into a place that had a built-in set of friends eased the transition. They are a fun bunch, active and creative. Many of them, struck by San Francisco’s start-up fever, have left decently paying jobs to focus on their own projects, and I admire that. While liberating, the work-from-home lifestyle inevitably leads to a lot of just hanging out—like in college.

To add to the collegiate vibe, one of the boys’ favorite activities is brewing beer at home. Every three weeks they pool their funds, make a run to Brewcraft for supplies, and then gather in the tiny courtyard outside my bedroom window to begin the five- to six-hour ritual. I sat in on one recent brew sesh, as they are called, to observe the activities of the “brewmunity,” also their term. It’s a messy business with lots of sanitizing of equipment and boiling, cooling, stirring and filtering of liquids. There are moments of frenzied activity spaced out by long periods of waiting. It is a jocular environment with lots of breaks for playing music and imbibing the fruits of their labor.

While they are an inclusive bunch, and I appreciate the camaraderie they share, I couldn’t help but feel that as a girl—and especially as a “girlfriend”—I was intruding on an inalienable man space. I am happy that my boyfriend has found a community of friends, but standing around a brew boil waiting for the yeast to rise or whatever is not exactly my idea of fun. And that’s OK! All it means is that I have to find my own people.

So that is my latest adventure in this new city that I call home. I’m going to get out there and make new friends! The question is, how do you do that?

*Originally written in October, 2012

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