I’ve lived in Austin, Texas for over a year now, making me somewhat of an expert on the trendiest town in America. While I’ve been here, I’ve learned one very hard lesson: dating in Austin is a nightmare. Between the red hat guys, the crypto bros, and the Silicon Valley transplants, a girl doesn’t have many non-sociopathic options.
Apparently, I’m not the only one struggling, because I recently received the following message from a close friend with whom I used to bartend:
“Abbie, I need your advice. Last weekend, as I was leaving my Garage, I bumped into a guy on the street who seemed like he was just hanging out. He’s thin with a bunch of tattoos and kinda disheveled, just like I like! I figured he was a musician or something. Well, it turns out he’s homeless. Like literally living on the street homeless. But he’s so hot. What do I do? Can I seriously try to date a homeless guy?!”
Well, if that isn’t the most “Austin” love story I’ve ever read! Oh, and I’m one step ahead of you girlfriend. If you think your girl hasn’t fallen headfirst into a drunken fling or two with one of Austin’s hunky street urchins, you’ve got another thing coming!
Dating in Austin (By the Numbers)
But first, as a bleeding heart liberal and graduate of Oregon State University, I should clarify: I prefer the term “unhoused” over “homeless.” Words matter and “home” is where the heart is, so I object to telling someone they don’t have a home just because they can’t afford shelter.
Secondly, whether this person is datable depends on a variety of factors. Before we dig into what some of those may be, we should discuss the population breakdowns of Austin as a whole.
- Austin has a population of 983,366
34.80% Of Austin Residents Are Single
Of the 342,211 Single Austinites: 178,943 Are Men and 163,269 Are Women.
Now for the statistics for unhoused Austinites. The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) committed a survey in 2021 that found on the day of the census, 3,160 people experienced homelessness in Austin/Travis County.
2,238 of them were living unsheltered in tents, cars, and abandoned buildings. 922 people were either in traditional congregate or temporary non-congregate shelters.
Here are the survey results of unhoused Austinites most related to my girlfriend’s issue:
- 2223 (71%) adults over the age of 24
- 251 (8%) youth between the ages of 18-24
- 56% identified as Male
- 43% identified as Female
- 9% were veterans
- 51% were chronically homeless
- 71% of unsheltered people have been told or believe they have a serious mental illness
So, we boy-crazy Austin chicks have a dating pool of roughly 179 thousand men from which to choose, almost 1800 of which are unhoused.
Location, Location, Location
You might be thinking: “but Abigail, there are hundreds or thousands of men in Austin with adequate housing, why take a chance on the tiny sliver of the population living on the streets?” Well, believe it or not, the hot homeless guys are a whole lot easier to find.
Half the time they’re napping or doing heroin or yelling indiscriminately at the sky and passersby right outside all the hottest 6th Street bars. You can’t miss them!
Just last week, I finished a bartending shift at the Blues Bar I work at only to have a barrage of bottles thrown at me by several deranged men across the street. Unfortunately, they were the older Vietnam vet type of homeless guys and not the kind I could take home. So, I just screamed back at them, called them “loser bums,” and recorded the entire interaction on Instagram live.
The point I’m making is that the hot homeless guys often camp out around the same areas the hot hipsters and hot cryptocurrency cultists frequent. You can barely tell the hipsters and the unhoused guys apart. The crypto junkies stand out because they all have Peaky Blinders haircuts and NFT gorillas on their clothing.
So, why date them when they first get to town with stars in their eyes and rockstar confidence when you can wait a year for them to be destitute and desperate?! As a hardcore feminist, something about the second option excites me!
Anytime the topic of dating homeless Austinites comes up, concern trolls online always bring up how dangerous it is to let people – the majority of whom are addicted to hard drugs or mentally ill – into one’s life.
What, because my unhoused lover has been embroiled in a passionate twelve-hour debate with someone who doesn’t exist, they’re supposed to be a greater threat to me than the usual guys I might meet at the bar?
Hate to break it to you, but all men terrify me. Except for trans men; they’re strong, brave, and beautiful. Such is life in the patriarchy.
At least a homeless boyfriend knows that you’re his ticket out of the gutter. He’ll defend me from the rest of the world as if his life depends on it – because it kind of does. If anything happens to me, there goes all the food and shelter!
Beyond being highly motivated to keep me safe, unhoused companions are tough. They’ve been in knife fights with other street people and physical confrontations with the cops – life or death confrontations are second nature to them. It gives me a sense of security knowing that my boyfriend could brandish a blade from his waistband and slash a cat-calling frat boy at the drop of a dime. Those Texas frat guys have it coming; words are violence, after all.
Still, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.
My parents pay for most of my stuff anyway, so they’ll replace whatever the renter’s insurance doesn’t cover. Plus, I can write off the losses as charitable contributions to homeless charities.
Most importantly, being robbed by my homeless lover and refusing to seek retribution earns me serious points with woke activists and Marxist friends. We’re locked in a never-ending struggle to prove who’s more dedicated to the cause, so if it buys me a week or two of moral superiority, losing some jewelry and a television or two is worth it.
Who’s Their Competition?
Before you pass any judgment about dating an unhoused Austinite, you must consider the dating pool in which they are competing in its entirety. I don’t know what it’s like in your city, but here, the line between homeless maniac and emerging artist can be nearly impossible to discern sometimes. Most of the time, the only thing keeping a struggling musician off the streets is a supportive girlfriend or parents.
At least the musicians and street bums are interesting. In Austin, the better a guy’s hygiene, the likelier he is to spend your whole date lecturing you on the merits of technocratic libertarianism or transhumanist technology.
Most of these guys don’t even eat food or drink alcohol anymore. They subsist on nootropic stimulants and powdered supplements for sustenance, then ingest strange psychedelic research chemicals from the dark web for recreation. These are men who invaded Austin from Silicon Valley and can’t wait to implant a computer chip in their brains. That way, they can beam all the cryptocurrency price updates directly into their mind in real-time.
Then you have the multi-generational Texans who hate what Austin has become. They love Donald Trump and Joe Rogan but hate all the Californians moving to their city. Most of them openly carry guns and support the Governor’s anti-abortion stance. Their families may have been here longer, but they’re not true Austinites. I’d rather spend my life with a series of homeless mates than date a conservative.
I mean, I still wear my “I’m with her” t-shirt to bed most nights and donate 10% of every paycheck to Planned Parenthood.
Taken in context with the rest of the competition, Austin’s unhoused population doesn’t look too bad! At least they’ll have fascinating stories and cool survival skills. So, what if a few holes get torn into my drywall searching for the mocking voice behind it hurling insults? Who cares about the occasional urination into the planter housing my fiddle leaf fig plant?
I think that lack of predictability is exciting!
Hot and Homeless: A Winning Combination
So, what do I have to say to my friend asking for advice?
Dive right into that cardboard box and date you a hot homeless man, sweetie! You find him physically attractive, so that’s step one.
Plus, when you bring him into your life, he’ll be extra appreciative. How many hot guys can you say that about? Not only will this street stud be thankful for the roof over his head and food you provide, but he’ll be also totally reliant upon you financially. You can mold him into your dream man!
That said, take it from me: before things get too hot and heavy, you should probably have your homeless hunk tested – blood work, STDs, parasites, and the works. There’s nothing worse than falling in love only to later find out that you have Hep C and a tapeworm.
Will there be risks? Of course. But your chances of being stabbed or robbed by a homeless Austinite aren’t much higher than if you were dating a starving musician or tech bro. The unhoused lover might pawn your television, but the crypto cultist will lose your entire retirement savings gambling on Dogecoin and pixelated digital pictures of apes.
In Austin, dating a hot homeless guy comes with added social benefits as well.
You’ll be a hero to the activists and artists alike. They’ll say that you saw through the capitalist illusion and its unfair social hierarchies and gave someone a chance who most of society would ignore, if not outright shun. They will hold you up as a beacon of “praxis.”
And in the bedroom? If your homeless hottie wound up on the streets due to crippling addictions, there’s a good chance they’ve been forced to do all sorts of degrading stuff to get their fix. Imagine all that experience channeled for your benefit!
Finally, it’ll be nice to have a boyfriend who understands life on the streets. Austin is overrun with homeless encampments these days. You’d be lucky to have a guide who knows the culture and how to navigate those areas. And if things get too hairy, he’ll still have his knife-fighting skills. No tech bro would ever slash a paranoid schizophrenic on your behalf!
Think of your hot homeless guy as just another Austin musician. Chances are that’s exactly what he was only a few short years ago.