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It's evident at City Tavern, a mecca for 20-somethings in San Francisco's ritzy Marina district.

Gianni Arnoldi, who has worked behind the U-shaped bar for five years, recalls the frenzied social scene.

Where ads in the late 1990s hinted at expensive lifestyles, today's wishlists are "more down to earth," says Craig Newmark, who runs the San Francisco online community

Increasingly, he says, the personals refer to "old-fashioned values," or wanting to "start out as friends."Julie Paiva of Table for Six, a San Francisco matchmaking club for "elite singles," also sees a dramatic value shift.

The protocol of courtship is not to ask someone what they do – but if they work.

And if they don't, "there's no stigma," says Andrew Stern, a 20-something employed at San Francisco's Bang Networks.

He sent a private plane to pick her up, and got Ms.

Still, he says, many people are pouring the energy that used to go into 100-hour workweeks into cultivating relationships.

"How your company's going to take over the world is no longer something you talk about "And fancy dinners? "There's not the same cachet to being a dotcom CEO or a director of business development," continues Stern, himself a director of business development.

Personal ads have also undergone a sea change – or at least an e-change – growing more numerous and more humble.

Swaggering dotcomers, with exuberance matched by narcissism, often approached romance as another adventure in capitalism, he says.

"Guys would say, 'I work for this company, this is how much money I'm making, this is what I'm driving' – and that's what the girls would gravitate to."Today, several Nasdaq nosedives later, the bravado is gone.


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