Thursday, August 12, 2010

It’s Not Me, It’s You…the Art of Dating in LA

Really? What is this 1994 ...
Dating in Los Angeles is not easy. Actually, that’s an understatement. It’s nearly impossible. The reason being (or my theory anyway) is due to the fact that LA has split its residents into two very distinct categories: serious relationship or seriously single. The reasons for this split are because “actively dating” is difficult and time consuming (some might use the word burden…not me, but it has been said) thus causing people to jump through hoops, overcome obstacles and eventually just give up and move on to the next person. Therefore they find themselves constantly “dating” new people or using the term “relationship” for their two week jaunt with the barista from their local Coffee Bean. The other group is for those in a serious relationship. This is when you meet someone you can mildly tolerate, decide to keep them around, and are at a place in your life where if you go another three months without sex you might just bring a firearm to work. First, let’s examine the “obstacles” aka the “burdens of dating”…

You Say Marina Del Rey and I say Sayonara…

Location matters. If the number one rule of real estate is “location, location, location” then we all might as well see ourselves as property, because to date successfully here, you better live within a two mile radius of your counter-part.

For example, if I live in Beverly Hills and you live east of Los Feliz and it takes over 50 minutes to drive there in afternoon traffic, you might as well be willing to clear your whole day for that “quick second date coffee” because counting drive time you’re looking at a four hour ordeal. Yes I used the word ordeal rather than magical, emotional, or euphoric because that is what it becomes…an ordeal. The math on said rendez-vous equals about a two week relationship, and I use that term loosely. This is just an example of an “in the city” romance. Then there are those people that live in non-Los Angeles neighborhoods but still consider them as L.A.- yes South Bay, Glendale and The Valley, I am talking to you! The driving distance from Manhattan Beach to Hollywood is over 20 miles, and includes taking two freeways. That means that if a date is planned at night, one of you better be willing to sleepover early on (and risk blowing it by not playing hard-to-get) or you’ll be driving back at 2 am, hopefully sober, and not walking in your front door until almost 3. Unless of course you managed to pick up a DUI on the way home at one of the many checkpoints and end up in jail. I give this scenario a shelf life of about a week- if they post bail; otherwise, it’s doomed from the beginning. The planning and logistics involved in these “long distance relationships” is enough to suffocate the thing before it even gets off the ground. Therefore, pick your neighborhood wisely, because your chance of meeting someone and it working out largely depends on how often you can actually see them. That’s why people who live in Venice rarely leave Venice, and West Hollywood has become Mecca for those of the gay and lesbian persuasion. Also, did I mention gas is expensive? Because it is, so make sure whoever you are driving for is worth at least $3.50 a gallon.

Is My Ed Hardy Shirt Too Busy?

The other problem with dating in Los Angeles is the people. Sorry to say it, but we’re all a little nuts. I mean that’s why we choose to live in this city right? A city with one of the highest crime rates, worst air quality and more weed per capita than parking spaces. Plus, we all sort of take pride in our craziness, which makes us even crazier and we all suddenly become caricatures of our own neighborhoods. Girls walk around with bleached out hair, size D boobs (fake) and saying things like “I don’t like to read” all the while trying to pick up on some Guido dude wearing way too many accessories, way too much cologne and shades inside a night club (shout out to my peeps in Hollywood). This isn't the Jersey Shore people...we're supposed to be laughing at their ridiculousness, not emmulating it. Other way, overdone scenario...hipsters. I get it, you like skinny jeans and wearing hats while talking about indie rock bands and the last art show you went too (Hi Silverlake!!!). Seriously though, there is only so much flannel, and hobo sheek I can take before I seriously just want to hand you a sandwich and a gym card. Third hilarious stereotype: black mini-dress, stiletto heels, Chanel purse and an entourage of six chicks wondering why no guys are trying to breach their army like platoon (OMG we’re in WeHo…and p.s. travel with fewer girls, what is a guy supposed to do buy all of you drinks?)  Finally, and appropriately not that funny: polo shirt, flip flops, T-shirts and jeans while chugging beer and talking about the latest dip in the market (and by market I mean the Dow not the farmer’s market at The Grove) and how awesome college was…Santa Monica you didn’t think I would leave you out did you? Obviously I could do this all day long with more classics brought to you by Venice, Culver City and Marina Del Rey...but the point isn't to criticize everyone's style...

Believe me, I have nothing against expressing yourself through fashion, art or conversation…but when you all look the same, dress the same and act the same…you’re no longer original and the only statement you are making is “Baaaaaah”.

Can I Order an Amstel Light and No, I Don’t Want to See Your Headshot…

This leads me to my next point: all the people in Los Angeles can be separated into one of two categories, industry and non-industry. Either you work in entertainment or you don’t. This creates a large pool of self obsessed, too-cool-for-school, “I know x amount of famous people”, people walking around all trying to date each other (I’m referring to the “industry” people, if that wasn’t already clear). Two people who can’t walk by a window pane without checking themselves out can’t have a relationship because both of them will keep tripping on the sidewalk. Relationships are about yin and yang…not yin and yin.

This large population of unorthodox career paths also creates scheduling conflicts amongst its participants; primarily because those in the entertainment industry can be further sub-divided into “careers” and “slash-careers”. For example a career is as follows: I am a writer. I am an actor. I am an agent. I am a director. A “slash-career” is as follows: I am a writer / bartender. I am an actor /waiter. I am a director / film student. I am an assistant / Production Assistant / Caterer / Intern. You get the point. Thus a lot of people work at night, and during the day, which leaves no time for dating. Or if there is time, people are often on opposite schedules. I know I personally have tried to plan dates with people and the conversation (via text of course…since no one uses phones anymore) went as follows:

Them: “When do you work this week?”

Me: “Wednesday – Sunday Night, till 1 or 2 am. What about you?”

Them: “Um, everyday till 7 pm. So what about next week?”

Me: “Same. I might have Monday night available…”

Them: “Yeah I have an early meeting on Tuesday morning.”

Me: “So I work at night, and you work during the day. I guess I’ll see you never…”

Them: “Looks like it.”

Me: “OK”

Them: “Bye”

Buy One Girlfriend, Get One Apartment Free…The Convenience Factor.

What we have learned so far about dating in Los Angeles is that we need to narrow our dating field down to location, profession and “non-doucheness”. However, by the time we get to the final pool it feels like there is no one left, especially since (in theory) we’re not supposed date our co-workers (something about not “shitting where you eat”), which knocks out more than half of the people we interact with on a daily basis as “not having dating potential”. But, at the end of the day, that is really who we end up dating the most. Actors date actors. Bartenders date bartenders and lawyers date lawyers. So once again yin dates yin. How boring is that?

Thus, it seems that by the time we make it to a full blown, actual relationship it has become more about convenience than love. When I surveyed my friends who live with their significant others their number one reason for moving in was “rent is cheaper”. Not, “I couldn’t spend another day without her” or “I love him so much I want to wake up next to him everyday”, it was purely monetary. Rent is cheaper? This is what we have come to…flirting over Blackberry Messenger, dating over email, and moving in to save on rent. Everyone I talk to who is in a relationship actually gets something out of it. And no I don’t mean emotional support…I mean convenience factors. Like “he introduces me to a lot of producers,” “She helps me with my bills” Or “I need a green card”. Where is all the true, honest to goodness love? Have we all become so saturated by the Hollywood version of life (fake sets, fake action heroes, fake episodes of The Hills) that even our relationships are fakes? Why are we all so selfish that we can’t date someone unless they can offer us something in return? Or is that the point of dating? Perhaps we haven’t moved past the concept of dowry’s, marriage contracts and “a good catch”. In the middle ages a girl that came with a cow, two goats and a small allowance was “marriageable”. Maybe by today’s standard a girl that comes with an apartment is like getting a cow. Only it’s rent controlled…and that’s worth way more than two goats.


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  2. I love it! Nice to hear (read) all this... thoughts i have thought so many times. When i express them, people just give me that blank look. But i think you're right: whatever happened to real Love and individuality? It is a strange reality we have created and accepted for ourselves...

    nice one Taryn