Booze: Damn Komboucha for containing alcohol.
Cigs: Think electric cigs may be alien device attempting world domination.
Carbs: Found yeast free, wheat free, gluten free bread. It’s called cardboard.
Exercise: Dog walking is essentially picking up somebody else’s s**t.
Mantra: ‘With my last breath, I’ll exhale my love for you. I hope it’s a cold day, so you can see what you meant to me.’ Jarod Kintz
When I first came to Los Angeles, I had the genius idea of writing a column called ‘365 Dates in LA.’ After about two, I knew by the time I’d got to 15, I’d have thrown myself under a bus.
Dating here is hideous. I’m not sure that we really do it in England… From what I remember, you either meet someone through friends (which means they’ve slept with all your other friends) or you meet someone down the pub and either have a one-night stand or are living together two weeks later.
In LA, dating is the opposite of spontaneous. It’s basically a glorified interview process – formal, grown up, involving meals and personal hygiene. Then, if you get through the first round, you’re left waiting with baited breath to see if you get a call back (yes, everything here is an audition process). It’s nothing like bumping into hot guy at the fruit and veggie shop and having a snog in the gutter.
Hang on. Let’s back pedal. We have to deal with the age thing first. In order to get a date at all, it really helps if you are pre-pubescent. A fellow Brit said when I got off the boat ‘I’m 30. I’m over the hill. I don’t even exist here.’ And I told her not to be so stupid. Three years later and I have to agree.
What I have subsequently seen are 20-year old men dating 20-year old women, 40-year old men dating 20-year old women and 60-year old men dating 20-year old women. LA has to be the most ageist and superficial place on the planet. In Europe or South America, the matriarch is still considered hot – here she’s having a chemical peel.
So, if you are lucky enough to get asked out as an older woman (i.e. over 21 and officially an adult), what can you expect of the actual date? The answer is – almost anything. My best, was with a man who had booked five restaurants and told me to pick one, while the worst was going to see Lars Von Trier’s AntiChrist. By the time Willem Dafoe’s wife cut off his d**k, my date had lost his voice and never wanted to see a woman again.
But before I get too personal or onto a soapbox (may I recommend Mrs Meyer’s Lemon Verbena), dating issues here are also non-gender specific. British male friends share my concern too.
A problem for both genders is the portfolio effect. Angeleans date up to 16 people at once, all of whom you can sleep with until you agree to be exclusive. So, the moment you decide to start a relationship you have basically been unfaithful to your other half from the get-go.
And then you discover, unlike the Great British Reserve (i.e. the propensity to bottle it and play dumb as to your baggage, past and hang-ups), that there is absolutely no subtext. We’re talking full-disclosure from the outset; bring on the problems, do the confrontation and walk straight into therapy. I had a friend who was seeing a sex therapist with his American girlfriend three weeks after they met. That’s enough to send anyone screaming for the door
Why is this so? Yet again, it comes down to the fact that, though we Brits and Americans look the same and think we speak the same language, we are culturally and sociologically very different. Men and women may be Mars and Venus, but I’d suggest when it comes to dating, our nations are too. Not to mention that LA is very much a world of its own. My only solution at present is either to eschew dating entirely or opt for importation – we did it for years with Marmite, after all.
Meanwhile, there is some immense freedom in stepping off the whirly-gig, sticking two fingers up at dating and refusing to jump through hoops, which means you can be who you want, wear what you want, say what you want and be alone for the rest of your life.
Read Lorien’s previous posts here.