You’re right. Dating in LA can be difficult. And to some, it even sucks. While you definitely may be the issue, it could also simply be a symptom of this melting pot of a city, where many of its singles descended here to see, be seen, and be discovered. Though I’m a dating coach, I’m not here to give you any advice. This is an LA dating story… (READ IT ALL… INCLUDING FUN PHOTOS IN MY ARTICLE ON THRILLIST.COM)
Nobody walks in LA.
And those who are walking, are generally on the go and purpose-driven. They are either in their car, in a coffee shop with their eyes plastered to their phone too engaged in “social” media to engage socially in the real world, or “already late” and so focused on the task at hand that everything going on around them is a blur.
Everyone is always “on.”
Even when guzzling fresh air atop Runyon Canyon, those typically relaxed types of places where people should have their guard down, are actually potential opportunities for business. Which is why many women are often in full hair and makeup, and “workout Barbie” athletic wear. And just when you think the camera-ready hottie is talking to you, you realize that she’s in fact reciting the lines of a script she’s auditioning for later that day.
Is it a date, reality show interview, or networking opportunity?
On the rare occasion that you actually get asked out in person, the purpose isn’t always clear as to if they want to hire you or screw you… or maybe that’s yet to be determined. Hence, again, the need to always be “on” and put your resume forward first.
Accidentally meeting someone on the street or in passing is rare.
For as physically big a city as it is, it’s very insulated. Many of us work from home, leaving little time for in-person social interactions. And for those of us who have real “jobs,” unlike cities where public transportation is the norm, we sequester ourselves in our cars, only to deposit ourselves at the office. And, of course, dating co-workers is never a good idea within a city this incestuously small (where gossip is huge).
Each town has it’s own type.
Santa Monica, Venice, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Hermosa, Silver Lake, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, or Downtown… more than being a driving distance apart, each area is an attitude apart too. From hipster to highfalutin, beach bum to buttoned up, where a person resides can say a lot about their personality, profession, and tendency to be on time.
Absolutely everyone is online.
Because of the urban sprawl, workaholic hours, and number of work-from-home entrepreneurs/actors/writers/directors/models, online dating long ago shed itself of any stigma. Sometimes it feels like another form of social media as you are matched up with your neighbor, co-worker, best friend, best friend’s ex, and even your own ex- which is always awkward. If you have a same-sex sibling in the city, expect both of you to be hit on by the same people. Which shouldn’t be awkward. It’s expected.
There is literally someone more beautiful and richer (or they claim to be) at the next table.
In a town where looks and money rule, know that you will never be the prettiest, richest, most successful, or most famous. There will always be someone better than you in all superficial departments. Which makes dating a perfect playground for players and a constant merry-go-round if you’re just in it to have fun or be arm candy. It’s way too easy to turn your head to the left or right, see something more tempting, and… “next!”
It’s all about the presentation!
And because they are so ingrained in us- be it physical, emotional, or both, many people find it difficult to drop the façade and be themselves, instead putting on the illusion of “picture perfect,” which is actually boring and forgettable.
“Do I know you?”
You have to be careful who you smile at, wave to, or approach and ask “do I know you?” Chances are high that you know them from either seeing them on the big screen, little screen, or online dating scene- which is particularly unfortunate if you have repeatedly ignored or turned them down… and now you’re face to face.
Age is truly a number.
Aside from the amount of age-confusing plastic surgery, fillers, and makeup, it’s not uncommon to go from dating someone who could be your parent to someone who could be your child.
Divorced with kids? That’s a turn on!
Divorce isn’t just acceptable, it’s often expected. In fact, once you’re reached certain age, many people don’t trust and therefore won’t date you if you haven’t been divorced. Having a kid can be even more of a turn on as it shows that you know how to be responsible, nurture, and care for another. And in a town filled with flakes, that’s seriously sexy.
Long gone are the days when men dropped on bended knee at 23.
Until, and often through their 30s, the priority isn’t marriage and a family, it’s money and ascending the industry hierarchy. Then suddenly once the time feels right, it’s less “right person, right time,” and more “right time, right person.”
“Entrepreneur,” producer, writer, actor, director, or model?
That’s often code word for under or unemployed.
Dates are expensive!
Between uber, $15 cocktails, and dinner, guys can blow a day’s (or hour’s- depending on their career) work on one date. Which is often why once you find a match, your dates out suddenly become dinner and a movie on the couch.
Expectations are exceedingly high thanks to the few truly wealthy guys.
Be it a chef’s tasting at Melisse or box seats at the Hollywood Bowl, wealthy guys often try to impress from date one. Which makes happy hour drinks seem dismal to women used to being red carpet romanced.
Just because they pull up in a Porsche doesn’t mean they can pay their rent this month.
That being said, just because he drives a beater, or just a basic car, doesn’t mean he’s barely getting by. Surprisingly, several wealthy men have low profile cars to downplay their worth specifically to test women during the first few dates.
Laurel House is an International Dating Coach, Online Dating Expert and Author of “Screwing The Rules; The No Games Guide to Love.” She is also one of the few born-and-bred West Angelenos who has prolifically dated in LA.