It’s True: You’ve Gotta Be Hot to Get a Date in L.A.by Chris Backley on March 06, 2013
Chris Backley is a native Angeleno writer/photographer who blogs about dating and happiness (mutually exclusive). He’s also a former paramedic and an exquisite Oreo chef. @BackleyChris on Twitter. This is his second column on Angel-City dating, L.A. Actually. Read the first here.
Los Angeles is appearance-obsessed.
We’re in the business of looking good. We work as set designers that can pick a particular flickering lamp to make you feel uneasy in a horror movie. Or costume designers that dress actors in just the right shade of blue that makes audiences feel instantly soothed. Or web designers that can make you internalize a brand message just by looking at a homepage. We have hand models. We have photographers. We have makeup artists. All of these tiny visual nuances add up to have an overall effect on the culture, including how we choose someone to go on a date with.
Los Angeles is appearance-obsessed, and we sell it.
The fact is all humans are concerned with looks to some degree. The word “superficial” has a negative connotation to it., but we are all dominated by our sense of aesthetics. That’s why you pick up a book based on its cover, that’s why you pay three times as much for an Apple product, that’s why you pick the prettiest flower at the Santa Monica farmer’s market. This is just as true in Detroit as it is in Beverly Hills. We’re just the only animal with developed-enough brains to actually feel guilty about it.
Los Angeles is appearance-obsessed, and we embrace it.
Keeping all of that in mind, people in L.A. are going to do what it takes to get the competitive advantage in the sexual market. We’re going to get in shape, from yoga to Crossfit. We’re going to embrace every diet, from vegan to pescatarian. And yes some will even go as far as plastic surgery and fake tans. We take care of ourselves, and we spend a lot of time on hygiene and fashion. There’s a lot to be said for feeling good about yourself though.
Los Angeles is appearance-obsessed, and it affects everyone.
Even if you’re not connected to show business, you’re affected by it. Women adapt to their environment and spend untold hours and dollars on their looks. Men feel pressured to blow their paycheck s on a Mercedes with Asanti rims. Of course not everyone in L.A. lives and dies by the rule that “looks matter” – but saying you don’t believe looks matter doesn’t mean looks don’t matter.
You can bet that living in this stewpot of well-heeled, looks-conscious people is going to affect dating. With so many attractive women populating one region, men start to lose perspective, and believe they’re all entitled to an “L.A. Ten.” (Many are cruelly rebuffed, as you can see in the viral vid “The Women of LA.”) Women here are fully aware of the tight competition for the small pool of desirable men, so they often have their guard up for bullshit. The whole game can wind up turning trendy bars into high school dances, where no one’s talking to each other and each side makes a standoff on one side of the room.
Ultimately, the cynicism isn’t good for any of us – we’re all craving the same basic human connection (be it emotional, physical, or both). But the fact remains that there are 3.8 million people in L.A., and you won’t get to know each one of them. So when you’re looking for a mate, you’re going to start filtering people the easiest way possible: with your eyes. Most of the choices we make about who we date, sleep with, and love are going to come down to first impressions. So we’re a bit more determined than most to make them count.
Los Angeles is appearance-obsessed, just like every other city in the country — we’re just not ashamed of it.
Caper of the Week
Go: The Cahuenga Corridor in Hollywood
Park: Meter parking or walk from the neighborhoods south of Sunset
Eat: The Jazz Fries with Crack Sauce at Fukuburger or the Strawberry Shortcake at Kitchen 24
Drink: The French 75 at the Piano Bar or the rotating beer menu at Stout.
Do: Find your new muse at the visual arts bookstore Hennessey + Ingalls or shop for your new favorite band at the greatest record store on the planet Amoeba Music.