L.A. Actually: How True Is the ‘Women of L.A.’ Video?by Chris Backley on March 13, 2013
Actual conversation I’ve had at a bar in Los Angeles:
HER: What do you do?
ME: I’m a writer.
HER: Oh so you’re poor.
For some reason I didn’t think she was satisfied with the response, “but I’m rich in spirit!”
This type of exchange hasn’t happened to me often. But when the “Women of L.A.” video went viral across YouTube, I can’t say I was shocked by the parody.
So is this shameless narcissistic materialism-fest an accurate portrayal of the L.A. dating scene? Of course not. But every satire contains some truth, and I won’t deny that there are indeed ridiculously attractive, somewhat calculating women out here. And for good reason — if you took every person in America in the upper part of the bell curve for “attractive,” for all the ones that left their hometown, the chances are high that they’ve chosen L.A. as their city of choice.
Let’s make up a fake girl and call her Mary Jane. Mary Jane is a 5’8” tall, lithe, blonde, and from Duluth, Minnesota. Throughout her life, Mary Jane has been given special attention for her looks. When she was 9 years old boys would chase her around the schoolyard. When she was 14 years old the ice cream man would give her a free scoop when she came in his shop. She was asked to become student body president and join the cheerleading squad. She observed how others responded to her, and thought of the world as a pleasant and accommodating place.
After graduating from college with a degree in journalism, Mary Jane decided to move out to L.A. to pursue acting. When she landed at LAX, she was shocked to find out how unaccommodating this city can be to those who come here with big dreams.
A couple months later, after pulling countless shifts as a server at Katsuya, she comes to the sobering realization that this town can be downright brutal. After constant failed auditions and getting voted off a reality show in week 2, she starts to feel pretty beaten down. Meanwhile, she has to put up with guys hitting on her constantly. Even if she’s a good person and wants to be kind to the nonstop deluge of men (most of whom she has less than no interest in) she can’t help the cynical shell that starts to creep in.
Now, not all women here fit this description – not everyone here wants to be an actress, or even have anything to do with “The Business.” But the Mary Janes are the type of women that men are hitting on the most. These are the “L.A. Ten” dream girls that most guys want to date, whether they admit it or not. But these women have options when it comes to mates and they know it. So it makes perfect sense that they are going to be extremely picky.
On the other side, you have a group of men with a very poor self-awareness, who think they “deserve” to date an attractive woman because they live in a city filled with them. Never mind that plenty of these suitors can barely pay rent, lack ambition, and dress like they’re the fifth member of Color Me Badd. Once they get shot down a few times, a lot of them try to protect their egos by saying, “it’s the women here – they’re all awful.”
My advice for both genders is to focus on yourself, and your presentation. We’re a town that, for better or worse, cares about looks and achievement. Embrace this. Hit the gym, ramp up your performance at work, stop wearing chucks and a hoodie every day, and culture yourself so you can provide a date with engaging conversation. And looks aside, give more people a chance — a conversation is a pretty low commitment activity and chances are your filter is too restrictive. Your high standards are what attracted you to L.A. in the first place, we get it. But if you stubbornly refuse to change your views on what is or isn’t attractive, get used to lonely Saturday nights.
Caper of the week
Park: The apartment neighborhoods off Gayley Ave. or Hilgard Ave.
Eat: The Tartufo at 800 degrees pizza and the 55 cent White Chocolate Macadmia cookie at Diddy Reese
Drink: A Mojito at Whiskey Blue or the Peach Iced Tea Boba at BobaLoca
Do: Walk the UCLA Campus to visit the sculpture garden and sit on the top step of the Janss Steps overlooking campus.
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.