Start sipping green juice, because it’s all about appearances, guys and gals. Dating in LA isn’t always about finding “The One” or even having a serious relationship. A lot of the time, especially when you’re in your twenties, it’s about looking great standing next to that hot guy in an Instagram pic, having someone to bring to events, and having fun. There’s nothing wrong with it — unless you want to get serious, fast. The stereotypes about LA exist for a reason — because they are in many ways true. In a city where appearance matters a lot, because it essentially makes or breaks your success in your career, many people have a lot of superficial qualities and values. Women appreciate nice purses, men love their cars (you’re in your car a lot after all), and everyone wants to have that perfect pair of designer sunglasses to look like they just could be a celebrity. As you LA locals, or aspiring LA residents, plot your Tinder strategy, be prepared to find a lot of similarities between your dates:
1. Everybody’s a creative.
Obviously, somebody has to have the more typical jobs in LA. Every city needs teachers, lawyers, accountants, businessmen/women, etc. But in this city, more often than not, your date will be someone who says that he or she is an actor, writer, producer, or director. It’s the entertainment capital, after all. Here’s the thing. Just because they say they’re an actor, doesn’t mean they actually make a living doing it. In other words, your date may be fairly broke, and things might get awkward when the check at the restaurant comes. If your date isn’t in the film industry, he or she may be in the music industry. Either way, they are surrounded by hot people all day, so get your “A” game on when you get ready for your date. Appearance is going to matter, like it or not, unless you manage a date with that special snowflake Los Angeles accountant who has no connection to, or interest in, Hollywood.
2. You better not be conservative.
The Republicans live in Orange County, and pretty much no one in LA likes Orange County (or the Valley, for that matter…but that’s for other reasons). The only people who like Orange County are people from Orange County. Let them keep their guns, their love of George Bush, and their pro-life views. In LA, if you go into a date professing your conservative values…well, just don’t lead with that. Better to arrive at your date in a Prius, talking about that global warming fundraiser you went to last weekend. This will likely go over much better than any kind of anti-Obama rhetoric, or showing up to your date in a gas-guzzling Hummer. Unless you’d like a lecture on why climate change is a very real problem, and Barack Obama was a revolutionary president.
3. Don’t expect pizza.
Right now, everyone in LA is counting their macros, and minimizing their intake of dairy and gluten. If you want pizza, well, you’re gonna have to order that gluten-free, vegan cheese pizza on the menu, because your date will most likely choose some kind of healthy spot to meet. It’s all about making good impressions in LA, so if you let your date pick the meeting spot, they will probably choose a restaurant that indicates they’re health-conscious, fit people with a passion for animal rights and macro diets.
4. You might do something outside … keep running shoes with you.
Everyone in LA loves a good Runyon Canyon “hike” (see Iliza Shlesinger’s take on the LA “hike” here). That’s why if a date isn’t at Cafe Gratitude, where the food you order comes in the form of a positive life affirmation (yes, really), it will probably involve some other kind of “good for you” endeavor like a run on the beach, a walk to the Hollywood sign (real original) or a hike in Malibu. You know what? There are worse things you could do with your time. Just be ready to not look super-hot on your date, because we all know what sweat, sand, sunscreen, and ocean water do to a girl’s hair.
5. You better love dogs … but only adopted ones.
Everyone in LA loves their pets, and animal shelters are usually the one charity they always donate to. Your date will probably, at some point over the course of the evening, mention their incredible “mutt” Rainbow, and how they rescued her because no one else at the pound wanted her. Be ready, because if you got your little pug from a breeder for $1,000, you may not get a second date. No one in LA likes people who shell out real dough for dogs. “There are so many animals that need good homes, why would you buy,” your date will probably ask you. Of course, this is only a rhetorical question, because they don’t want to know. They’re actually just judging you.
6. You should wear something revealing.
Haven’t you seen “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?” Nobody wears a lot of clothes, because you have to show off your tan, your fit body, and maybe your boob job! No, but really, date night in LA is all about wearing something tight, short, and sexy (well, if you’re a lady). People here may dress more casually, but that doesn’t mean they can’t show a little skin from time to time! If you’re a guy, get ready for some eye candy, because LA ladies are out to impress. Ladies, enjoy seeing men in shirts that show off their muscles, or maybe some flattering skinny jeans. You can wear baggy clothes when you’re married with kids!
7. Your date might wear sunglasses indoors.
When will people get the memo that it makes you look like a douche? Probably never, because everyone in LA wants other people to think they’re famous, and what better way to cast this illusion than by wearing shades that take up half your face? Men will most likely rock the Ray Bans, while ladies love their Chanels and Diors, even inside. Hopefully, your date takes off their sunglasses to talk to you. But don’t be surprised if they’re still wearing them while they wait for you near the door, inside the restaurant, quietly hoping that someone mistakes them for Channing Tatum (as if!)
8. You’ll probably have mutual friends.
L.A. might be big city, but it’s got major small town vibes. In an industry town such as this, people all seem to know each other. You might have dated your date’s old roommate, you guys could discover you have the same facialist who also “does” Jennifer Aniston (like “oh em gee!”). Or, you’ll stare at your date for an hour and say, “You look so familiar … but how?” Then you’ll realize he was an extra on that failed TV pilot you watched, and you don’t actually know him at all! Whether it’s work, play, or the neighborhood you live in, you’re likely to go on at least one date with someone you thought was a complete stranger, but actually isn’t. This might also be because of number 9: you only date people who live nearby.
9. Most people will only date you if you live nearby.
This should come as no surprise to anyone. Traffic in LA is terrible, so dating is an ordeal if someone lives far away. Why drive through heavy traffic for someone you don’t know all that well, when you can just date a person who lives down the street? This is pretty much a no-brainer. So don’t be offended if you end up going on a blind date with someone who lives in West Hollywood, and they instantly seem to lose interest when they find out you live in Santa Monica. I mean, how’s that ever gonna work? “Long-distance” dating in LA also means you have to spend the night at someone’s place, lest you want to drive back to Calabasas at 2 a.m. If you don’t like long nights of cuddling and waking up next to someone you don’t know that well, you may want to date someone who doesn’t live on the other side of the 405.
10. If you date a fellow “artiste,” watch out.
LA is extremely competitive, which you know already if you’re in the entertainment industry. Actresses give each other the stink eye at auditions and aspiring writers will do anything to get their scripts in the right person’s hands. If you’re an actress, and your date acts too, be careful if he seems to “perk up” when you share information about your career. Sure, you may not be competing for roles, but you could still be vying for the love and affection of agents, managers, and casting directors. Everyone wants in on everyone else’s industry connections, tricks, and insider knowledge, so don’t be surprised if your date seems a little too interested in what you do for a living. And be careful what you say.
11. There will be name dropping,
This is also standard for the city. Your date will most assuredly share that time Brad Pitt came into his gym, he had a work call with Jennifer Lawrence, or he dated Selena Gomez. Everybody in LA has some kind of celebrity experience, and they may blow it out of proportion to impress you on a date. So take it with a grain of salt, and remember, if he was actually friends with Jimmy Kimmel, he probably wouldn’t be bringing it up on your first date. All jokes aside, there are actually a lot of great things about dating in LA. The people you meet will most likely be from someplace else, which means they’ll have unique and interesting perspectives. You’ll encounter men and women who moved thousands of miles to pursue their dreams, which is incredibly inspiring, and you will likely meet a lot of very passionate people who you may not want to date, but could forge a great friendship with. Dating in LA, a city where a lot of folks have Peter Pan complexes, is not easy if you want a serious relationship. But it’s a great way to have fun, foster new relationships, and just see where things take you.