Californicating in Los Angeles... Not So Much

By Cody Brotter

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<p>This just in: getting laid in L.A. might just be a thing of Hollywood movies.</p>


This just in: getting laid in Hollywood might just be a thing of Hollywood movies.

At least, that is what I and many other postgrads were warned of upon our entrances to Tinseltown. We were also warned not to ever call the city of Los Angéles Tinseltown.

Los Angeles, of course, is Españolish for “The Angels,” which derives its name from the major motion picture Charlie’s Angels, directed by McG in 2000. After making the pilgrimage to this media mecca with a one-way ticket to LAX—which I assume has its linguistic root in the Los Angelean phrase “chillax”—it was a matter of time before I began to notice a few obstacles in the course to a successful one-night stand in Los Angeles. As questions like “Isn’t this inconvenient for singles?” or “But how would they spend the night?” added up throughout the year, so did another: “Have you guys seen the ‘Women of L.A.’ video yet?”

“The Women of L.A.” is a comedy music video from actor D.J. Lubel’s straight male perspective on the challenge of scoring on this field. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the song garnered nearly half a million views within 24 hours of being uploaded to the prestigious website YouTube.com. The song tells the tale of a young schlubby New Yorker (I can relate) who goes out for a night on the town with his bros only to discover the less-than-convenient nature of Los Angeles’ present but problematic hookup culture. If you don’t want to take Lubel’s word for it, he has cameos from the guy who played the principal on Saved by the Bell, the guy who played Urkel on Family Matters and the guy who played Pauly Shore in all the Pauly Shore movies.  

“The Women of L.A.” song basically got its own TV show in the form of Hello Ladies on HBO. My first job when I moved to this city was production assistant on the show, which follows Stephen Merchant as he struggles to find or make love in Lalaland. The show’s premise is essentially an anti-Entourage about a guy who wishes Los Angeles was the way it was depicted in Entourage. Each episode is like a sexually frustrated version of Gilligan’s Island where we tune in to see if Merchant’s new tactic (renting a limo, throwing a pool party, befriending tough guys) will help him get laid (or booted off the island).

So, for those readers living in the real world, I have compiled some hypotheses to explain why the Land of (Soy) Milk and (Organic) Honey is such a dry desert.

The Sprawl

The man-made monstrosity that is Los Angeles seems to have been made by a man who is asexual. Every annoying joke about traffic, freeways and transportation in L.A.—and every “The Californians” sketch on Saturday Night Live—is, sadly, spot-on. Unfortunately for all the single ladies and guys on the prowl, the geography in this city is so spread out and scattered that most people end up driving to bars. Nobody wants to, nor should they, drive under the influence. As D.J. Lubel sings in “The Women of L.A.,” “All the bars close at 1:30/Which means they’re way too sober to sleep with me/Plus my only credit on IMDB/Is an extra on Community.”

The Last Call

And how can you score if it’s game over within a couple hours? In Manhattan (my birthplace), if someone yells, “Last call!” in a crowded bar at two A.M., it is because they are a huge fan of Carson Daly’s talk show. A later closing time doesn’t just allow for more drinking, it also allows more people coming in and out, and thus more options—as well as more time to get to know a potential one-night-stander. So you do the math; I don’t need to pull out a graph displaying the correlation between alcohol consumption and sexual activity. I can just use some anecdotal evidence in the form of several text messages referring to me as a “drunken mistake.” And not just from ex-lovers—also from my parents.

The One-Night Stand Commute

Seriously, are you going to take a chance on a guy you just met and travel in awkward silence together to the Valley? How much are you into this stranger that you’re willing to drop an obscene amount of cash on a taxi to take you an obscene number of miles away? And then imagine being at the person’s place that night. How are you supposed to escape if things aren’t going down the way you wanted? You can’t, at least not easily or economically. This is why so many clubbers and bar-hoppers both arrive and leave in the same group. One friend might already be trying to escape an awkward situation at the bar. Are you going to make her go all the way home just so you can maybe go all the way and score home? The climax might not be worth the drama.

The Industry Incest

Speaking of drama, a disproportionate number of Los Angeles inhabitants are employed by the entertainment industry. A disproportionate number of celebrities and wannabe celebrities make their home in Los Angeles because a disproportionate number of their meetings and auditions will be here. A disproportionate number of those people are as objectively good looking as anything with the word “good” in it can be. This undeniably perverts the standards, the expectations and the overall “vibes,” as Angelenos would say in their thick Angelean accents.

As Stephen Merchant told reporters promoting his anti-love letter to L.A., “It’s populated by those people trying to become actors and stars…It’s a city where the rules are very clear. If you are good-looking, if you have great teeth and great hair, the door is open to you…It’s almost like high school again.” Remember how hard it was to get laid in high school, even penned up with ridiculously hormonal and horny people? Hollywood is a high school where the jocks and cheerleaders have prettier faces and prettier cars—where they don’t just look as hot as the cast of The O.C.—they are the actual cast of The O.C.

When I first arrived in town, I decided to conduct an experiment. I went out to a bar on the Sunset Strip with my guy friends and two of them pretended to be drunken fans of mine. I tried to act miserable as they posed in flash photos with me and before I knew it, straight out of a movie, a girl grabbed my arm and told them to step off because she was my girlfriend and we just wanted to have a normal night alone.

That’s not something I’d do now because, as I’ve learned, in the company town that this is, every person in the biz knows each other. So unless you have enough money to blow it all on blow and live the Bling Ring life, you better not get too shwasty in public. Moreover, it can be hard to distinguish industry networking from going out romantically since everyone is asking each other out all day long. And while you’re out spending money and time “doing lunch” and “grabbing drinks,” make sure to overtip your waiter and bartender, because you never know who they’ll be after tomorrow’s audition. Same goes for your Lyft or Uber driver on top of the cost of your ride.

The moral of the amoral story is it’s hard out here for a wannabe pimp. There’s a reason Tinder’s headquarters is located on the Sunset Strip. Then again, there are nearly four million people who magically cohabit in the foreign land of Los Angeles. So maybe people in my social circles are just not very good at hooking up.*

If you are insulted by this ending and consider yourself a member of my social circle who works at an agency, studio or name-droppable production company, please remove this from your memory and let’s do drinks soon.*

**But it’ll have to be in a couple months, I am super swamped. Ugh, pilot season, right?! Haha, okay, just have your underpaid assistant leave word with my unpaid intern. So psyched to catch up!


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