Guest Post by Alison Wright
Why is it that Hollywood rom-coms make dating seem so effortless? A meet cute at the local coffee shop leads to a lifetime full of romance, chocolate covered strawberries, orgasmic massages and rose petals floating atop a bath surrounded by hundreds of tiny tea light candles, capable of causing a house fire with one flick of the wrist… But we all know this idea of the perfect partner is just a fairytale. Come on, Child Protection Service would’ve swopped right in when hearing of a teenage girl living with seven dwarfs in the middle of a creepy forest.
21st Century dating is especially treacherous. Surfing the internet to find the most compatible dating app has become a common past time… unfortunately. And within these murky waters we struggle to find a genuine, real human being that isn't catfishing. Who knew there was more to just swiping right or left on someones face? Now, when striking up a conversation you must be able to decipher the words that follow: a “Heyy” with two Y’s comes across desperate, a simple “Hi” means they are not interested in the slightest. Perhaps I spoke too soon about the dwarfs, I think seven brains would definitely come in handy when trying to decode those messages.
When I moved to Los Angeles I hadn't heard much about the dating scene. My friends never gave me a direct answer, only the same look: scrunching their eyes and clenching their teeth. With an increasing number of young people moving to LA per year, you'd think it would be easy to find at least one person you could connect with on an intimate level. Easier said than done. It’s difficult making authentic friends out here let alone finding a partner who is willing to travel an hour across the city just to see you for 30 minutes before you go to work.
I knew it was up to me to figure this out on my own so at the beginning of 2019 I downloaded a dating app to test the waters. And to be fair I actually enjoyed meeting new people from diverse backgrounds, hearing their own ‘coming to LA’ stories. For awhile it was refreshing and fun, I didn’t mind if things were never going to work out. After 12 months of ups and downs in the dating sphere, now I can finally see why those haunting expressions encompassed my friends' faces.
Some guys are great, some not so great, and some are just plain bizarre… I tried my best to sum them up into 5 categories, the Five Guys, much like my favorite fast food joint.
The Guy with the Ego
What’s worse? Listening to a tone-deaf singer give their rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You on 3rd Street Promenade or sitting across the table to a man whose spent the past two hours talking at you about why his start-up is going to be the next Facebook?
I could delve deeper and really explore the 'Ego Guy'; his unconscious need to try to impress everyone by flaunting his BMW, you know, the one his parents bought as a graduation gift. He assumes that in order to be seen he has to put others down, including the waiter who accidentally poured water over his new Rolex - which is also waterproof might I add - because he definitely had to mention that to me upon arrival.
These guys have many different careers: the entrepreneurs, CEOs, big shot actors, little shot actors, the chefs, the “my first draft screenplay got selected into BlueCat," the list goes on. My advice to anyone dating the 'Ego Guy' is to get the hell outta there before it’s too late. Before he starts calling you crazy for undermining his ability to get a reservation at Jon & Vinny’s because he knows a guy, who knows a guy, who knows Brad Pitt’s third cousin.
The Hit it and Quit it Guy
I applaud you, 'Hit it and Quit it Guy,' you deceive us so slyly; pretending to be totally into us, spending quality time together, complimenting every beauty and tiny flaw, and then when we finally bed you you vanish into thin air like Casper the not-so-friendly-anymore Ghost. How do you know all the right things to say and do, is there a magical handbook somewhere that your fathers have passed onto you, under secret men's business?
Months later, when we are completely over the 'Hit it and Quit it Guy,' our phone dings - a notification on Instagram - it’s him. You roll your eyes knowing exactly what this message will read, “heyy wanna come over?” Now I’m furious. A heated argument follows over why he never texted you back. He claims it was your fault, as it always seems to be. You unfollowed this jerk months ago but he still follows you. He views your posts from afar, watches your stories on repeat, all whilst sniffing that pair of underwear you accidentally left at his. Now your recent selfie with the gals has gotten over 100 likes and the 'Hit it and Quit it Guy' is sweating profusely, desperate for you to notice him once again.
The Guy with the Weird Fetish
Within a population of 4 million you are bound to find a few unusual souls in the mix. And I love that you're totally free to be who or what you want to be in LA. Being basic here just isn't an option. I certainly had my fair share of bizarre dates but none like this one. For the sake of this guy’s identity I’ll call him Dan.
Whilst minding my own business on the bus I received a message one day from Dan, “Wow, the only way to get a girl like you to go on a date with me, would be if I paid you.” I was intrigued; was this a cheesy pick up line or was there a slither of truth in what he had just asked? I took the bait and we began chatting. I quickly learnt that Dan, a basic looking guy, with a basic job, was into findomme. Same, I had never heard of it either! Essentially findomme is when a guy enjoys strong women taking control of their financial situation. In this case, nothing sexual would occur, he simply just wanted me to slander him by calling him names and mocking his personality, all whilst donating money into my account.
I was unsure about the situation but my friends immediately reassured me that I SHOULD do this, not for me, but “for all the women who’ve been used by men before, now you can use him and he'd actually enjoy it. It’s a win win.” So, yes I went along with it for a short period of time, made about $800 however, as time went on I realized that I'm a terrible actor. When I did pump up the courage to say something mean I would always follow with a “sorry, I don't think you're hideous, I’m playing along, remember, now can I have 100 bucks.” Not quite the dominant person he had in mind. Ultimately, it didn't feel right using someone in such a way, whether he loved it or not. Nonetheless it was quite a contrasting dating experience. Well, I don't even know if I'd call it dating?
Mr. Trying Too Hard
People in Los Angeles work hard; you have to when there are millions competing for a single job. Therefore you'll probably come across men who'll go to great lengths to win your affection in the dating scene.
Mr. Trying Too Hard is the type of guy that will show up at your doorstep, demand to give you his jacket, despite it being a perfect 77F° (25°C), did he forget we're in LA not Canada, then proceed to open the gate for you, before sprinting to the car so he can also open that for you. We get it! You’re capable of pulling things open. It’s not the hard man.
I can recall one particular first date with Mr. Trying Too Hard, he wanted the evening to be a surprise date. I'm expecting something classy, he did say “dress nice,” a black slip dress and heels sounds about right. But this guy goes to extra lengths and actually remembers what I've mentioned in the past. From previous messages he recalls me liking chicken, so in his mind I must love Roscoe’s House Of Chicken And Waffles - it's a chill date, girls love that sort of thing...
It’s definitely a shock when the car pulls into the Roscoe's parking lot. I'm clearly overdressed and more uncomfortable than ever but I’ll do my best to put on a happy face, let's hope the next two hours go by quickly. The entire evening is spent listening to him talk nervously about why he loves his editing job at the indie marketing company in Venice. If I hear him proclaim that the “vibe is so dope” one more time I think I might choke on this chicken sandwich. Time is definitely not on my side, even the caged clock on the wall has stopped working. It's been a decade since I saw daylight.
At least he's paying I guess.
The All-Round Nice Guy
From my experience these guys are the ones who’ve generally grown up in or around Los Angeles. He loathes the city life, longing to escape it by keeping to the coastal areas where he can ride the waves endlessly.
Either we never feel a spark with the All-Round Nice Guy, for reasons we can't comprehend, or he shows up at the wrong times in our lives; most likely when we are spending our days with the dreaded 'Ego Guy.' The All-Round Nice Guy is honest, genuine, has a great sense of humor, takes you on those quirky, fun dates: a surf lesson at the beach, evening mini golf, or an all you can eat dessert bar (if that actually exists I need to know!) He goes to Church but isn’t conservative, he enjoys vegan food but can’t resist fish tacos, and he’ll listen profoundly to your chaotic adventures spent at Target without yawning.
You know the All-Round Nice Guy is an absolute keeper when he’s willing to drive an hour in traffic from Huntington Beach to Central LA during peak hour because “you’re worth it.” Yet, why is it that we feel no connection in the moment? Is it because we're accustomed to settling for the ‘bad boy'? As time goes on and we are completely drained from dating altogether, it's then that we realize we made the wrong move in letting the All-Round Nice Guy go. With this revelation, ready to confess our desire to date him again, we grab our phones in excitement, click the Facebook app, search his profile, only to discover that his display picture now features his new girlfriend.
Caitlin is a 20-something broad from Australia with a passion for filmmaking, writing and exploring the world.