Welcome to Los Angeles, the land of palm trees, pedicures and perma-bachelors. You know, those types who think that marriage is a trap devised by middle-aged women and their ticking biological clock bombs. However, it’s not just men play into this stereotype. It’s women, too. Which leads me to wonder: what is it about Los Angeles that makes people so afraid of commitment?
Allow me to preface this by admitting that I am also somewhat a victim of this complex. I am not yet ready to settle down and have trouble committing to even the most minuscule things, such as organizing my room or signing up for group fitness classes. That said, I’m not necessarily enamored with the alternative, either. Short of being in a committed relationship, it seems that people are more or less relegated to the murky territory of one-night stands and/or friends with benefits. Don’t get me wrong; I quite admire people who can make these kinds of arrangements work. Though generally they have not worked for me and tend to end similarly to reality competition shows: one person sent home alone and disappointed, with minimal free shit, and that person is usually me.
While city dwellers are known to settle down at a much slower rate than those who live in small towns, it still seems funny that the people who are meeting the most, well, people are the ones who can’t seem to find their significant other. My first theory as to why this happens so frequently in LA is that most people here work in entertainment, more commonly/douchily referred to as “The Industry.” The Industry can contribute to perma-bachelorhood in a bunch of ways. The first and perhaps most glaring is ambition (read: narcissism) that it takes to make it in The Industry. People come here to make a name for themselves, whether it’s as an actor, producer, writer, fluffer, or some combination thereof. They are still figuring out how to reconcile their massive egos with their minimal accomplishments and are therefore hesitant to share the spotlight. Which is fine. Heaven knows there is no shame in pursuing one’s dreams.
(Though, for the record, please note that Los Angeles shall be blanketed in a fresh layer of molten lava before I ever date an actor. Unless he is Miles Teller. Miles, if you’re reading this, my contact info is below.)
Another possible reason Angelenos would rather have their toenails individually extracted than utter the word “relationship” is that we consume too much media. As much as we like to think TV and movies characters have progressed, men and women in media still tend to fall into an allotted group of stereotypes. For women, there is the adorable, innocent, Rachel McAdams type; the witty, insatiable seductress; or, most deceiving of all, a clever combination of the two. Conversely, there is the Ryan Gosling archetype who makes grand, sweeping gestures to his love interest despite her apparent lack of interest or the brooding Mr. Darcy who seems cold at first but ends up being perfect. The point is that none of these characters exist in real life, though some people have a difficult time accepting this. I once spent an entire evening listening to a dude drone on about his undying infatuation with Natalie Portman before I was finally able to flag down the waiter and pull an Irish exit.
Side note: it’s probably a good idea to keep your celebrity babble to a minimum whilst seated across from a real person. It is not only rude but also delusional to think that celebrities are even remotely less effed up than non-famous people.
Lastly, a Lyft driver once shared with me an interesting theory. She blamed LA’s tendency toward perma-bachelorhood on the weather, suggesting that people in LA think they have all the time in the world to settle down because of the lack of seasons. While the rest of the world is shoveling snow or raking leaves because it is “that time of year again,” we Angelenos are “blessed” with a blur of beach days. Living here, I sometimes wonder if the weather people are just improvising or if every day really is a predicted 72 degrees. Sure, it’s paradise for people who like to parade around in Daisy Dukes and eat fro-yo as a full meal but for the rest of us it can be a little disorienting. Whatever happened to fall and winter? Isn’t there some sort of liquid that’s supposed to fall from the sky now and then? As depressing as seasons can be, making us feel old and alone, they are also crucial reminders time is passing and we don’t have forever to figure out our personal lives.