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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guest Blog: "Dating L.A." by Brian Leiken

L.A. is a goddess.

She is the daughter of Apollo and Lilith, forever chic, eternally young, phone glued to her ear as she veers down the freeway.

Like all gods, she goes by many names: Hollywood and Tinseltown. She is the American Idol.

Dating in L.A. is notoriously difficult. People who move here often go for years finding no one, then move away only to discover a "soul mate" and marry six months later.

It's a paradox. How can a city known for its youth and beauty, a city crammed full of party loving singles, a city like L.A., be so difficult for finding love?

The problem is the nature of L.A. herself.

She's elusive. Her whims are fickle. She wants everything but promises nothing. Many come to L.A. seeking her, yearning for her approval.

She is mesmerizing, Narcissus reborn; those who seek her unable to tear themselves away, hoping, praying, even begging for the briefest hint of her acknowledgement.

She's beautiful, the essence of desire; to have L.A. laughing on your arm is to have every aspiration fulfilled. Her silhouette covers the city in sequined glamour.

People who look in the mirror do not want to see themselves - they want to see her gazing back at them with longing.

She is terrifying, this goddess. Those lucky few who bask in her glory often get too close to her divine flames, burning up, enraptured by all that she offers.

Those who lose her interest are the wash outs; has-beens who frequently debase themselves on game shows and reality TV in acts of public self-flagellation, all in the vain hope of regaining her approval.

Within six months most who come to L.A. realize she doesn't exist, no more real then a mirage, no more attainable than a bowl of Cezanne's fruit. You can only gaze at her illusive beauty.

She is untouchable, but her captivating splendor remains alluring and tempting.

It is because of this goddess, this siren of desire, that dating is impossible in L.A.

No one wants to date who they are with - they want her. She is the collective consciousness of the modern world's dreams, a broadcast of mass marketed fantasy.

L.A. is lust and passion, wealth and romance, ecstasy and bliss. No mere mortal can match up to the promise of L.A; no one person can fulfill all the dreams and endless possibilities she evokes.

It is only after becoming numb in the land of collagen and silicon enhanced bodies that the realization dawns - not even L.A. can satiate all that she promises.

No matter how much you are with her, L.A. leaves you hungry and desperate for more. More fame, more success, more praise, more self-adoration.

L.A. doesn't bequeath dreams, L.A. bestows hallucination.

Natives born in her womb are impervious to fever induced charms. Birthed with immune systems incapable of substance, L.A. natives accept her artificiality with a zen like Buddhism that mystifies outsiders.

For the natives do not date; they "hook-up." For them, it is enough to have a look and the appearance of a relationship.

For true initiates of Hollywood, the image is the person, what you look like is who you are. They accept that when you are in a relationship, you aren't just a boyfriend or a girlfriend, you're an accessory.

In most places, it's what you bring to the table. In L.A. it's not what you bring, it's who you bring to the table.

In L.A. an image isn't skin deep because there is nothing beneath the skin. Dating in L.A. isn't about love or commitment. It's about creating an image, all in an attempt to be closer, to be closer to her.

It's why as a "broke" writer I did better dating than as an employed teacher - a writer has the potential of launching a career, catapulting an individual into her hands.

A teacher? A teacher might be able to add you to his PPO.

It's why people in L.A. can have one night stands, but are incapable of sustaining a relationship. In a relationship, your image might not be compatible with theirs.

People often say to me, "Leiken, you are too picky. You won't bend, you won't compromise. You expect too much. You don't put yourself out there won't change your look."

To date in L.A. you have to find your niche, you need to have a "look."

Because when you are dating in L.A. you are dating two women. The girl you are with, and L.A. One I can handle, the other can never be satisfied.

Copyright 2010 by Brian Leiken

Long hair photo by vassiliki koutsothanasi
Narcissism photo by lu tb
In the sun photo by Ulrika Bengtsson

LA Teacher

Brian Leiken is an L.A. inner-city, special ed teacher and author of Crossed Out, a book about and for his students. Oh yes, he's also my son:)

Crossed Out by Brian Leiken at

Also see my initial impressions of L.A. after moving from Washington, D.C.:
D.C. to L.A: A Monumental Change


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