Relationships are hard. Relationships in Los Angeles are harder. Maybe the 405 is to blame for canceled dates? Perhaps Peter Pan Syndrome prevents substantive connections? No matter the cause, single Angelenos are approaching the dating game with apathy rather than intent, and that’s unpleasant. If you need proof, consider the following imagined—but all too recognizable—interaction, which we’ve scored on a points system. Read, absorb, then be the change you wish to see in the dating world.
It’s a prototypically perfect L.A. day, and you’re at a third-wave coffee shop—maybe Eightfold in Echo Park, maybe the Boy & the Bear in Redondo Beach—reading David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day. “Great book,” someone says (+50 no matter who said it, because yes, it’s a great book). You look up and see what you would define as a “good-looking person.” Let’s call them Hot Stranger. A covert glance reveals that Hot Stranger’s left hand is devoid of a wedding ring (+10, who has the energy to be a home-wrecker?). “I know, right?” you say. “Are you a fan of Sedaris?” “I am,” Hot Stranger says (-15, probably a lie). “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is his best work in my opinion.” (+100, clearly not lying; -100, clearly not Sedaris’s best work). You introduce yourself; Hot Stranger introduces themselves; you shake hands (+25, strong handshake). You hear the barista yell out an order, and Hot Stranger says, “Ohp! Be right back” (+15, the onomatopoeia “Ohp” betrays Hot Stranger’s Midwestern roots, and Midwesterners are usually nicer than most people). Hot Stranger returns with their drink and says, “Look, I don’t mean to be forward, but I would love to take you out sometime” (+100, fortune favors the brave). “Sure,” you say, and you exchange numbers. “Cool,” Hot Stranger says. “I’ll text you tomorrow!” And now you wait.
It’s Wednesday, exactly a week and three days since you met Hot Stranger, and you’ve not heard from them. (-150, that’s annoying. No, you didn’t reach out because Hot Stranger said they’d text YOU. People should do what they say they’re going to do.) At 8 p.m., you get a text. “Hey. Sorry I didn’t get in touch sooner LOL. Wanna grab that drink?” (-65, unforgivable use of punctuation after “Hey.” And -10 for capitalizing LOL, which is gross). Hot Stranger took their sweet time getting in touch, but you respond promptly because mind games are for sociopaths (and you’re not a sociopath). “OK,” you say before offering up your Saturday night. “I was actually thinking tonight,” Hot Stranger says. “930? The Bungalow?” (-90, short notice; -250, no one worth knowing—or driving for—suggests a first date at the Bungalow). “Can’t tonight,” you say. “But I’m free tomorrow!” No reply until the following day at 8:40 p.m. (-75, rude, especially for a Midwesterner). “See you in an hour?” (-150, nope. Also, learn how to make a plan). You respond: “Never heard back from you—out with friends. Sorry!” You’re neither out with friends nor are you sorry. You’re in loungewear, catching up on Mary Berry-era episodes of The Great British Baking Show, so life is actually pretty good. No reply from Hot Stranger.
Hot Stranger texts the next day. “My bad about this week,” they say (+25, “My bad” is kind of the same thing as an apology, and apologizing is cool; +45 for being self-aware enough to kind of apologize in the first place. Let’s reinforce good behaviors). “Appreciate that,” you reply. “Let me know if you want to find another day.” You never hear from Hot Stranger again (+50, none of us have time for this sort of thing, so we’ll call this a win), but they now follow you on Instagram (-125, WTF).
Grand Total: -610