WHAT DATING IN HOLLYWOOD IS REALLY LIKE
In Venice Beach, it’s never too early for a sexual encounter. It’s 7.30am and Daphne, my English setter, has picked up the scent of a husky. She’s locked in some hormonal trance and I’m wondering if it’s my fault my dog is such a slut. I was so convinced that Venice Beach was going to be my sexual promised land. After moving from London to West Hollywood last year, I had so far spent most of my time a dateable straight man in months – only actors. And, I had been warned, they were
Then I met 39-year-old artist Liv, who lived in Venice Beach – where, I discovered, hot single men of every age lived. They wrote scripts ocean-side, shared Burning Man whizzed past on their skateboards making FaceTime deals. They were everywhere. In a week, I moved there.
But the only one getting any action was my dog. ‘That’s because you are literally the only person in LA not on a dating app,’ Liv said. ‘LA is so spread out, it’s a city of incoming strangers – and they are all sitting alone in their cars on their phones.’
I let Liv sign me up to Bumble, a ‘feminist’ app that is the cosy version of Tinder. (Once you match by both swiping right, women need to initiate the conversation.) Within minutes I am swiping through a barrage of actors, producers, art directors, skateboarders and CEOs seeking ‘partners in crime’ and ‘light kink’.
It’s a little app-shaped window into the mind of the contemporary American male in full competitive mating display. Most of men perceive women want: photos with Leonardo DiCaprio (he’s well connected), pictures with borrowed babies (he’s open to having children), details of height, IQ and salaries. They stop short of penis size and sperm count – but that is visually implied in craftily photographed shorts’ bulges.
at our menus by candlelight. ‘Wheat and dairy,’ I say. ‘How fantastic! What are you having?’ ‘I really love to f***,’ he replies. ‘I’m sorry?’ He’s looking me straight in the eye. ‘Erm. Well, most guys do. I’m having the grilled kale, pickles, chilli and hemp seed.’
arranging a date with Will, a lawyer. He is 38, boyish, and interested in everything about me – but there’s something a little off-kilter. All is revealed over a post-dinner whisky. ‘I could tell you were special. There was something about you: a look I recognised in your eyes.’ His hand on my wrist is shaking a little. I can’t tell if he’s nervous or excited. ‘You’re an alpha woman. No one tells you what to do. That’s what you really yearn for.’ It turns out that Will practises BDSM: ‘Just clamps, collars and playful negging [humiliation through name calling]. No knives or beatings,’ he reassures me. ‘You can just turn up. I’ll give you exactly what you want. It’s all written in advance in the contract.’ Will really loves paperwork. And I think he may have once read Fifty Shades of Grey.
My magic number proves to be three.