WHAT DAT­ING IN HOL­LY­WOOD IS RE­ALLY LIKE

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - @WORK -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.