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How (Not) to Approach a Solo Woman in L.A.

December 5, 2013

Earlier this week, I got back from spending Thanksgiving in Southern California. On Sunday, I was lying on a beach, soaking up the sun and 75-degree weather. On  Tuesday, I was back in Denver, where it was snowing to beat the band and cheerful meteorologists were projecting a high of 4 degrees the next day (it turned out to be 9. Woo-hoo?). So if you see a lot of references in upcoming posts how wonderful life is now that I’ve moved out to San Diego, you’ll know exactly why.

SoCal was a learning experience, and not just regarding the consistently pleasant weather. I learned all about more revitalized terms I can add to my lexicon–the last time I’d heard “far out” used unironically was when I listened to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars on the drive out.

But I also learned about essential cultural differences in approaches to mating rituals. And no, I’m not referring to the fact that David Bowie may or may not have made sweet, sweet, glamorous music with Mick Jagger. Rather, in spite of the fact that the populace of Colorado and California is overall similar in composition (most people who live in both don’t come from either), men in California–specifically, L.A.–have, shall we say, different approaches to women than men in Colorado–specifically, Denver.

To illustrate, I have two examples from one day when I was visiting a friend in L.A. It was the day of the Broncos-Patriots mashup (may Tom Brady’s and Bill Belichick’s souls rot for all eternity), and as is customary on game day, I was wearing my Broncos sweatshirt.

Now, I will never in any way say that women somehow deserve assholish behavior based on what they’re wearing. But compared to the other women around me who were dressed appropriately for the 70-degree weather in shorts, tank tops, and skirts, the lucky sweatshirt I was sporting is long-sleeved and two sizes too large because I bought it knowing I had tickets for a Broncos home game in November. Weather in Colorado being a bit unpredictable, I wanted to be able to bundle up in layers of ski gear while still being able to proudly my team spirit, which would necessitate wearing the ski gear under the sweatshirt. Hence an outfit that was baggy, shapeless, and bright orange to boot.

To top that off, I haven’t washed said sweatshirt since the season started. To understand why, you would probably have to find hilarity in those Bud Light commercials where a sports fan continues a ridiculous and seemingly insufferable ritual every game day because whenever they do so, their team scores, and you’re laughing because you do have an equally ridiculous and seemingly insufferable ritual that you keep doing in spite of its ridiculousness and seeming insufferability:

I laughed particularly hard at this commercial because of the Broncos connection as well as the memes going around after that pitiful Pats game with screencaps and captions to the effect of, “Should’ve stayed in the basement, bro!”

But on the day of the game, I obviously had no idea what the outcome would be, so I cheerily helped out the Broncos in my own stinky way: I wore the sweatshirt I have not washed in months because it seems like it helps them win.

Apparently three months is just enough time for creep-attracting pheromones to seep through even the thickest clothing, because as I sat down at a coffee shop a few hours before the game to check my email, a fortyish dude sat down next to me, observed me typing, and asked, “So…they got wi-fi here?”

“Mm-hmm,” I tried to reply noncommitally.

“How’d you get it?”

I can’t help but feel like my face must have automatically squinched itself into my just how many times did your mother purposefully drop you on the head as a baby? expression as I replied, “Well, I clicked on the wi-fi button and found the network labeled ‘free.'”

He left it alone for a few seconds, but seeing as how he was still sitting right next to me, and seeing as how I was trying to check my email in peace, I shifted my body so the computer was angled away from his line of sight.

Noting this, he quipped (or I assume it was a quip): “You know I’m totally reading over your shoulder.”

That did it. I gave him a full-on blast of bitchface.

“I’m just kidding,” he hastily added.

I maintained my stare for a full five seconds until he quickly realized that there was a more promising looking seat across the shop and scooted that direction.

I probably wouldn’t have given much thought to it if not for what happened when I went to a sports bar later to watch the game. In Denver, if you go to a sports bar alone and wearing your Broncos colors, guys tend to assume you’re there to–gasp–watch the game and will limit their contact with you to a cheers or high-five for a touchdown.

Not so much in L.A.

“Watching the game, huh?” asked the smarmy man in the Green Bay jersey who sidled up next to me.

“Yep.” And to his apparent surprise, I continued to do so.

“What’cha drinking? On the house.”

I’d been warned by the friend I was staying with that this might happen and I should simply take him up on it because hey, free beer.

“I’m good, thanks,” I managed to get out through gritted teeth. Scoring drive for the Broncos = STFU, everyone else in my book.

He didn’t get the hint. “Oh, come on, let me buy you a drink,” he oozed.

If I let you buy me a drink, you’ll get the impression that it’s okay to continue talking to me during the game, which it’s totally not, I thought, but then the Broncos scored a touchdown, and my distinctly indelicate and unladylike yell when this happened seemed enough to deter him for the time being.

But I guess some guys just don’t learn. Not only did he introduce himself to me twice and receive a curt nod both times because I was way more interested in Peyton Manning than him, he also left to try chatting up a waitress, flub horribly, and come back at the end of the game, when the Broncos salvaged a bad second half by tying the game and sending it into overtime. In sum, I was only watching two of the hottest teams in the NFL in a hotly contested game that was, for the Broncos at least, the first to extend past regulation time this season. I bit my knuckles as the Broncos started to make a slow advance–the first for either team in OT–across the field.

Green Bay FudgePacker fan sat down next to me again. He glanced at me, then at the screen, then back at me.

“Close game, huh?”

It was the second time that day I had deployed the bitchface. It was the second time it worked on the guy at the bar, though it didn’t do a damn thing to deter either Tom Brady or Bill Belichick. I watched helplessly as the Patriots kicked the game-winning field goal that would leave me texting my best friend gloomily, “Well, I guess I can wash this sweatshirt now. Maybe I’d at least have better luck with the guys.”

I didn’t wash the sweatshirt, of course, which clearly helped the Broncos rally last Sunday to defeat their hot-on-the-tail division rivals in Kansas City. But be warned, men of L.A. and everywhere else when I come back, whether for a simple onetime shot of beachface or permanently to avoid single-digit temperatures: if you ignore my lack of interest and keep pushing me, you’re going to make the Broncos lose. And if that happens, I will spend most of my waking nights from then on contemplating what poison to use on you, because stabbing you would get the wrong team colors on my lucky sweatshirt.

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4 Comments
  1. LMAO! I’m a Giants fan, as well as a Patriots fan. I don’t get into disputes with people about who their teams are though. I don’t think Tom Brady walks on water or anything like that. In fact, he annoys me, as does his wife. I simply love football though and I take it seriously too. Most people don’t get that.

    • Haha, actually, some of the best random conversations I’ve had with people have been with fans of teams that generally throw a monkey wrench into the Broncos’ path of world domination, because there’s always some mutual taunting (I’m not sure if Jewish families communicate via any other method, so that reminds me of home) layered over the mutual passion for playing armchair head coach on Sunday afternoon. Or, in my case, this Thursday night.

      I will also say that as little as I like either one, I’m always rather amused by the fact that Tom Brady is, like it or not, one of the hottest QBs in the NFL, and yet Gisele’s the power earner in the couple!

      It’s also apparent I need to read through my comments more! :p

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