Always Use Protection In L.A. (Or You’ll Catch Misanthropy)


I survey my new neighborhood, strolling down each block, palm tree to palm tree, the hot sun beading on my face as I admire the scenic hills in the distance. Absolute bliss-


A shrill voice detonates behind me.

“She knew that’s the one I wanted! She knew!”

An angelic 16-year-old gallops past me in lethal stilettos. As I continue to observe the city, I notice the majority of young women dress like they could bump into Leo DiCaprio at any given moment. The Hills must be a straight man’s paradise.

“L.A is the worst place to pick up women,” my single-serving friend declared, his mouth half-full of airplane peanuts; I spent a tranquil four hours with him aboard Air Canada 799,

“I swear it’s the one place where a 6 thinks she’s a 10.”

I peered down my window at the luminous city, and unwittingly indulged,

“Is Toronto any easier?”

He paused, possibly to withhold a burp,


There may be a common denominator here.

As the California sun descends, I arrive at my final destination, the international layman sanctuary: a half-empty, rundown pub.

I sit at the bar next to my new roommate, a Beverly Hills real-estate agent and fellow Canadian.

“There are definitely nice people here. Well, there are nice people everywhere,” she takes a small, graceful sip of her double-shot margarita, “but the people in Beverly Hills, they’re hardened. Cold. It’s not like Canada.”

Before I can observe the irony, three young men donning neon tank tops, low-rise skinny jeans, and (the always crucial) indoor ski beanies, tear through the entrance. 

One third of the pestilence stretches his arm high in the air, Rolex dangling from his slender wrist,


He snaps his fingers and continues to shout. The bartender motions for a handsome, black waiter to assist them, and just as I expected, they order six Jagerbombs,

“And make it quick, ai-ight homie?”

“Stop.” I bid quietly, to myself, to them, to God.

The bar fills. Two handsome men in tailored suits sit behind me, opposite them a distinguished gentleman twenty years their senior. The boss (presumably) takes a hefty swig from his glass and jests,

“I flew in LAX this morning. I haven’t been laid in so long, I had to beg the TSA to frisk me.”

The suited men explode with raucous laughter, slapping their thighs and drumming the dirty table. One of them farts. No one notices. 

It’s getting late. I walk home. Alone. The looming palm trees now mere silhouettes.

I smile at a fellow pedestrian walking his poodle. The poodle immediately stops to defecate, eyeing me down with stoic dissent. 

And then I’m home, at last, but it’s not home really. What looks like snowfall sweeps by my window. I jump up excitedly and rush outside.


Just palm trees and pavement.