“You can hook up with someone for a long time or know their middle name or what records they like, but that’s not a connection…Anyone can have that. Really knowing someone is something else, a completly different thing. And when that happens, you won’t be able to miss it. You will be aware and you won’t hurt or be afraid.” – Adam, HBO’s Girls
It can be a frightening reality, that the people we love are strangers. We don’t always know they’re strangers but one day, maybe a month after meeting, six months, a year, ten years, you realized you didn’t really know the person you shared your life with. We humans, we dreamers, have a way of building people up–making them into something they’re not. People do it everyday, we revise people so they’re what we desire.
Yet, it comes a time when you have to accept people for who and what they are. Sure, we want people to be their best because on some level we all aspire to be more. But we all get there at a different pace. Pushing someone to be something they’re not never works. It causes resentment and mental anguish. The real work should be spent knowing the person–who they really are. We should learn to listen more and talk less. Enjoy the moment and after all that, if the person still seems to be an enigma, there’s a reason. Some mysteries just aren’t meant to be solved.
After some urging from friends, I recently joined the Tinder craze–yes, that app that links you with random strangers with the off-chance you’ll make some kind of connection that will propel you into romance, or just an easy ‘hook-up’. I thought the app was sleazy. And to an extent it is, it’s mostly used by call girls to sucker men into ordering their services. However, there are everyday women using the service too. I tried my hand at it–swiped a lot until I got a match. When I did, I viewed her profile. She was a grad student working on her MSW. We had things in common. She liked live music, beaches, and independent films. A conversation ensued. All day we talked off and on. It was nice. So nice we agreed not to spoil it by actually meeting. I think we both wanted to live the fantasy and knew that meeting would just deflate it; after all, who starts a relationship from meeting on an app?
I know there’s a kind of loneliness out there, especially for my generation. We used to talk on the phone, now we text. We used to write letters, now we email. And we’re all desperately alone–looking to make a connection through social media or some app. I realize it’s like gambling–it’s like going to Vegas and betting on red or black. You swipe on Tinder, thinking will this be it? Will this be the one? You go to a bar dressed to impress some imaginary person you just know is there waiting to make your acquaintance. We’re all addicted to hope, to chance. Maybe it’s because we’re fed a heavy dose of romance. It’s practically shoved into our faces. Such and such met and fell in love on Match, eHarmony, OkCupid, etc. Do people even meet face-to-face anymore?
I love romance. I think it still exists, somewhere. But I question if it exists in Los Angeles. I think Angelenos may have killed it. The bar and club culture in this city has people convinced that romance is a shared Uber to Mel’s Diner, and afterwards a dip in a hot tub. Los Angeles reinvents itself all the time, just like the people who inhabit it. You don’t like who you are one year, next year get a new job, new friends, new hobbies. In Los Angeles, you can pretend to be someone else. The trouble with that is when you do find someone worth your time, the role you’ve decided to play is the character they want. It’s who they fell in love with. You can’t just take the mask off and if you do, you run the risk of them not loving you. Masks make us forget who we really are–they’re dangerous. If people really want to find love in Los Angeles, they should start by figuring out who they are and what they want. Then they should give up on searching and live their lives–get some hobbies, meet new people, join clubs and groups they’ve always wanted to join. Stop fantasizing and live in reality.