LA Does Still Scare Me

despite that i've lived in california for about four-and-a-half years now, i have never managed to make it down to LA.

this hasn't been a conscious choice exactly, it's just never really come up in a concrete way. true to californian thinking, plans to go to LA usually go something like:
friend who lives in SF: hey, we should go to LA sometime.

me: yeah.

likewise, invitations to come to LA often go:
friend who lives in LA: hey, you should come to LA sometime.

me: yeah.

and then it's four-and-a-half years later.

but now? well, it would seem that the time has come. Ish has friends there, and wanted to go, and right around the time it started to look like we might just go ahead and be crazy and like, make Actual Plans to travel, i discovered that my scared-to-death-of-flying sister HAS to go to LA for a Work Thing, and so whaddya know?

i am going to LA.



i will confess, i am very scared of it. because the only things i know about LA i have learned from a handful of specific movies -- LA Story, Boyz N the Hood, Lethal Weapon, Pulp Fiction, Pretty Woman, and Son-In-Law come to mind; tv shows -- 90210, LA Law, Hunter, and that 2-part episode of Sex and the City; and Crazy Aunt Purl.

so the picture i have in my head is, sure, probably somewhat skewed, but it is the picture nonetheless.

i assume that most of the weekend will be spent in traffic. possibly signs on the highway will spell out secret things just for me. it will be sunny. everyone will be thin and blond and tan and be wearing fancy clothes and carrying chic bags and have glossy lips. everyone will also have a gun. and a drug habit. everyone will either be famous or look famous or be a porn star or look like a porn star. everyone will either be an agent or be looking for one. and/or be a waiter. or in a gang. and have headshots and be rollerblading.

probably i will not be caught in gang-related warfare, but the thought has crossed my mind.

i just think of LA as this place where everyone wears their crazy on the outside, all very expensive-looking and pretty-like. which isn't scary in itself, but i also seem to get the impression that being overweight in LA* is like, totally taboo.

you know? like, everyone is suposed to look like they just walked off a set, and me wearing my plain, old Whatever, I'll Dress Better When I'm Thinner clothes isn't going to cut it.

so i'm intimidated. i feel like i'm going to be walking around and everyone will know just from looking at me, just from my appearance, that i do not belong.

my big plan to counter this, of course, is to go shopping. i will do my best to find LA-appropriate duds (suggestions are welcome, of course).

and then if i can't seem to find anything i like enough, i'll just buy a white fanny pack and matching white sneakers and sun visor, walk around with a map and camera circa 1986 and tell everyone i'm from omaha and would they mind getting my picture and does mel gibson live nearby?

*and i mean overweight as in She Walks overweight, not as in Lindsay Lohan thinking she needs to drop 25 lbs overweight...


  1. The last L.A. Scares Me post made me laugh out loud. I hope there's more coming soon!

  2. possibly signs on the highway will spell out secret things just for me.

    Excellent drop in : )

  3. LA is not scary.

    LA is gross. it's not as pretty as you think it is and there are many many icky people wearing what appears to be the same clothes they moved here in/were born in 23 years ago, without washing.

    sure, there are "pretty people," but i doubt you intend on visiting those sort of places. just wear what you wear and have fun making fun of what they wear.

    because everyone wants to look like lindsay and sienna, but no one does.

    it's like a creepy army of vapid blonde zombie people carrying knock off louis vuitton.

  4. I went to LA once. I went into a shop and attempted to buy a tshirt. THEIR x-large tshirts were everyone else's small.

    It was very strange there.

  5. LA appropriate duds:

    -size 4 (or less) jeans (only the correct brands though (7, etc.)
    -tight, but expensive top
    -high heels
    -the right bag

    Yeah, you won't fit in, but there are some decent museums, beaches and towns to visit.

  6. I think Tool has it right about Los Angeles.

    "Some say the end is near, some say we will see Armageddon soon. I certainly hope we will, I sure could use a vacation from this bullshit three ring circus side show of freaks here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA. The only way to fix it is to flush it all away, any fucking time, any fucking day. Learn to swim, see you down in Arizona Bay."

    Have fun then get the hell out of there as quickly as possible. That cesspool is a target.

  7. Oh. My. God. I had the exact same fear when I went to visit LA last month for a grad school visit. I was sure I would be the fattest person in a 50-mile radius. And then I arrived in LA and saw...other fat people. Normal sized people. Skinny people. Exactly the same kind of people you find everywhere else. Seriously. You have nothing to worry about.

    The only time people looked at me funny was when I crossed the street not at an intersection and not when the walk sign was flashing. It was like the city screeched to a halt to watch me jaywalk. I later learned that people regularly get fines for jaywalking (or so I was told). Just FYI. I'd worry more about jaywalking than how you look.

  8. I grew up there. The thing to keep in mind is that they can smell fear.

    I wear boy jeans (JC Penny, Mervins, levis, etc.) just to piss off my wanna be in fashion SIL (who is not a size 4...size 40? Meybe. But wear what you like. It's all about attitude. Act like you know you have "it." (Though don't ask me what "it" is, cuz I don't know and I lived there for 18 years!)

    Jack it up to 11 when you're on Colorado BLVD, Melrose, Bel Air, Sunset Strip, Westwood...but otherwise, you'll be fine. I always felt underdressed when I went to SF from LA :)

  9. Don't be scared of LA- I grew up here, moved to the Bay Area for 10 years, and recently moved back to LA 3 years ago. However, my advise would be get in, get out, and don't look back! Don't worry about not dressing right- SF actually has better style, and pretty much jeans and a cute shirt are considered chic here (Of course, you have to pay a month's rent for said jeans and cute shirt, but that is beside the point!)

    I am planning on getting out again too, and soon! It is a strange place this La-La land....

  10. When are you coming???

    Give me an email if you want to do lunch or meet at a bar or, or, or...

    Don't be afraid of the La La!!! So many friendly people, and SO MUCH cool stuff to do! You are going to have a blast!!!

  11. I hope the anxiety about how you'll look in LA is for comic effect and not for real. Having concern about your safety is one thing, but worrying about looking like you don't belong would be just so sad. LA is a sprawling city and you'll probably be there for only a couple of days. The vast majority of people won't know you and won't care a bit about how you look. Just have fun with your sister and don't waste time or energy wondering what complete strangers are thinking.

  12. anon 5:57,

    i worry about what strangers think of me every day. if i didn't, i wouldn't care what i look like, how i dress, how i behave, etc. don't get me wrong -- i don't take this to an extreme. i leave the house plenty without makeup or wearing fancy clothes. but there are times i'd like to make good impressions, too, even on/to people i don't know. and it's just my (perhaps incorrect) perception that making a "good impression" is what LA is all about.

    and, frankly, if i do end up going to a nice restaurant, bar, or club, i'd like not to stand out like a sore thumb.

  13. The Abbey.

    Go to The Abbey.

    Please go to The Abbey.

    Have I mentioned you should go to the Abbey?

  14. Yep, Serrrephim is right - the Abbey is about the only great thing in LA. Trust me, I live here. It sucks. But, I hope you enjoy your trip! Oh, and the Long Beach Aquarium is nice... if you don't get lost in the ghetto on your way to it.

  15. Take a good book,laptop, Blackberry or portable dvd player...Traffic! That's all I seem to remember from visiting my friends in Redondo Beach and going to L.A... Traffic!

  16. Yes you will be stuck in traffic. If you go clubbing try to avoid anything in Hollywood. Thats were all the plastic people are and if you are not a size 2 then you will feel fat. And also due to your lack of plastic sugery the clubs in Hollywood are horrible!!!
    Not that your fat but that was one of your concerns.
    Traffic, traffic traffic, I think some of the people here are mean too but I live here...
    Walk around like you own the place...everyone else does...
    Everything goes here thats for sure. And I will appologize in advance for the 100 police chases you will witness if you ever turn on a TV here. Its a daily thing...
    Oh and traffic...

  17. Dude, I was about 50 pounds overweight when I lived in LA. And though your assessments of that crazy city are pretty much true, as for the weight thing, it doesn't matter; the stick insect girls are just as insecure about their weight as anyone else.

  18. When I went out in LA I wore what I normally do in Chicago (dark jeans, black tank/top of some sort... for some reason chicagoans love them their black bar-wear)-and was a total wallflower all night. I went out and bought more vividly-colored stuff so I would stand out more. So I would guess if you don't want to stand out - stick with the jeans and black top! But seriously, nice jeans and a cute top will do just fine, I'm sure.

  19. i like how everyone keeps telling you to walk around like you're the shit... when everyone knows nobody walks in LA!


    okay. seriously. LA is a fun place to visit, but i'll be damned if i ever live in socal again.

    you'll have fun. really. but you will, no doubt, breathe a sigh of relief upon returning to our fair city. i always do.

  20. I'm terrified of LA, too - but luckily I live far far away and likely will successfully avoid it.

    I really appreciated your reference to your old "Whatever, I'll Dress Better When I'm Thinner" clothing. I've been doing the same thing for quite some time - and am considering biting the bullet and buying a few essentials in gargantuan sizes to get me through it. It's no fun feeling fat - and fat + unprettily dressed is even worse!

  21. Last time I was in LA, the Juicy Couture sweats uniform was still very much in. I moved back east three years ago and I think that may have changed by now, but honestly, in Hollywood, pretty much anything goes. Yeah, I guess it helps to have the latest shoes and hottest jeans, but honestly, there are more waiters than starlets.

    And it isn't really scary unless you have nightmares about astroturf, which is just about the only thing that grows there with the heat and the smog and the lack of water.

  22. LA is great! You'll have tons of fun.

  23. Hey toots,
    I lived in L.A. all my life (even raised my kids there) until about 5 years ago. Good part about L.A. is no one even notices you unless you are famous. You can wear anything you want and pretty much remain a invisible. I was scared to up north because I actually thought I might then need to participate.

    You will have a great time. Wear anything you want!

  24. I was born and raised in L.A...I love L.A. You will too...

  25. That’s funny, I’ve been the same way about the Bay Area since I moved to LA 2 years ago. I made a day trip to Berkeley for work, but I don’t think that counts as I landed in the Oakland airport and never actually saw San Fran. Someday though! LA is a lot like anyplace and nothing like anyplace at the same time. It’s got the good and the bad and the skinny and the fat and the normal folk and the crazies. Stick to Santa Monica and Venice and visit the Getty (but not at peak hours) and you will have a great time. If you want to chill on the down low I volunteer to take you to the Daily Pint for some of the best tap beer selection in LA and shuffle puck.

  26. i was in LA for a day, in the middle of traveling between SFO and san diego, so i had luggage with me, crappy comfy clothes, and wandered the blvd that way. totally didn't feel out of place - way too many tourists in those parts, i didn't see anyone famous-looking at all. course i didn't go to the fancy shopping areas either, which is where i guess the trendy folk go? i also witnessed no gang activity, for the record. :-)

  27. Oh, I love Los Angeles. Ya'll be nice to LA! It's a good place! And if you aren't nice my friends flaco and lil' oso will pull up and bust a cap in your... oh wait! hah hah! I meant, they'll. Um. Help you with your Louis V bag. Yup.


  28. yes, laurie, but will they offer me organic dirt?

    just wondering. i mean, if ya'll have it and all, might be nice to take some back with me...

  29. Don't even worry about it. Most of the people there are not the superthin, superchic sort-- and the ones that are won't even register you on their radar unless you're a celebrity. Just have a good time and be glad you don't have to live your life by their standards. What a drag that would be.

  30. Just wear a broken-in baseball cap and don't make eye contact. Everyone will think you're famous. Or at least rich.

  31. big white Jackie O sunglasses.

  32. It would be so cool if you did a cafe visit a la Dooce. :) That's probably just me being a big dork. I have lived in LA for 13 1/2 years and I'm a Midwestern transplant. If I can make it here, anyone can. It's really not so bad, I swear! I agree with everyone else: jeans and a cute top. Wear boots. Everything's sexier with boots.

    Enjoy your visit!


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