When Greg and I finally arrive in Los Angeles, we’re starving. We’d just spent seven hours in a car driving from Phoenix. Granola bars and Popchips, while delicious, do not a meal make. I take the map I grabbed from the lobby of our downtown hotel and we begin to walk to a chic restaurant the concierge told me about just a few blocks away.
“I could have sworn it was here?” I ask, confused on a dark street corner without much more than a sandwich shop and a convenience store. I look at the map and Greg casually notes I’m holding it upside down. He begins to walk ahead of me, he’s hungry and tired since he’s been driving all day and it’s putting him on edge. “Here,” I say as I catch up and begin to hand over the map, “You look.”
Greg pushes the map away surreptitiously, lest he look like a tourist to anyone within the vicinity, like the homeless guy staring at us. “Absolutely not,” he says to me. “I will not hold the map.” I sigh, exasperated as I pull up the address of the restaurant on my phone, realizing we were just a few feet away the whole time.
When we walk in, I feel like maybe it was a mistake. I’m a little under-dressed and the restaurant looks like a Sophia Coppola movie inside; dream-like and anachronistic and there were a lot of macaroons for sale in every color of the rainbow. The interior was everything you’d want in an LA restaurant. Swanky, yet refined. It made you feel important just walking in there. Well, maybe, if you’re from LA. I just started to feel self-conscious.
I’m from Arizona and while Phoenix isn’t really a small town, it isn’t exactly a metropolis either. Suddenly I wished so hard that I was in high heels instead of flats, a tight black dress instead of a t-shirt and pencil skirt, and in ten pounds of make up that would make my cheek bones really stand out. To put it in Toddlers & Tiaras terms: I’m not full glitz, I’m semi-glitz. I feel like some of the girls in LA, especially on a Friday night at this restaurant, walk around like My Little Show Ponies. Like, I hadn’t seen boobs that high and pointy since 1955 reruns of I Love Lucy on TV Land. Although, Lucy’s weren’t because of her breast implants. She just had one of those crazy fifties bras, you guys.
I was feeling super out of place and super country- something I’d never felt before. Usually, I’m the person everyone says should be living in New York. Now suddenly in LA I felt like Miley Cyrus in her song “Party in the USA”. Like, “All I see are stilettos, I guess I never got the memo.” I felt like apologizing to everyone for my attire and praying that a Jay-Z song came on.
“I’m so not LA,” I tell Greg who shakes his head at me.
“Just remember that you’re better than all of the fake people in here,” he says and squeezes my hand as he nods towards the woman to his left wearing practically nothing and laughing a little too hard at a man’s joke. “At least you’re just being yourself.”
I was being authentic, which everyone should be by the way. Plus, I think this authentic me thing actually helped when I went up to the older maître d’ and asked him for a table. I look twelve despite already being twenty-four and I think that fact, in conjunction with not wearing my boobs as a necklace, helped me snag a table before the people who actually came in before us.
“Enjoy,” the maître d’ winks at me as I walk by him on the way to our table, lead by the handsome wannabe actor/waiter. And I totally did enjoy, even though that Jay-Z song never came on. Miley would have been proud.
Featured image courtesy of Drew Coffman.