L.A. Woman

That’s what I am, though I don’t much feel like it. My Levi’s, always a little too long, drag on the ground in back since I’m too tall for medium height and too short for tall. My Converse All Stars, caked with mud from kicking tennis balls at the dog park. My ubiquitous t-shirt and black hoodie–I have a closet full of them. These are hardly what The Doors had in mind.

 

I am just another lost angel–city of night.

I’m not what the rest of you have in mind when you think of L.A. either. You’ve all seen the Hollywood version of me. The glowing skin, the big tits, the blonde flowing hair and a smile. That smile. I don’t have that smile. I have a smile, but it’s not the smile you know. It’s not the smile the rest of the world sees. I am not on the billboards. You won’t see me in the glossy magazines.

I try to remember what I thought of those shimmering images before I saw the truth. I haven’t always been an L.A. woman. I was a Boston woman before that and a Detroit woman, too.

I try to remember my impression of L.A. and L.A. women before I became one, but it’s all so hazy. It was too long ago; it’s not new or fresh anymore. I’ve lived in L.A. long enough that it’s a part of me. If I ever leave this sprawling city, I will still be an L.A. woman, at least for a little while, until I become something else.

L.A. isn’t much like the movies, but it never has been. What you see isn’t what you get. There is a reason it’s called movie magic after all.

There aren’t many Raymond Chandlers or Charles Bukowskis in Los Angeles anymore. They left a void of booze, brawls and busty dames that we just cannot fill, even though we try. Sometimes, I wish I lived in Chandler’s Los Angeles, even if it means wearing heels, a hat and doing nothing all day but practicing my smoldering look like Lauren Bacall:

(bfi.org.uk)

(bfi.org.uk)

The little girls in their Hollywood bungalows.

I don’t think of myself as an L.A. woman, but then, I don’t often think of myself as a woman at all. My gender doesn’t define me. Really, I only consciously categorize myself as a woman if I’m filling out a form or searching for a public bathroom.

Important distinction right here.

Important distinction right here.

I’m the one with the A shape. That’s where I need to go. That’s as much as I pigeonhole myself.

After a brief fifteen-year temporary arrangement, L.A. still isn’t my city and it never will be; I was not born here. But, we’ve reached a détente. We don’t fight each other anymore. We accept each other as we are. Even though neither the city nor you see me as the type of woman who moves clear across the country to Los Angeles, that’s just what I am, muddy Converse and all.

Just another lost angel in the city of night.

There are 30 comments

  1. kraftycatcreations

    I am a former New Yorker living in Florida. A lot of “Northerners” who move here are retired and claim they now live in paradise. I work. To me it is just another place to live. I am fine with that. It is all in the perspective.

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  2. ScorpionGlow

    I totally get what you’re saying. I do not consider myself “from here” as in from where I live now. Locals hear me speak and always say “You’re not from around here, are you?” No, I’m certainly not.

    I will always consider myself from where I was born and raised, and I’m proud of that part of me that doesn’t back down or take anyone’s shit. It’s a huge part of who I am.

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  3. JackieP

    I’ve lived in a lot of places myself. No place really felt like home, yet. The place I was born and raised feels less like home than any place I have lived. But I don’t think I’m done moving yet, something is off on the horizon I think. Maybe the next place will be home. It must be nice to have a place you would call ‘home’. Or I’m just a strange one.

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    1. goldfish

      I know what you mean. Even my hometown doesn’t feel like home anymore. It’s been 20 years since I lived there and a lot has changed. If I settled down there again, I’m sure I’d get used to it, but really, my home only exists in my memories.

      Like

  4. Mental Mama

    Given that I’m currently living in the house I grew up in, I can’t relate to much of this. However, I wanted to say that I really enjoyed what you were (I think) getting at in regards to not always fulfilling the stereotypical roles that others, and ourselves, seem so eager to impose on us. We are who we are, regardless of where we are, and each of us is perfect in our own way. (not the Monsters, but us decent people, you get what I mean)

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  5. List of X

    I would have been very surprised if all women in LA actually looked like models. To me, that’s just an impossible distortion of reality, like Godzilla or a pair of college students/waiters being able to afford a huge apartment in Manhattan.

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    1. goldfish

      It is an impossible distortion of reality. People tend to pigeonhole LA more than any other city (besides maybe NYC) without even a passing interest in learning the truth. It’s weird. They think they know it because they see it on TV I guess.

      Like

  6. draliman

    I’m glad “LA real” isn’t like “LA movies”. That would be too scary.
    No matter which county or country I’ve lived in I’ve always felt “Cornish” :-)

    Like

    1. goldfish

      LA would be scary if it was exactly like the movies. It’s an impossible ideal.

      I’m not sure what feeling “Cornish” entails, but if that’s you, it’s okay by me. :)

      Like

  7. wakingofthebear

    I am a Texas man, born and bred. There is a saying I like, “You never ask a man if he is from Texas. If he is, he will let you know soon enough, and if he isn’t, you don’t want to embarrass him.”

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  8. praw27

    I left the town I grew up in because I didn’t “fit”in: my beliefs, values and lifestyle were all taboo. After 20 years, I moved back to help with ailing parents. They died, I stayed. I feel like I belong here and like I am stuck here and like I still don’t fit here. Interesting. Who says you can’t go home???? It seems to be in your blood though!

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