4865 Calle Real
Goleta, CA 93111
by Beau Cadiyo
She was blonde, with Crossfit-shaped shoulders and a well-earned tan, and as she walked down the Hollywood Walk of Stars, her quads twitched under her Spandex shorts as if she might lunge at any rare steaks that came within her testosterone-fueled reach. What really caught my eye, though, was the message scrawled across her shirt that summed up our time in Los Angeles:
"EVERYTHING IS A COMPETITION."
As she strutted past me on the Hollywood Walk of Stars, I was reminded of another blonde I'd seen earlier that day. I was sitting with my wife at a sidewalk cafe for breakfast, and in the pristine Beverly Hills street was a shiny new Mercedes. After a few minutes, a platinum blonde woman came out of a doorway holding a cup of coffee; she was in her 50s, but looked as if she had been well sculpted to look much younger. Something about her signalled that she hadn't worked herself to buy the car - she was being well taken care of. I mused that, perhaps, it was all part of a plan she'd worked out when she was far younger to find someone to buy her nice things. If that was the case, she'd grasped a basic truth early on in life: that if someone wanted to play that age-old game where wealthy men find hot young women and trade masculine money and status for feminine sexuality, such a person could probably do it in Los Angeles. If that was the case, I wondered when she'd decided that that was the game she wanted to play. If she had played such a game knowingly, who else was she playing with - or against? And who else was playing that game, but didn't realise it?
It also reminded me of a theory I came up with when walking the streets of London with my friend, Frank Maul. We walked down Savile Row, and were talking about the ways in which cities were centres of fashion, and I proposed that the reason urban dwellers care about fashion is because fashion is a sexual signal. The sexual marketplace must be greater and more competitive in giant cities than it is in smaller ones, or towns, because there are more people competing for sexual attention. Thus, anyone wishing to to play that game has to differentiate themselves however they can. Fashion has to evolve more rapidly and in more extreme ways in these bigger playing fields. Hot women everywhere are pretty much the same; however, their display of sexual availability or fitness in Topeka will be different than it would have been if they'd lived in Miami, or New York, because the game is different.
Seeing the message "EVERYTHING IS A COMPETITION" thus summarised the entire vibe of California for me. While this Crossfitting Amazon may have meant the message to apply mostly to athletics, I thought that it was also true of everything else in Los Angeles - that every exercise session, every clothing choice, ever meal, every eyebrow pluck could add to one's reproductive potential - or destroy it when it mattered most. If you weren't paying attention to those ramifications, you weren't playing hard enough. There were plenty of people playing - and if you weren't conscious you were in a game, you were already losing. The oppressive atmosphere I felt everywhere - walking through Hollywood, driving, lying in a tiny top-floor apartment in a building off the 101 - was the oppression of scrutiny, of women subconsciously judging my fitness for reproduction and men judging my level of threat.
Aware, of course, that I was on a honeymoon, and that I wasn't playing anymore, it was no big deal for me to throw caution to the wind and eat a Double Double at the In-N-Out in Goleta. As always, it was stupendous. My vegetarian wife even had a cheeseburger and said she loved it. As I walked back to the car, her fingers entangled in mine, I didn't think about competing - I only thought about getting away from Los Angeles and seeing more of the beautiful state I used to call home.