Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

I’ve lived in Orange County for over 13 years now, and it’s the longest I’ve lived in a single area during my lifetime. I lived in Minneapolis for 11 years and San Diego for 7 prior to showing up in Orange County for college and then sticking around until the present day and beyond.  It wasn’t so much that I fell in love with Orange County as it was that I stuck around because a lot of my friends from college were still around and I didn’t know where else to go.  As some friends left, and some friendships started to fade, I wondered if it was time to move on.  It’s an idea that I’d toy around with every couple of years, but one that I was never convicted to act upon.  When I tried out online dating, I would occasionally check to see if my soul mate might be in one of my favorite cities like New York or Chicago to see if that would move the needle.  Alas, nothing came of those initial searches, so I returned to looking at Southern California.

I’ve been in a long distance relationship before, and while I completely understand why people tend to stay away from them, I personally would do it again if it was for the right person.  Of course, I know people that think that my current situation of dating someone in Los Angeles qualifies as long distance.   I know people are busy and that driving in Southern California is a chore, but it confuses me that people are so adamant about people dating people within a 15 mile radius after going through all the work that is online dating.  I find it extremely narcissistic to believe that “the one” is within a convenient 15 minute drive, or maybe I’m just bitter that it never seems to be the case for me.

I’ve dated a handful of girls in Orange County, some that grew up there and some that ended up there for school or work.  Whether they were born and raised there or not, there didn’t seem to be anything especially “Orange County” about them, or at least nothing like The Hills or The OC might lead people to believe.  It wasn’t until I tried online dating that I discovered that most girls (at least on dating sites) that are compatible with me, don’t live in Orange County, but in Los Angeles.  Obviously, part of that can be attributed to the fact that Los Angeles has more people, and therefore there’d be more matches, but it’s not like Orange County is a small desolate area.

My Los Angeles friends claim that Orange County folk are a completely different breed, stereotypes withstanding.  I’d like to think that growing up in San Diego would give me a unique perspective in the OC v LA debate, and while there are definitely some differences, there seem to be enough people in the OC or transplants that live here to make me believe that there has to be more than a few girls that I’m compatible with.  I once tried to date a girl from the OC who moved to LA, and even though things started great through e-mailing, things fell apart once we met in person.  For some reason, the chemistry was just not there.  She’d make jokes that didn’t land and I tried to be charming, but everything just fell flat.  I couldn’t put my finger on it.  It just didn’t click.

I eventually decided to cast my net past my initial 30 mile radius and I dipped my toe into the bigger pond known as Los Angeles.  Perhaps as some sort of rite of passage, I immediately dated an aspiring actress, then a girl with a fashion design background.  This was based on the online cards that I was dealt, opposed to me trying to date the most glamorous girls that I could find.  I did for a while, fall in love with the idea, that I was supposed to be dating girls of this ilk, and that’s the reason why I had so many lean dating years in my 20s.  I met some great girls, but they were all too busy to fit me into their chaotic and overbooked lives.  Eventually, I would start dating girls that had more “normal” careers, which didn’t immediately change my dating fortunes like I had hoped.  Even when it came to dating the “normal” girls, the online dating sites continued to direct me north, and right when I was at the end of my rope, I found success.

While I’ve noticed myself spending more and more time in LA since I first moved to Orange County for college, it’s not like people who enjoy music and comedy are exclusive to LA.  The journey didn’t reveal to me what was so different between the girls of LA and  the girls of OC, so I’ll never know why an overwhelming number of matches were just far enough away where it was almost inconvenient.   It’s a moot issue at this point, and my love life has never tried to sit me down and explain anything.  But, since a computer was involved this time around, it seems like now would be a better time than any to ask for a logical explanation.



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