L.A., at least stereotypically, is the place for young, upwardly-mobile, self-celebrating, wanna-be noteworthy people. It's all bright lights, movie stars, hip threads, and youth as far as the sunglass-covered eye can see. This city is a young-person's amusement park every minute of the week and your youth melts faster than a paleta in a September heatwave. So, before you become a sad old sack, you better maximize your childish fun. Plus, people here love being told what they're currently missing out on, what they've already missed and what an authoritative publication identifies as a series of requirements. So, here's 30 of them:
30. Do a ton of drugs and go on a game show
It has to be a literal ton, though. You'll be amazed at how much can fit into a well-hydrated, surprisingly-elastic young body. The internet will love you for it.
29. Develop a ridiculous point of view and make that your identity
It's not “obnoxious as fuck” when you can call it a “personal brand.” Things that make you cool in your 20s? Be a blogger who exclusively walks everywhere, only listening to music made in 1937 by Latvian immigrants, wearing burlap exclusively, etc. Let it fly. Adults don't have freak flags they can let fly.
28. Perfect being an L.A. exceptionalist
When bragging about your city, move beyond the celebrity bullshit, the weather and the fresh produce or whatever, and go straight for the L.A. Basin's unique geology. It is unique, after all. Tell people at home about all of those conglomerate and breccia sediment formations. They care. They really care.
27. Surmount an intervention
Still drinking like a college sophomore while your pals have all slowed down? It's not your problem, it's theirs. Fact: if there isn't a licensed shrink present it's not a valid intervention. Hang tight and focus on the fact that finding new friends will be pretty easy when you re-up your stash later.
26. Sweat your marginally famous neighbor
They won't know him based on name recognition, but your friends will never forget that you live next door to the star of Swimfan….because you don't ever stop talking about him. He might date you if you can only orchestrate a perfect conversation at Gelson's. If you really play your cards right, everyone will be calling you “Mrs. Swimfan” in no time.
25. Forget you have a lot of weed in your house
Oh, right. Skunk and Carb left you that huge sack of OG Kush last August…it doesn't go bad, does it? Until Washington and Colorado made it legal, this city was the epicenter of American marijuana tourism for 20-somethings. It still isn't exactly illegal, but it isn't not illegal…which makes it more fun.
24. Accept the fact that none of your major life goals are getting achieved until you're 40
“The Plan” keeps coming up again, and you still haven't even scratched off “Step one: live like a legitimate adult human.”
People surprisingly still do this, and youth is a prime excuse do to cruel things to your body that bear no scientific merit. If you really want to get into the spirit, invent a new cleanse. Sand? Sand is vogue these days.
22. Go out with someone you met in real life
Haha, just kidding, dummy! No one in L.A. ever does this ever.
21. Start a commune or a “collective”
How hard is it to do art and live in an an open-concept warehouse nowadays? Pretty easy if you can dam up a stream of that Silicon Beach cashflow. The orgies, the be-ins, the hackathons, and the communal lifestyle salads are mere bonuses. Think about it: None of the Mansons had hit 30 before their commune was in all the papers.
20. Get balls-deep into the outer 'burbs
Rents suck everywhere so the folks in places like Sylmar and Covina have no excuse for not living closer to cooler things. Set up shop and mock them mercilessly. At the end of this decade, you'll be one of them and you'll finally get the joke that you've become.
Where would a listicle be without a tattoo entry? Blah blah blah, put a permanent thing on your body that won't seem so cool in a decade, blah blah. Pop culture reference!
18. Tell people you're a writer, director, producer, actor, performer, engineer and entrepreneurial-jack-of-all-trades
What don't you do for a living? By your third decade, you'll have subtracted all of them from your leftover business cards with a sharpie.
17. Complain that your neighborhood is gentrifying
Every L.A. neighborhood has been taken over by some group or another at some point, but you don't know that because you've still got all that misplaced youthful passion to obscure your reasoning skills! Bitch about how all of the people like you had the audacity to move onto your block a year after you did, you young whippersnapper. When you're aged, you'll be a homeowner and doing the exact same thing with less passion.
16. Vegas, baby, Vegas.
Yeah, people still say that when they've got no other ideas and no obligations for the next few days. The older you get the sooner into that five-hour drive you'll realize that the free drinks and death-taunting buffets aren't worth the bank-account-draining and the three-day hangover. For most of your 20s, however, you'll have the hormone-induced responsibility-blocker that will get you through that whole trip and back.
15. Eight goddamn birthdays in one goddamn night
You're too young to have any real meaningful relationships in this town, but all eight of these parties have crucial industry connections that you absolutely need. Gas up and pace your booze, bub, it's gonna be a long and vapid one.
14. Five friends out on the town? Five separate cars.
We know, it's an old tired joke. But it wouldn't be funny if it wasn't true.
13. Go to Coachella, FYF and Burgerama without complaining
“Festivals are the WORST,” you'll be saying when you're old. You'll probably even tweet about it to your other old friends from the old people places you frequent. But all that oldster tweet-hate is just jealousy, so get on it it now, before it's too late.
12. Piss in the pool at Chateau Marmont
Preferably from the outside. Think about it: famous people will soon be swimming in molecules of your personal filth. Only Tom Cruise knows that kind of power.
11. Eight effing shows in one effing night
“But is Carly's thing bands or comedy? Both? Ugh. But [object of affection] will be there?” You've got a car. Make the most of it.
10. Avoid eye contact with someone you don't have the balls to unfriend on Facebook
You met them two years ago at one of the eight birthdays you had to go one night, and haven't seen them again until you're both stuck in a Trader Joe's park-ocalypse. If you make eye contact then you might have to talk to them but they can't further your career, so why should you? Or can they? Best to keep up the charade at least until you awkwardly run into them at the Bowl this summer.
9. Go naked somewhere.
Blah blah blah, you'll be fat and unattractive, blah blah. No one over 30 goes all nake's in places. Even better, that famously famous L.A. weather keeps all of your jumblies and wubblies from getting all chilly-willy.
8. Fire your agent / manager
If you haven't done this by 30, you're done. Fact.
7. Date a stereotype
The Valley Girl? The Beach Bro? Curleycue Mustache Suspenders Guy? They. Are. Real. Date one. Date 'em all. When you're stuck in a grocery line with your two screaming brats sometime north of 35, you can reflect on the “cultural diversity” of your youth.
6. Have a one-night stand with someone way out of your league
L.A.'s beautiful people get bored with L.A.'s other beautiful people and you're primed to take advantage of that when you're south of thirty. Hot Angelenos will weather your ugly and fuck you for it, because the only thing that this city hates is oldness.
5. Audition on a whim
Because fame is made out of lightning in a bottle, not hard work and determination. Showing up feels pretty passe when you're a real adult, so get it out of the way while you're still young.
4. Eat like you don't give a shit
Before age and gravity catch up with you, there are so many delicious and edible life-shortening things in this town — have you heard of Grill 'em All's “Behemoth” or had a Donut Man donut? Get on it, grasshopper.
3. Take yourself really really (really) seriously
You'll do this more than once if you're making permanent home the City of Angels — but it won't be cute when you're in your third decade. Music nerd? Cluck and hiss at anyone who doesn't have “that” on vinyl. Film school grad? Close those eyes and sigh deeply and frustratingly when a stranger can't name the third DP on The Last Picture Show.
2. Consider moving
“No one is from L.A.,” goes the old saying. Even the people actually from here will tell you how rare they are…so get out. You'll never be one of them, even if you crossed the county line just seconds after you were born. Plus, aren't we running out of water? What are you going to do without water? Do you want to catch skin cancer or incurable cynicism? The longer you're here, the more likely it is that you'll get both. It's science.
1. But, stay, though.
Because where else are you going to live? What other city will take your four months of “production experience” seriously? Plus, you can't move back to Main Street U.S.A. when you're “Mrs. Swimfan” now, can you? But, seriously, stay because there's no other place like L.A. and there never will be — even if you grow too cynical to enjoy it.