I am now in LA 10 days and I am growing acclimatised to quirky things being the norm -- but nothing prepared me for what happened yesterday.
I was having my hair blowdried and I couldn't help but notice that the stylist had an incredible body. Every inch of her was toned and tanned to perfection.
"You have a great body," I finally said to her, trying my best not to sound creepy or -- even worse -- like I was coming on to her.
"If you wanna get a date in this town you gotta work out at least five times a week," she said, without batting an eyelid.
I waited for the some sort of break in the atmosphere followed by a loud "I'm joking!", but it never came. Indeed, she added: "Out here, people will judge you so harshly and you have all the actresses and models to compete with."
I said nothing and left feeling a little less attractive than when I came in, despite the fact that my hair was now beautiful.
Later, as I was leaving one of LA's best nightspots, The Spare Room in the Roosevelt Hotel, a guy came up to me. We made casual conversation but when I finally got hold of a taxi, he grabbed my arm before I could get in.
"You know it's all about networking here in LA. You should give me your number," he said. He said it totally deadpan, like he was actually doing me a favour. Strangely, I did give it to him.
The following day, while nursing my gentle hangover with eggs Benedict in Kings Road Cafe, a rather older-looking man came up to me.
"You have great style," he said. Before I could say anything, he was sitting down in front of me.
"So, is your boyfriend or husband here with you?" he asked.
"No, I'm single," I said, really wishing he would go away.
"Are you in AA?" he came back with.
"Are you sworn to Jesus?"
"No," I said, beginning to get irritated.
"Oh, well then, that means I can date you," he said. My jaw dropped. He whipped out his phone and looked at me expectantly.
And that's just the way it is here, because plenty of people don't drink, they openly are used to approaching people on the street, stone cold sober, and it can be quite disarming at first.
People manage their love lives here with a similar format to a business transaction. They express their needs and values from the outset and if someone doesn't initially fall into line with them, they will not pursue it any further.
The simple ground rules here are that there is absolutely no beating around the bush. Someone will state from the outset that they wish to date you and that 'X' and 'Y' are the qualities they are looking for.
When you are on a date in LA, the guy pays for everything, no questions asked. Now, I know us Irish girls love to be treated but I also know plenty of us will happily chip in.
Here, you can also date several people at the same time and they're very open about it. Just because hot Josh takes you for dinner on Tuesday, doesn't mean he won't be meeting someone else the next night. Until you are 'exclusive', you can openly date several people, as can he.
Comparing this with the Dublin dating scene, most people are too coy -- or dignified -- to ask someone outright their intentions upon first meeting. Most Irish meetings happen at about 2am in a nightclub. Getting to know someone happens after you have kissed them. It's also assumed that, if you like someone, you won't really be seeing other people -- at least you wouldn't admit it, in my experience.
You know what? Maybe asking a stranger out for dinner if they tick all your boxes works occasionally, and it could save some future arguments. Personally, I think I would prefer the awkward, drunken, fidgety method I am used to and -- as sad as it is, seeing as I am in the land of the rich and famous -- I would prefer an Irish accent any day.