Dispatches from a spring breaker stuck in L.A.

Advice: Do Not Follow

The first time I came to Los Angeles as an alcohol-drinking 21-year-old, I went to a bar in Hollywood and had a complete mental breakdown. I was trying to sip my Long Island, but so were the bloated puffer fish lips of the four 40-year-old women to my right, and I just couldn’t deal. I am from the Central Valley. We don’t have as many plastic faces, and when you aren’t used to them, they appear not as attractive alterations to the human form but as terrifying things coming to destroy everything you hold dear.

I wanted to cup the faces of these women between my hands, stroke them tenderly and press delicately down on their protruding plastic, but my friend — a Hollywood native — insisted it wouldn’t be appropriate.

So I just gawked and eventually went outside to get some air. Outside, I met a stubble-faced man who told me he was an aspiring actor. I looked at him with laughter in my eyes and dared him, “Prove it!” Then, with a provocative pause and a set of raised eyebrows, I added, “Act!”

He took a minute, then gave me a very elaborate and dedicated portrayal of a man desperately in love, trying to propose. He ended with a dramatic dip down to one knee, holding my hand in his hands. It was sweet, and I told him so. Then he gave me his business card in case I ever needed to hire an actor — you know, for all the Hollywood movies I make.

Now, back in Los Angeles once again, my spring break has been as stereotypically “SoCal” and silicone-saturated as the last. I wanted to give my dedicated Daily Californian readers the benefit of all I have learned this sunny and synthetic spring break.

Most importantly, this trip has shown me the beauty of the critically acclaimed taco cleanse. Taco cleanses have been heralded as the “only cleanse you’ll ever need” by Jezebel and the “new path of wellness and self discovery” by the Lazy Smurf’s Guide. But the reality is so much more than that. Ingesting only tacos and margaritas for three days straight will improve your overall mood and help you become one with your gastrointestinal tract. And you will start to ask yourself the truly hard-hitting questions, such as: “What were you chanting about before tacos became the theme of your weekly Thursday trances?,” or “How do you tell Jehovah’s Witnesses that you have found the ‘One and Only,’ and it comes with pickled carrots?”

Unfortunately, the Terrific Taco Cleanse may not be for everyone out there. When I asked my friend and trusted taco teacher if she felt like she was closer to enlightenment now that her cleanse was over, she looked at me glowingly and said, “I think I gained, like, 3 pounds.” But expecting an L.A. original to place spiritual awakening over physical representation was just a preposterous presumption on my part.

Learning the divinity of the taco was not the only thing this break taught me: The L.A. locals have improved my linguistic skills as well. In L.A., fathers are no longer described as baby daddies but as the shorthand “bbdd.” You can use this as a noun or a verb — for example, “He is my bbdd,” or “I am trying to bbdd him.” I recommend that the next time you visit a bar in L.A., you go up to an aspiring actor and ask if he is already someone’s “bbdd.” If he looks at you inquisitively, you are good to go. If he gets angry and tells you to start speaking like an adult, throw a drink at him. No one is an adult in L.A.

Due to the patriarchal constructions of the English language, specifically shorthands, baby momma is not shortened to “bbmm.” Instead, I recommend using the term bbMOMA, which will show that you can juggle being both a mother and a modern art enthusiast.

As for me, I am going to get back to eating my tacos and drinking this orange thing in front of me. While L.A. has been fun, the fridge closest to me has quinoa pesto instead of regular pesto. I’m excited to go home.

Natasha von Kaenel writes the Friday column offering advice that you shouldn’t follow. You can contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @hermanmccain.

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