Dancing with Earthquakes
Making Positive First Impressions In L.A.
By Rosana Clarkson
May 9, 2009 - 9:38:08 PM

LOS ANGELES—There are many ways to make a good positive impression in all social situations in Los Angeles. Having lived in Southern California since birth, I think I have been able to polish my skills.

For example, in a gathering such as a party, I try to warmly greet everybody by offering appetizers on a platter and playing 94.7 The WAVE.  I also avoid discussions that touch on offensive issues such as celebrity gossip and political bias.

When being interviewed for a job, I make sure to dress presentably and to remain tactful, friendly and business-like in my responses. (I am also careful to avoid speaking of my past bosses in a derogatory manner.)

On a first date, I make sure to be especially conscientious in my personal hygiene and grooming and to exercise good manners and proper social etiquette. I also show off my skills in waltz and ballroom dancing.

I believe that my special care to remain diplomatic truly pays off.

At the party, everybody turns the boom box to POWER 106, points at me and shouts, "Let's get rid of this little tool and set the roof on fire!" Then somebody grabs me by the back of the collar and the seat of the pants and throws me out the door, going, "Heave-ho!" as I shout, "C'mon! I'm not as dorky as you think! I smoke banana peels sometimes!" Then they spray silly string on me and slam the door.

In the job interview, as I walk out the door feeling mighty proud of myself, I overhear the potential employer snickering on the phone going, "I think this is the first time she's worn high heels."

On the first date, my gentleman caller is performing new moves on the dance floor that I either never heard of, or he made up, such as The Drunk Giraffe and The Psychotic Gorilla. When he finally dances his way towards me, he asks me if I'd like to try a hot new drug out on the market called Froot Loops. "It will make you see all types of interesting colors and leave your head spinning!" he urges.

Elated, I then attempt a back flip, then slip and fall and finally stand back up, holding my back and head, and saying, "Uh, that's okay, I think I'm getting that sensational effect already."

When I go home on the subway, I remind myself that I am living in the 21st century, and not the 19th, and in L.A., not in England, so then decide to tighten up my style in order to fit in.

"THAT'S IT!"  I shout, accidentally slapping the guy in the seat next to me. "I will turn from a prude into a rebel!"

So I streak my hair pink, purple, green and orange, then shape it into spikes, and at every party I go to I bust a move to Techno music, and gossip about Scientology. Then I drop to the floor in front of the judge at the Superior Court. (Or is it a prison cell? I usually can't tell the difference.)

At my next job interview I barge in with a motorcycle and send the papers flying and the windows shattering to prove that I am not a boring person to work with. Then I breeze in the room and shout, "Hey, Homeboy, WAAAASSSSS UUUUUUP!" and bump fists with the interviewer.

As I proceed to light up a Swisher Sweet and offer him one, or continuously interrupt his questions with an offer to play chess, he looks through my beat-up resume, and I slouch in my chair insolently, chewing tobacco and spitting on walls while he clears his throat and asks me why I was fired from my last job.

"Because I was drinking," I state proudly.

"I see," he says, nodding gravely, rubbing his chin and I believe that he is admiring my brutal honesty.

When he asks me about my qualifications and I say, "Sure, credentials.  Right!" I dive out the window.

On my next date, I constantly flex my muscles and look in mirrors and splash cologne on going, "Yeahhh, baby!" and by the time the day is over I realize I don't even have a date, and that I am in the back of a big truck being shipped to the nearest mental institution. (Or is it escaping to Mexico?  That's hard to tell.)

So any recommendations I have in the way of making positive first impressions in L.A. would be to do the opposite of everything I do.  Meantime, I may need to learn to find the gray area between passive and aggressive in most interactions. (Passive-aggressive seems to be the most fun.)

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