by Ana Fernatt
According to a recent census, Venice has one of the highest gatherings of single people in their 20s and 30s in all of Los Angeles county. Some are divorced, and some have never married, but the prime of our lives singledom is real in California’s Dogtown. As someone who embodies both of these things and a former dating columnist for the Chicago RedEye, this biweekly column series will be an exploration of all it means to be a single 30-something in Venice from dating and love to finding success and a foundation.
Venice is a city of romance and magic. There is a man just popping up at Sunday BBQs whose face I used to cut out of Tiger Beat. My roommates refer to the local grocery store as The Club because you’re likely to meet-cute a new woke bae over some artisanal vegan mayonnaise. The other day, a player from the golden era of Chicago basketball pulled over to talk to me – the girl biking in a 20-year-old Bulls jersey. What is this place?
That’s exactly what I’m here to muddle over, digest and share. I’d say “to discover,” but we already know Venice was hot before I got here. I am no Columbus. What I am is a romantic and an analyst; a lover of spirituality and community; a Netflix and deep conversation-er. Venice will be leading me down the watery pathway to finding myself and not the other way around. That’s where the magic of Venice seems to lie: a collection of soul seekers situated on a magnetic vortex and system of canals.
I came to live in Venice by a series of chances. After moving to L.A. from Chicago in March, I found myself in a very unhealthy living situation. A girl I met on my third day here had a room I could take while trying to figure out my next move. I knew from the moment I lay down in the spare room that I wouldn’t be leaving. Venice called me as it seems to do for everybody that finds themselves suddenly meditating along the walk streets as if finally waking from a long dream.
I am a new Venetian, having pulled myself away from my family and friends, the home I knew for 11 years and everything that I had settled in the midwest to begin the next phase of my life. It is a burgeoning relationship and Venice and I are fully enwrapped in the honeymoon phase. I’m letting my feet feel for roots, and my heart is open wide to sprout branches. Just as I fell for Chicago and its broad shoulders, I’m embracing Venice and all its eccentricities as beautiful geographies on my lover’s face.
Stay weird, Venice. Because I am also weird. As Dr. Seuss concluded, “we are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” If this is what love is, I am all in.
Ana Fernatt is a columnist, blogger, and leading podcast host. You can find Ana on Instagram and Twitter @AnaAndThings, in upcoming issues of Yo! Venice, and maneuvering the streets of Venice with her dog, Figaro.