Bi-coastal dating diary

Jul 24, 2009 at 7:16 p.m. ET

Do the same dating rules apply everywhere? Not necessarily.

The soul of your city plays a major role in how you play the dating game. New York and Los Angeles couldn't be more opposite geographically and socially, and the rules of the game vary. Check out these tips for making a successful love match -- or at least having a great time -- in each.

Bi-coastal Dating

Dating in New York City

Two things everybody looking for love should know about NYC: Time is money, and the women outnumber the men. Ladies, you do not have the advantage here. All is not lost, however: Just remember a few helpful hints, and you'll be on your way to dating success.

Dating, like everything else, moves fast in New York. You have to be able to keep up with your head held high and without annoying neediness. Quick coffee dates, drinks without dinner, and dinner without a show are all examples of New York-style speed dating. But not just the dates themselves are quickies -- the relationships often are, too.

With so many people in the metro area, it's easy to cut and run at the first sign of discontent -- someone else is always waiting in the wings. If you're looking for a long-lasting relationship, take the time to get to know someone before rushing to judgement. That penchant for taking off at the first sign of perceived trouble could be an underlying case of commitment-phobia.

Don't forget what your mother taught you. "Be a nice person," says Bill Cammack, who blogged the Women's Guide to NYC Dating. "This isn't Los Angeles. You're not in demand. We are! There's no reason to play the stuck-up role or try to ignore a brotha like he just asked you for change so he can get something to eat. If his presentation is proper, and he steps to you respectfully, consider at least acknowledging his presence."

Dating in Los Angeles

The dating scene in this sunny California city is all about two things: looks and location. Superficial? Maybe. But you wouldn't date a guy who looks like crap and lives an hour's drive away just for the sake of being with someone (we hope), so why should he?

Looks do matter, no matter where you are. Let's handle the looks department first. "Regardless of the location, habitat, marriage system or cultural living arrangement, men in all 37 cultures... value physical appearance in choosing a mate more than women," says David Buss, author of Evolution of Desire. When you're looking for love, always put your best foot forward. That means dressing cute and putting on lipgloss when you grocery shop. You never know who you'll meet at your local celeb-heavy Whole Foods. And you don't have to be a supermodel to make an impression; just put yourself together nicely. The stereotypical LA woman is blond, buxom, surgically enhanced and cellulite free, but is that the reality? Of course not. While you will find a higher percentage of enhanced beauties here than you would in, say, Toledo, that doesn't mean you can't work what your mama gave you.

Where you look is just as important as how you look in LA.
Urban sprawl is a way of life here, and so is working long into the night. By the time you finish work and get to a central location to meet your date, it could be 10:00 or later -- and that's on a weeknight!   To maximize your social time, find a place to live that's close to where you work. Less time commuting means more time to play!

Nobody walks in LA, and the spotty public transportation system is not date friendly. You'll find yourself driving all over the city for dates, so watch your alcohol intake unless you have a cab budget.

Not interested in entertainment industry-types? No worries. LA has much more to offer than Hollywood power players. Check out the downtown area for legal and finance professionals instead.