Aya Cash Gets Real About Dating Culture and the NYC vs. L.A. Battle
Romantic comedies are as formulaic as they come: Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy disappoints girl, boy makes up for it with out-of-this-world gesture, boy and girl live happily ever after. The FXX series You’re the Worst is not that story. Instead, it’s the sloppy, sometimes dark, and totally relatable version of love—just the way we like it. But it’s not just the spot-on portrayal of modern relationships that has us hooked; we’ve got a major crush on the show’s star Aya Cash, who happens to be every bit as cool and witty in real life, too. We caught up with the actress—en route to a You’re the Worst Sunday Funday brunch—to talk dating advice, Eastside hot spots, and more. Keep reading for our exclusive interview.
MYDOMAINE: What do you think sets You’re the Worst apart from other rom-coms on basic cable?
AYA CASH: I think a lot has been said about how they are terrible, but I think the point is that they are human and yes, they are narcissistic and they’re self-destructive and judgmental at times, but they also represent the sides of ourselves that are usually not represented on TV in the name of quote unquote likeability, which I think is one of the most overused and useless words. Everyone has a dark side to himself or herself, and pretending they don’t is a problem in this culture. It makes people feel terrible about themselves, when the truth is we all have narcissistic tendencies and we all have issues. And I think that’s what sets [the show] apart, because in many ways it’s honest. It’s definitely a ramped-up honesty and heightened reality. I mean people who choose to be in love when they don’t believe in love and choose to be in a relationship when they don’t believe in relationships are actually the most romantic.
MD: Do you think the show is an accurate portrayal of today’s dating world?
AC: I mean yeah. This sort of hookup culture is real now. None of my girlfriends are shy or prudish about sex, and if they want to go have a one-night stand, they do it and there’s not a lot of shame to it. There might be shame from other people, but they themselves don’t have shame about it. And I think Gretchen is representative of that. So yeah, that hookup culture is real. I also think we come from 50% divorce rates, if not more. More than 50% of my friends’ parents are divorced, but I also grew up in San Francisco in an urban city. We’re definitely a generation that gets disenchanted with forever, because it rarely works. I think that in many ways that is representative of the show in being realistic about what relationships are and what love is.
MD: What are you thoughts on all of the dating apps out there?
AC: I’m totally attracted and repulsed. Because I didn’t have that and wasn’t sort of dating in that world, I find it so cool that you can just look through and meet so many people that you would have never met. And then on the other hand for me, attraction is rarely physical, so seeing a picture of someone I think I’m attractive to is rarely what I have chemistry with in person. I would swipe the wrong way on the right people, because I wouldn’t think I wouldn’t be attracted to them. True chemistry is an in-person thing, and there are just so many things that go into it I don’t think you could tell from a picture and a one-sentence caption. I think it’s kind of great that you could date outside of your circle, but I think it really takes us down to our lower selves in many ways and is not an accurate way to gauge whether or not your going to be attracted to or interested in someone.
MD: Do you think Gretchen would be on a dating app?
AC: Yeah, I think she would be. I don’t think she’d be on a lot, but when she wanted to get laid or wanted to have a fun night out, I don’t think she’d be opposed to it. I think you see that Lindsay is on one this year, which hilarity ensues with anything involving Lindsay. We bring it into the show this year, this sort of online world.
MD: Gretchen and Jimmy are getting domestic this season. What’s something everyone should know before moving in with his or her significant other?
AC: I would say that all your secrets get out, so just be prepared. All the things that you’ve been able to hide from someone when you’re just dating and not living together, all that’s going to be outed. So be prepared, and don’t judge them too harshly either.
MD: What dating advice would you give Gretchen?
AC: Oh god! I didn’t really date ever. I met my husband when I was really young, so my dating experience is so little. If anything, I wish I slept with more people rather than less. I think Gretchen could teach me a few things about dating. Ultimately, I say stop freaking out because you’re in love with someone—let things happen. I think she’s avoiding it all. I know how to have a meaningful relationship with just one person, but in terms of dating in general, I think Gretchen is doing a very fine job.
MD: How are you and Gretchen similar?
AC: Her standards are very different than mine. The thing I connect more with Gretchen is her sort of dry, self-deprecating sense of humor, and also I was a complete disaster as a teenager in terms of tidiness. My room was not far off from Gretchen’s house. I grew out of it, but I definitely identify with her lack of ability to keep things organized and together in her life. It’s a constant battle resisting entropy for me.
MD: The show is filmed on the Eastside of Los Angeles. Do you have any favorite spots you like to visit when you’re not working?
AC: It’s funny. I spent a lot of time in Mount Washington this year and in Highland Park, and there are just some great places. I’m not a big bar person, but we shoot at The Little Cave on Figueroa, and that’s a cool little bar. And Kitchen Mouse, which is a great bizarre Portlandia sketch, because it’s vegan food with eggs, but it’s really good. I like meat, I can get down with Kitchen Mouse because it’s good and you don’t even realize that it’s quote-unquote healthy. I basically go anywhere there’s good food, as you can tell. Like I don’t know any good hot spots for hanging out; I just like to eat. Show me good food and good vintage. I hang out at Shopclass a lot too. It’s a vintage furniture store. They know me there; people tag me in their Instagrams at this place. I feel horribly embarrassed that I’m revealing how uncool I am.
MD: Do you have a favorite Eastside cliché?
AC: God, I love a good mustache. I mean that is the cliché of the Eastside is the mustache, particularly one that is waxed. But I don’t know, I enjoy it. I think there is a huge backlash of hipster culture, but all that hipster culture is and has been since like the beatnik, is people who are into music and art and style and aesthetic, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I think the problem is that it becomes associated with extreme wealth hidden in poverty. My real issue is that young 20-something whose parents bought them an apartment in Silver Lake or a house who are sort of pretending to be poor. And as someone who was poor, I’m like enjoy and be rich. You have the money, you have support, why not celebrate that? That’s the part of hipster culture that bugs me. Because you know every scene has its thing, right? I mean I just spent some time in West Hollywood for a couple of weeks, and that’s pretty obnoxious. You know, going to a café and everyone is in a full face of makeup and workout gear that has never been worked out in. That’s a whole other thing to me, and I would rather be on the Eastside, where I can roll out of bed in sweatpants and no one looks at me funny, and men have full facial hair. I don’t mind it as much, so I guess what I’m admitting is that I’m a hipster.
MD: Do you agree with You're the Worst's conversation about the Westside being boring?
AC: It’s sort of true, but then again we all want to judge something in order to define ourselves different than, so it’s sort of pointless in my mind to trash the Westside. I’m sure there are great things about the Westside. They have the beach. In some ways, it’s like New York trashing L.A. And I love New York, but at a certain point trashing L.A. is sort of the easy, boring route, because L.A. has better weather, and beaches, and outdoors, and we New Yorkers think we’ve somehow earned taste by having it harder. I’m shocked that the Midwest doesn’t claim the coolest, because they have the worst winters. I just think we all want to define ourselves against something, so yeah, f*ck the Westside.
MD: And more New Yorkers are coming out to L.A. now.
AC: It’s true. There was a New York Times article about the mass exodus of the creative class in New York, because it’s just too damn expensive now. And it is. I mean again, like I make a good living, and we have a rent-stabilized apartment, but if we ended up destabilized or if we had to move, we couldn’t afford to live in New York. And I’m a rich person, so I don’t know who is living in New York anymore. But, there are really amazing things still in New York. I don’t think it’s lost its—the fact that you have to be on the street with people of all classes and all races and all walks of life at all times. I mean [in Los Angeles] you are in your car, and in New York you’re sort of forced to confront humanity in a different way than you are in L.A. And I appreciate that about New York and love the subway. I rarely take a cab. I feel like the subway is this great equalizer. And I love to read, and I find myself reading less when I’m in L.A. Let me say, NPR out here is really awesome. But also reading books is important in life. My mother is a writer; she would kill me if I stopped reading.
MD: I saw that last year you did a drive across the country? Can you share any road trip advice?
AC: You know, I’m not 19 years old anymore, so we definitely stayed at some nicer places. I’d say even if you’re broke, splurge on some really nice nights midtrip, because you’re driving and are in the car so much that it’s nice to land somewhere along the way that’s like a really nice charming relaxing place to be. And eat! Eat the food that each place is famous for—we had really great barbecue in Texas. Just eat your way through. Find out what the best restaurant is in each stop, and sometimes that’s a $3 taco.