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The Orange County Scene

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The Orange County Scene

The OC

Preface: Orange County is often the butt of many jokes and harsh stereotypes – most of which are true.


Dominant Occupations: Orange County’s YSAs have a presence in many of the major trades and industries throughout the region. You’ll no doubt run into the typical finance and accounting people, doctors and lawyers, etc., but we also have real estate brokers, social workers, hair stylists, production managers, police officers, nannies, salespeople, mechanics, marketing and advertising experts, teachers, physical therapists…the list goes on and on.  There are also those who have jobs rather than careers — something that doesn’t require a degree, but pays the bills when they’re not on the beach.

Average Age Range: Skews a bit older: 25-33.

OC State of Mind: Sanguine. We subsist on vitamin D and tacos, and we work expeditiously to ensure we never have to stay late at the office. Who wouldn’t be enthusiastic and upbeat with that kind of lifestyle?

Girl/Guy Ratio: Fairly even…maybe 45% girls and 55% guys. There’s plenty of love to go around.

Hobbies: Surfing, cycling, running, hiking, camping, going to Disneyland (yes that’s a hobby), photography, painting. We like being outdoors and we like creativity.

Local Hangouts and Hotspots: Disneyland, 17th Street in Huntington, Bear Flag (get the Swordfish burrito), Beachwalk hot tub, Café Rio, Downtown Fullerton, Circle K, Pedro’s Tacos, The Lab (don’t feed the hipsters), Newport Pier, Dad’s Donut & Bakery Shop for Hippo Cookies, Angels Stadium, Orange Circle, 1000 Steps.

Typical Weekend: A typical Saturday starts with a morning softball or soccer game with friends, or perhaps a solo workout. We may wash our car shortly thereafter, run an errand or two, pick up a fountain drink and head to the beach for a few hours. Next, if 17th Street was our chosen beach destination, we’ll walk to Fiesta Grill and stuff our faces with delicious Mexican food. Finally, we’ll conclude our journey by heading to Beachwalk (an HB condo complex) where we’ll soak our bods in its massive hot tub.  Nighttime reveries include Angels games, bowling, Disneyland, BBQ’s, house parties, dancing at the Annex (if we’re really desperate), bonfires, visits to Sonic, ping pong tournaments. Orange County YSA’s are generally game for anything.

Sports Scene: For its size and nearby competition (Los Angeles), Orange County holds its own in the sports world. The Angels have a long and deeply rooted history with this place; the fan base is tried, tested, true and faithful. The Anaheim Ducks secured themselves a Stanley Cup Championship in 2007.  And in true OC fashion, Huntington Beach hosts the US Open of Surf every year. Apart from a contingent of diehards, though, most YSAs see sports as just another excuse to be social, and the outcome of the game won’t make or break their night.

Cultural Scene: Aside from the obvious beach culture, Orange County has a robust arts scene. All major plays, ballets, musicals and symphonies come through Segerstrom Center for the Arts. You can attend these events for roughly a third less than what you’d pay in LA. Pageant of the Masters, the Sawdust Festival, and the Laguna Beach Art Walk all showcase the talent of accomplished local artists.  Orange County is also equipped with the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, Crystal Cathedral, and the Islamic Center of Irvine.

Diet: Polar Pops, Mexican food and anything earthy, gluten-free and organic. Noteworthy: acai bowls and waffle sandwiches from Bruxie. (No need to point out the obvious nutritional absurdity here).

Myth Bust: Orange County isn’t nearly as superficial as you have likely been lead to believe, at least not in the YSA scene.

What It’s Missing: What say ye of snow? Seekest thou changing of seasons? Never! Also — although the OC is one of the most densely populated places in California, it lacks that big city feeling and a true downtown.

Ward Breakdown: There are approximately 8 YSA wards and branches in the greater Orange County area, not including the MSA wards. For the sake of time, here are the four main ones:

1) Huntington Beach YSA: Covers the northern coastal third of Orange County, or virtually everything north of the 55. In times’ past, this ward was bumping. These days, it feels more like a branch. Some of us credit this to the slow economic recovery – people simply aren’t moving here in droves for jobs anymore. Nevertheless, Huntington is still a lively and cool place to live.

2) Newport Coast YSA: Encompasses all of Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, parts of Santa Ana and parts of Irvine. Far and away the largest of all the wards, its population is diverse as it is made up of mostly out0of-state transplants. Church is well attended and people generally take it seriously. There are always a slew of missionaries assigned there from the California Irvine Mission and Bishop Graham welcomes all (of any age, in or out of the ward boundaries) with open arms.

3) San Clemente YSA: Includes the southernmost half of Orange County (also referred to as South County). This ward is the hidden gem of the singles scene. Its tightly knit and established congregation stays under the radar, and they like it that way. Because it’s more expensive to live down south, the people there tend to be older and more established in their careers.

4) Huntington Beach MSA: A combination of four stakes’ worth of mid-singles. There’s a huge age gap (31-45), and there seems to be strength in numbers here. You may not be able to relate to everybody but because and life differences, but you will be able to find a group that you can belong to.

Temple Proximity: The Newport Beach Temple is sandwiched between the hills of Newport Coast and Irvine. Save for members in the Newport Coast ward, it’s about a 15-30 minute drive for Orange County residents.

Dating OC Guys: Guys here are active, polite, move at their own pace and are generally light-hearted. While they can sometimes become consumed with whatever hobby they’re pursuing, they recognize the importance of relationships and will usually take advantage of watching a sunset or two with a gal of their choosing. On the cons side, folks here just know too much about one another. While guys are indeed relaxed, they don’t tend to appreciate people outside of their social circles being overly in the “know” about the vicissitudes of their dating lives.

Dating OC Girls: Orange County girls are as diverse as the ingredients in your certified organic cranberry trail mix.  What they all have in common is that they are highly capable of balancing the demands of work life while taking care of themselves physically and emotionally. Women here are kind-hearted and generous with their time. Physical health is a priority — doing at least one juice cleanse is a rite of passage. Some sunbathe while their guy surfs. Others are in the water on a board of their own. Those who are fresh off the ships of BYU struggle with the relaxed dating pace of their newfound Orange County male counterparts. Ultimately, OC YSA women would like to move forward with their love lives, marry a good man, and continue on in their efforts to be respectable people. If that sounds cliché, you’re starting to understand Orange County more fully.

Classic Ward FHE/Activities: Bonfire. Bonfire. Bonfire.

Resident Mormon Celeb: Girls captioning bikini beach selfies with “got my hair done today” are the closest thing to resident Mormon celebs that we’ve got.

Common Vice: Casual swears. It’s just too easy and feels too damn good, especially when you’ve been sitting in traffic for two hours.

The 405: This nightmare of a freeway sees just under 400,000 cars through its Orange County stretch daily. And it’s worse in LA. In fact, one of the few things LA and OC residents can agree on is that the 405 is probably to blame for the divorce rate, world hunger, and the Lakers 2013-14 season.

June Gloom: While the weather is never really terrible, don’t be surprised when cloudy and cold days shatter your 80-degree beach day hopes come May and June.

Summer Sales: April showers bring May alarm/solar/pest control salesman! While the influx of fresh testosterone may be off-putting to the local male crowd, the ladies never seem to mind. “I live in the top floor of my apartment complex. Do you think solar panels would be a good option for me?” *Twists braid, winks*

Orange County Might Be For You If: You’re seeking a comfortable, mellow social life, don’t mind spending egregious amounts of money on gas ($4.49 a gallon) and just want to live close to the beach.

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