Recently, a set of flyers began to appear in Los Angeles. Wanna be friendz? Interests: Women, Narcotics, Pizza. As many compellingly weird things do, the flyers found their way to Reddit , where the poster was compared unfavorably to Charles Manson and Barty Crouch from Harry Potter , and got summarily written off a viral marketing stunt for the Fox sitcom Weird Loners , despite other posters claiming that they had seen the man on the fliers shirtlessly posting them himself.
Hoax or not, there's something strangely touching about such a desperate and public plea for companionship. Meeting new people as an adult is inherently weird, and it gets even weirder as you get older, your tastes change, and you may find yourself grown apart from your old buddies. I know a little bit about this sort of loneliness: In the past six months I relocated to from New York to Los Angeles and then quit drinking. I was left in a strange new place where my two closest companions were my girlfriend and my dog.
I love both of them, but it's very easy to feel disconnected in a new city, even when you're with a partner. So I emailed the address on the flyer, hoping against hope my message would reach a real, if sorta-creepy-looking, guy trying to find some people to eat pizza with. I got a response almost immediately. As it turns out, the flyers are not viral marketing for a TV show, but they are a work of viral marketing sort of. They come from a guy named Mikey Mike legal name: Mike Williams , a Los Angeles—based musician who initially put the posters up to help drum up publicity for his upcoming music video for a song titled "Cut My Hair.
Even if you just see the picture, you think either I'm a murderer on the loose, or I'm missing. He claims he was inspired to make the posters by Dan Perino, a New York man who put up similar flyers in an attempt to find a girlfriend. Whatever his reasons for posting the flyers, he's now finding out that there are a lot of lonely people in Los Angeles. He's started meeting them, too—last night he emailed me a picture of him and a new friend who called himself Simba, and joked, "One down, a couple hundred to go.
VICE: So talk about some of the responses you've gotten. Mikey Mike: It runs the whole fucking gamut. There have been a lot of genuine people who are just like, "Hey, I'm new here too. I'm also lonely. Let's smoke a blunt," or, "Hey, I'm into narcotics.
We're trying to start this grassroots shit where people can come if they're new to the city or even if they're not new there are so many people here who, even if they've got a lot of friends, they want to meet new people.
It really speaks to the idea that LA can be a very lonely place. And it can be hard to make platonic friends. You make friends and then people get so involved in what they're doing they disappear. I've been here two years and sometimes I'm still fucking lonely. I'm kind of just rolling around trying to figure it all out. I know when I first moved here, it was weird because I didn't know anybody except people in music from the other side of the country. So I would go to bars and I met all my friends through getting trashed, smoking cigarettes on the patio, like going to a bar, bumming cigarettes, and talking to people.
That was kind of the only way I knew how. A lot of people, especially college students, make friends like that. But it's hard for an actual connection to be forged over getting fucked up. I think that reflects the times. Everybody's so wrapped up in their shit, wrapped up in their fucking Instagram page, how many likes they're getting. It's like everything, especially in this city, it's just kind of set up where people are just like in their own fucking world.
Even when you hang with people, sometimes you can't really get to know them. I've had a lot of times where I thought I had really gotten to know somebody here and some shit happened and I was like, "Holy fuck I didn't know that person at all. It's part of being in this city I guess. What do you think defines friendship? Specifically friendship in Los Angeles? I think friendship in general is like, for me, if I'm drunk at a bar and I get in a fight with somebody, even if I'm fucking in the wrong, you got my back.
That's what it means to be a friend. Even if I know maybe they offended somebody and it's on them, I'm still gonna have their back. And here that's a rare thing to find. Everybody's so caught up in their own shit, it's like, "What can you do for me? What can I do for you? Even if you dance around that shit, like a lot of times I feel like that's the case. Has there been anyone who's emailed you that you've been genuinely interested in hanging out with?
There were a few people that you could tell by the way they worded their responses that they were really clever and smart, and I immediately knew they were on to something.
And whatever it was, they were cool people and they were with it. It's funny because a lot of people have said similar things: "I don't have a lot of friends, let's hang out. By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content. You came through with the Vessel, clown carnival murder music, and [checks notes] a Shaquille O'Neal pregnancy test. In conversation with Kimberly Drew, Texas Isaiah talks about photographing fellow Black and queer masculine people and always centering the emotions of his sitter.
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Sign In Create Account. This story is over 5 years old. What started as a viral marketing stunt has turned into a project about the loneliness of living in Los Angeles.
April 1, , am. Mikey Mike eating pizza with Simba, a man he met through his flyers. Get a personalized roundup of VICE's best stories in your inbox. Kimberly Drew. Drew Magary.