I Tried to Live Like Lana Del Rey for a Week… It was Intense
— Julia LaSalvia
Inspired by Lana Del Rey’s new album, Lust for Life, I decided to live like LDR for a week. As someone who resonates with the lyrics, “I’m tired of feeling like I’m fuckin’ crazy” and is also usually in the midst of a “war in my mind” I thought I was up to the challenge.
SPOILER ALERT: I was not. And I had to call off this social experiment early.
I finished the abbreviated Lana Week reeking of cigarettes (damn you Lana and your affinity for Camel Blues), with an extensive backlog of drunk texts (mainly to older dudes I found on Tinder), multiple mascara-stained t-shirts, and a bunch of crumpled up one dollar bills in my purse.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…
DAY 1: HOP ON THE EX-BF NOSTALGIA TRAIN
If there’s one thing we know about Lana Del Rey, it’s that she loves herself some ex-boyfriend nostalgia. To pay homage to the Queen, I decided that this was the week I would text my ex-boyfriend and ask for the lone box of my things still in his possession. I’m actually not sure what’s in this pandora’s box of relationship feelz, but I *needed* to find out, for Lana.
After contemplating whether I was emotionally stable enough to make the handoff in person, I landed on “probably not.” I came to that conclusion because I had a small panic attack the day he was supposed to make the delivery.
Do I invite him in for a beer? Do I introduce him to my roommates’ cat? Do I even own any beer? Should I go buy some right now? If I invite him in for a beer and he says no, will I physically live through that rejection? Damnit Jules, let’s call this thing off.
It all became too much so I decided to have him drop said emotional grenade at a mutual friend’s house instead. At the designated time we were supposed to meet, I cried and listened to 13 Beaches on repeat, where Lana asked me a probing question I wasn’t quite prepared for: Can I let go? And let your memory dance. In the ballroom of my mind.
IDK Lana, it’s too soon to tell. Let’s circle back in a month or two.
DAY 2: GO TO A STRIP CLUB
Lana has a fascination with strippers; just watch the first minute of the Ride video if you’d like a reference point or read this hilarious comment on the Lana Del Rey Reddit.
I also am intrigued by strip clubs, even though I’d never actually stepped foot in one. Luckily, I was able to find two eager male participants to go with me on short notice (#blessthem). Our first stop was a burlesque show with choreographed dances set to surprisingly emo music. I felt the spirit of Lana in the room as we watched a dancer perform to the Rolling Stones’ Angie. It was a very raw performance and I was into it.
After that, we went to an actual strip club, which I quickly realized was too much for me. As any self-respecting, self-destructive person would do, I started getting very drunk to mask my mild discomfort. All the dancers seemed drugged out and it made me sad, but also bad about feeling sad, because they are grown women who can do whatever they want. Who am I to judge? I also remember drunkenly yelling to my friends: “But where did all their hair go?” which I’m sure killed the mood for a lot of people in the room.
DAY 3: MEET UP WITH AN OLDER DUDE ON TINDER
On day three, I adjusted my Tinder settings. Lana has mentioned on numerous occasions that she likes ’em older so I thought I’d try it out for myself. After a few hours of pointed swiping, I found a willing participant ten years older than me. We met up, there was no awkward credit card tango, he seemed v mature, and insisted on Kettle in the vodka sodas I was drinking… call me shallow, but I was into it. We ain’t in Tito’s territory anymore, girl.
When we went back to his apartment and started making out on his couch, I remember saying, “What if your roommate comes home?” and he said “I don’t have roommates.” And in my mind I thought, “Lana, you beautiful genius, I get it now.”
Needless to say, I have yet to re-adjust my Tinder settings.
DAY 4: LISTEN TO FATHER JOHN MISTY WHILE READING LOLITA
For day four, I decided to look up Lana’s influences and spend a day reading, watching, and smoking as many as I could. I would be remiss not to mention at this point that I was pretty high for the majority of Lana Week.
Lana mentions ganja in High by the Beach (obvi), Born To Die, In My Feelings, and West Coast… and those are just the songs I could name off the top of my head. What I’m trying to say is, you can’t have a Lana Week without sparking up at least one doobie and I have a medical card so it’s all above board… in case any law enforcement officials are reading this.
Getting back to the point… Lana has cited David Lynch, Vladamir Nabokov, Father John Misty, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, among many others as her influences. All of these artists share a similar sentiment — a wistfulness, a homesickness, for something unattainable. For Nabokov’s protagonist Humbert Humbert in Lolita, it was twelve year old Dolores Haze; for Lana, it’s a longing for a time that she wasn’t ever actually a part of, the 1950s. In an interview with Artistdirect, she said, “I wasn’t even born in the fifties but I feel like I was there.” That takes “living in the past” to the next level. I’d like to explain this in greater detail, but frankly, at this point I’m too high to handle how meta this has become and will leave you with some wise words from 2 Chainz and just say, “it’s a vibe.”
Honestly, Lana Week has changed me and I’m not sure I’m ready to go back to who I was before. Listening to an LDR album feels like getting a permission slip to be sad for the sake of it, to go down that depressing Instagram-nostalgia-wormhole, and to ugly cry just because you feel like it. She pushes us to feel all of it, unapologetically, and sometimes for no real reason at all, and there’s something oddly satisfying about the whole experience. In a time where it feels like we’re always pretending to be happy, Lana says, “Fuck it. Let’s just be sad and smoke ciggies and talk about the good ole days.” And in small doses, I think she may be onto something.
… Now excuse me while I take my cig break and contemplate how much happier I was last year.