7 Things I Realized While Attending A Fancy Party
1. No matter how slovenly I dress, there will always be some rich old dude at the event who is so rich he doesn’t even care anymore and makes me look OK by comparison.
Again, I don’t go to many fancy parties. I am not whatever the male version of a fashionista is. (Fashionisto? Fashist?) I was wearing my gray suit, which is my fancy party suit, but then again it is also my funeral suit and my wedding suit and my Bar Mitzvah suit and my job interview suit. (My brown suit I have never actually “worn,” per say, but I am waiting for moment when I will need to look like a skinnier version of Robin Williams’ character in Good Will Hunting, and I WILL BE READY.)
So I was a little nervous about dressing up for this event. But right at the beginning, just a few minutes after I walked in, my fears were laid to rest. Because at this event was an old dude who I think was going for a Hugh Hefner sort of thing, wearing what appeared to be a smoking jacket and slippers. THAT, my friends, is the ultimate sign of wealth. When you are so rich you’re rocking SLIPPERS to a fancy party, you’ve made it. And if that old guy feels cool sporting pajamas to this thing, I could feel less bad about my light brown belt and dark brown shoes, both of which may or may not have been bought for me by my mother. Way to go, Old Rich Dude Who is So Rich You Rock Slippers to Fancy Parties. I respect what you are doing.
2. Hitting the sweet spot of drunk is an art form.
Without any drinks in me at an event like this, I am a mumbling doofus who stares at the ground. With eight drinks in me, I am making unfortunate jokes (see below) and getting close to tears when the speaker at the podium thanks the wait staff for all their help at the event. (“No one ever remembers the wait staff! NO ONE!!!”) You have to find that pleasant two-to-three drink sweet spot, where you’re confident enough to talk to random people you’ve never met before but not at the point where you’re slurring, trying to convince your table to “invade” another table like a real-life game of Risk.
3. Three forks is too many forks.
I know this point is cliché and trite, but if that is the case, why do people still insist with all the silverware? I feel like whoever laid out the table was trolling me. Three forks? Too many forks. I lived for a while in New Orleans with two roommates, and we had three forks in the house TOTAL. Three people in the house? Three forks. We each had our own, and we wrote our initials in Sharpie on them so we could remember. In related news, none of us had girlfriends at the time.
4. The ability to mingle is a God-given gift and I was not born with it.
These books that claim to be able to teach you how to be confident in large groups, how to mingle, make friends and influence people… I am convinced they are all hoaxes. Mingling is something you are born with, like your height or your affinity for dubstep. Some people are born with it, some aren’t.
I was not born with the ability to mingle. I am not good at sustaining conversation. I forget names before they are even said to me. Here is a sample conversation from last night:
Nate: “Hi, I’m Nate.”
Blah: “Hi Nate. I’m Blah.”
Nate: “Nice to meet you.”
Blah: “What do you do?”
Nate: “I write.”
Blah: “Oh, that’s so interesting. Who do you write for?”
Nate: “Um, internet.”
Blah: “You write for ‘internet?’”
Nate: “It’s on the internet. It’s uh, it’s a thing.”
Nate: “What…do you, um do?”
Blah: “I work in [something I’ve never heard of before] for [company I’ve never heard of before.]”
Blah: “Yes, I like it.”
Nate: “I have to pee.”
5. I am not yet at a point in my life where I can participate in a Silent Auction.
A silent auction is a thing where people bid on items I can’t afford at face value and offer to pay a lot more than face value for them. I know these silent auctions are fantastic ways to raise money. I know they are important. But that doesn’t change the fact that when I saw the current bid on a bad watercolor painting last night I spit out a mouthful of my endive and cave-aged goat cheese salad.
6. Dick jokes don’t fly
Let’s not dive into this one too much. Just know that after a few drinks, and everyone at the table seeming to get along, you may think that a well-timed “That’s not the ONLY lumber he’s carrying, if you know what I mean…” is going to play. It isn’t going to play. It isn’t.
7. Rich people aren’t all that bad
This one is a little more serious, but it’s worth saying. Listen: it’s easy to walk into these fancy events and resent the people there. Pretty much everyone there last night was considerably wealthier than I am. They dressed better than I do. I know that if there is anyone on this earth who doesn’t deserve my empathy/love, it’s the über wealthy socialites of the world.
And I know I may sound like old Mitt Romney when I say this, but I can’t help it: a lot of the rich people last night were really, really nice. Everyone I met could tell I was a little out of place, and no one gave me a hard time when I grabbed the wrong fork (twice). Were a few of the people there caricatures? Yes. Did some of the people seem VERY impressed with themselves? Of course. But for the most part, it just seemed like a big group of nice people who earnestly wanted to help out a friend raise money for cancer research. I know that might not make the funniest bullet point of this article, but what can I tell you? Just because someone is a hell of a lot richer than me doesn’t make them all that bad.
That being said, you’d think one of them would give me a hundred bucks when I told them I was a writer. Like, that money means nothing to them. Hundred bucks is a drop in the hat. And that would totally make my week. Well, month. Potentially year. Yeah. It would make my year.
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My ears listened to what they wanted me to believe.
3. Don’t get mad, get everything.
But I am here to talk about realities, realities that are based on experiences, guy talks (who cares about that?) and late night chats with good female friends of mine.
Many people know of Jack Kerouac’s fiction, but few know of his penchant for recording his dreams.