The Standard

The scene: New York City’s The Standard Hotel, Summer 2010

The question: What does success look like?

I was running out of 1oak after dancing the night away when I was stopped by a guy and asked what my favorite drink was. I told him “Mojito” and continued rushing out the door with my newfound girlfriend. I lent him my phone number out of sheer curiosity [he was white, and white men don’t usually approach me] and the next afternoon I was sipping on my drink of choice while out to lunch with him.

He told me how he had saved me in his phone as “LadyBluebyfarthehottestgirleverasIwasleaving” and I laughed.

He was a gadget guy who had developed some sort of social networking gadget. I would later find out he was in New York City in the middle of negotiations. I didn’t go out with him because I was interested in his money – even if I was, it wasn’t easy to tell he had any. He wasn’t dripping in jewels, wasn’t wearing a famous watch, and wasn’t donning expertly tailored designer threads. He was part of this new money movement I guess, and by his constant exclamations of “It’s on me, order whatever you want,” he sure acted like it. By the time he flew back home to LA about 10 days later, he was 3 million dollars richer from the finished deal.

I joined him on the roof of The Standard, sipped some more drinks and basked in the gorgeous weather as I got comfortable. He decided my age was a deal-breaker, I forgave him for thinking he even had a real chance with me and decided to enjoy the ride for what it was. I was pretty free time-wise, the weather was breezy and so I decided to spend the next few days languishing in another world. He was generous and genuinely kind deep down, and he respected me and thought I had a rare integrity, so I didn’t feel at all unsafe. The week was spent in and out of his hotel room with a slew of other characters, everyone from drug addicts, to attention whores, to classic douchebags, to insecure girls wearing too much makeup.

What was surprising about the damaged and immature late 20s-early 30s crowd was that they were all remotely successful. I remained the voice of reason in the group of misfits, and took the opportunity to learn about these people and this whole new world I wasn’t at all interested in permanently becoming a part of.

Soft porn was flashing on the TV, Katy Perry’s “California Girls” was blaring, corks were constantly popping and the guests were doe-eyed and hopeful. We ordered room service, I sat cross legged on the floor eating salads and sipping coke from glass bottles while I listened to a 33-year-old with her tits hanging out tell me about her freelance job as a web designer and her poor romantic decisions and overcoming her drug addiction. I saw blonds with cubic zirconias in their ears and dollar signs in their eyes, and I discussed  business with a 35-year-old Asian woman involved in real estate, asking her about the keys to becoming successful. Later, I would walk in on her giving my gracious host a blow job. It was like a 70s lovefest. I thought I would love the 70s, but now I wasn’t so sure.

Camera phone pic of the pool in the middle of the floor!

I would leave work and stop by in the middle of the party, joining anywhere from a handful to a dozen deranged people in this hotel room and sharing stories, listening quietly, or snacking on a free steak plate I would make room service bring up from the cafe downstairs. I splashed around in the pool at the top of The Standard, and tried not to care or feel embarrassed when douchebags eyeballed my ass as I slinked out. I turned down advance after advance, and blushed when they all gushed at how young I was. I sipped juice while they all got wasted, I met a different group of girls every night, I got eye fucked by tan shirtless gymrats who rebuffed me when I tried to smile hello.

And throughout it all, I felt saddened. The air was thick with desperation and confusion and people seeking love in empty bottles of alcohol and between strangers’ legs. It was ugly vanity and conspicuous consumption and constant disregard for themselves and others. And one night in the middle of a dark room, a few days after all the madness began… I’d decided I had enough. My host held me in his arms in his bed and pleaded, practically begged me to stay and I wondered why a grown man felt he needed me so much.

Although I didn’t partake in any of the rampant debauchery, I felt sick and I felt filthy. I hadn’t had an intellectual conversation in a fucking week. One week had changed my perception of things so much  that I feared what two weeks could do. What could a life of this do? Months later I heard reports of Sylvie Cachay and Nicole John [who creepily enough, was photographed with a guy I recognized from this fiasco a week before her death] and my mind thought… wow. Close motherfucking call. Those people were living in a world that not even money could sustain. Loose, wild, carefree and reckless. Money doesn’t solve everything. Certainly not death.

Suddenly, I grabbed my purse and my shoes and hit the cobblestone streets of the meatpacking district. But before I braved the night alone and headed far far away; I turned around, took one good look at the booming hotel and said to myself “If this is what it looks like, then I don’t fucking want it.” TC mark

image – Lauren Manning


More From Thought Catalog

  • Jennifer Sussex

    for some reason i hear cLOUDDEAD pop song when i read this

  • Michael Koh


  • Marthabuca

    How old are you?

    • Lady Blue ✔ VERIFIED

      21 when this went down.

  • Kev32

    It is scary how close this is to my experience with the “young professional world.” Everyone has money, power, success and a fucking chip on their shoulder because they are so lonely. Glad you made the right decision. Great piece.

  • ricky schitltiiz

    hmm… this piece. interesting enough. i guess i would've liked to see some more elaboration on how it made you feel, and why. you express sentiments that we've all seen in movies/books, but you had a brief view from the inside.. should leverage this more

    also, that photo is fucking good….

    • Sam Corbo

      I disagree. I think the description of the party suffices. Corrupting a semi-objective view of the hotel room with personal emotion would detract from the reader's experience. I like this as-is. Telling us she feels “sick” and “filthy” pretty much sums up her entire experience recollected in that moment.

      • ricky schitltiiz

        hmm well to be i get nothing new from just reading 'sick' and 'filthy' as i'm sure a lot of people share this sentiment or would in given situation, as is confirmed by an abundance of media on this topic… something more personal would have been refreshing

  • Emilyswenson

    Great read. I feel the same way. Thanks for the insight.

  • Vincent Galbo

    Wow. That's crazy. Awesome story.

  • spencer cain

    This is absolutely the best thing I've read on Thought Catalog in awhile. While some other pieces are excellent, I find that they're not from experience, and more from having a keen eye and understanding people. This is experience, and I love it! Good work.

    • Lady Blue ✔ VERIFIED

      Thank you. I'm floored.

  • Indiegod

    The Standard is pure nihilistic hedonism, and I don't know if thats what I like about it or not. Then again, when I was there last night (doing coke in the stairwell) I had a conversation about how I felt like a character in a Bret Easton Ellis novel… judging by your piece, I imagine you harbor similar sentiments.

  • Andrew Freeman

    Well, thanks. You've officially ruined Olivier Zahm's blog for me.

  • Uhnonnymus

    Yuppies being yuppies.

  • x_x

    sounds like college to me

    youth is decadent. it only appears to be more desperate and pathetic when you have the decadence without the youth.

  • anon

    I empathize with this on a smaller scale. I've worked my way up from lower-class tenement projects to a top-tier liberal arts college and the pure hedonism I witnessed among young, VERY WEALTHY students was outrageous..much more than my state university counterparts based on shared stories…but what always shocked me was how set these students were after graduation…I had been previously led to believe drug addiction and reckless promiscuity were guaranteed paths to life destruction, but these kids made me questioning long-held beliefs…meh, I guess if you can afford it…

  • Lindsey-lu

    this article and your bio makes you sound really full of yourself and pretentious. there is nothing more transparent that a girl to acts like she's better than other people.

    • Lady Blue ✔ VERIFIED

      It's called being facetious. If that went over your head, it's no wonder you couldn't get yourself together enough to type back a coherent retort. What exactly is more transparent “that a girl to acts like” she's better than other people? Sorry you're so flustered.

      • Lindseycm

        oohhh, typo put down – very original. way to avoid the intent of my comment by directing attention to a typo. so clever. and i'm sorry but it's not over my head, i get it. I just think your life is performance lacking authenticity.

      • Lady Blue ✔ VERIFIED

        Lindsey, Lindsey. You've really got to know your place… And stay there. “I just think” – what you think is baseless. You're just another anonymous sap with internet courage hating on the lives of those which you don't comprehend/envy. Do us both a favor and say no more.

      • Lindsey-lu

        a0 you have no idea you i am, so you can refrain from telling me where my place is, cunt. and b) what the fuck are you talking about?! your whole article is about hating on people. and as your comments and bio affirm, you've made that your job. so keep on hatin hater :)

        PS: and that's it for me. feel free to continue to rant and rave. i won't be back to see it. so enjoy screaming into the void

      • Lady Blue ✔ VERIFIED

        Lindsey… you mad?

  • Annie

    Sorry, but it's not very believable, especially after getting a glimpse of what the author really looks like. It could pass as fiction, I suppose. I'm pretty disappointed this was even featured on here. Please do not allow this website to go to the wayside by crowding it with “blogs” from pretentious, wanna-be, socialites. I, and many of your loyal readers, are not interested.

    • Indiegod

      Jealous much?

    • Lady Blue ✔ VERIFIED

      “Disparaging” comments lose their luster when I know exactly who is behind them. Hi Annie!

    • Darren

      So much for being a loyal reader Annie, you only have 1 comment?! Also, don't attack the writer on something that has nothing to do with the article… her looks are more than fine to me. You're ridiculous and obviously have something personal against Miss Blue.

  • Darren

    I've read this girl's stuff on her regular blog and although sometimes she reaches too far, she's a hell of a writer/thinker. This is one of my favorite pieces of hers. Glad to see Miss Blue getting the shine she deserves.

  • Joy Behar

    Great article. The adventures sound more interesting than the LA Standard hotel where people just stand around looking at each other with sunglasses

  • Aranha

    Wow, interesting read. Talk about being on the inside and still looking from the outside. That pretty much goes to show what good money can do for you in all the wrong ways. Business savvy has nothing to do with emotional intelligence. Someone's got a good head on their shoulders.

  • Palermantanesme

    Very interesting piece. Can't tell if it's truth or fictional but a pretty insightful, descriptive piece. And yes money doesn't solve anything, and a lot of people with it are worse off than the people with out. That's why only God should be worshipped. Good luck girl!!

  • Dusty

    Interesting, rich in detail, and peek into a world that many of us have never seen.

  • Dusty

    Interesting, rich in detail, and peek into a world that many of us have never seen.

  • Waicool

    what a wonderful perspective, thank you for writing

  • GREG

    I felt like this was a deleted scene in “The Social Network”

  • ATrueLady

    I'll start by saying that this was indeed a well written article. Whether it was fact or fiction only the author knows. A few things did rub me the wrong way so to speak. Its one thing to observe but when one truly feels disgusted by ones surroundings they don't tend to stay in that toxic environment for an entire week. The fact that you stayed that long speaks volumes about who you really are. Furthermore your response to critiques was the main deal breaker for me. A budding artist(or just person in general) takes criticism and learns from it. I don't believe anyone was really trying to demean you with their comments; just shedding light on how you come across. You took it with no grace and in a very un-ladylike fashion. Being condescending and belittling ppl that took the time to read and then comment on your piece is not the way to go. Since you seem to believe everyone is beneath you I'm sure you won't really learn anything from these comments or your “experiences” regardless I still wish you all the best in pursuing your dreams

    • Lady Blue ✔ VERIFIED

      Don't make assumptions, and don't defend the trolls. It makes you just as bad as them.

      • ATrueLady

        It would be an assumption if it had no basis, I've seen your reply to other comments which shows that it is based on the reality of how you present yourself. At the end of the day, only you and the ppl you decide to surround yourself with have to deal with your true character. We “trolls” as you so eloquently describe us just read your stories and thoughts.

  • JustRight

    The author's indepent writing style is quite refreshing from the “my life is so fabulous” routine that seems to be permeating the web these days.

    This is a great behind the scenes peek at that elusive world that we thought only existed on the set of Gossip Girl. Who wouldn't want to spend their days inside a gorgeous hotel, toes dipped in a heated pool, sipping something fruity, surrounded by beautiful people? Maybe even peeking out the window once in a while getting some sort of quiet satisfaction from watching the rest of the world go about their meager existence.

    But this article reaffirmed what most of us (hopefully) already know…the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Many times, it is full of desperate, volatile and ultimately lost people. It looks bright and glittery on the outside but just like the boobs, noses, modeling careers and bank accounts…it's fake.

    *settles down to enjoy monday's recorded episode of gossip girl

    • JustRight


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