You’ve seen these people every time you’ve waited in line at the club: the ones that just blithely show up and get in without a wink of a wait. Just kiss, kiss, how’s the family, see you inside, bisous, caio with the doorman without even breaking stride while you’re stuck in line well beyond the span of their fêted attendance.
You know, as much as you outwardly loathe these people, deep down inside you secretly want to be them; escaping all that red velvet tape you’ve been restricted by since being a little remedial ragamuffin of 21. Well I’m going to let you in on a secret, that’s me. I haven’t waited in line to have fun since my grade-school trip to Disneyland – and in case you’re curious, yes, nothing tickles my ego better than knowing I party gratuit while you party… well, until your wallet’s empty.
Though don’t you fret now my little Eliza Doolittle, I will help cure you of your guttersnipery; hopefully transforming you into, well, probably not the belle of the ball, but, at the very least, a well cultured clutch bag of the clubbing coterie. Consider this your reeducation and I, your Henry Higgins. The cork in New York pops mainly for the stork. Ok, that doesn’t make perfect sense, but you get the picture. Anyways, let’s not stand on ceremony, shall we?
Nothing starts without a little bit of homework, and this, my dearest, is no different. There are two books you should live by: Disco Bloodbath (now reprehensibly retitled, Party Monster) by James St. James, and The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene. These are your bibles. Read them. Reread them. Then apply them. DBb is not only a terrific true tale (read: history lesson) of the last of the best of New York’s nightlife preceding this current Bottle Service Era, but also the guidebook on how to make it in the club scene. I wouldn’t suggest diving so deep as to live life like Mr. St James, but he isn’t without a charm, wit and wisdom from which to inspire your raison d’action. TAoS on the other hand teaches you all you need to know about being deliciously amoral in order to get what you want. No, this isn’t Pleasantville, Teddy Cleaver; sociopathy is the key that unhinges every rope in town. Morals and ethics are to be left at coat check.
2. Now is the Winter of Your Reinvention
To be desirable one must possess two of the following three qualities: a trenchant tongue, delectable dress, and the ageless good looks of Dorian Gray. A good sartorial style will certainly get you attention, as will being genetically gifted, but these cloy without that little extra touch of an oft quotable tongue that can send your party into uproarious laughter at any well timed moment. Ideally you want all three as that’s the pedigree of star-like charisma; but in your case, that would be asking for a miracle. I’m merely donating you a pair of shoes; you’ve got to teach yourself to walk, honey.
3. Sartorial Flair
It may have been casual Friday at your office, but that’s no excuse to show up to the club looking as such. Take a look around you. If anyone is dressed nearly identical to you, you’re unneeded. I assume you’ve a mirror at home. Consider using it. Go home and try again; or just go to the support group for invalids that is MacDougal Street. Buy a few fashion magazines. No, not Details and Cosmo; you already dress blandly American. Think European or Japanese magazines. Something with edge, style and originality. Something that screams, ‘my presence does not spell the end of this club.’ Let your creativity flourish and find what defines you. If ever in doubt, go black, because, regardless of what Carrie Bradshaw and her garish JC Penny fashion sense try to tell you about New York, black is always the new black. If people are looking in complete awe and envy, the feather in your cap is perfectly placed!
4. Are You Adonesque?
Really ask yourself, does anyone beyond your mom think you’re stunningly beautiful? Check yes or no. If still deluded, look back into your Facebook: Are selfies the only evidence of your soiréeing? The proof is in your posting. It’s a harsh world, sweetie, you just got to face it. Though you needn’t worry if you’re not the modern incarnation of Adonis or Aphrodite; there is hope for all you Hilary Swank’s out there. The opposing two social graces shall vastly improve your photogenic fallings. Do learn your angles though, because a bad photo taken of you is endlessly worse than no photo at all. Now if you are Dr. Frank N. Furter’s true masterpiece, what the hell are you doing with those troglodytes around you? Stop wasting your big beautiful eyes reading this; you needn’t work for a thing, darling. Just come with us and we’ll fix you right up!
5. The Wit of Wilde
If you haven’t anything original to say then don’t speak, at all, because trite talk makes us bye-bitch you so fast you’d think we’d been called to judge a K cutting cook off. Culturing yourself is imperative to your staying power. One must possess a near savant’s knowledge of culture in the arts, film, literature, politics, history and (of course) gossip, all while mastering the inimitable art of belittling with a smile so that you can impress even the most tired of old scene-queens with a bon mot or two. Beauty and style get you in the door; character is what tattoos that stamp on your wrist. Be that impresario whose mere presence beguiles all around into the fantasy that is your life, and every phrase dancing off your tongue is worthy of trend.
6. It’s What You Know AND Who You Know
After this cocooning phase, you’re merely going to emerge a middling moth – it’s who you know which colors your wings. Find that one friend that goes out a lot (note: to the right places), or a friend who has said friend – they’re your golden drink ticket! But you will first have to prove your worth to them as I’m sure they’ve always seen you as the Sally Sucker you were. This is where your musical montage of training comes in handy; so fly, fly close to their incandescent light like the eager little moth that you are so to get your wicked wings and sample the fruits of their superiority!
*Now though, if you haven’t any connection to someone of the like, I’d be happy to take that Rick Owens jacket you bought off your hands; I can certainly make use of it where you’re not going. I mean it is the least you can do for this deigning didact.
7. Club Composure
In the beginning I highly suggest keeping humble, I mean you can readily treat those stuck in line like the swine they are, but you must remain loyal to this new found friend who’s taken pity on your pathetic past. You’ll learn in time, once your reputation has been established among the clubbing coterie, how to properly burn that bridge; but for now, remain their new found pet so as to give the veneer of genuinity and not that of a charlatan. Be friendly and gregarious, BUT you needn’t make an absolute splash on your first go. And do NOT get sloppy. You must remember: we hate new things that try to outshine us. Haughtiness is always a good look; it’s just a couple sizes too big for you now. You’ll have to grow into it.
8. That’s What Friends Are For
As your reputation grows and more ropes are opened, you must properly pick your friends so as to not stultify your rising star. There are a few you must befriend and to each a certain degree. You need a core, the ones you always go out with as they will have your back through thin and thinner. Note it is imperative that one has a trust fund because, I mean, who else is going to fund your drinking and drug habits on those impecunious nights? Then you need your outer circle, the ones for whom you don’t care about beyond a few niceties in those between moments where there’s no one else of value – ie. celebrities, drug dealers, DJs and club owners. Next, you need to learn the hierarchy of the club world. It goes promoters, bartenders, doormen. Promoters act as a cheap facsimile of both doorman and bartender, but you’ll be waiting on them forever as they flit about, and we’ve already resolved waiting is for the have-nots. They do make choice acquaintances in a crunch, but are ultimately bush league. Bartenders are without the ability to get you in, but are with the ability to give you drinks for a wink and a smile, not to mention alluring as sin. Befriend many! Now, the doorman is always your best friend. They are the royal guards of Clublandia and if they like you, they will well take care of you, sit you at the best tables and ply you with nothing but sweet, wonderful vice. They are family, so treat them as such. Remember, your friends are the tools for the art that is you, so curate wisely.
9. Basic Guidelines of Taste and Tact
Now that you are ready to rise to the tippy-top of Manhattan’s exclusive nightlife, I’m going to imbue you with a few general tips to abide. First, never ever be the first to arrive or last to leave. Remember, these are parties among people you must impress, not some godforsaken sports bar in Murray Hill. Never show earlier than 12:30am. The party must be full of eyes to witness your glorious entrance. And never stay past 3am. If you haven’t found a worthwhile-someone’s place to continue the evening over wines and lines, go home. Everyone must always think you have somewhere better to go than they. Next are your boundaries. You want to stay south of 23rd street (maybe 28th if there’s a good party in the gallery pocket of clubs, but make it not a habit) and west of 5th avenue until Houston. And remain completely north of Chambers at all times. It sounds like a small area, but, my dear, the best always bud in bunches. If someone ever invites you beyond these demarcations, feign the flu – ahem, ahem – they won’t see you out anyway. After all, one must maintain their dignity.
So my dear Ms. Doolittle, if you follow these tips of the trade you just might, and I stress might, find yourself with an invite or two into our libertine land. But you only get one shot at this, so PROMISE me you’ll dress nice.