I had never been to an event like this before. I knew I was going to have a good time but I couldn't help feeling a little worried as I walked up in twelve dollar slacks and an Express shirt I found in the clearance bin. What's more disturbing than a bunch of super hungry animals circling you as your body becomes sluggish and completely devoid of hydration in the middle of an arid landscape with nothing but heat waves and sand stretching out at every horizon? Standing around a bunch of people you have very little, if anything at all, in common with and thinking at a moments notice you'll be exposed for what you really are; someone who truly doesn't belong in their realm. A fraud. I was glad to have common ground at this party, being accompanied by some of my closest friends. (It should also be noted that I am very grateful for my friend's generosity in extending an invitation to me. I, in no way shape or form, had a bad time or regretted attending the evening's event.)
I felt confident enough as my friends and I walked toward the party but there was this nagging in the back of my mind. Someone or something telling me I wasn't good enough to be going to a place like this. (Shake it off Jay)
I've attended plenty of events in which I had to interact with people wealthier than myself. This time was different. I wasn't covering this event for a piece in the news paper or a spot on the local news. This time there were no clear lines drawn between me and the other attendees. This time I had to become part of the party. I had to assimilate or risk exposure.
It would appear that my fears were in vein and an evening I thought I would be spending as a wallflower would become something much better.
I enjoy taking off my broke-ass, unemployed college graduate hat for the evening and stepping into something a little less pit-stained.
It was a lot less threatening than I imagined it was going to be. Sure, some of the people at this swanky soiree probably wouldn't have given me the time of day had I cared to talk with them but that didn't matter. There was still some eerie form of synergy that swept its way through the room and forced its way through the room's conversations. There were those I spoke with that I noticed I was actually having worthwhile conversations with. I thought for sure it was going to take an indeterminable amount of alcohol to allow my inhibitions to fade away to the point I would actually feel comfortable enough to properly function among the rest of the party goers. Two drinks in I realized I could not afford the now cash bar, charging about ten dollars for a bottle of domestic beer, nor could I afford the emotional toll it would take on me to look into the bartender's menacing gaze after realizing I was unable to leave a tip. No, this was a situation I was sure to avoid. I graciously accepted the two free glasses of Champagne I received before the open bar became a grotesque mockery of the Dionysian shrine it had once been. Much to the patrons' dismay the free flowing liquor was finally damned and could only meander through the banks of the green bills now directing its flow.
Although I was not inebriated I found myself wanting to converse with everyone around me. (Not an uncommon thing if you know me but I thought this evening was going to be one in which I felt completely out of place.) Sure, a lot of these people had money and it showed, but whatever, there was a candy bar. Gummi bears, rock candy, Zots, Pop Rocks, gourmet popcorn, chocolate covered bacon, it was all there and in arms' reach.
That was all the common ground I needed.
the Pita chips that had been brought out for the spinach artichoke dip were easily, what I found to be, the most desirable snack of the evening. A never ending magic bowl of the these chips sat on either side of the dip. I found they were particularly delicious after placing a piece of roasted red pepper on top.
Give me food and sweets and you can probably get anything from me; including my utmost attention to reality television, a medium to which I swore a lifetime of loathing.
I found myself being drawn into this lifestyle continually unfolding before me. The show, the people, the clothes; it was all strange and new to me. I knew it wasn't a place I would fit in on a daily basis but right there and then I felt a certain amount of empathy with most of the people in the room. Real and fake didn't matter and, for a moment, it all seemed to meld together in some kind of forbidden class mutation. Even a guy with some sort of exaggerated 1950's rockabilly pompadour, that added at least seven inches to his height, and another wearing a flowering branch as a neck piece, could have had some common ground with me. Not exactly the night of bourgeoisification I had previously expected it to be. (Remember, Candy Bar! I'm not judging anyone here)
It's interesting how even private affairs can sometimes seem so very public. You'll be lucky to go to your local grocery store and run into one or two people you know. It seems almost hauntingly similar when you compare it to a private party. The next time you are invited to a party take a good look around the room. Think about who invited you and think about how many other people are inviting so many other people.
It doesn't count if you are throwing the party. This is an unfair advantage.
You had better know at least three fourths of the people coming to this party otherwise you have no right throwing a party to which you are inviting so many people. Plus, could you really trust them around your stuff?
(You know it's late when you don't even care you've listened to the album Make Yourself by Incubus in its entirety.)