Today is the day that I brought home my bespoke suit. I’ll write about that later (it’ll be part five of the series). Anyway, while I was picking up my suit, I was invited to a party held by Four Hundred,apparently a concierge service. After taking a look at the invite, I was sure that this was a recruitment drive of sorts. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
What type of person uses a concierge service? Typically, it would be someone financially well-off and maybe even an affluent member of society: celebrities, politicians, wealthy bankers and lawyers, I would imagine. So what is a place that does suits doing giving out invites to a party hosted by a concierge service? The same type of people who buy custom-made suits are likely the same type of people who could use and afford a concierge service. Through clever networking, I have no doubt that Four Hundred reached out to Michael Andrews Bespoke to forward this invitation.
Anyway, I’ve worked at Sotheby’s and have had the pleasure of making rich folks feel secure while they are being wined and dined at some special event. The purpose of these little parties is to get these people to open up their checkbooks. I’m sure that this cocktail party hosted by Four Hundred is the same type of event. They are looking to court new clients.The invitation says that there will be members of the concierge service there as well. This is undoubtedly by design: people who are satisfied with their service will naturally speak of it with praise. I expect there to be a good number of happy members to play the role of social proof.With that said, I know what it’s like, the little soirees that these well-monied folks like to throw. Warm lighting in a spacious and well-decorated space with floor-to-ceiling windows, with waiters and waitresses floating silently along, offering wine glasses sparkling with champagne, carrying little trays of canapés and other various little hors devours, perhaps a little bit of gentle classical music piping in through the invisible sound system. Men dressed in fine suits and women in exquisite dresses smiling and shaking hands…people will flit from mini-clique to mini-clique, drink in hand, waiting for their turn to say something clever. Someone says repeats a profound little sound bite he read in a magazine or heard on the news, and a woman gasps, another lays a hand on his arm and leans in with eyes wide, mouth ajar, asking, “Really?” High society’s idea of a good way to spend an evening.
Of course that is stereotypical…yet it so easily paints the truth of these little get togethers that I’ve observed time and time again. I find myself wondering if I should go.
And this is when I remembered thefilmYes Man. It reminded me that I had all these little self-limiting thoughts nagging me, persuading me not to go to the party. I do not belong: I am not wealthy, affluent, or an Ivy Leaguer. My origins are humble. It is one of the few times that I actually felt the discomfort of class disparity. While I was working at Sotheby’s, my place was as one of the common folk: a young man dressed in an aging $300 suit who knew the way to the bathroom and where the elevators were, a sentry who would keep out the riffraff; I served as an unobtrusive reminder that should there be any startling event, I would be there to direct them to safety.
To be faced with the prospect that I would be intermingling with wealthy individuals with trust funds and an expensive Ivy League education is intimidating. My ability to assimilate into any group easily is only bolstered with my unusual ability to bullshit my way into anything. I have a knack for rapidly establishing rapport and creating comfort. But this only happens when I turn that switch on, the switch that turns me into an extrovert. Normally, that switch is only turned on when I get paid for it. That is to say that I turn into a socially graceful creature when it is required by my profession.
Otherwise, I find that I default to a very quiet and observational stance. It is in my very nature to sit back and watch the show. But considering that I know what these events are like, there isn’t all that much to learn or experience. In fact, the party is only three blocks away from Sotheby’s.
I have to find the discipline to push myself out of my comfort zone. I have lost that sense of adventure that I had in the not-so-distant past. There are many opportunities that lie in wait. The possibilities are varied. Taking a chance and thinking, “Hey, you never know!” is something that helps motivate me to go to this event that I would otherwise ignore completely as a waste of my time. When I had told my friends of this interesting opportunity, they all had the same sentiment: go to the party to get with a rich girl. Ha ha, I laughed. Though unlikely, it could happen. Hey, you never know. Then there’s the possibility of employment: I may not have the means to enjoy the services of a concierge, but I sure understand the value of one. And I can sell the hell out of the idea too. Failing that, if there are security officers present, I just might try to seek new employment with them. Finally, if anything, the cocktail party will either provide me with a new experience to add to my writing arsenal, or confirm and clarify my image of such events.
Besides, I have a beautiful bespoke suit. It’d be a shame to waste such handsomeness on a wooden hanger.