( ) prologue
"Everybody has to feel superior to somebody. But it’s customary to present a little proof before you take the privilege."
This started as a review—it quickly veered off-course and became something else entirely, but that’s how it started—of Very Important People: Status and Beauty on the Global Party Circuit. My favorite book reviews typically waste little time before they crack their knuckles, don their p-hats, and set off spelunking through the stats. Something about the rigor of it all soothes me.
But when it comes to quantitatives, Very Important People cares about just four: height (ideally, north of six feet in heels), weight (conspicuously, if not ludicrously thin), age (certainly less than thirty, preferably less than twenty-five), and facial attractiveness (left as an exercise to the reader).
That’s me. Hello.
So in the name of qualitative research, I found my sample-size-of-one self in a Manhattan restaurant one evening last November, accepting a fruity drink nestled in an inflatable flamingo koozie as I sat down at a long table of like-bodied women, bracing myself for the global, the party, and the circuit.
Tonight, and in the nights that follow, I, unlikeliest of party animals, will venture to explore terra luxuriosus. And if there’s any fault I come to find in the book, it’s this: by nature, nothing in nightlife is amenable to the rigors of sociology. There can be no impedance mismatch between analysis and subject; any true knowledge of this world will be neither objective nor subjective, but interactive:
If you cut things open, you can’t find the meaning inside. It doesn’t ooze out. So maybe meaningfulness is more like a fluid that suffuses objects. If you soak a sponge cake in rum, that invisible essence pervades the dessert, and you can’t specifically locate it—although you can taste it.
Where abstraction fails, enumeration must do. And as the literal embodiment of the VIP circuit’s currency—tall, thin, young, and pretty—I vow to force feed you my surreal slice of this experience, bite by bite.
So dig in.