here are certain rites of passage
that happen in any childhood. In
fourth grade, many are allowed to
have their first sleep-over party;
and at 13, many parents give their children
a small blue book that silently haunts most
adolescents, Tiffany’s Table Manner for Teens.
At the time, it leads to eye-rolls – a glimpse
at the content reveals such useful fare as
“when drawing soup, one must pull the spoon
away from oneself and the bowl.” The book
delicately outlines potential social landmines
and elaborately details how to pull off a
successful party. “To be a good host, you must
provide for your guest,” writes Walter Hoving (former president of Tiffany & Co.).
This Halloween, many of The Young & the
Guest List (Y&GL) crowd were invited to a
“Hallow’s Eve Affair” by a series of hosts. The
expected standard offerings were all there: a
favorite DJ, a People bachelor, a Polo guru and
a ubiquitous party boy. It was “invitation only,”
and guests were required to R.S.V.P. In any
other city, you would assume the hosts were
generous and gracious
enough to pay for the
evening and that (of course) there would be an
open-bar. Not so in Washington.
Over the last two years, a new phenomenon
has emerged. Clubs and restaurants now use
younger socialites as promoters to draw the “right”
crowd. Without fail, we now receive E-vites
(electronic invitations) requesting our presence at
Smith Point with a list of names on it for Thursday
night. We’re not sure why this is happening. One
would assume the clubs are throwing kickbacks to
these “hosts,” but that’s not the case.
Having your name on the right committee
is prestigious when it’s tied to causes such as
the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Washington
Ballet or the Kennedy Center.
Tying a name
to a nightclub opening where you essentially
invite your friends to support a for-profit
business is a different story. As The Washington Times society editor Kevin Chaffee says, “It’s
not a party if you have to pay.”
In New York, you would never receive an
invitation saying “Ivanka Trump and friends
invite you to [be a customer at] Pink Elephant.”
Furthermore, many of these “hosts” don’t even
bother to show up at their own “parties.” We
don’t know why we’re required to R.S.V.P. to
attend a bar we regularly frequent.
We’re thrilled to see sexy lounges, but
Washington is a smart city and the disguised “party
E-vite” is wearing thin. We’re happy to be invited
to clubs, and if you insist on an E-vite to Blue Gin,
also disclose that upon arrival we’ll have to pay
$14 for a glass of second-rate champagne and that
these “hosts” are in effect, working for the house.
What happened to traditional promoters doing a
great job at bringing people out? Works for every
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