Monday, March 22, 2010

The Art of Working a Room

I am in the thick of my minimum one book a month New Year's resolution, and this month finds me in the middle of a book called Disco Bloodbath.  Don't laugh.  I inherited this book from an old boyfriend of a friend, and I am finally getting around to reading it.  I won't bore you with the gory details as the title suggests, but I just loved this little bit about how to work a room.  Really an important skill for anyone, but the delivery is kind of spot on and completely worth a whirl.

For this exercise you need a partner.  You must always have a partner when going to one wants to tell people they showed up alone or latch onto a newfound friend like a social parasite.
"Enter the room in a clatter of commotion.  Circle the room, once together, smiling and saying hello to every person in the room.  Even if you don't know them.  Especially if you don't know them.  Pretend that you do.  You should make a snappy comment about something they're wearing.  Smile and acknowledge every person in the a clockwise rotation--never stopping, never pausing--always moving, always smiling...brilliant...animated...ON!  (This takes 20-25 minutes) 
Then separate!
Both of you circle, alone, in opposite directions.  Pretend you are searching for each other and be sure to involve every person in the club in your desperate hunt. (This should take no longer than 25 minutes)
Finally, regroup and scream with transcendental bliss at the thrill of finding one and other again.  Now, lock arms and work the whole room again, telling all your newfound friends not to worry, we found each other.
Then leave.  Never stay longer than an hour and a half.  Always leave them wanting more."
 Now on to the Very Important Life Lessons:

1. If you are at a party with a photographer, always stand on the right side of the people you are taking photos with.  This way, in the picture, you will be on the left and the caption will read, "Barbara K. and so-and-so were at whatever gala," so psychologically, you will get top billing. 

2. Try to get your picture taken...for Patrick McMullan, Facebook, whatever.  It's like the whole 'if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound'.  Where you really there? 

3. Wear something interesting...but not too interesting.  In a sea of black and gray wear a shot of color or wear bright lipstick and you will automatically look more interesting and stand out.  But, don't look like a freak or completely out of place.  I know of a gay male friend who wore a sequin tank top to La Caprice at The Pierre and was never allowed back.

4. Go to everything you are invited to.  I joke that I know people who would go to the opening of an envelope...and guess what--they are invited to everything.  Even if you only stay for 30 minutes and have a cocktail, your name was checked off on the guest list.  RSVP-ing yes and not showing is no bueno.

As the author of Disco Bloodbath, James St. James says, "Do this every night, for three months, at the hottest club in town, and I personally guarantee that for the rest of your life you will know everybody in every room of every party, everywhere."  Haha.

Excerpts from Disco Bloodbath by James St. James (c) 1999 Simon & Schuster

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