A big part of my job is to attend a ton of schmoozing events all over the Bay Area. Alone. This is fine by me. Stick a glass of wine in my hand, and I’m a happy camper. And on most occasions, when you go to enough of these awards ceremonies, installation dinners, and networking mixers, you get to know a couple of folks who are trapped there by themselves, just like you. Usually, people are pretty chatty at these things anyway. I mean, that’s the whole point. I’ve grown accustomed to people just marching up to me and starting incredibly boring conversations.
I think it’s fun.
Occasionally, however, I find myself trapped at an event where everyone seems to know each other, and I’m hugging the wall, attempting to maneuver a handbag, appetizer plate, and wine glass while trying to look like I don’t care that I clearly have no friends. Worse, sometimes under these dire circumstances, I’ll see someone I kind of know and attempt to join them, suddenly realizing that they have no idea who I am. Now I’ve humiliated not only myself, but some relative stranger who then attempts to subtly snub me from following them around.
In what I regard as my most embarrassing work event experience, I attended an annual gala and decided to wear what I thought was a stunning black and white dress. When I approached the open bar, the Nazi bartender thought I was staff and wouldn’t serve me. So desperate to drink, I had to produce business cards and explain that while clad in black and white, like so many of the servers buzzing around and now snickering at me, I was a fucking guest and you might want to change that red wine to a vodka, straight up.
Keep in mind, most times I have an absolute blast, finding a hilarious cohort or two and ending up on the dance floor with some scion of industry. But you don’t want to hear about that. You want to hear about the time I ended up on the dance floor with an older gentleman who I believe, snuck in, got drunk and starting asking girls to dance. When he made his way to me, I figured, what the hell, and joined him in front of the band, only to watch him lose his balance and take me down with him.
So I find myself at work, on this Monday morning, with a little pile of beautifully printed invites before me, all of which I must dutifully attend alone. Most of these are small cocktail receptions, requiring only a quick hour long drop by if they’re really deadly. But I just know that I’ll find myself eating egg rolls in a bathroom stall hoping the bartender doesn’t notice that I’m on my fourth glass on wine and praying that the coat check girl will finish hanging that fur and have time to talk to me…