Friday, August 20, 2010

How the wheels of society turn

THEY were not on the A list in social terms. More like a B or B plus. Not rich enough, not famous enough, not powerful enough. So, while they were pretty active on the city circuit they were never at the best places. Just second best. Sort of like there but not there, second stringers at best, desperately seeking the front row.

This irked both husband and wife so they devised a strategy to get themselves into the ‘in’ parties. They gate-crashed. If it was a top shelf gathering they’d be there.
Not in the clumsy or crude manner you might expect of barging in but with a little bit of panache. They’d call the hostess and say, "Awfully sorry, we were out of town and must have missed the invitation, but don’t worry we’ll be there, wouldn’t miss it for the world."

Once they called a host and said, "Our houseboy is such a nuisance, he never gives us the messages, no good help these days, hahaha, so sweet of you to be giving this dinner for the visiting MPs, sure you don’t need any help, we could get our cook to make something," On another occasion they gate crashed a private dinner by explaining how they had just landed from the airport and how they are so fortunate they got back tonight, right in time. And they always carried gifts or a bouquet of flowers to soften their entry.

The A list crowd were cruel in their comments but the ridicule was in private and even though they joked about the couple they never really came out and said, "get lost." Over the months the gate-crashing continued and the game took on a new twist. There was now speculation over whether the gate-crashing husband and wife would fetch up at a dinner or not.

And then one evening at a small dinner party for twenty of fairly important people the hostess looked distraught and uneasy. Guests asked her what was wrong but she wouldn’t say. Finally, she couldn’t hold back and she blurted out what was on her mind. The gatecrashers hadn’t gate-crashed. It was way past ten o’clock and there was no sign of them. she whispered. "They didn’t come,""Maybe they don’t think we are good enough for them," said someone half jokingly. And a legend was born.

Almost immediately the gatecrashers had been lionised and turned into society barometers. If they gate-crashed your party you were to the manor born, if they stayed away you were a has been, not worth the bother. The whole ludicrous scenario was further validated by the tacit approval of the giddy social circles. There was even an honour system that evolved in that the true test of your party’s worth and your standing lay in their gate-crashing you. If you invited them it did not count, it was a natural disqualification. They had to fetch up on their own. Things came to such a pass that the hosts would sweat with suspense until the couple fetched up or have a completely wretched evening because they had been dumped. Very soon the A list had been transformed according to this arbitrary yardstick and the gate- crashing couple had become famous and very powerful indicators. If they didn’t come to your party the message flashed across the city. These are yesterday’s people, not even worth gate-crashing.

Ah, how the rich live. You think I jest. You think wrong.

note: This is not about the White house gate crashers - Michelle and Tariq Silahi..though inspired for that news.