JournalismPakistan.com May 20, 2014
Many years ago I wrote about this couple who were not A list. 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 they were there but not there, second stringers at best, desperately seeking the front row but ending up staring at someone’s neck.
In their desperate effort to climb the stringy social ladder they plotted as deviously as Brutus against Julius to make the grade.
So they’d hear about a party or anniversary or some VIP welcome and they’d use strategy.
Like, migoodness, we just got back from Gstaad (or Saharanpur, same difference) this morning right in time for the dinner, so looking forward to it.
If not the trip angle they’d say, so sorry, we could not confirm our coming, our help didn’t give us the message, but have this lovely little gift for you.
Frequently, they’d call and offer to help out like ‘anything we can do, bring, must make it a special evening.’
And since they invariably conducted themselves with a complete lack of shame or self-consciousness every trick they used worked. Such is the texture of page 3 people that no one called their bluff. Which is fine but since they only limited their invasions to the crème de la crème parties they not only became the best known gatecrashers they turned into the barometers for who was A class.
Now, stressed hostesses waited nervously for them to gatecrash. If they didn’t, then in the mean world of high society, they were downgrading you by not fetching up.
Since there was some unspoken code of honor that you could not invite them the suspense would rise like yeast and if they failed to arrive their absence would indicate that the host and hostess either had financial troubles, he was no longer favorite son, she and he were rattling skeletons in the cupboard, all gossip confirmed because guess who did not gate crash.
The terrors of the tiramisu now upped their act and as their power intensified they found themselves being lionized because they were the arbitrary stamp of approval.
I actually met them through the friend who had told me this story. We were at a dinner and this friend is very rich and the gatecrashers were there holding fort and taking mental notes. What had happened in the interim period was that the novelty wore off and they had to up the ante to still be counted. So they raised the stakes and became advisors to the top social echelons.
Awesome. They’d tell the hostess or, if it was official, the host who was ‘in’, who was ‘out’, who was the current flavor, who was in hock, (the only yardstick) and how they could get so and so celeb to attend.
You have to be kidding me, I said to my friend, they judge parties and fine tune the guest list?
Uh huh, they can wreck reps the next morning, food, décor, convo, no-nos who were there, celebs who did not come (because they stopped them) they say things like déclassé and chi-chi, they mock with malice, they are scary.
Why does anyone need their approval, just don’t invite them, who are these people?
Why does a candle blow out in the wind, he said, they’d knock you off the A list so fast it would make your head spin, they network, they network all day and everyone is now scared of them.
I don’t believe it, what sort of folks live their lives like this being rated by others.
Their lives depend on being ‘admitted,’ he said, all the right circles, they’d die if they were spun off.
More like giddy circles.
So how come they are here, I said, you are rich, but you are not A list.
Oh, he said, they are slumming, it is their day off and will you keep a secret.
They are family.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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