What’s worth “hanging back” for?
I was recently invited to attend a swanky event (so fancy, it was called a luncheon) at a Beverly Hills hotel, which promised to give awards to significant women in the city. Alas, I was not to be one of honorees, but I did receive a genuine invite, which I RSVPed to and soon received a bubbly confirmation from the publicist.
So I sweet-talked a friend into watching my little one, put on uncomfortable clothes and high heels, and drove across town in 100-degree heat. Valet was complimentary, and I felt pleased to be in the company of actual adult women as I entered the arrival queue at the check-in desk. (I work at home and have two young kids; dalliances outside in the adult world are always exciting.)
When I gave my name to the young attendant, she typed it into her iPad. “Oh,” she said, a note of concern in her voice. Then she looked up and said with a smile, “Would you mind just hanging back for a few minutes?”
“Excuse me?” I stepped back, thinking that maybe she needed more personal space or that perhaps she was about to move the table.
“Just hang back.” She replied cheerfully, like that was an instruction that makes sense.
“I’m sorry. I don’t understand.”
“We need to get some other people in first.”
“I got an invite. I RSVPed.” (I wasn’t defensive, just confused.)
“I know. If you could just come back in 20 minutes we’ll know then if we can accommodate you.”
It took me a moment to get it—I was on the B list. Or maybe even the C list. A crush of well-heeled women was behind me. I left the line, trying to retain some dignity as I fixed my Spanx, which thanks to the heat were creeping up in a most unpleasant manner. It can be cool to get kicked out of a party, but it is never cool to not be let into one.
I walked back into the lobby, where my confusion shifted from shame to getting pissed. Maybe I’m naïve, but when I’m invited to something, I assume that means I’m actually invited to it. Suddenly, the venue seemed intolerably cheesy and reeked of bad perfume. I’d come to celebrate the achievements of kick-ass women while kicking back a few glasses of mid-range Chardonnay. But no matter how good the gift bag might be, there was no getting over the breach in etiquette.
I took the woman’s advice, and I held back. I held way, way back and immediately left. Some cold-salmon-serving luncheon is not worth waiting for—which begs the question:
What is worth acknowledging your low-level status and hanging out anyway to see if the velvet ropes eventually part?
Because if I’m going to be a hanger-on, it’s going to be for more than lunch. So here’s my top list of events I’d “hang back” and wait for (hours, days even):
- A dinner for Bill Clinton or Barack Obama where you get to shake hands with the president
- Backstage passes to a Prince concert
- A Police reunion show
- Any opportunity to meet a living member of The Beatles
- My daughter’s kazoo concert or ballet recital
What would you hang back for?
Check out more of Andrea’s posts HERE and lullaby renditions of some of her favorite bands worth hanging back for.