“Flatter flatter flatter!”
I was struggling through an endless series of speed bumps to nowhere that I medicated into oblivion through fleeting relationships and, still people clapped.
Of course, I was young and handsome and well spoken, and therefore, “in demand” as such things go.
These assets alone eclipsed whatever was absent everywhere else, as evidenced in the hostess-CEO paradigm.
So like others of my kind, I let the endorphin rushes fuel fantasies of where my new encounters might lead…night after night after night.
But as time passed and my career grew, I found that I needed more tangible affirmation in order to maintain self-esteem.
I was getting older and youth was no longer the hook. So what was?
It had to come from within, but how? as the need for external affirmation felt like an addiction to painkillers?
Where was that now lost screw that kept the joints rattling?
I was becoming unhinged.
Then, in my mid 50’s, I started coming out of it.
I was one of the lucky ones, as others around me lost everything to time, desperate moves and bad luck.
As cliché as it sounds, I began to find meaning in sharing my life with someone else, and everything else started to fade.
I started to find that going back to the social till bled a little more of me, leaving me empty and unfulfilled.
While I still appreciated public acknowledgement of my work, I saw it all very differently, as simple self-expression, a way of working through issues in my life, rather than a veiled quest for self-aggrandizement.
I know that for the most part, praise is just posturing, something people feel compelled to express in a particular social context.
But what really mattered to them was money and power.
Even when they are genuinely impressed with an artist’s work, their feelings are ephemeral, fleeting and largely meaningless.
They will move on to the next cocktail function, cherry-pick another item of interest, and on it will go, forever.
In the end, no one really cares unless they receive something of equal measure.
For most it’s the public acknowledgement that they are of powerful social standing, transcendent of art.
In their minds, they are the bedrock, the unassailable…oligarchs of an otherwise trivial world.
Of course, challenges do arise [to my great amusement], particularly when such people are in the company of the equally rich and very famous.
I love all the fraying at the edges of vanity as they maneuver themselves back into the ring.
We all find our niches in the world, places that affirm us, reflect our standings and values, that don’t obliterate our self-esteem.
I live in a neighborhood of my peers, and spend time socializing with people who, for the most part, share my values, beliefs and social standing.
I no longer need or want anything from anyone else.
I’m not here to take, but to share.
I have already paid my dues many times over and no longer walk into a situation with my hands out.
If people like what they see, if it has some meaning for them, great.
Either way, I am no longer willing to sell myself for anyone’s approval.
Socialites do what they do for personal gain.
Whether it’s Look at me, how wealthy I am, how extravagant my clothing, how elite my connections…or…How the hell do I get into this club so I can move out of my apartment, it’s a game I’m no longer willing to play.
For those of you who wish to gain access to the right parties, hosted by the right people with an eye on their bank accounts, you know where to go and what to do.
Bullet Points of Interest:
1] People tend to do what they do for personal gain, even when they are the ones “giving.”
2] Nothing is ever free, even when people are throwing something at you.
3] Life is about checks and balances, usually literally.
4] People you like are usually those you’ve vetted over time, not people you meet at cocktail functions.
5] Fund raisers are usually a subtle dance around who’s got the biggest “dick,” both men and women.
6] Hanger’s on are like sous-chefs waiting for the big dog to fall into a vat of boiling grease.
7] Art is worth nothing to most people unless Christie’s auctions it.
8] Opportunism is gaining access to something you can’t find within yourself.
9] Everyone uses everyone for everything on some level, even if it’s a good laugh. So it’s all about levels.
10] While socialites serve a useful purpose in society, nobody cares who they are if they’re not raining money.
Venting is cathartic. It’s why I write and shoot pictures.