A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to a fashion event for Out Magazine.
Well, I wasn’t technically invited: I was +1 to E, who I’d describe as the sweetest socialite I know. He’s out every night, making appearances at whichever event sounds the most interesting, with a full face of makeup and scandalous outfits. Even in my Prada sequin top, I couldn’t even begin to compare to him.
The open bar served specialty cocktails sponsored by Absolut Vodka, and every cocktail had the generic name of a boy I’ve dated—The Lukas with hints of lavender, The Adam with hints of apple, The Camden with hints of citrus. I ordered The Oliver, with hints of orange, and sipped it greedily as we walked around the party.
E introduced me to everyone he knew, which happened to be everyone: the clothing designer with 40K followers on Instagram, the YouTuber with 248K Instagram followers, the porn star with 448K. I looked each of them up while pretending to use the bathroom, wondering if my measly 1,461 followers was the reason I was never invited to such parties.
Are followers how we establish ourselves socially?
I fall into the Instagram trap myself: I post a picture every day, and as much as I pretend I don’t care how many followers I have or likes a picture gets, I’m definitely keeping track. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated a little bit by people who actually have a following.
Washing my hands and going back to the party, I saw two familiar faces: a fashion executive and photographer, standing near the end of the bar. I ordered another Oliver and went to say hello to them. They both looked confused, then nodded.
“Remind me where we met?” the photographer asked, sipping his Lukas.
We’d met a million times before, and my face flushed. I hoped he couldn’t see in the dimly lit room. “Oh, some event or another I’m sure,” I shrugged.
“I love your top,” the executive smiled. “Who’s it by?”
“Prada.” They both looked at me funny, like they didn’t believe me—and I hated myself for caring.
My 1,451 followers must have been showing.
I found E again, chatting with the porn star—when I approached them, the porn star shook my hand, and when I cocked my head he said, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I met you when I got here!” But he didn’t sound apologetic.
When E said they were moving to The Box, I downed my last Oliver and said goodnight—not that staying out all night wouldn’t have been fun, but not on a weeknight. A couch near the front was littered with pillows proclaiming OUT MAGAZINE—I stuffed one into my bag, like the classy socialite I am, and walked to the subway.
E texted me the next day, asking if I’d like to go out with him again. To which, of course, I said “Abso-fucking-lutely.”