February 28, 2007
The Velvet Rope
The Hamptons have always been associated with some level of exclusivity, especially in the peak of a crowded summer season where the arbiters of hipness decide who will get into and who will be excluded from certain events or clubs. But in February any cash-carrying warm-bodied patron will do.
So it was rather a shock to see the velvet rope out on a 10-degree night to herald the opening of the new Sen Lounge where Magnolia used to be. Technically the physical barrier wasn't a velvet rope but a huge man in a black coat with a clipboard.
When the owner had asked me and my dinner companions the week prior to please come to the opening we agreed and went to a fair amount of effort to get gussied up and head out on a brutally cold night. We arrived at the door and were told by this imposing figure that it was a private party. "Yes we know," we said, "the owner invited us."
"You're not on the list," he said gruffly.
I looked over at what looked like six names on a sheet of paper.
"No, really," I said. "He specifically asked us to come."
"You're not on the list," he repeated again.
Having spent good money on an eyebrow wax and abandoned the comfort of my own cozy home to trudge down in the effort of supporting a local business, only to be left there freezing and somewhat humiliated at being turned away at a door to a bar on Main Street in Sag Harbor in February, made my cold blood boil.
Another woman started arguing with the bouncer, "For god's sake," she spewed, "I'm the wife of an investor," and simply whisked her fur clad body inside. Strangely not many people were in the place so it's not like it was a fire marshal problem. And the "private party" wasn't free — patrons had to pay for their own drinks.
One of the guys in my group was so totally incensed he just left. Another went to the American Hotel. I had to stand there in my outcast state waiting for the rest of our party to arrive to tell them we couldn't go in. Being Manhattanites, they decided this was nuts and simply stormed the gates pretty much pushing their way in.
Now I was really pissed. The people who weren't invited at all were inside and those of us that were remained scattered between the sidewalk, the Hotel, and halfway home.
So a second attempt was made where the party crashers vouched for us invitees outside and got us in. I mean you have really got to be kidding me.
We ran into a few other locals inside who faced similar door flack and the mood darkened to match the décor. We collectively felt like we were the ugly girl who the guy dates in the winter until the summer babes show up. But it's FEBRUARY. Who is that picky?
The problem with the velvet rope is that if you are one of the chosen ones, you feel somehow entitled and superior, and if you're on the other side you feel hurt and angry that some establishment won't even let you in to give them your hard earned money.
What would happen if you got rid of the rope? What would happen if the hip were hip to hip with the unhip? I for one am not going to find out. I'm going to let my eyebrows grow unruly and skip going out all together. You know why? Because it's February.
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