Salahi-Not contrived by me mind you but defined as such by our good friend Dickie over at Southern Gent. He and I were discussing the dynamics of holiday parties where the guest list expands when the host-under the influence of a few cocktails and some holiday cheer, begins to invite others to his soiree scheduled for the next weekend. Is the invitation sincere? Will the host remember to put you on the guest list? Is it considered poor form to ring him up and verify that you are on the list?
The consequences for not verifying your legitimacy on the guest list is to risk being “Salahied”. Showing up adorned in Black Tie with a lovely bauble of a date on your arm only to be told that you are not on the guest list and ergo-not getting into the soiree. Dickey and I agreed that it’s a situation, a set of circumstances that if possible you should avoid.
I’m far beyond giving a damn about being on any guest lists in Washington but somehow end up getting an invite here and there to some snooty function and in small doses, making happy talk with sycophants remains entertaining-in small doses. I bet our boy Hubert is thinking..."Damn...it's Suzie Scorchmadrawers-Augie The Scorcher Scorchmadrawer's wife-gotta put on the happy face for her or Augie'll take me off his sugar tit".
While name dropping and ass kissing is part and parcel of the business world and politics, Sycophantasia manifests to a breathtaking degree in higher education-I mean what else do they have other than a bit of intellectual or probably more accurately…dogmatic power? Tenure and the power derived therein is the phallic instrument on campus because money ain’t a currency that they have enough of to sling around arrogantly. If I piss off my client constituency or my friends, they fire me. That phenomenon alone keeps some of my hubris and cocksurety in check. Shut up. Academics are the worst brewers of ass kissing broth because they have hostages…aka students who want a grade. I learned early on in college that if I agreed with my professors more than I disagreed, my likelihood for a better grade increased. The puffery manifest in a tenured professor who knows that his constituency cannot fire him is stunning. I think most academics would die within ninety days if they had to survive fully…off-campus.
I love the way Maureen Dowd not only blasted the Salahis but also rolled in red hot on Washington society…
"...even the outrage over the fakers is fake. The capital has turned up its nose at the tacky trompe l’oeil Virginia horse-country socialites: a faux Redskins cheerleader and a faux successful businessman auditioning for a “reality” show by feigning a White House invitation...Yet Washington has always been a town full of poseurs, arrivistes, fame-seekers, cheaters and camera hogs." Orval Faubus isn't thinking about Augie The Scorcher's Sugar Tit in this picture.
College kids have always made the best of a black tie situation.
And older folks remind us that it's never to late to make an ass out of yourself.
Now back to Sycophantasia for a moment....Spot on you are Maureen Dowd. Living in Washington and not being in politics is like living in Hollywood and not being in the movie business. But I like living here-I’m an Eastern Seaboard kinda guy. Proximity to Gotham-the beaches-mountains-my mama and an airport to shuttle me all over the world is right here. And as long as LFG is here-I ain’t going anywhere. Washington is like an old comfortable shoe-but I don’t ass kiss some congressional member every day in search of a favor-a nod-a vote anymore. When I did that job at the state level, I couldn’t shower enough to feel clean after swilling hooch with some state agency hack that controlled access to pharmaceutical benefit design processes. And trust me folks, we ain’t exactly got the Mensa stronghold plotting America’s journey from the Hill.
But the poseurs and star f_ckers descend on this city like no other. Admittedly, it is an adrenaline rush and a lot of fun to be a wage slave on the Hill when you are twenty five years old. I worked for a Senator the summer between my junior and senior years of college and had an absolute blast. I was a dilettante and couldn’t have given a damn about issues-advocacy-votes and ideals. You already know this but all of Washington is for sale. All can be bought-every damned bit of legislation at the Federal and State level can be purchased. I know-I used to budget for it every year.
So the Salahis are not unique. As Ms. Dowd so eloquently stated, this kind of shit has been going down in Washington for centuries. In our age of instant video uploads via iPhone-Twitter Tweets and Reality Shows, the Salahis just provide us a fortified-steroidal version of the Sycophantasia Phenomenon. These people are devoid of souls. They represent sociopathy and narcissism in its most extreme form.
He; the son who has squandered what was by those who know such things-a winery that turned out some decent swill-not only by Virginia wine standards-trust me folks, this stuff has come a long way since I rolled in here in 1989-but by national standards as well. If you are foolish with your money-click on the investor offer scrolling on their winery’s homepage. This boy wants your money.
She; the ersatz Redskins Cheerleader who has probably lied about most everything on her life journey list. I dig the name change Michaele. Michelle Ann Holt aka “Missy Holt” seems to have come from solid middle class stock like me…everything in the world to be proud of regarding one’s background here in America. Why? Because if you are smart and work hard you can still, even in the current craziness of this world, become anything you want. Instead she decided to create and live a lie and Mephistopheles arranged the perfect partner for the journey.
Leased, leverage, repossessed and slapped with so many judgments they should both be punch drunk. But no, they still have the narcissistic pang and sociopathic hunger to soldier on in their soulless journey toward infamy. Hell of a way to get it. “Why would we do this if we were not invited…and risk everything we’ve worked for”? Missy Holt Salahi said to Matt Lauer when he asked the Salahis if they crashed the party. Worked for what? I’m surprised that Lauer didn’t ask that question in follow up. Certainly I’m not the only one who is glad that this poster child couple for Sycophantasia no longer leads the nightly television news or the front page of newspaper.
So am I anti-soiree? Poopooing that party circuit? Nope-I still enjoy a formal shindig from time to time and as I searched for visual props for this post I took a fun little walk down soiree memory lane. I’ll be the last one to stridently espouse black tie do’s and don’ts but I will admit to mistakes past and lessons learned which have pretty much landed me on a code that I’m comfortable with when I do rig up for the evening. Wing collar shirt with a shawl collared jacket? I wouldn't do it but this was years ago and it was my baby brother's wedding. I complied but insisted that I would bring my own bowtie. I'd gotten over that pre-tied stuff long before this and my brother is a prince of a guy so he allowed the latitude.
White tie and tails with Gucci loafers. Yep. It was my best buddy DCA's wedding and we've known each other since sixth grade. I refused to wear those patent plastic Corfam hot-house sweat bomb things from the formal kit hire shop. This was twenty one years ago and my mama said I could. Shut up.
Behave yourself or you'll be confused with the help. They'll put a pitcher of "lemonade" in your hand and admonish you to take care of the guests. I think I ended up this night with those little zip tie handcuffs that the cops use on kids when they arrest them at Spring Break. I'm not proud but I'm not gonna lie to you either.
This woman coached me when I needed help with my swimming efforts after I almost drowned during my first triathlon. She was a full scholarship swimmer at the University of South Carolina and stayed in the south after college. She lived on a lake. I went to said lake for her swimming instruction. I stayed for two years.
Here's the swim coach again-it's my 30th birthday party. My buddy JBA (R.I.P.) and his wife hosted a little gathering. See that rug beneath the chair? A few hours later it was rolled up and we were shagging on that hardwood floor. Both kinds. Everything started out very civilized. But you only turn 30 once.
There was obviously one kind of shagging that didn't happen that night. This is the last time I've ever worn a matching tie-cummerbund set-I don't know. I think the oysters were a little "off" that night.
Notice that all my wingmen have self-tie bows on. Wouldn't allow any pre tied rigs at my wedding. Socks were optional too.
Cigars-Cigarettes-Tiparellos? Ever been asked to leave your own party?
I am sincerely sorry that I had to alter LFG's mom's face. It's mandatory. LFG loves it when I tell her the story about three of us being in this photo. LFG is in her mom's tummy. I still have the black watch bow tie in this picture. I do though, have on a solid black cummerbund. Something about those oysters on my 30th that I've never gotten over.
Ditto the reason for altering the photo-nothing malicious intended here. Just gotta keep everyone happy. We were on the way to a Casino night out in rural Virginny. One of my good buddies is on the board of a community college and this little yearly shin dig was always fun. I left my gut end Thurstons at home and had to borrow the ersatz trouser straps from my buddy JTS. Don't tell nobody. Shut up.
What did Maureen Dowd say about camera hogs? I'm not one at all but somehow I ended up in the Baltimore Sun on a Sunday morning a few years ago.
Granted-had I not been dating this stunner-instead of a picture, they'd have put a pitcher of "lemonade" in my hand and admonished me to get to work. It took the same makeup artists that "did" the Salahis four hours to get that Phantom of the Opera face shadow just right on my elfin mug.
So gussy yourselves up and have a good old formal time. Just modulate your sucking up and watch out for dodgy oysters. Sycophantasia may result.