by phil on Sunday Apr 16, 2006 5:43 PM

When you do things over and over again, you start to think that it's the norm. But the reality is, when it comes to going to parties, I've generally stayed within my comfort zone, so I don't really know how it's like elsewhere.

In the parties I go to, these are the standard questions:

1) Who do you know here?
2) Where do you live?
3) What do you do?

I take for granted that these are not necessarily the questions that are asked at all festive social encounters. Certainly my family parties are not like that. And my limited experience in going to parties outside of the norm were definitely not like that.

When I step back and think about it, those three question are actually pretty disgusting.

Who do you know here?. Is that always relevant? This is the standard "networking" question. It's like, "how are you connected?" What's the harm if you're not on the inside? I've observed other parties where two people don't know how the other both got there and are united by something else, like a joke they share in.

Where do you live?. You can tell a lot by your zip code. Are you in Noe Valley, North Beach, the Financial District, outside of the city? what? Sounds like a status-loaded question. Maybe we have something in common, like if you're from Emeryville (by Berkeley) and I live in Upper Haight (near a trendy area of SF), maybe we'll have some sort of hipster-attitude in common. But why can't it just be that we both like the band that's playing?

What do you do?. Your work is your identity in this situation. In other contexts, this would be uncouth for a couple reasons: 1) it's a party-killer to discuss work, 2) you don't want to put people in a position to boast, and 3) maybe you don't want to hear that this charming gentleman is actually just an accountant.

All three questions are designed for the interviewer to ascertain how they should treat someone. It assumes that a backgrounder is needed in order to determine whether it's worth engaging in light-hearted small-talk.

Money and success will gain you access to these kind parties. Sounds like a crappy reward to me.


thus spoke bacon said on April 17, 2006 1:09 AM:

idolon tribus or something

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