Friday, November 8, 2013

Livestock Branding, Millennial Style

I've been anxiously planning my Vegas trip the past week or so.  Since I prefer to overplan rather than underplan, I've been in contact with a number of promoters and VIP hosts and all other sorts of people whose email signature tout positions that sound simultaneously incredibly important and totally made up.

I found a lot of their numbers on which I do recommend for your trip planning needs, but in texting a number of these contacts I've realized that it's so rare to find one that actually grew up there.  It makes me sad to see an area code from Iowa belonging to a host at some low-tier club, like a sign that someone went out to Las Vegas to chase their dream of being a bigshot only to end up stagnating, offering buy-one-get-one bottle offers to anyone just trying to fill a club with tourists.

Now that we can all keep our area codes when we change phones, it seems that our phone numbers are our "brands", the unmistakable mark that can belie even the most arrogant exterior of a faux local.  If I am in the Meatpacking District and some promoter gives me his card, if that card has a South Jersey area code on it you better believe I'm tossing it right out.  It's probably snobbery but I've lived here my whole life, why will I trust someone who is an actual part of the bridge and tunnel crow to show me where to go?

These hosts can act like big shots all they want, tell me they're able to get my group into the best nightclubs with no cover and whatever else, but they can't fake their area code, which particularly for my generation who changed numbers with every new phone in their teens just serves as a blinking light displaying the maximum amount of time this person can have been in Las Vegas.

I think this is interesting in the popular cities, like Vegas and LA and New York, that are really just filled with transients.  How many Williamsburg hipsters would you guess have New York area codes?  I'd guess not a lot, I'd even guess that it's significantly less than half.  Yet these are the same people who make every status update about "BROOKLYNNNN" and constantly Instagram pictures of their regular New York lives.  Why are people so quick to give up where they came from and adopt what the perceive to be the personality of somewhere they go?  It almost seems like an escapist thing to me.  The people I know who are snobbiest about being New Yorkers went to NYU with me and moved to the city for college; somehow, their experiencing their formative college years in New York makes them vastly superior to the plebes who moved here post college, for work.  These are the people who care more about their address than the interior of their apartments, and these are the people who write blogs about their New York lives.  Their lives are otherwise normal, but for some reason in their minds waiting on long lines for everything and catching a glimpse of Jon Stewart or Jay-Z at the table next to them makes their experiences exponentially more exciting.  You can move wherever you want, post whatever you want on your social media feeds, but with that foreign area code being the source of all these lovely sepia toned pictures it seems like you spend your life trying to prove what a local you are rather than experiencing genuine hometown pride.

I love New York, but not enough to have that obscure my own personal identity.  I wonder what assumptions these hosts are making about me when they see my distinctively New York City area code?

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