The List.

Last weekend, one of New York's great secrets was finally revealed to me.  You know all those incredibly pretentious and annoying door people who refuse to let you into clubs unless you are on "The List"?  (Even, in some cases, when you are staying in one of their $500 hotel rooms and being charged $40 for a half bottle of wine in the mini-bar - I'm looking at you, Standard Hotel).  Well, The List is a myth.  The List is New York's answer to a comprehensive record of the entire membership of the Illuminati.  Obvious you say? Well yes. But the problem is, if The List doesn't in fact exist, then how on earth do you get on it?

Apart from the general annoyance I have at (a) the lack of democracy in this stupid List, (b) the implied judgment on my attractiveness or lack thereof and (c) The fact I should need to  jump through hoops for the privilege of spending my hard-earned money, the truth is that sometimes I am curious to see how the beautiful people live. And the only way to do that is to get out of the Hipster Republic of Brooklyn and infiltrate the wild west of west Manhattan.

To be fair, this guy once tried to tell me just to say I was on The List and then act indignant to the point of hostility if I was questioned.  I assumed, quite rightly, that this particular tactic only works for extremely beautiful people, and that the person giving this advice had never been rejected in any way in his entire life.  For those of us who aren't supermodels, celebrities or 16 year olds in very small dresses, the answer is a bit more subtle.  The answer is: CONFUSION, with a possible hint at being mentally ill.

I stumbled upon this technique quite by accident when trying to implement the Beautiful People Method™.  Rocking up at the Jane Hotel, I wasn't surprised to hear the bouncer yelling that they were closed if you weren't on The List.  Being already a few wines down, I decided to try the BPM™ as outlined by Mr Teflon up there.

"Of course I'm on the list," I said to the inquiring authorities. "Name?" he asked. Thinking he meant the name of the person whose list I was on, I racked my brain for the name of one of the barmaids who worked at this place which I had memorised for exactly this reason on my previous visit (another useful tip from me, but one which could conceivably backfire quite badly). "Alexis".  I said confidently. "I don't have an Alexis," he answered. My "annoyance" faltered, I had to somehow get around Mr Unrejected's method of being indignant when quite clearly lying. "She only works on Sundays," I added firmly, as if that should be obvious, and prayed that she wasn't actually working there that night.

Looking back, I realise that at this point, he thought MY name was Alexis, and that I had just begun referring to myself in the third person and telling him my work schedule.  He probably concluded that I was rather insane, and potentially dangerous.

He looked me in the eye. I stared right back. "Ok go in," he said, waving me and my friends through after inspecting us up and down like a prison lineup, resulting in triumphant high fives on the other side.  So, quite accidentally I discovered that having a story, ANY story, and sticking to it come hell or high water is probably the way to go. It was exactly like that moment in Labyrinth when Sarah walks into a wall and discovers it isn't a wall at all - it just looks like a wall.  A whole New York underworld suddenly opened up to me.

I doubt however this kind of technique will work again, or will ever be enough for The Standard Hotel, particularly the Boom Boom Room, which has an arcane and impenetrable system harder for us normals to comprehend than the US taxation system.  Future tactics may include:

1. Pretending to be an obscure Swedish celebrity 2. Trying the Wayne's World Defense (WWD): "But my friends are in there!" 3. Forgetting the whole stupid thing and going to a dive bar on the Lower East Side for stress-free cheap beer.