“If I get drunk and puke on my shoes, don’t write about it. Or at least ask me first.”
Runnin’ Scared dutifully jotted down that request as we waited for two of the most powerful bachelorettes in media, and one of the bachelors, to finish their tequila gimlets. We were standing in a crowded Mexican place across the street from the most power-clogged singles event of the summer — the Media Power Singles Power Mixer, hosted by the New York Observer, creator of those slideshows we gave ourselves the burden of fact-checking last week.
Before the night’s end, at least two men would be punched in or around the face; Runnin’ Scared would engage in a shouting match with an editor of a competing publication; our notes would become so illegible as to not be of any use; plans would be made (and then forgotten) to crash Bill Keller’s party; and Runnin’ Scared would accidentally photobomb a certain “wunderkind” New York Times media reporter. And we weren’t even there for the whole thing.
The bachelor(ette)s paid for their drinks and we crossed Bowery toward the Scratcher, a frequent haunt of Village Voice employees. Seems like Observer employees dig it, too. On the way, RS eavesdropped on the bachelor’s cell phone conversation.
“I have three wingwomen with me right now,” he said. “I’ll be your wingman, virtually.” Runnin’ Scared didn’t ask for clarification w/r/t who was on the other end.
Going in, we knew that the big guns (Anderson Cooper, Arianna Huffington, etc) wouldn’t show, but we were also skeptical that anyone would be there at all — an early tweet from Observer writer Dan D’Addario made it look like slim pickings.
It looked like any other happy hour on any other work night; people from various New York media outlets, from the Paris Review to Reuters to the New York Times mingled or sat in small clusters. A box of new NYO broadsheets sat on the ground. Runnin’ Scared made the appropriate complimentary remarks about the paper to a young Observer reporter (“Take a paper!” he offered), then staked out a spot at the bar.
A photographer circled the room to capture the images of the most powerful and most single people in the most powerful industry of power. Above-mentioned photobombing happened; to our knowledge, the results aren’t online yet. Men bought this reporter drinks to, we thought, make a good impression on her co-worker (an eligible and powerful bachelorette). Everyone’s favorite thing to say to this reporter was “This is all off the record.”
We sidled up to an acquaintance, a fresh-faced Wall Street Journal reporter. How did he feel about his inclusion on the power bachelors list?
“I mean, I’m just confused about what the definition of ‘power’ is,” he said, carefully.
Runnin’ Scared hacked through a thicket of Adweek people to get to someone we knew. We were introduced — twice, within a span of 15 minutes — to a bespectacled tech guy in a “vintage” tee and blazer, who forgot our name after the first introduction even though he’s been following us on Twitter for months.
We chatted with two women and Reuters social media kingpin Anthony de Rosa. “The question everyone wants to know is, ‘Why is Anthony de Rosa single?'” one of them squealed. Around then, we ran into a financial blogger’s assistant who swept us outside for a cigarette.
“It’s less of a shitshow than I thought it would be,” he confided on the sidewalk. It was 9 p.m.
We gave cigarettes to more than one person despite our policy against that. Our notes become harder to follow and memory begins to fail, but we do remember a few key snapshots. By way of example, someone actually said, as we waited in the throng of people surrounding the bar: “There are faces for radio and voices for print, and then there’s this party. Holy shit, look at that chick’s ass.”
Someone attempted to snatch our notebook out of our purse. We heard reports of two guys getting clocked, from the person who did the clocking. The bar grew fuller and fuller, people got shoutier and shoutier. Runnin’ Scared attempted to latch onto another media reporter’s plan to infiltrate exiting NYT executive editor Bill Keller’s party at Canal Room; it didn’t work out (“The Canal Room is like the worst venue ever,” someone else told us by way of consolation).
None of the bachelors and bachelorettes seemed to be hooking up with each other, or at least not in Runnin’ Scared’s line of sight. We sat at a table with two employees of another newspaper, one of whom — an editor — started a conversation.
“Are you reporting on this?” he asked.
Runnin’ Scared admitted to reporting on the party.
Somehow — and it’s unclear exactly how — Runnin’ Scared ended up in a heated argument with the above-mentioned editor. He told us at one point, “You’re never going to make it,” shaking his head slightly. His employee whispered something conciliatory in his ear. Runnin’ Scared had words with the employee. Runnin’ Scared may or may not have told the editor to go fuck himself. The editor’s employee, a sweet and preppy young man, made a valiant attempt at damage control.
Around midnight, it was just the editor and Runnin’ Scared at a table. The bachelors and bachelorettes carried on near the bar — some of them maybe finding equally powerful media soulmates, who knows? We flipped through our notebook idly, for a lack of anything better to do with our hands. “I was just teasing, you know,” the editor said.
“I know. It’s O.K.”
“So, do you have a boyfriend? You seem like you’d be a good girlfriend.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 25, 2011