The secret to “owning the room” starts at the back wall — not the stage.
Last night, while plotting an evening of adventure, my friend Aaron let it slip that he had a particularly spectacular mode of transportation at his disposal…
A Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with a naturally aspirated V8 and 500HP.
To translate what this means for those of you who don’t get all hot and bothered by things that get loud and go fast… it looks sexy as fuck and was rubbing off on us.
We decided to take the (not insignificant) trip to Hollywood for some fun. We drove 45 minutes and arrived at a swanky speakeasy with live music and a $20 cover.
I’m not sure where you are in life, but I considered this a big commitment.
I’m now an hour from home paying $20 to get into a club who’s music I don’t know, to (potentially) hang out with hoity–toity los angelenos who think clothes and cars make them “better”… sure, we arrived in a $300K car, but it was borrowed and we didn’t pretend otherwise. We were both just happy to have the opportunity.
Instead of going in with a motive to broadcast status, get phone numbers, take someone home, etc. — I was just there to have fun with my friend.
Aaron, like me, is a bit of a (positive) manipulator. When we first met we hated each other from across a party for about two hours before we finally talked and realized we were essentially the same person. The night’s antics started in the normal ways…
I spotted an adorable couple dressed to the nines, but hiding in the corner a few feet from us and challenged Aaron to “open” them. This essentially means finding people who are uncomfortable, breaking the ice, and showing them a good time.
He positioned himself closer, but after a while I made the move. I leaned in and complimented them on how well they were dressed and jokingly mimicked them leaving the house and looking at each other like, “yea… we’ve fucking got this.”
This was Sean and Michelle. Within a few minutes of dialogue and some friendly smiles they started to sway, groove, and finally break into an all out dance.
Next up was Bobby. A gorgeous woman about three inches taller than me (without the heels she was wearing) came to the bar and I could see half of some epic tattoo covering her upper back. I tapped her shoulder and asked if that was a phoenix. She all but attacked me with a hug and launched into a whole discussion about her childhood friend that passed away when she was young and how she lives each day for her. I shared my phone screen reading “fuck apathy” and we became besties.
I got thirsty and ordered a drink — an Old Fashioned. Not expecting much out of the norm the bartender slid his freshly minted creations in my direction. I took one sip and was blown away. I immediately flagged him down and complimented him. He lit up with pride like a Christmas tree and went in for this big bro-y handshake.
Taking a few steps to enter their space, I met Shannon and Ali who were dancing towards the stage. I had to compliment Shannon of her dance moves considering she was nailing them while wearing four inch heels. They seemed uncomfortable in the bar so I introduced them to Sean and Michelle (who were still dancing).
Then I spotted Michelle — a tall, dark skinned, confident woman with a black lace cocktail dress and short, bleach blonde hair. I had spotted her the moment she walked in and, as she walked by, said to Aaron “that chick is classy as fuck.” She had wandered by a few times and ended up standing a few feet from me.
I approached her to tell her exactly what I had told Aaron — she glowed. I quickly found that she “wanted to hear good music and decided to go out.” This girl got dressed to the nines to go out in Hollywood on her own. She was classy as fuck on the outside, but confident as fuck on the inside… and I told her as much.
We chatted about introspection, life, and music. When I asked about the music notes tattooed behind her ear she told me she was a music writer. We exchanged numbers and eventually parted ways with a hug at the end of the night.
In the morning I woke up to a question. Her text read, “if you have time I would like for you to give me your opinion on something I just recorded.” Intrigued, I said yes.
Turns out, she has a bit of a following and had made a video blog detailing the events much in the way I was planning to detail mine here (I got a shout out for… not being a douche). Turns out, we have similar perspectives on dating in Los Angeles.
Looking back, as I had left the club I saw so many of the people I had connected with connecting with each other. While I may never see them again, the energy on their faces was brilliantly gratifying to see. Michelle and I are currently texting to find a time to connect, share stories, and build a friendship.
We all have thoughts like this in our heads, but so rarely do we speak them aloud to the people who want to hear them most. With a brave step towards a stranger and a confident declaration of something like “I just had to tell you, the moment you walked in the door I looked to my friends and said — that woman is classy as fuck” we have the ability to change someone’s world… and make a few friends in the process.
It’s not easy, but it get’s less scary with time. One of my goals for January was to “exercise my inner gentleman twice daily” and I’d say last night was one hell of a way to close it out. Immeasurable opportunity lies on the other end of a compliment.
Had Aaron and I walked in like we owned the place and “presented” ourselves is a way we wanted others to see us… we would have been fighting an uphill battle all night and drained ourselves of energy. Rather, we found the people who needed (and deserved) a boost and we gave it to them — simple as that.
What is the most powerful compliment you’ve ever received?