Sunday, August 10, 2008

Identity Crisis: The +1 Movement

Last week, hubby and I attended the screening of What Happened?, the new De Niro, Penn, Keener, and (insert movie star, famous producer, and hollywood recluse here). It was exciting, at least for me, since I don't often get to tag along and I didn't have to work. After much wandering aimlessly through what appears to be a medical office building, we found the screening room, a small room filled with oversized movie seats that faced a red curtain. The woman who seemed to be running things, wearing an ill-fitting skirt suit and sad shoes (you'll get my bitterness in a minute) looked up and welcomed us. Well, she actually just welcomed hubby and said, "Is this your plus one?" while pointing to me, the "thing" that stood next to hubby. My smile, as you might imagine, melted off my face. "Um, this is my guest, yes." hubby responded. "Yep, that's me. Plus one." I followed, with a smirk. As we took our seats, I mumbled, "Hello, my name is Plus One. What's yours?" Hubby chuckled, anticipating my reaction. "I swear I'm going to start the Plus One Movement. Hey, hey, ho, ho, this plus one shit has got to go! Give us our identities back! We have names!" I mumbled so as to fly outside of Ms. No-class' ear shot.

Now, this may seem like a wee bit of an overreaction but this is sadly not the first time I've been referred to as a "+1". I prefer "guest" to +1 any day. From having gone to a number of press events, I have observed the gaggle of PR staff, who somehow believe that the earth stops revolving when they lay their empty little heads down to sleep, in full-throttle power mode. It is as if all those years of harboring resentment from having to deal with their own feelings of mediocrity come to a precipice and are converted into an all encompassing sense of entitlement. End result: I-am-more-important-and-better-than-you thinking. What happens thereafter is a consistently alternating rudeness (when encountered with someone they don't readily recognize as a worthy human being) and phoniness (when encountered with someone they perceive to either be more important than them or someone who may help them up the ladder--which is usually a pipe dream as very few people can tolerate PR brats). I have encountered both rudeness and phoniness as I guess I've been rather ambiguous at these events. Regardless of this, I have noticed that the most successful of PR brats are those who treat everyone respectfully, despite the instinct to be rude. You never know who you're talking to, especially in Hollywood. I could have been a movie executive for all that dumb women knew, not the +1 she assumed me to be. Maybe hubby was MY +1.

So, I'd like to invite all of the +1's in this world to unite. Let's take back our identities and teach the world to never assume that you don't have a name! I'll be making rubber bracelets soon, as I know that is the proof of a legitimate social movement.

PS: You need to be careful when referring to yourself as +1! I, a self-proclaimed slave of Facebook, recently changed my status to: "(insert PhDini's name here) is +1". I got so many happy emails from friends and family...who assumed I was pregnant. Cool those heels folks!

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