Socially Acceptable

Copyright Ken Brady. No reproduction without express permission from the author.
(Originally published in DAILY CABAL, 2009)

You walk into the room and fifteen seconds later my heart melts. It’s not beauty, though I can see from thousands of tagged pics that you look equally striking in a bikini or black dinner dress. Not wealth, even if a quick glance at your credit score, club memberships, vids of sliding seductively from a tan Bentley show you are doing quite well. Not family or education or place of birth. Exotic pedigrees are icing.

I love you for your friends.

I’d been here ten minutes and it already felt like a waste of time. A quick glance around the room showed a bland sea of black and white faces. They knew me, but I didn’t know them. A few I knew popped up pastel, info scrolling above their heads so I could quickly de-prioritize them. Laylines gave me connections and circles of interactions. Mostly blah. A few interesting people glowed warmly, colorful, inviting, but there were no clear connections. No one to introduce us.

I was about to say fuck it and head to a green tech party in the valley for farmed sushi and organic hemp beer when you lit the room with your brilliant glow, a beacon that scattered bright lines to the few luminaries present. All heads snapped around, and you posed for adulation. Everyone streamed vids to prove they were there, and you soaked it all up, beaming. I waited long enough to verify your identity, then simply stared.

The color of the room changes, and people look between us. Finally, you see me. When we lock eyes the lines between us arch over the crowd, entwining into one glowing band.

As I walk toward you the room flows around us, almost slow-mo, choreographed. A cinematic moment frozen in time that signals true love. People talk about connections, but how many have really experienced it? I pity generations who came before, trusting fleeting moments to chance, technology a distant and erratic dream. Why miss anything at all?

Your smile is reserved as I reach you. You’re so connected it makes me want you immediately. I want to party with sultans and crown princes, vacation on artificial islands, in underwater hotels, bridge cultural divides and branch out to the power centers of the Middle East. You want to connect with tech movers and shakers, current gods of new realities. We bring each other closer by degrees.

I reach out my hand and you do the same. We don’t have to speak. You learned everything about me in the time it took to cross the room. Ranch in Marin, stock portfolio, meetings in the White House rose garden, enviable friends list. Your smile widens to an inviting and wordless “I accept.”

Our first date is tomorrow. We’ll go to the most exclusive venue, so don’t worry; no one undesirable will get in. We’ll have an automated guest list.

So you can bring your friends.