February 3, 2009


Passing by the desk of a colleague, I noticed a strategically placed bottle of red near the entrance to his office. Boasting a French label, the bottle looked foreign in shape and color.

"Um, new bottle of wine?"

He grinned. "Yup. From my home cellar. We bought it on a trip to Europe."

And with that he had practiced a subtle and often unnoticed art form: place-dropping.

Lesser known than its popular but equally vomit-inducing cousin, name-dropping, place-dropping shares many of the same elements and goals, but focuses on experiences with places - often exotic or expensive sounding - instead of people for the purpose of raising one's status within a social hierarchy (even if said hierarchy is brutally annoyed).

And while it once was enough to offer up the place alone and the fact that you were there, an increasingly well-traveled population makes it necessary to add a wild-card element (sometimes as mundane as buying a bottle of wine) to capture the audience attention.

Often, effective place-drops are a short phrase casually blended into a conversation that accomplishes five goals:

1. Conveys that you were there.
2. Explains that you did something interesting. (Because, again, just being there isn't enough.)
3. Invites requests for further explanation. (Having a larger story is a requirement.)
4. Invites others to briefly share their stories.
5. Inspires envy.

The art form can be brutal - inflaming a level of one-upmanship that makes beauty pageant contestants look like ganja-smoking slackers.

Not surprisingly, recently some family friends took place-dropping to a level it never should go: The Holiday Christmas Card. “Happy Holidays” the card read above a shot of the clan in front of China’s Birds Nest arena. Cool family trip to China guys – How about a god damn reindeer on the holiday card though?

In the right setting I thoroughly enjoy TT – Travel Talk. In those moments people are genuinely interested in hearing about your trip – But please, when I’m at a Young Democrats meeting and you’re wearing a striped power tie, the last thing I fucking care about is the caprese salad you wolfed down in Prague, douche.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL!LOL! Fucking real talk right here!