By Gamal Hennessy
There is a class of people in New York nightlife that I refer to as nightlife natives. These are not the people who go to the most exclusive clubs. They are not the people who wind up on Page Six of the New York Post or even Guest of a Guest. They are the people who have made nightlife a fundamental part of their lifestyle. They are comfortable in the nightlife environment in the same way a tiger is comfortable in the jungle. There are many different types of natives who have many different traits. The one thing that is similar about almost all of them is the fact that they have learned to be successful using their personal resources when they go out.
I define "success" in nightlife as the ability to consistently going out and having a good time. A big part of that success comes from proper use of your personal resources. According to Catherine Hakim, author of Erotic Capital, everyone has four types of personal resources: erotic, social, financial and intellectual.
This might sound complex, but it basicallly boils down to how sexy, popular, rich or smart you are. Having financial capital means that you can spend money (either yours or someone else’s). Having social capital means you know a wide group of people or you know a few influential people or you are somehow influential yourself. Having erotic captal means you have can attract people because of your charm, style or sexual energy. Having intellectual captlital means you use your intelligence, creativity or experience to succeed in life.
It’s easy to see how each one of these resources can be used in your nightlife. Let's take a common situation as an example. There is a high end club with a very tough door. You want to get in. How are you going to do it?
That depends on the resources you have at your disposal. A girl with a high level of erotic capital can smile and flirt her way in. A boy can pull off the same thing with his style, but he won't have the same level of success unless he shows up with a hot girl (or girls). A boy or girl with the financial capital can buy bottles to get in. A boy or girl who has the intellectual capital to be a musician, DJ, writer, artist, or actor can not only get in, they might be the center of attention. A person can use their intellectual capital to get in by working in certain industries (like media, advertising, fashion or liquor) regardless of their looks or bank account. Finally, a person can use social capital to make connections with the operators who work at the venue or any combination of the other groups. While social capital might not seem useful, it is actually the most influential type of resource management because this person can bring whole crowds into a club. It can even get to a point where he or she controls the door itself. We call those people promoters.
Using personal resources in nightlife extends to every part of the experience. The people who have the widest range of experience can combine different types of resources to adapt to the situation at hand. No one resource is better than any other, but the refusal to use any resources at all (or trying to use resources you don't really have) is a recipe for disappointment. You don't have to be the richest, hottest or most famous person in the club. You don't even have to go to places that require extensive resources to bave a good time. The important thing to remember is that what you bring to the nightlife experience will have a direct effect on what you get out of it.