You weren't invited to
Pamela Harriman's for eggnog. You didn't get a call from Henry and Nancy Kissinger to trim the tree. Evangeline Bruce rang in the New Year without you. So did Joe Alsop and Joan Braden and Teddy Kennedy.
Let's face it: your social life is duller than Diet Perrier. The last time you were invited out, your neighbors served pigs-in-a-blanket and tried to sell you Amway products.
Even Steve Martindale doesn't know you exist.
That, of course, could all change. By this time next year you could have Alejandro Orfila nibbling out of your nut dish. You'll be dipping your pinkies in Evelyn Zlotnick's Baccarat finger bowls and slamming another serve over the net to the delight of your pre-dawn doubles partner, Al Haig.
Let it be resolved: this New Year you will get your social act together. There are many ways to do it. One is to spend the next 20 years working your way up from Junior League tasks to the Opera Ball committee and the Heart Ball chairmanship. If you can't wait that long, the answer is simple: connive and strive your way to the top. Stop at nothing. Be ruthless. Be shameless. Be yourself. Ten Ways To the Tippy Top RULE 1
To be invited to parties, you must give them. Lots of them. Book parties are a good way to start. First call Henry Kissinger. Tell him you're having a book party for Richard Nixon. Never mind that Nixon's book came out last fall. Then call Nixon's publishers. Tell them you were appalled at the lack of fanfare given the ex-president. Tell them Henry Kissinger is interested in a party. Offer to have it at your house. Then call the newspapers. Tell them that under NO circumstance is your party for Richard Nixon to be covered by the press. That will ensure a horde of society reporters at your front door on the appointed evening. Serve fried smoked buffalo milk for appetizers. Practice saying, "I don't know how these reporters found out about it."
Pick a senator on the way up. Call his or her office and say you met at (pick one) a) Burning Tree b) The Gridiron Dinner c) the White House screening of "Sophie's Choice." Offer to have a fundraiser at your house. Pearl Mesta latched on to a senator named Harry Truman when she was a dowdy widow from Oklahoma. He wound up president. She wound up famous.
If not a senator or congressman, pick a cause. There are plenty of them to go around. Save the Whales, Save the Bay or Save the Finger Bowls.
If not a cause, then save a citizen. Lawyer-lobbyist Steve Martindale met John Lennon and Yoko Ono one night in New York. The ex- Beatle said he was trying to establish residency in America but had been refused after authorities pointed out the musician had been busted for pot. Steve Martindale said he lived in Washington. Maybe he could help. Shortly thereafter, Martindale threw a party for the Lennons and invited a stellar list of Washington socialites and politicians. Martindale was on the map. RULE 2
Now that you've planned the party, plan the menu. According to Pearl Mesta, to be a successful Washington host or hostess, one need only to hang a lamb chop in the window. This year, string up venison stuffed with fresh mascartone cheese and truffles from Sutton Place Gourmet, the I. Magnin of munchies. "Practically all the people in The Green Book shop here," says Norm Atkins, the store's public relations and advertising rep. That includes Henry Kissinger, Barbara Bush and the second lady's flotilla of Secret Service men who, according to Atkins, "eat lunch here all the time. They're hearty eaters." Amy Carter went there last fall to buy Jelly Bellies when her father was plugging his memoirs. Sunday mornings, it's fast food in the fast lane: Art Buchwald, David Stockman, Jody Powell and Ethel Kennedy drop in for bagels and fresh Scottish salmon. You can too. Practice saying, "Georgetown has become simply intolerable." RULE 3
What you wear is almost as important as what you serve. Women: go straight to Val Cook at Saks-Jandel for the latest in drop-dead chic. She "dresses" scads of socialites and will explain the difference between a tube top and a Yves St. Laurent corselet. You'll need tons of evening clothes and a fur coat. Men: sashay over to Arduino D'Orazio, tailor to the top threaders. Says former ambassador True Davis, "I used to get my suits made by a Saville Row tailor. But now, I get them made in Washington. I think he (D'Orazio) is the very best I've ever run into." The 66- year-old Italian tailor says a good custom-made suit costs $800, but lasts forever. Among his occasional clients are John Connally, Ted Kennedy, Lawrence Spivak, Jack Valenti and the former ambassador to Pakistan. "I forget his name," the tailor says. RULE 4
Hire a social secretary. Pamela Harriman has one. So does Evangeline Bruce, senate wife Teresa Heinz and the Roger L. Stevenses. Having a social secretary, says Trudie Musson, who has been doing the job for the past 10 years, indicates a certain cachet. "Importance, power and success," she says. Musson works for Lorraine Cooper, Polly Kraft and Ellsworth Bunker, among others. Her duties consist of paying bills, running errands, typing letters and, of course, arranging parties. For $15 an hour, she'll take care of the flowers, invitations, seating protocol ("You can really get messed up on that") and caterers. Women like Lorraine Cooper are very secure when it comes to entertaining, she says. Others are not. "They just freak out," says Musson. "They can't even order the liquor."
The half-dozen or so established social secretaries in Washington all know each other. Musson calls them The Mafia, or The Pack. "If I were a nobody and came to Washington, I'd definitely hire somebody in the pack." RULE 5
Move to Georgetown. It's simply intolerable, which is why you want to be there. Hire Vicki Bagley. Say you want a place on N Street. If there's nothing available, say you want to at least be within shouting distance of the Harrimans. Don't worry--Bagley's used to it. "I tend to point out the houses of particular interest," says the real estate agent, who includes Jackie Kennedy's mother, Janet Auchincloss, as a client. "Selling homes near famous people has made out- of-towners feel more comfortable."
For weekends, snap up a piece of John Warner's Atoka Farm. That way you'll be next door to Rose Marie Bogley. Buy a horse and pair of $600 lizard Lucchese boots. Trot over for lunch.
Or buy a rustic cabin in Rappahannock. Meet your neighbors--David Brinkley, James Kilpatrick and Gene McCarthy--at the post office. Bribe the postmistress into giving you a box right next to Brinkley's. Hang around on Saturday mornings. Get up a petition to have the dry goods store stock the Sunday New York Times. Take it around to McCarthy, Brinkley and Kilpatrick. While you're there, offer to help Kilpo get rid of the skunk in his studio.
Where you summer is almost as crucial as where you weekend. If you want to play softball with Art Buchwald, go to the Vineyard. Maine, Gibson Island and Newport are also acceptable. Practice saying, "The Hamptons have become simply intolerable." RULE 6
Find a new job. Preferably one providing a product everyone wants. Frank Perdue has chickens, Jane Wilner has Pratesi sheets, Jack Valenti has movie stars and Robin Weir has Redken Treatments for Thinning Hair. Buy a football team. Redskins' owner Jack Kent Cooke is a pretty popular guy, especially if he invites you to sit in the owner's box and passes you catered shrimp from Ridgewell's. Paul Laxalt has been there. So has John Warner. Open a car dealership. Mandel and Betty Lou Ourisman get invited everywhere. Open a museum. Remember a frumpy little guy who wore clip-on bow ties named Joe Hirshhorn? Learn to arrange flowers like David Ellsworth does. Write a song for Nancy Reagan like Joe Raposo did. Before you know it, you'll be sitting next to Ursula Meese at the next White House state dinner. "The point is, do something well," says Steve Martindale. "Do something good, and people will love you." RULE 7
If you're a single man, stay that way. Nothing will propel you farther into the bosom of Washington society than your supposed availability. That's how Alejandro Orfila did it before his marriage to Helga. Other bachelors who made it to the top: Ardeshir Zahedi, Steve Martindale, John Warner (before and after Liz), Robert Keith Gray. If you are a single woman, get married-- preferably to one of the above. RULE 8
Get your tots into the right kindergarten. Scavenge heavyweight letters of recommendation, preferably from Walter Mondale. Find out where Michael Deaver's children are. Send McChesney to the same school. Get him in the same class with the son or daughter of a VIP. Host a birthday party. Invite the parents. At the school auction, put in the highest bid for everything. Having your children in the right schools is almost as important as seeing the right shrink. Dustin Hoffman, while filming "All The President's Men," stayed with Dr. Norman Tamarkin, which immediately propelled the psychiatrist to the top of social shrinkdom. Tamarkin, a soft-spoken man who happens to be single (see Rule 7), says the myth continues, despite his assertion that other psychiatrists might have more celebrity clients on their couches. In any case, Tamarkin says Potomac Fever is a common complaint. "There is a lot of stress that Washington places on people in terms of career," he says. "There's a lot of competition in this town." RULE 9
Nominate yourself for everything. A Pulitzer, membership in The Gridiron Club, president of the babysitting co-op. Comb The Green Book for sweet old ladies. Tell them they remind you of your mother. Invite them to tea. Take them to Elizabeth Arden for "Miracle Mornings." Take them to Mel Krupin's for a few sherries and get them tipsy enough to agree to nominate you for The Green Book. Contact the Oxford-Cambridge Dinner Society. Tell them you spent a semester at Christ Church reading economics and literature. Tell them George Will told you to call. Wear a kilt to the dinner. Sit between George Will and Potter Stewart. Bring cigars. RULE 10
Now you've made it. You have more invitations than you can handle. Your name pops up in the gossip columns, and folks back home thought they saw your picture in People. There's only one problem: you're miserable. You haven't read a book in nine months, your feet are killing you, you're overdrawn at the bank and the last time you went to The White House you had an anxiety attack. You'd even swap a piece of sushi for a pig-in- a-blanket. Depression is settling in. You're wondering if it was worth it. You're thinking of seeing someone. See Norman Tamarkin. Practice saying, "Washington has become simply intolerable."