The three guys sitting at the bar at Town Hall in Georgetown swear it’s a true story: A friend of theirs called a buddy in the middle of a sexual conquest, placing his cell phone out of view. When the voice mail picked up, it recorded him asking his lady, “You like that Republican cock?”
The guys are wearing golf shirts and drinking Miller Lites. They’ve been telling raunchy tales about what happens after dark in Georgetown, playing toward expectations. They know I’m a reporter on assignment. At first, the sordid tales of preppy hookups just make me laugh.
Then the bearded one in the middle busts out with this: “Do you like anal sex?” I squint. I’m confused. “Do you do anal?” he repeats, head bobbing with excitement. The litany continues. Do I want to take it in the ass? Have I ever taken it in the ass? My silence is taken as an affirmative and he announces that this interview will go no further unless he receives a hand job. I retreat into a hole carved out during similar sessions in high school and head for the door.
Later, at home, I decide to find the fellows online. It’s easy to do since these were no run-of-the-mill meatheads. All three are members of Late Night Shots, a very exclusive, invite-only social-networking Web site. The anal-sex proposition came from John Tabacco, a 25-year-old graduate of Georgetown Prep and Denison University. His friends were both graduates of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Late Night Shots caters to Washington’s hard-partying preppy crowd. Think of a new generation of young Republicans getting trashed at St. Elmo’s, hooking up, then writing about it at 3 in the morning. The bar-scene-themed Web site launched in late spring 2006 and has since branched out to four other cities. But it’s nowhere near as popular anywhere else as it is here in D.C. Founder Reed Landry, a prep-school boy from McLean, Va., claims he has 14,500 members and that a third of them visit the site every day. He and partner Neel Patel say they make enough money from Google ads and banner ads to abandon outside employment.
LNS operates like MySpace and Facebook, but with a heavy emphasis on booze. To get an invite to the site, you need a connection among the clientele of a few select Georgetown night spots. Users have “drinking buddies” instead of “friends” and must list their favorite bars and restaurants. There are fill-in-the-blanks for your sorority or fraternity, your golf handicap, and your country club. The online profiles show a population dominated by good- looking blondes and smirking guys with athlete’s shoulders. They attended the University of Virginia, as did Landry, UNC, and a smattering of pretty-good-but-not-Ivy schools in the South and Mid-Atlantic. Under the space for employer, they list investment and lobby firms and jobs on the Hill.
Most categorize their political views as conservative. Many are Episcopalian or Presbyterian. The overwhelming majority are white. Some people describe themselves simply as WASP.
The Late Night Shots online forum, launched last August, provides comedic fodder for liberal D.C. commentators, especially the gossip blog Wonkette, which started a weekly feature called Last Week’s Shots. Forum posters have made light of date rape, bashed brunettes, and compared notes on handouts from Mummy and Daddy. A classic thread:
change of pace
Posted By: H on 10-20-2006 1:01 pm
Any suggestions for a little change of pace this evening? I was a bit turned off last night at SP [the Georgetown bar Smith Point] when a girl screamed at me for referring to my boat shoes as loafers—goodness gracious i’m bush league.
RE: change of pace
Posted By: Anti on 10-20-2006 2:38 pm
If I have said it once I have said it 1000 times. DO NOT EVER, EVER even go near Adams Morgan. That place is Ghetto.
RE: change of pace
Posted By: correction on 10-20-2006 2:41 pm
Adams Morgan is only do-able if you limit yourself to a few bars that are close together.
Every minute you spend outside of an actual bar your life is in danger. And do not, DO NOT attempt to get a late-night slice of pizza unless you are a pro.
Any by pro I mean ready to fight people.
RE: change of pace
Posted By: Boat Shoes on 10-20-2006 2:49 pm
Everytime I’m in Adams Morgan, I take on at least 3-4 Ethiopans. Skinny little bastards are feisty.
People like “H” and “correction” have been exchanging their thoughts on boat shoes and skinny foreigners for ages. LNS has simply made an industry of channeling these like-minded folks to places where they feel comfortable. And that would be Georgetown.
In addition to generating business at bars along M and Wisconsin, Late Night Shots serves as a running record of each night’s events. New messages appear every minute during the workday, recapping last night at Smith Point and Blue Gin, or looking for new action at the Deck or Saloun. The narratives include references to premarital sex, not to mention cocaine and marijuana use.
Landry, 26, says the raunchy posts are made in jest, and when I tell him about my experience at Town Hall, he’s appropriately horrified. He doesn’t think the incident means the forum’s crassness has crossed over into real life. But Landry doesn’t help me pinpoint the line between fiction and reality on Late Night Shots. To let me in on that secret would undermine his network’s exclusivity. You have to be at the party yourself to really know. And you can do that only if you’re on the list.
You Are Not on the List
Posted By: Action on 12-16-2006 4:45 pm
Where is the party?
Posted By: All over the place on 12-16-2006 4:55 pm
And you’re not invited.
RE: Save our Streets - Georgetown
Posted By: WS on 08-24-2006 1:35 pm
We should start carrying guns everywhere we go in Georgetown. Unlike the barbarous horde, many of us have actually engaged in some target practice.
Smith Point is the quintessential LNS bar for one reason: It has a list. The Bush twins are on it, so are many regular LNS posters. The only day you can get in without being on the list is Thursday, when the bar hosts charity fundraisers.
The Thursday I decide to go, the designated charity is the Polaris Project, which raises money to fight international human trafficking. The invite promises a kissing booth. Apparently no one senses the irony.
I get to the bar early, and, too nervous to enter before my sidekick arrives, end up hanging out across the street with a group of men who just got out of their weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. They’ve been wondering about the regular throngs of drunk preppies across the street. I finally wander over alone around 10 p.m. and walk down a short staircase into a dimly lit bar. Everyone looks up. Several people smile. A girl stationed at a little table deposits my $5 donation in a lock box and welcomes me as if I belong.
My first impression is that everyone at Smith Point is as nice as the hostess. I sit down at the bar and easily slip into conversation with two young men. Both are members of Late Night Shots, but they claim to hate the site. They describe the posters as “a bunch of idiots” who give their crowd a bad name.
Both are wearing polo shirts, collars neatly folded down (they say no one pops their collars these days). The men in the bar sport a classic look: Along with the red polos (the signature color of the LNS set), they wear blue blazers, madras shorts, loafers, and boat shoes. Khakis are flat-fronted and top-shelf—Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, etc.
Deviations from the uniform, like a striped pullover from Old Navy paired with cargo shorts, invite severe judgment. According to several vocabulary guides on LNS, such attire denotes the status of “turbo,” a term suggestive of a Long Island mall boy with gobs of gel in his hair and maybe a puka shell necklace.
Code words like “turbo” and “turbette” help posters maintain the site’s exclusivity. The lingo ranges from abstruse to obvious. In addition to “takedowns” and “going to poundtown” or “PT” (getting laid), there’s “big timing” (snubbing someone, often a member of the opposite sex, at a bar), “smoke” (an attractive LNS member), and “RBV” (a Red Bull with vodka, the preferred drink of many LNSers).
Established members take pride in warding off invaders, often employing online tricks to out newbies. One common trap: A member posts a link on the forum, suggesting people check out another member’s profile. Readers who don’t know the ins and outs of the site and its protocol click on the link and inadvertently send the member a drinking buddy request. It’s a seemingly minor overture, but in the world of Late Night Shots, an embarrassing faux pas.