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.
Back at the bar, I meet a red-haired woman who has brought two friends from France on a sort of field trip to Smith Point. She is a member of Late Night Shots but also claims to hate the site and everything it stands for. She points me toward a rotund young man standing in the next room, whom she describes as the quintessential LNS asshole.
When I introduce myself to Chris, he is cordial, if somewhat on guard. He says Late Night Shots streamlines the complicated ritual of hooking up. If he meets a girl out in Georgetown, he doesn’t have to wait until he runs into her again, because he can find her online. He does note that my black seersucker dress (J. Crew sale, circa 2001) exposes me as an outsider. Indeed, the sundress collection on view in the bar is decidedly colorful.
Sartorial criticism aside, I find the asshole to be a perfect gentleman. From what I can tell, the typical LNS man prides himself on displaying an almost Southern level of civility. (Unless he’s piss-drunk and presented with a note-taking reporter.) His confidence doesn’t wane, even in the face of rejection.
The good manners and self-assurance also have a lot to do with familiarity. Washington’s young elites like to feel safe and comfortable—witness the fear of anyplace as far east as 18th Street NW. So if you stick to bars that get positive mentions on LNS, you know you’ll be in good company. And you’ll want to behave.
Davis Berg, a 27-year-old UNC grad, has gained a reputation as the puckish philosopher of the site and often invokes pop- cultural theories about social networking.
“I think the social cachet of MySpace, at least in this circle—it doesn’t have much social bargaining power,” he says. “[LNS]’s not extremely exclusive, but it’s exclusive enough. It hasn’t reached a tipping point where the membership has overwhelmed the initial group of people who used it.”
He says LNS members aren’t judgmental. They just want to network with compatible new friends.
“People who dress like they just got off a Cancun party boat,” he tells me, referring to the dreaded turbo, “are not the type of people I want to associate with, especially as I transition into full adulthood.”
It’s a transition that weighs heavily on the minds of LNS members.
In many ways, the site’s forum serves as an anonymous tutor for aspiring members of the ruling class. Members post serious questions on etiquette, culture, and relationships. Where to buy loafers? Where to get a sailing license? What to wear to a polo match?
BMW or Mercedes?
Posted By: buyer on 07-05-2007 9:20 am
RE: BMW or Mercedes?
Posted By: Easy on 07-05-2007 9:22 am
A nice black Mercedes for sure. BMWs is very new money.
A poster named “rocketscientist” recently asked which careers were considered most suitable for marriage-minded young women. The recommendations were predictable—interior design, teaching, development—fields dominated by the most popular young women on the site.
Berg says the site’s dating features are tongue-in-cheek enough to make his friends comfortable with using them. If you’re interested in another member, you can send her a “brush up,” which dispatches one of several dozen snarky e-mails to her inbox. (“I’m looking to commit social suicide. Would you like to go out sometime?” or “Please control yourself.”) If you really like someone, you can put her on your “hunting range.” If she does the same, on Thursday night you’ll both get an e-mail alert of the match.
The Hunting Range
RE: Figuring out if girls are sluts
Posted By: farmer john on 04-02-2007 9:57 pm
all women are whores at heart…they will always slut themselves out at some point in their lives to get something…especially something shiny and expensive
Forum post on recent party:
…who got done? I don’t need names, I just need to know that people are hooking up. A lot of times, people insinuate that they’re going to PT but a lot of these drunken rages end up with girls piling into cabs and leaving the scene. Was it worth $60/$80 to not get laid?
Over and over, guys tell me that women on LNS give it up for free. The forum is always abuzz with reports of last night’s takedowns, trips to poundtown, debates about whether sluts are still datable, and the acceptable number of notches in one’s headboard. At every bar and party, I witness dancing that would be banned at most high school proms—usually girls in heels driving backward into guys in flip-flops.
One LNS member tells me he can be a social conservative and still have premarital sex. Another says the pliability of young women correlates to an obsession with social status.
“The girls think that maybe if they go home with some guy they’re gonna be the next big thing in D.C.,” he says, “that they’re gonna be cool and be part of this whole group.”
The girls, he says, think they might become the next Katherine Kennedy or Coventry Burke, young women who’ve achieved semi-celebrity status on the site. But, he says, the deed has repercussions. In the worst cases, girls recover from a hangover and find their indiscretions revealed on the site, either by their suitors or witnesses from the bar. (Landry says he monitors the site closely to remove such posts.)
The avid LNS reader might assume girls would know better. The forum is full of warnings against promiscuity, even as it encourages the hunting tactics of men who benefit from an evening’s adventures.
RE: optimal number for a woman
Posted By: Guy on 10-23-2006 1:35 pm
I could put up with 12. Anything more than that without a good explanation, and the girl is incapable of being in a serious relationship.
RE: optimal number for a woman
Posted By: higher the better on 10-23-2006 1:39 pm
I prefer high #’s. It usually means they really like to have sex, and that they are very good at it. And the idea that you might be exposing yourself to a serious disease is thrilling and really gets my blood flowing.
RE: optimal number for a woman
Posted By: SF on 10-23-2006 1:58 pm
I think one sexual partner for every 2-3 years is acceptable for a girl from a good family. Sex just isn’t something girls should be doing if they are interested in marrying me.
Getting tainted by older men
Posted By: Roger Chillingworth on 07-02-2007 9:16 am I’m concerned with a lot of the younger ladies in DC who are hooking up with and dating older guys. Whenever I first start seeing a girl I go through a checklist of what is acceptable, and having dated a guy who is 10+ years older than her is a tremendous red flag. I hope some of these younger girls realize the scarlet letter they are attaching to themselves by engaging in this scandalous behavior.
RE: Getting tainted by older men
Posted By: Steve Pimpington on 07-02-2007 9:21 am
I agree wholeheartedly. Nothing says “I blow guys for money” like dating some old rich dude. And the scarlet letter they are attaching to themselves is “W.” For “whore.”
No one would ever call Coventry Burke a whore. The 26-year-old from Sonoma, Calif., moved to D.C. in 2001, when she transferred to American University from Mount Holyoke. She now works in development for a nonprofit. Cov, as she’s known, was an instant star on LNS. One commenter on her profile wrote, “You have so many LNS’er[s] hunting you that I need to give you Secret Service protection.”
When discussing the popularity of Burke and other women who get a lot of attention on the site, the acceptable thing is to say they’re “well-liked.” Translated, the implication is that they didn’t make a big effort to become LNS stars. And everyone knows who the stars are. On the photo pages, members can rate one another’s attractiveness on a scale of 1 (“I’m Not Amused”) to 5 (“Nice One”).
I found 58 images of Burke on the Web site, and they had high ratings. She has the look: svelte and blond with a toothy grin. Shots show her in a white dress at a polo party or sweat-drenched and dancing at a Jimmy Buffet concert. She says she doesn’t post the photos herself. It’s an important distinction. Self-promotion and social-climbing come close to turbo status on the scale of LNS ridicule.
Burke, whose family has D.C. roots, has the right mix of good-girl and flirt. She competes in horse shows, goes fly-fishing with her boyfriend, and lists “skinny dipping” among the things she’s good at. She says she mainly uses LNS for its private groups, where she can gossip with groups of girlfriends. The groups listed under her profile include “DC, Hot Chicks, RBV’s” and “Only Dimes,” private message boards that self-select only the best-looking girls.
Burke is also a frequent object of the sexual revving-up that happens on LNS. Many of her photos include captions, written anonymously, that offer sleazy compliments: “i want to fock juck it,” “goddamn you’re fucking hot! motorboat it,” “get it shorty,” “frontal pic please of soaked shirt,” and “applaud good photo at drunken event.”
Burke doesn’t stress over the sexual trash talk. “I think a lot of it is said in jest, and that’s the easiest way to deal with it,” she says. “As women, we deal with it everyday.”
She thinks the people in her scene aren’t as promiscuous in real life as they claim to be on the forum. “I think it’s a lot of big talkers,” she says.
Burke’s profile disappeared from LNS a day before this story went to press.
D.C. Charity Addiction
Posted By: veejay on 04-11-2007 1:23 pm
Is there a city anywhere in the world that has more charities than D.C.? I moved here about 2 years ago, and at first it seemed nice that everyone was invovled with and supporting local charity events. However now I am beginning to question a number of the charitable causes and find it annoying to pay $10 to $20 just to step in somewhere for a drink with friends.
Am I being a cold-hearted miser?
RE: D.C. Charity Addiction
Posted By: Not at all on 04-11-2007 1:27 pm
I am 26 and DC wasn’t always like this. Most people just threw parties to throw parties. Now they feel compelled to do a charity or feel it makes them more sophisticated.
To responders: Don’t give me any bullshit response about wanting to help a charity because I know all of you and you’re not that decent (neither am I).
If one member treads the line of appropriate self-marketing, it’s Andrea Rodgers. Rodgers is 35, divorced, and, though well-liked, is also often described as a cougar, nearly too old to be out on the hunt. She works during the day as an executive assistant and dedicates the rest of her time to fundraisers, like a recent pooch and socialite fashion show that raised $60,000 for the Humane Society. Rodgers joined Late Night Shots in May 2006. She points out that she has a low member number, somewhere in the 700s, a key measure of status among the early group of LNSers.
After the LNS forum started, Rodgers began posting as Miss A, an anonymous, self-styled advice columnist.
Her most famous prescription came in February 2007, during a discussion about women’s weight.
She wrote: “There is no such thing as a toned size 10! I’m sorry. If you are bigger than a 4 n you need to lose some weight. How women can go around being confident as a 10, I have no clue. I just can’t see them wanting to have sex with lights on, or having a guy see them walk around the room undressed.”
Rodgers says her comment got misquoted and twisted around in the real world. Even on the forum, she got a drubbing for being too harsh. What she meant, she says, was that “if you’re a size 6 or up, you could stand to tone up. Not that they’re fat.” Nonetheless, the thread secured her status as an important poster. Around the same time, forum members began discovering her identity. Miss A wasn’t just witty and on-point; she was the smashing Southern belle Andrea Rodgers. Since then, her popularity has only grown.
“It’s gotten to be this legendary status,” she says. “It’s gotten kind of out of control.”
Judging from the number of posts from Miss A on the site, Rodgers spends a fair amount of time online during the day. “It’s like being at a party during the day when you’re at work,” she says.
Of course, sometimes the party gets overwhelming. After all the drama about her post on weight, Rodgers says she got sick of the negativity, the spoiled debauchery. “The group as a whole promotes the elite materialism, old money, Ivy League sort of entitlement kind of a thing,” she says. She ditched her profile and quit LNS. “It was nice because there’s so much negativity on there,” she says. But there was a downside. “I was missing out. I wasn’t getting the invitations, and I was kind of out of the loop. It was critical for someone like me who plans fundraisers.”
Then she planned a Thursday night fundraiser at Smith Point. Charity events hadn’t always been the norm for the pre-weekend party night. Back in the day, around 2004, regulars celebrated Thursday Throngs, when the guest list was lax and the blondes abundant. Civic-minded hosts now have to contend with a growing frustration at the necessity of paying to attend a time-honored bar night. One LNS member, Wright Sigmund, told me, “There’s such an overwhelming amount of charity fundraisers that basically some people feel like it becomes charity for the sake of charity. It just gets to be too much.”
When Rodgers decided to raise the “donation” from the typical $5 or $10 to $15, the chatter flared up. The LNS forum, in mob formation, decided to boycott the party.
“The event was a disaster,” Rodgers says. She learned about the boycott just hours before the event and scrambled to re- establish her membership (Landry says he did her a favor and gave her back her old member number). Rodgers went back online and lowered the price to $5. But it was too late. Very few people showed up. Smith Point owner Bo Blair called and told her she was hurting his business. Rodgers resorted to canvassing Georgetown on foot. “I literally had to go to Third Edition and walk through there and tell people,” she says.
The fundraiser may have been a bust, but Rodgers managed to pull off the main event. In June, she attracted a crowd to the Courage Cup, a polo match in Virginia that raises money to teach disadvantaged D.C. youths to play polo. Although the charity receives a fair amount of scorn (several posters asked why anyone would teach poor kids to play a game they can’t afford), it was one of the early summer’s most popular events.
Stars, Stripes, and smoke
On July 3, Late Night Shots threw an Independence Day party in a rented-out ballroom near Dupont Circle. Tickets to Stars Stripes and Smoke went for $80 at the door and included an open bar.
Even though close to 500 revelers show up, the event has the feel of a high school reunion. The crowd can’t fill the sprawling dance floor. The DJ plays Journey and Vanilla Ice. A few people are disappointed, but they dance anyway, get drunk anyway. A military man laments that a group of women snubbed his friendly efforts at conversation. “These girls are jerks,” he says.
I’m standing near a station serving only Red Bull with vodka when I meet Otis Ofori, 24, who, along with his twin brother, Curtis, is another star of LNS. I ask him what it is like to be a black man among such a uniformly white crowd. (I recently found a profile on the site for one Tyrone Biggums, who lists his skills as “Suckin dick for crack and drinkin red bawls!”) Ofori leans forward, reaches for my waist, and pulls me close. He says he knows people talk behind his back, but he doesn’t care. He’s rich, and that’s all that matters. “My brother and I, we do all right,” he says. “Guys with money can do whatever they want.” He grabs me again and says, “You’re kind of cute.”
I head for the women’s restroom to scribble down notes. Most of the girls who walk in are desperate to leave. Several are there because they grew up with Landry or went to college with him. “We’re here to support Reed,” they say.
Talk shifts to the night’s expected hookups and whether the debauchery ever measures up to the hype. No one can agree, but everyone in the bathroom knows the breakdown on sex. One woman sums it up: “It’s an accomplishment for guys and an embarrassment for girls.”
When I leave, a giant man stands outside, trying to hail a cab while he supports a crumpled girl against a ledge. He was just trying to get her home safe.
By 3 a.m., the recap has begun on LNS.
RE: Stars Stripes and Smoke Post Mortem
Posted By: just back on 07-04-2007 3:21 am
I’d give strong marks for the party, if you were intent on getting laid, you were in for an easy nite. Great chicks, plentiful liquor. The DJ was a bit lame, but not that bad. Overall, Great Work Reed!