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.