Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Marketing one's self is an important skill. It's something I need to develop better, because all the talent and hard work won't mean a thing if it doesn't reach people. But there's the right way to do marketing, and then there's just plain exhibitionism.

I've been to a few gatherings at someone's home, where one of the guests, or even the host, decides to take the floor and display their so-called artistic ability, whether or not anyone cares to witness it.

For example, my friend has had some dinner parties, which are always fun because her cooking is amazing and she's a totally down-to-earth cool person. And so are most of her friends.

A few of them are singers. Great. Do I want to hear any of their musical skills? Sure. They can lend me their CD and I'll give it a listen. Or I'll gladly check out their show.

Oh, they want to put on a show on right here, at the dinner table? Well, what can I say? Fine, go ahead. Surely they'll just croon the chorus and maybe one verse. Not the whole six-and-a-half minute song. Oh, they will. Do I have to pay attention to this whole thing? My soup's getting cold.

I've seen this happen twice, and yet another time with someone doing a dance routine, which rivaled Elaine from Seinfeld's awkward gyrations. And it's hard to avoid this surreal presentation. Seeing how these people jump at a chance to get attention, when they casually mention, "Oh, I choreographed a really interesting dance to this song," or "I love to sing. I'll cover any tune, anytime, anywhere," I just smile and quickly change the subject, but it doesn't matter. The self-indulgent show must go on.

Last weekend, one of these would-be chanteuses shared her drawn-out ditty after announcing that she didn't bring anything to the dinner party; she would sing for her supper. And as I sat there uncomfortably having my ears fill up while my stomach remained empty, I was thinking what an idiot I was for bringing dessert or a bottle of wine.

Maybe next time, I'll do my old standup comedy act or break-dancing routine.


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