BY: LANCE AVERY MORGAN
Life is chock-full of simple truths. For instance, the fact that there are socialites and there are, well, social heavies. Think of it asTastes Great versus Less Filling, like the popular beer commercial illustrated. We’ve chronicled prolific social success and sometimes, social mishaps, since Day One at Brilliant and we love when readers inquire how the sausage is made at the magazine, so to speak. You know, insider intel on The New Jet Set - how the events, coverage, gossip and fall-out really happen.
As Malcolm Gladwell shares in his new book, What the Dog Saw, being at the right place at the right time and in the correct generation jives with how luck complements hard work. We’ve spent over 10,000 hours at Brilliant chronicling the Socialables who have spent well over 10,000 hours climbing the ladders of success. These guys and gals try harder than anyone else and we’ve noticed distinct differences among the cities. In fact, each can be summed up into one word. In all fairness (and alphabetical order) here’s our take on the state’s super sociable cities.
Austin. Most accurate word: ambitious. The geographic equivalent to Switzerland in Texas, “come one, come all” says the city to those who have stampeded to this pretty capital in the last decade. Forever dependent on the University and state politics for culture and smarts, the city is learning to grow up, embrace progress and stand on its own two feet. Being internationally known as the coolest city in the world certainly helps. Now if only those with flip-flop, laissez faire attitude, French for “let it be”, would just try harder to be both individually dynamic and keep up with the Jones’, Austin would really be on the map. But that’s changing. Just look around you at some of the prolific, yet time-wasting social feuds, and it can indeed feel like a big city. Try to become the Emerald City, Austin. Let’s make it happen.
Dallas, in a word, is clever. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, as seen in the latest reality show, Dallas Divas and Daughters. Not really symbolic of the pulse of the city (a nod to the very non-Highland Park and far North Dallas-y Grapevine residents that are featured), the show does point a finger at this city of the future. Dallas tries the hardest to seem as “big city” as possible, yet maintains its small-town charm. Beware though: socialites scale and hang on for dear life here, for fear that the all the backbiting will cut their tether and they’ll fade away into oblivion. Nonsense. Just chair something else, help raise $4 million in one evening, and you’re on that mountaintop again.
Houston, known as Space City, can be termed as able. And, ready. It’s also no fluke that the energy business is so strong because of the sheer energy its social creatures extend in looking great, feeling great and being great. From the grandiose in-home galas that wow even the most languorous partygoer raising money for a plethora of causes, to the ballroom gala groupies who spend their resources merely keeping up, the city’s on fire. People might snicker that no one is curing cancer by being in the social scene, but in a way, with supporting these causes, they actually are helping cure cancer. The reigning social queens mean big business and they’ve made such an impact that the new crop coming up is feeling a little intimidated. The torch will pass, though, perhaps sooner than expected.
San Antonio. Where to begin? Legacy is the best word to describe it. Although bustling with industry, it still feels like a family-run town, ala Peyton Place, with loads of people who serve those families. Kids cannot wait to run back after graduating college, back to all they ever knew and $30,000 Fiesta gowns flared accordingly. Here, it seems you can keep the boys on the farm, or ranch, after all. So steeped is it in provincial tradition that at the still-restricted Argyle Club, it’s as if a mid-century time warp is in full force. Who needs to watch Mad Men when 5 o’clocktails there will suffice? Socialites don’t care whether anyone likes them or not, plain and simple. Those South Texas ranch and oil fortunes will always keep pumping… and they will keep on spending.
All in all, the stars are brighter, the diamonds are bigger and the heart beats faster here in Texas, in every one of our great cities. Cheers to a happy and prosperous New Year from us all at Brilliant.