Oreos can be a competitive bunch. And I don’t just mean the melees that can occur during a properly costumed joust reenactment. Take for instance, my experience at a David Biale reading this week. It was a night of Jewish themed literature and comedy, produced and hosted by a friend of mine.
Now, I know that I’ve mentioned that it’s dangerous for Oreos to associate with other minorities. It’s true. When blacks and blacks or blacks and browns spend time together, it makes them look like they need each other’s company–they’re a stone’s throw away from being a gang.
But when your minority of choice can often pass for white, you’re golden. I mean look at this guy. He was one of the opening acts. You’d be proud to bring him home to an Oreo Mom.
Also, bonus points goes to hanging with a group that whose culture has been lifted and trended appropriately. Who doesn’t remember the Kaballah Kraze. And pronouncing foods like “challah” is just enough to make the powers that be feel worldly, but safe.
So with a photo of my Sukkoth hut in hand, I took a seat in the front row, center.
The night alternated between comics and literati and each comic made mention of the “lone” black person in the room…a guy sitting about three rows away from me.
I was beyond frustrated. I did not take an unnecessary and unaffordable trip to J. Crew and strategically place myself in my seat to be passed over.
Now, perhaps, I was so convincing in my Oreo state, that I passed for one of them. Or perhaps, Other Oreo could be seen better from the stage. Whatever the reason for his getting my attention, it was game time!
You see, the first Oreo to be noticed will be considered by the crowd to be the real thing. By the time a second one of us is spotted, the novelty will have worn off and we’ll be relegated to being seen as just another black person.
So, I kicked my game into high gear and the fourth comic gave me the credit I deserved. He turned his attention to me and made light hearted jokes at my expense while the crowd laughed comfortably.
At the end of the night, Other Oreo introduced himself to me. A risky move. But one I appreciated as I knew he was congratulating me on a game well played.
What did I do to win my rightful attention? A combination of the steps listed below. Incorporate them into your next event and bask in the glow of the spotlight that will follow you around the room for the rest of the night.
1. Flip Your Hair. This one’s for the ladies. A simple shake of your (natch) freshly relaxed hair will waft the sweet smell of your mainstream shampoo and draw attention to your loose, catwalk ready waves. As discussed, silky hair is paramount to being an Oreo. Remind those in proximity that you have it.
2. Order an Old Fashioned. Have the hostess bring you a drink that is a) out of character and b) out of a movie that was made in a simpler time–like the 1950s. It’ll make everyone nostalgic. And they’ll appreciate you providing them with such warm memories.
3. Refer to the Michael Richards incident as “no big deal.” The event took place the Laugh Factory, the site of Michael Richards’ apparent breakdown where he called two hecklers of color the n-word…over and over again. I believe he event threatened to hang them. And they say comics are bitter and sad on the inside.
Chances are, something bad happened in the name of race at the actual location where you were or near where you were. During an intermission casually slip something into conversation like “I’m not saying Medgar Evers wasn’t important, I just wonder if he needs a wikipedia entry.”
This will let people know that you aren’t all that connected to your “people” and it lets them off the hook for wondering the same things.
4. Mention Your Celebrity Crush. Everyone has their one free Hollywood F. When a break in the entertainment comes, let it slip that your is Sarah Silverman, Laura Linney or Catherine Keener if you’re a guy and if you’re a girl, then mention Hugh Grant (hands off, though, he’s totally mine), Gordon Ramsay or Shia LaBeouf.
5. Ask for a mint to get rid of an offensive taste. But choose carefully. Make sure that pre-show, you enjoyed an amuse bouche of a quiche lorraine, eggs benedict or Belgian endive with duck and apricot salad.
Try those Hail Marys sees if your opponent doesn’t fold. Fight the good fight, comrades, victory can be yours!