A picture of 789 Nanjing Lu Bar & Lounge on the 65th floor of the Le Meridien Hotel, Shanghai. Venue of yesterday’s networking event (FC Club: Fashion, Art & Luxury), offering a 360-degree view of beautiful Shanghai. Amazingly beautiful bar, spectacular views, a decent mix of international and local professionals, delicious finger food… and shitty drinks! Yes, I’m sorry to say, but contrary to general consensus: the drinks were a huge let-down! Fair enough, I only had a pineapple juice.. one from PURE concentrate (is this stuff even legal?) and the white wine- which was obviously supposed to be a really good one- was disappointing, to say the least. With an entry fee of roughly 25pounds/ person, it was somewhat of a joke.. thank heavens I didn’t have to pay! *phew*
But anyway, that’s not even what this entry is all about. As already stated: it was a Networking Event. The imperative being networking. So- hanging out with a couple of friends and having a little chat with this and that person (people you’ve met before. See: there is only so much networking one can do.. After all there’s really just a hand-full of people interested in such get-togethers.. and after attending three or four meetings you kind of “know” most people already *sob*.. British Chamber of Commerce.. American Chamber of Commerce, FC Club, etc. It’s really all the same), was not all I wanted to get out of yesternight’s meeting. As a matter of fact: I was determined to be more pro-active and engaging; not just receiving business-cards from pushers (those who literally force their cards on you a.k.a. we go connect by force) but more importantly: handing them out to more or less interesting people who could prove beneficial over-time (yes, this is all very selfish and self-centered.. it’s supposed to be!). Needless to say, I woefully failed *pulling at my hair carefully*
Highlight of the evening, was definitely meeting Claudia Pean, a wonderful Austrian lady [Ok, ok; calm down.. let’s not make it more dramatic than it actually was lol. We had communicated online (via InterNations) a couple of weeks before and had agreed to meet the previous week -another Networking Event- at that very bar. I, however, ended up going to the JZ Club (re post: Something to write home about) and we hence didn’t meet. Seeing her yesterday, however, was not planned and therefore a very pleasant and welcomed surprise. Btw: She does exquisite jewellery! If you’ve got the cash to splash, check out: Caluma Ltd.]. We chatted away like real Austrians do and had a really good laugh. It was very amusing!
At the end of the night, we- that’s me and Sarah (ex-roomie)- eventually decided not to follow the others to a Jazz Bar (for obvious reasons) *shrug* and were about to leave, when I (and here the story begins) was approached by a Chinese guy called Alex, whose company does fashion-mobile-apps *yawn*. As I naturally responded by telling him what I was doing here, and how I was planning to move into the Renewable Energies sector, he pointed me towards the “last guy standing” in the room: Alex from France: young, handsome, tall, and well dressed, talking to another young, “gorgeous” (in parenthesis because that was Sarah’s and not my impression of him) probably Spanish guy. They were both pretty, young (mid-20s), professional… cocky guys! *sigh* Pinkus wept..
While Sarah and I were contemplating whether or not to go talk to them, Celine, a half American-half Chinese young lady, joined our conversation (profile: smart, young, quite pretty, slender, wearing red (!!!) and high heels), and introduced herself. We exchanged pleasantries, chatted for a while, and having told her about what pretty Alex was doing (it turned out she was aspiring to get into the energies sector as well), she adjusted her top, her hair, herself, walked away from us.. and up to them! She was all up for it; excited about what great opportunities might emerge from this encounter.
.. and this made me think. I know I over-analyze things (get used to it), but surely there was a lesson to be learnt. During the course of the evening the Spanish guy’s eyes kept drifting towards us (me.. Sarah.. don’t know, completely irrelevant anyway) and I concluded that a man (however loosely or properly defined) should surely have the balls (in a biological literal sense) to walk up to us, and start a conversation. He didn’t, so we didn’t.. simples. But, having found out that his friend worked in the sector I was hoping to get into, and being fully aware that it’s really all about connections here in China- probably even more so than in Africa- shouldn’t that have encouraged me to drop my “perceptions, beliefs, nuances” walk up to someone who could potentially be a door-opener, and introduce myself?
.. it made me think: I am a very confident person, have learnt to like, love and appreciate myself (both within and without); I like keeping it simple, like playing it cool. But (yes, the infamous but) I didn’t feel like “marketing” myself.. and even less so in my “flat shoes, natural hair, non-coloured face”-look, right next to a girl who was obviously ready to play all her cards. I do not doubt her abilities or capabilities in any way (not referring to sex now!), as she seemed very smart; I just didn’t feel like having to compete. A number of questins now sprung up: Am I feeling threatened? Should I (attempt) “competing” with her? Why am I even seeing it as competition? Is there something wrong with me? Do I feel intimidated? Do I suffer from insecurity-issues? Should I just stop thinking and market/ introduce myself? Why don’t I just stop thinking and walk up to them? Am I being childish in thinking the way I do?
I walked away. Turning around for a last glance, I watched Celine giggle her way right into their hearts..
(Admittedly, this is me obviously being a bit melodramatic; but what do you think? What would have been the right thing to do? Have you found yourself in a similar situation? How do you handle the simple vs the make-up doll? When is less more, and when just an unequivocal disadvantage? When is going all out acceptable? When is it expected?) Chat away..