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$30,000 Millionaires: Douchebags in the Mist

The $30,000 millionaire is accustomed to instant gratification.
The $30,000 millionaire is accustomed to instant gratification. Manuel Dohmen, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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"Hi, there," I say, turning to face him. This is Jeremy, and he is behind the white half-wall that separates the plebes from the swanksters with bottle service and booths.

"I've been watching you all night," he says, and I refrain from asking what he thought of the Lean Cuisine I'd eaten for dinner. "You're really hot."

"Thanks." I do a little shoulder-wiggle, wondering how it's possible that this guy isn't (1) staring at my boobs and (2) commenting on the shirt.

"Do you come here often, love?"

"No, it's my first time."

Silence. I'm the one being hit on here, right? This should be where he swoops in with yet another brilliant, clever follow-up line like, "Are your feet tired?"

I force the conversation to plod on. "What brings you here?"

"Birthday party for my friend," he explains. More silence. I ask him what he does for a living.

"Mortgage banking." Riveted as I am by our conversation so far, I'm anxious to get to what I need to know: Is he or isn't he a $30,000 millionaire? I reveal that I'm a journalist, writing about nightlife in Dallas. Is he familiar with the $30k-ers?

"You're really cute."

I thank him for his time and head to the bar.

Results: Not nearly enough game for a $30,000 millionaire. Homo sapiens douchebagus has a nearly unparalleled ability in the field of bullshit.

By the end of the night, I find myself relaxing on an outside futon with a musician and a doctor—Wes and Joe, respectively. Recent Dallas transplants from Memphis and Kansas City who happen to know the club owner, they're miffed by the douchebaggery that surrounds them.

"There's nothing like this in Memphis," Wes says. Joe, the quiet one, nods in agreement. Musicians and doctors make terrible $30,000 millionaires because of the inherently cool nature of their jobs and, for doctors, the fact that saving lives limits the amount of time they have to chug bottles of Grey Goose with Justin Timberlake remixes playing in the background. I enlist their help in drawing out a key behavior of Homo sapiens douchebagus: peacocking.

"Peacocking" is a term popularized by the mondo-douchebag's guide to picking up women, The Game. It means dressing to get the attention of women, but I like to apply it to the douchebag vs. douchebag verbal competition in which each attempts to one-up their opponent by bragging about the expensive things they own. For the birds, it's colorful feathers. For the $30,000 millionaire, it's usually cars.

"Hey, man, what kind of car do you drive?" Wes grabs the elbow of the first guy who walks by.

"Infiniti." Low-end $30k-er. Perfect.

Next, a shocker from a blond guy who doesn't look a day over 19: "Aston Martin," he says, grinning and putting his arms around two bulbous-chested blondes in sweater dresses. I try to look impressed rather than incredulous. "What do you do for a living?"

"Oil and gas," he says, winking. Something tells me that might mean running the grill at Cuba Libre, not closing billion-dollar natural resource deals in South Texas.

Finally, lightning strikes. The fifth or sixth guy who comes by is bursting with pride. "ME?" He yells over the music, knocking over a freshly poured Cape Cod at the same time, "I have four cars! Well, three and a motorcycle." He rattles off the ways he rolls: a starter Lexus and BMW, plus a Nissan 350Z and a crotch rocket. Can't get a loan on a $100,000 Bentley? Get $30,000 loans and go for quantity over quality. How did this guy make his fortune? The trademark vagueness with regard to Homo sapiens douchebagus' employment wins: "I sell computers."

In the end, the only people really attracted by my tank top bait are waitstaff and bartenders, the people who end up suffering when the $30,000 millionaire walks his tab or tips 5 percent.

Wearing the shirt to free sushi happy hour at Steel in Oak Lawn, I get laughs and high-fives from every waiter I pass. "You're in the right place," one whispers. "Look around!" another says, gesturing to the whole bar. Same thing at Cretia's on McKinney. "They never tip," the bartender says.

I was done being honest. Like Dian Fossey and her gorillas, I was never going to get anywhere by causing alarm, so I squeezed myself into a tube dress and parked myself at the end of a posh bar, alone on a Saturday night.

Time: Early Saturday night

Location: Kenichi in Victory Park

Research team members: Self, honoring the great tradition of other women who sit alone at bars, such as drunks and prostitutes

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Andrea Grimes
Contact: Andrea Grimes

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