Wear the badge madge
‘Where’s the badge Madge?’ Dame Edna would cry when one of his global superstar guests like Sean Connery would appear onstage without a name badge. The idea, of course, was to tease his celebrity guests by suggesting that they were not as famous as they might think; and the fact is that some people do seem to feel demeaned by having to wear a name badge, as if it threatened their very identity – like The Prisoner’s cry ‘I am not a number, I’m a free man!’
But our name is very much tied up with our identity, especially in social interaction, and it always makes us feel good when somebody we’ve only just met remembers our name, because most of us forget a name the second we hear it – you’re too busy looking at other things and thinking ’Great suit, nice hair’ or ‘Great dress, lovely eyes’. A minute later, just as you’re really clicking with someone you’ve just been introduced to, someone else you met minutes earlier comes along and you want say ‘X, have you met Y’, but you’ve forgotten both their names. Embarrassing, right? Sure, learning how to cope with potential embarrassment is a great social art, and one that Rendezvous members tend to be highly skilled in, but when you’re meeting new people you really want all that reduced to a minimum. Which is why we always use labels at our bigger events.
To avoid any corporate feel I hand-write them myself on expensive German labels that actually stick to fabric without harming it. First names only in clear black letters; big enough to see, but not obtrusive. It makes things so much easier for everyone and really helps the chemistry flow. So when you arrive at a Rendezvous event and our lovely Madge, I mean May, gives you a name badge, you can give her a charming smile and say ‘Thank you May’, knowing that it’s a small but essential part of what makes our events so cool and groovy. Amen.