I think I may need to buy a tux.
We got invited to some charity fundraising dinner here for Opportunity International, a microfinance outfit focusing on Africa. Absolutely fascinating.
For one, it took place in St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is incredible. The Duke of Wellington’s body is in the church. Who was the Duke of Wellington? Honestly, no clue and too lazy to look up, but I was pretty excited nonetheless, partly because it’s so morbid to me, the English (European) thing of keeping corpses around in churches. I’d never been inside St. Paul’s before. Pretty cool.
For another, there were quite a few titans of industry and powerful people there. Unless I misunderstood, I think an ex-President of Mexico, Salinas, was in attendance. Intimidating.
It reminded me how unusual Silicon Valley is. Because the crowd leaned heavily toward finance. Shouldn’t be a surprise, given London’s position as a financial capital. I’d bet most events of this sort around the world tend to be like this, dominated by financiers. The thing is, I’ve heard about things like this in Silicon Valley, and it’s more dominated by tech. Even the financial peeps in SV tend to be connected to that, Venture Capitalists or tech-focused investment bankers. I’ve never met a trader at a SV event like that. Anyway, at this event, when I say I’m an engineer at Facebook, it seemed almost exotic to them. I guess Silicon Valley’s a weird place.
In any case, an interesting thing about events here is that all the men wear tuxes. I wore a suit and felt horribly underdressed. Apparently all Brits own tuxes because it’s so common to wear them. Like even starting in university, if you have say a dinner event with a professor, you wear a tux. Certainly any benefit like this, you wear a tux. I’ve heard that even at year-end company parties, wearing a tux is de rigueur. I don’t know how many occasions I’ll have to wear one, but this night felt embarrassing enough that I think I may need to get one.