I was recently comped a pair of tickets to an event. I have no idea why -- or, rather, I have a lot of ideas why, and I realize I will never know which one of them is correct. This is the case with a lot of human behavior, and dealing with it can really fuck you up when you're trying to work out how you appear to other people.

The event is a recurring one; I happen to have worked with one of the artists involved in the past, and the last time I was at one, someone was quite surprised to hear that I had not been automatically issued complimentary tickets to the subsequent gatherings. The artists all get them, but so far as I knew, auxiliary people like makeup/hair and assistants and models didn't. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I sent the organizer an email to inquire. I got quite a polite, cheerful response to the effect that normally the auxiliary didn't get them, but she'd be happy to give them to me anyway, and they would be waiting for me when I attended the next one.

She didn't tell me exactly why. People operate like this a lot; whether they assume the reason is unimportant, that you already know the reason, or that they don't want you to know the reason, depends on the person and the situation. Just off the top of my head, it could have been because:
  • She had a number of comps available to give out at whim, and it happened to be my lucky day.
  • She had a number of comps available to give out to anyone who inquired, which saves them the trouble of issuing tickets for people who don't ask, and is generally good PR.
  • She had a number of comps available to give out at her discretion, she remembered me, and thought I was the sort of person she'd like to have there.
  • She had a number of comps available to give out at her discretion, she remembered me, and felt like being nice.
  • She had a number of comps available to give out, and was instructed to give them to attractive people -- the event is at a nightclub, and it's standard procedure at a lot of clubs to preferentially let in/comp drinks to attractive people, because then other people will show up in order to compete for the attractive person's attention.
There's no way to tell which one of these potential reasons it was, or even if it's one I missed, e.g., the voices in her head told her to. I could ask, but this is one of those situations where there's a lot of incentive to lie politely. You're not supposed to admit that you give people stuff because you want something from them in return, even when it's a perfectly legitimate business exchange -- as I think it would be in this case if I were comped tickets in exchange for and contributing for the atmosphere.

One of the reasons I try to be aware of things like what other people are thinking about my appearance is that it helps me work out why people do things. You don't have to give a damn what other people think, but it's a good idea to at least try to figure out what their opinions are. Knowing that I conform to general beauty standards in many ways doesn't make me think I'm queen of anything, but it goes a hell of a long way towards helping me figure out whether someone is giving me things because they're a genuinely nice person, or because they're a dingbat trying to get on my good side.