Since Amy Argetsinger works as one-half of the Washington Post‘s “Reliable Source” team, people tend to think she’s been to every party in town. Impossible.

Take last night, for example. Argetsinger hit a “Hollywood-tinged” event over in Georgetown. That was fine, but then it was time to head over to the Illinois gala at the Renaissance Washington Hotel. Not so fast, thanks to gridlock. “The traffic was so bad,” she says, “I had to walk the last five blocks.” The event, too, had a certain congestion to it. So many people were bunched up outside and around the venue, she reports, that she had “no hope” of actually making it to the media credentials area.

When she ran into a colleague or two from the Post, Argetsinger just bolted, figuring they had it covered.

On to the HuffPo party she went. There she found the same scene, different venue (Newseum). “The Huffington Post thing was kinda the hot ticket, so it was massively crowded. There were long lines to get in, long lines to get a drink, lines to even pass through the hallways,” she says. Check Reliable Source item on the crowding.

When asked to identify the source of the ball problem, Argetsinger cites her quarry as a gossip columnist: celebrities. These events, she says—-they pull in tons of people with the promise of rubbing elbows with movie stars. Then, they hide the rich and famous in VIP rooms, entry to which is guarded by goons and regulated by fancy-looking passes. “There’s this excitement of, hey, being at a party with some celebs and….the celebs are in the building but they’re up in the VIP,” she says.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have no celebs at your event, you have the opposite problem—-no people, no crowds, no excitement. “It’s a Darwinian party thing right now. The HuffPo thing was way overcrowded because of its perceived exclusivity, and others are just withering on the vine,” says Argetsinger.