It was once said of Zero Mostel that he would rather eat a broom than go to a hospital. I feel the same way about most social events. The more upscale the occasion, the more I'm inclined to look for an exit.
The fancy invitations often have a "send a check if you cannot attend" option and yet that doesn't address those unduckable situations in which you feel and know you should be present but wish you could avoid it. Truth be known, you'd rather spend the evening watching a DVD of some Thirties film about a black tie event instead of being trapped at one.
So here's an alternative: Just as a film star who is on location in Kenya may send a representative to the Oscars ceremony, why can't we send personal representatives to business and community events? These mini-ambassadors may carry messages of good will. They may be briefed on which subjects to mention and which to avoid. They'll probably be better dancers.
In short, they would be a combo stand-in/diplomat/courier who would know all the latest stories and would be a great dinner companion. Unlike escorts, they would not be with you; they would be in place of you.
Hmm. A new position is born.