[New York Observer] From the article Paid Friends: Weary of Genuine Relationships, Rich New Yorkers Hire Stand-Ins.
Last Friday, I was being fitted for a cerulean velvet sports jacket at Jay Kos on Mott Street when an ominous black SUV pulled up outside the discreet storefront.
An old client from the agency business emerged and rang the buzzer, his trainer in tow. After a pleasant greeting, he immediately requested the same blazer (in a larger size, thankfully). His trainer, who was still in his yoga gear, pulled a few items for my acquaintance as well.
“Try these on—they’ll look good on you,” he suggested, yawning simultaneously.
“Do you always travel with an entourage?” I asked my former client.
“Why do you ask?” he looked at me squarely. “Are you writing a new story? I liked the last one, but my wife was offended.”
“Wait till she reads the next one. It’s on paid friends.”
“As in people who are friends with their decorators, trainers, stylists.”
“Oh, I get it. She has plenty,” he said somewhat amused.
“Why don’t you ask him?” he asked, pointing to his flexible friend. “He’s a paid friend.”
“No, I’m not. I’m your friend,” the yogi said, somewhat offended.
“But you get paid.”
“Yeah, but …”
“So you’re a paid friend,” he said matter-of-factly.
“I’d rather not,” the yogi sniffed.
“I don’t mind having paid friends,” the client said, trying on a python jacket. “My wife is paid, and she’s not even a friend. Just joking. You know me. I’ve had a few tussles in my day. Once you’ve had paid friends who don’t argue with you, it’s actually quite hard to go back to real friends.” He laughed.
“That looks great,” the yoga instructor said, eyeing my former client in snakeskin.
“You think I should buy it?” the client asked.
“Definitely. And you can throw this on the bill for me.” The trainer picked a perforated cashmere scarf and wrapped it around his neck, Euro style.
Former Agency Client: