For better or worse, everyone on the New York City social circuit gets what they deserve. Myself included. And I don’t even want to be on it.
I was recently reminded of this when I found out my now ex-girlfriend, a former model turned “filmmaker,” had been sneaking around with a smarmy tech millionaire who had hired her to help develop various art projects - including his own band’s music video.
Trust me, you haven’t heard of the band nor will you. But about Model and me…
My tale of altruism started in 2014, when I opened my rent-stabilized apartment to a gorgeous ex-model 16 years my junior with little education and no job skills.
What can I say? I’m a giver.
But just wait, because I’m about to try and sell you on the idea that Model was the shameless opportunist here.
In the three years that followed, Model very briefly worked non-model jobs here and there before discovering the miracle of unemployment compensation. Since I was already budgeted to pay for my place, what was the difference? Model was good company. Model was pretty. When she wasn’t being awful, Model was awesome.
After a year or so, Model even started paying for utilities, all the while complaining about the cost of basic cable. We even got a dog. Not just a dog – the best dog in the world. A rescued pit bull over whom Model and I bonded in the biggest way. We were a family.
After three years of living together, Model and I talked about finding a new place in a less fratty neighborhood, but since I was paying under $2,000 a month for a two bedroom apartment in the East Village where I’d lived nearly 20 years, that didn’t make much sense. It just so happened that around that time, the landlord started questioning the specifics of my tenuous sublet and a deal was struck – dog and Model and I were headed to Brooklyn!
When moving day came, I was ready for a change. Model got sick the minute the truck arrived, as she often did when there was work to be done. It was frustrating that she couldn’t lend a hand, though not shocking. With the help of three professional movers, we were in Park Slope just in time for Christmas.
Goodbye rent stabilized Lower Manhattan apartment — hello new life!
Because I’d spent my savings on the move, the security deposit, and our new furniture, we weren’t able to visit my family who’d moved to the West Coast years earlier. But that’s ok. At least Model, dog and I were together.
Then reality set in.
We were three weeks into the new place when Model, days from paying a (small) portion of rent for maybe the first time in her life, decided things weren’t working out.
“I’m miserable,” were her exact words when she came home one day at 3 a.m. after “editing the music video” for tech-bro’s band, which she’d been doing a lot in January, sometimes overnight. According to Model, tech-bro gave her a $30,000 budget for that project, a third of which was her salary.
Raise your hand if you see where this is going?
Model and I decided it was time to figure out an exit strategy. Little did I know that her plans were already very much in the works.
Let me stop here to fill you in on tech bro’s back story.
Model and I both met him two years earlier when he and a drunken pack of internet moneymen saw Model and her colleagues going into a trendy restaurant lounge where they were hosting a Toys 4 Tots art sale. Like I said, Model could sometimes be awesome.
Reeking of tequila, the swarming party bros paid a sizable donation at the door, then came in and excitedly threw money at every piece of art, and every model, in the joint. It was an obvious ploy to anyone who wasn’t a moron, but so what? This was a holiday fundraiser and douchebags have money.
Not ready to call it a night, the tech bro desperately asked Model and I both if we wanted to go to some cheesy Chelsea club and “get a couple of bottles” through a friend of his who was a promoter. I always wondered who actually did that in New York. Now I know. We took a pass and that gauche suggestion cemented my theory that he was no threat to me and of no interest to Model.
Fast forward a year or so — Model suddenly had an investor in a TV pilot she was writing! The show focused on the whacky antics of zany models living together in a Manhattan apartment. As it turns out, that guy, yup, was the financier.
With my help, Model met with several entertainment agents who all agreed there were glaring holes in her show. But according to Model, tech bro thought it was perfect as is-and even encouraged her to write in his office. This was also around the time he asked her to shoot his music video, which she unsuccessfully tried to get into several festivals and still thinks has a shot at a short film Oscar nomination. Fingers crossed!
Again, having met tech bro, I gave Model enough credit to believe she was being honest about the work and wouldn’t make ends meet by “making ends meet” with this guy. Now I’m not sure whether Model was extraordinarily naive or a conniving opportunist of major league talent. Friends of mine who know her suspect the latter. I don’t know which scenario gives her the benefit of the doubt.
Despite his professional achievements, the guy is unimpressive in person. He stands chin high to Model, wears logo-T's like a 5-year-old and possesses that unfortunate combination of arrogance and insecurity found in outcasts who suddenly become overwhelmingly successful. An immigrant of South East Asian heritage, he sold his first tech company for more than $25 million straight of college. What tech bro lacks in charm, he makes up for in ingenuity and cash.
I have no idea how long Model had been having feelings (or more) for her “employer” when she told me in January that she was miserable. It’s possible, albeit unlikely, she hadn’t caved just yet. But it was around that time they started a mini-tour where he — along with other “investors and producers” wined and dined Model in the Hamptons, D.C., L.A. and one or two other places, under the guise of showing her film in private homes belonging to his friends, one of whom was said to be a lawyer for President Obama. What he was actually showing off is now quite clear.
After they returned, Model and I saw a lot of each other, thanks to an unplanned springtime visit from her mom who needed to stay with us for a month to work out some issues. That’s when I started thinking Model, our dog and I should take a step back and re-evaluate things. Maybe try again? After all, moving is stressful and spending time with Model’s troubled mom helped me to better understand Model’s single-minded commitment to self-preservation.
Then last week I logged onto Airbnb to look into a possible Labor Day Weekend getaway. I had two messages, even though I didn’t recall having an Airbnb account. Turns out Model had remained logged into her account on my laptop and those missives were from a landlord near Cape Cod asking if she and the tech guy – his name was in the email – had enjoyed their recent stay.
Indeed they had!
Model, even asked the home’s owner if she could leave an anonymous positive review, and assured him “We only used the master bed so no need for you to change any other sheets.” This wasn't their first time there either, according to the email exchange.
When I confronted Model about this via text message – insulting her and surely making her feel further justified in latching onto this new guy– she declined to address specifics. Nor would she say whether or not there were nights when she’d slept with both of us or if they had unprotected sex. But she did write that she was sorry for the way she’d “handled everything.”
But like I said, we all get what we deserve in this city.
I was hooking-up with an ex-model 16 years younger than me and surprised that she took off with a multi-millionaire when given the chance. Cue the tiny violins.
Tech bro, who tweets about content, brands and team building, now has a (former) model on his arm. He'll soon discover that after a year with Model, he’ll grow fed up. He’ll probably do what I did – drink more bourbon and turn up the volume on the TV.
Model is finally rich and thinks it’s because she’s a creative genius. But on the downside, she has to share a bed with this guy to keep up the lifestyle. God forbid their kids get her ethics and his looks.
I have no doubt Model and the guy will get married. They’re too terrible together not to and the world's a horrible place.
Meanwhile, I have an apartment in Park Slope, which may be the worst place in New York City to be single. But I also have an awesome dog and closure on a relationship that was doomed from the start. Who am I to be sleeping with a model at my age and on my salary anyway?
Much to my surprise, Model is a great co-parent to our dog and we share joint custody.
And when I get angry, I simply text her a have-you-no-shame message, which she no doubt partially reads in her new dude's posh Madison Avenue apartment, while rolling her eyes, sipping an afternoon glass of wine and waiting for the rest of the world to get home from work.
I'd like to say I wish them well, but I don't. They'll be fine.
Hopefully Model feels a bit of regret when she’s hanging out at 1Oak listening to the tech posse argue about Game of Thrones characters over a $500 bottle of Grey Goose.
I can only wonder how long it will take her to notice when her own TV series is no longer a topic of conversation.
A friend asked me the other night “So what did you learn from this?”
I learned that if given the chance, I’d probably do the same thing again because we’re all horrible in our own special way. I also suppose I should date women my own age. But most importantly, next time I come across a multi-millionaire willing to pull out all the stops to hook-up with my girlfriend, I’ll take him a little more seriously.
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