Lifestyles of the Rich and Terrible

by |
04/05/2010 4:34 PM |

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New York Magazine has been, these last few years, very good at covering the lives of people who a) Have far, far more money than I do, and b) Spend that money on things I would not buy if I had all the money in the world, like bottle service.

This week’s cover story, by the reliably bizarre Lisa Taddeo, considers nightvlub hostess and Tiger Woods hoochie Rachel Uchitel, in the context of club culture’s semi-respectable “half-hookers”, in which rich people at the best tables in the club point their fingers at former girls gone wild hoping to get noticed, and so on and so on.

If you were to boil the article down to its very essence, you would probably be left with this graf:

On a recent Thursday night around 2 a.m., 1Oak is packed. The tables, U-booths near the D.J., are spotted with candles and spired with bottles of Grey Goose. Under the jaundiced glow of the spotlights, there are hands on rears and girls in small dresses and men in shiny striped shirts. They have carefully chosen their clothes and they have spent time in front of mirrors trimming hair from nostrils and tonight is about sex and status and supply and demand and have and have not. After Jay-Z and Lady Gaga have had their third and fourth plays of the evening, thumping up from the floor comes the Kings of Leon, their song “Use Somebody.” The general-admission crowds dance, and the table crowds dance a little more woodenly, a little more entitledly, with their finger pads on their tables. The promoters are dancing with the models and the waitresses are dancing with the bottles and everybody finds a place on the floor.

Of course, the article isn’t just this one graf, it’s actually 6,500 words exactly like this. Somehow, Taddeo’s painfully purple prose, all ecstatic run-on evocations of extravagantly pointless excess, works; this may be the definitive piece about bottle service culture, inasmuch as it seems large and massive and totally meaningless. After reading it, you feel gross and violated even as you’re not entirely sure that anything has actually happened, like you’ve been raped by a ghost or something.