The concierge trend is totally out of control! One cannot break wind these days without some well-dressed, enthusiastic chap or chapess offering you tickets to The Lion King or dinner rezzies at Nobu. The deranged high-service lifestyle which was previously the exclusive prerogative of Hollywood mucketty-mucks is now available to ordinary people like you.
The attack of the giant concierges is all the more ironic when one remembers their original incarnation. For much of the 20th century, the word “concierge” evoked a bitter, menopausal woman who managed a French apartment building. She boiled cabbage and spied on the comings and goings of her tenants and their visitors. Her main aim in life was to inhibit your erotic lifestyle.
But the new generation of Prada-clad concierges is much prettier and, in sharp contrast to their prudish predecessors, much of their time is spent making sure you have as much sex as possible. A former concierge at an Ian Schrager hotel gave me the anonymous skinny: “Much of my time was spent procuring whores-male and female,” he said. My source eventually quit, but not for reasons of propriety. “The money was great; the kickbacks are extraordinary. Every time I booked a helicopter tour, I got $50. But I just couldn’t cope with hearing myself say things like, ‘Here are your cigarettes, Mr. Damon,’ or ‘Your Band-Aid, Miss Barrymore.’”
The good news for you, the ordinary woman in the street, is that celeb-groveling concierges are no longer only to be found in hotels. There are concierges catering to your whims at stores all over Manhattan, and you can have them at your disposal without ever having to buy anything.
Techie Bilbao has been the concierge at Bergdorf’s for about a year. She migrated from Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills, where she was in designer sales. Ms. Bilbao, who is half Spanish and half Filipino, said that her responsibilities include store tours, procuring not whores but theater tickets and dinner reservations, some personal shopping, and the occasional friendly lunch with an old customer who’s back in New York for a day. “We do everything, soup to nuts,” she said.
Try all of them; each one has different strengths. The concierge at ABC Carpet & Home is reputed to be a total screech; though less vivacious, the concierge at Banana Republic in Rockefeller Center will happily recharge your cell phone. Some are even rumored to plan vacations for you.
My advice is, don’t waste time being appalled by this grovel-athon: get creative and start taking full advantage of these well-compensated, stylish Stepin Fetchits. If it’s raining, dash into the nearest department store and get the concierge to call you a car. When the car arrives, politely request a neck pillow for the ride home so you can take a nap. They hate to say no. Buying a new shower curtain? Ask the store concierge to come home and hang it up for you. Once you get him inside your apartment, you can really go to town. Ask him to stay to dinner, hand him a grocery list and show him where the kitchen is. Don’t let him leave. You always wanted a man to take care of you. Who better than a concierge?