On a recent afternoon, seven women gathered in Manhattan, over wine, cheese and cigarettes, to animatedly discuss the one thing they had in common: a man. Specifically, a Young Man of Manhattan, a man we’ll call “Tom Peri.”
Tom Peri is 38 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, with short, curly brown hair. There is nothing remarkable about his appearance, save for a penchant, a few years ago, for dressing in black clothes from Agnes B. paired with wacky socks. He comes from a wealthy banking family, and grew up on Fifth Avenue and in Bedford, N.Y. He lives in a modern high-rise on Fifth Avenue.
Over the last 15 years, Mr. Peri, who is almost always referred to by his last name only, has become somewhat of a legend in New York. He’s not exactly a womanizer, because he’s always trying to get married. Mr. Peri is, rather, one of the city’s most accomplished serial daters, engaging in up to 12 “relationships” a year. But after two days or two months, the inevitable happens. Something goes wrong and, he says, “I get dumped.”
For a certain type of woman—30-ish, ambitious, well-placed socially—dating Mr. Peri, or avoiding his attentions, has become nothing less than a rite of passage, sort of like your first limo ride and your first robbery, combined.
Even among the city’s other notorious ladies’ men, Mr. Peri stands out. For one thing, he appears to be holding far fewer cards. He has neither the well-bred good looks of Count Erik Wachmeister, nor the free-flowing cash of Mort Zuckerman.
I wanted to know, What’s Mr. Peri got?
Each of the women I contacted had been involved with Mr. Peri—either intimately, or as an object of his ardent affections—and each said she had dumped him. None refused my request to get together for a session of Talking About Peri. Each woman, perhaps, had something … unresolved about Mr. Peri. Maybe they wanted him back. Maybe they wanted him dead. Or maybe they just wanted to talk.
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