Model seeks place, puts up with boob-squeezing enthusiast.[Ed. note: this article was originally published on May 20, 1996.]
Janey Wilcox spent every summer for the last 10 years in the Hamptons, and she’d never once rented a house or paid for anything, save for the occasional Jitney ticket.
In the early 80′s, Janey was enough of a model to become a sort of lukewarm celebrity, and the lukewarm celebrity got her a part (“thinking man’s sex symbol”) in one of those action movies. She never acted again, but her lukewarm celebrity was established and she figured out pretty quickly that it could get her things.
Every spring, Janey went through the process of choosing a house for the summer. Or rather, choosing a man with a house for the summer. Janey had no money, but she’d found that was irrelevant as long as she had rich friends and could get rich men. The secret to getting rich men, which so many women never figured out, was that getting them was easy, as long as you didn’t have any illusions about marrying them. There was no rich man in New York who would turn down regular blow jobs and entertaining company with no strings attached. Not that you’d want to marry any of these guys, anyway. Every rich guy she’d been with had turned out to be a freak or a pervert, so by the time Labor Day came around, she was relieved to be able to end the relationship.
In exchange, Janey got a great house and, usually, use of the man’s car. She liked sports cars best, but if they were too sporty, like a Ferrari or a Porsche, that wasn’t so good because the man usually had a fixation with his car and wouldn’t let anyone drive it, especially a woman. The guy she had been with two summers ago, Peter, was like that.
Peter had a blond crew cut and he was a famous entertainment lawyer, but he had a body that could rival an underwear model’s. They were fixed up on a blind date, even though they’d met more than a dozen times at parties over the years. He asked her to meet him at his town house in the West Village, because he was too busy during the day to decide what restaurant he wanted to go to. After she rang the buzzer, he left her waiting on the street for 15 minutes. She didn’t mind, because the friend who fixed them up, a socialite type who had gone to college with Peter, kept emphasizing what a great old house he had on Parsonage Lane in Sagaponack.
After dinner, they went back to his town house, ostensibly because he had to walk his dog, Choo Choo. She spotted a photograph of him in his bathing suit on the beach tacked to the refrigerator door. He had stomach muscles that looked like the underside of a turtle. She decided to have sex with him that night.
This was the Wednesday before Memorial Day, and the next morning, while he was noisily making cappuccino, he asked her if she wanted to come out to his house for the weekend. She had known he was going to ask her, even though the sex was among the worst she’d had (some awkward kissing, then he sat on the edge of the bed, put on a condom and stuck it in), but she was grateful that he had asked her so quickly.
“You’re a smart girl, you know,” he said, pouring cappuccino into two enameled cups. He was wearing white French boxer shorts with buttons in the front.
“I know,” she said.
“I mean, having sex with me last night.”
“Much better to get it out of the way.”
“Women don’t understand that guys like me don’t have time to chase them.” He drank off the foamy coffee, then carefully washed out his cup. “It’s a fucking bore. You should do all of your friends a favor and tell them to quit playing those stupid girl games. If a girl doesn’t put out by the second or third date, you know what I do?”
He pointed his finger at her. “I never call her again. Fuck her.”
“No. That’s exactly what you don’t do. Fuck her,” Janey said.
He laughed. He came up to her and cupped one of her breasts.
“Maybe we’ll spend the summer together. Know what I mean?” he said. He was squeezing her breast.
“Ouch,” Janey said.
“Implants?” he said. “I like’em. I’ll call you.”
When he hadn’t called by Friday, she began to have doubts. Maybe he was totally full of shit. She called up Blaire, the sort-of socialite who had fixed them up. “I’m so glad you guys hit it off,” Blaire said.
“But he hasn’t called. It’s 12:30,” Janey said.
“He’ll call. He’s just a little strange.”
‘Put a Lid on It
At 1:30, Janey called Peter’s office. He was in a meeting. She called twice more, and at 2:30, his secretary said he’d left for the day. She called the town house. His machine kept picking up. Finally, he called her at 3:30. “Little anxious?” he asked. “You called 11 times. According to my caller ID.”
They drove out to the Hamptons in his new Porsche Turbo. Choo Choo, a bichon frisé with blue bows in his topknot, had to sit on her lap, and kept trying to lick her face. All the way out, Peter kept making his hand into a gun shape, pretending to shoot at the other motorists. He called everyone “a fucking Polack.” Janey tried to pretend she thought it was funny.
The stopped for gas at the Hess station in Southampton. That was a good sign. Janey always loved that gas station with the attendants in their white and green uniforms. There was a line of cars for gas. Peter got out of the car and went to the bathroom, leaving the engine running. After a few minutes, the people behind her started honking. She slid into the driver’s seat, just as Peter came running out of the bathroom, waving his arms and screaming, “You fucking Polack, don’t touch my car.”
“Huh?” she said, looking around in confusion.
He yanked open the car door. “Nobody drives my fucking car but me. Got that? Nobody touches my car. It’s my fucking car.”
Janey slid out of the car. She was wearing high-heeled sandals (making her an inch taller than he was) and tight jeans, and her long brown hair hung straight over a man’s white button down shirt. She lifted her sunglasses, aware that everyone around them was now staring, surely recognizing her as Janey Wilcox, the model, and probably beginning to recognize Peter as well. “Listen Buster,” she said into his face. “Put a lid on it. Unless you want to see this little incident in the papers on Monday morning.”
“Hey, where are you going?” he asked.
“Where do you think?” she said.
When she got back into the car, Peter said “Sorry about that,” and rubbed her leg. “I’ve got a bad temper. I explode. Can’t help it. You should know that about me. It’s probably because my mother beat me when I was a kid.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Janey said. She adjusted her sunglasses.
Peter roared out of the gas station. “You are so hot, baby. You should have seen all those other men looking at you.”
“Men always look at me,” Janey said.
“This is going to be a great summer,” Peter said.
Peter’s house was everything Blaire had promised. A converted farmhouse on 10 acres of pastureland, six bedrooms, decorator-perfect. As soon as they arrived, Peter got on his cellular phone and started screaming at the gardener about his apple trees. Janey ignored him. She took off her clothes, and walked naked out to the pool. She knew he was watching her through the sliding glass doors. When she got out of the water, he stuck his head out. “Hey, baby, is the heat turned on in the pool? If it isn’t, I’ll call the guy and scream at him.”
“It’s on,” she said. “I think we should figure out what parties we want to go to this weekend.” She took out her own cellular phone and, still naked, settled into a cushiony deck chair and started dialing.
In early May of this year, Janey went to Pravda three times on one week. The first night was a party for the artist Damien Hirst—the dead cow guy. She stood in the middle of the room with one hip pushed out, letting photographers take her picture. Joel Webb, the art collector, was there. Janey thought he was cute, even though everyone said he’d had a nose job and cheek implants and wore lifts in his shoes.
But that wasn’t the problem—the problem was his house. It wasn’t exactly a house yet. For the past three years, he’d been building a big house in East Hampton; in the meantime, he’d been renting what Janey considered a shack—a rundown three-bedroom cottage. “I need a girlfriend. Fix me up with one of your gorgeous friends,” he said.
“How’s your house coming?” Janey said.
“The contractors promised it would be done by the Fourth of July. Come on,” he said, “I know you can think of someone to fix me up with.”
“I thought you had a girlfriend,” Janey said.
“Only by default. We break up during the year but by the time summer comes, I take her back.”
Two nights later, Janey showed up at Pravda with Eddie Winters, whom everyone was calling the hottest comic actor in Hollywood. She’d met him years ago, when she was doing her movie—he was a nobody then and had a tiny part playing a lovesick busboy. They sort of became friends and sort of stayed in touch, talking on the phone about once a year, but Janey now told everyone he was a great friend of hers. Her booker at her modeling agency had told her Eddie was coming into New York on the sly, so Janey called his publicist, and Eddie called her right back. He’d just broken up with his girlfriend and was probably lonely. “Janey, Janey,” he said. “I want to tear up the town.”
“As long as we don’t have to patch it back together when you’re done,” she said.
“God, I’ve missed you, Janey,” he said.
He picked her up in the Rolls-Royce limousine. His hair had been dyed red for his last movie role and was growing out with black roots. “Whatcha doin’ now kid?” he asked. “Still acting?”
Inside the club, Eddie drank three martinis in a row. Janey sat close to him and whispered in his ear and giggled a lot. She actually had no interest in Eddie, who in person was the kind of geeky guy who would work at a video store, which was exactly what he used to do before he became famous. But nobody else had to know that. It raised her status enormously to be seen with Eddie, especially if it looked like they could potentially be an item.
Eddie was drunk, sticking the plastic swords from his martinis into his frizzy hair. “What do you want out of life, Janey?”
“I want to have a good summer.”
She got up to go to the bathroom. She passed Capote Duncan, the bad-boy Southern writer. “Janey,” he said. “I’m so gla-yad to see yew.”
“Really? You were never glad to see me before.”
“I’m always glad to see you. You’re one of my good friends,” Capote said. There was another man at the table. Tanned. Slim. Too handsome. Just the way Janey liked them. “See, I always said Janey was a smart model,” Capote said to the man.
He smiled. “Smart and a model. What could be better?”
“Dumb and a model. The way most men like them,” Janey said. She smiled back, aware of the whiteness of her teeth.
“Zack Manners, meet Janey Wilcox.” Capote said. “Zack just arrived from England. He’s looking for a house in the Hamptons. Maybe you can help him find one.”
“Only if I get to live in it,” Janey said.
“Interesting proposition,” Zack said.
Janey went upstairs to the bathroom. Her heart was beating. Zack Manners was the huge English record producer. She stood in line for the bathroom. Capote Duncan came up behind her. “I want him,” Janey said.
“Who? Zack?” He laughed. “You and a million other women.”
“I don’t care,” Janey said. “I want him. And he’s looking for a house in the Hamptons.”
“Well … you … can’t … have … him,” Capote said.
“Why not?” Janey stamped her foot.
Capote put his arms around her like he was going to kiss her. He could do things like that. “Ditch that geek you’re with and come home with me. I don’t care if he’s famous. He’s a geek.”
“Well, being with a geek like that makes men like you more interested in me.”
“I want to have a good summer,” Janey said. “With Zack.”
Janey and Eddie left half an hour later, after Eddie spilled two martinis. On their way out they passed Capote’s table. Janey slipped her hand into the back pocket of Eddie’s jeans. She looked over her shoulder at Zack.
“Call me later,” Capote said loudly.
To be continued…
Candace Bushnell began Sex and the City as a column in The New York Observer in 1994; it subsequently became a book and a series on HBO. She is also the author of Four Blondes, Trading Up and Lipstick Jungle, which is being filmed as a pilot for NBC starring Brooke Shields. Ms. Bushnell is also the host of Sex, Success and Sensibility, a live weekly talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, New York City Ballet principal dancer Charles Askegard.