Here’s an article from yesterday’s New York Times about Allison Storr, a 39-year-old New Yorker who has a rather unusual job:
Looking for someone to curate your life? Need a personal concierge whose expertise is not picking up dry-cleaning but helping chose your wardrobe, your tastes, your friends? Ms. Storr calls herself a personal manager, but her duties go far beyond that. Her clients, all of them men, pay monthly fees of $4,000 to $10,000 to have her be their personal decider in nearly all things lifestyle-related.
Calling on assistants including a stylist and a caterer, Ms. Storr helps people figure out their tastes. If they are single, she enhances their social profile (though she insists she is not a matchmaker).
The article shows her leading a couple through Chelsea art galleries, a tour “that was intended as a primer for cocktail party chatter, not collecting.” Or, apparently, art. Later, she throws a party for the couple so they can meet other people, people who one day may become their friends. The couple is very happy with Allison. “Brad will ask me a question like, ‘Where should I get a haircut?’ ”, one of them chirps, “and I’ll say, ‘Ask Allison!’ ”
One of her clients, a high-powered lawyer who wouldn’t give his name (oh, you’ll see why), has especially high praise for Allison. He even referred to her as his “outsourced wife,” then added:
“The nice thing is that when I ask her to do something, she gets it done and there’s no negative feelings.”
Ah, yes, that’s so much better than having to deal with a pesky real-life wife and her bothersome negative feelings.
Now, this is the line of work I need to go into. The only problem is that I wouldn’t last long, not because I’d be bad at it, but because I’d be so good. For example, here’s how I would instruct my clients to learn cocktail party small talk.
1. Buy a copy of The New York Times and read the article about the pathetic people who pay thousands a month to learn how to make cocktail party small talk.
2. Go to cocktail party.
3. Say “Hey, did you see that article in the Times about those pathetic people who pay thousands a month to learn how to make cocktail party small talk?”
Let the small talk begin.