One day, during my senior year of college, my roommate and best friend said, “I need a wife.” Meaning: someone to take care of all of the little things so she could concentrate on the bigger picture. A personal assistant, so to speak. I realized that I did, too. There was just too much to do, with college and two internships and trying to find an entry-level job. It would be useful to have someone take care of everything that was annoying and inconvenient. Enter my brilliant idea that began the era of “The Assistant.”
My roommate and I were both avid readers of Craigslist, a relatively new phenomenon at the time. We originally used it to find an apartment, then got into entertaining ourselves with “Rants & Raves,” and then eventually started posting for shtz and giggles.
I created an ad and posted it under the “Platonic W for M” section, seeking a man who wanted to work for “two beautiful females” as “an assistant.” Someone to run our errands—the grocery store, the pharmacy, FedEx/Kinkos, the post office, the book store, the dry cleaner’s—so we could focus on “the more important things in life.” Which would be, who knows, getting good grades or looking for post-college jobs…I mean, really it seems ridiculous now, but both of us had the bad habit of posting things when we were bored or tipsy, and I’m sure this ingenious idea had a wine infusion involved and therefore was only half-serious.
However, I got such a plethora of responses (who knew?), that it was almost too tempting not to back down from the whole idea. Thus began the “interviews.” We weeded through several men who seemed to fit the bill (”serious and not creepy”), and we met them for coffee in populated city spots and asked many questions. What kind of maniacal young women meet face-to-face with strangers from cyberspace so they can “interview” them to be their bitch?
We wanted to be absolutely positive (as much as we could be anyway) that this guy wasn’t a sick f. We eventually found our guy—Charlie. Charlie was in his mid-forties, a Brooklynite, Jewish, Republican, and an AA spokesperson having spent more than half of his life being an alcoholic. Grown men who use little boy nicknames, have conflicting views of the world, and have a history of drug addiction are probably the type of people you would meet online and therefore the type you would never want to actually meet. But he seemed reliable and not at all creepy. Why not try it out?
We began by giving him weekly lists of everything we needed him to do. The rules were that Charlie ran the errands, paid for everything, and delivered the goods to our apartment in a timely manner. He was not allowed upstairs; we would run down and bring everything up, and then we would also give him the next to-do list.
He was not paid. He did not get any love. I remember the first time we gave him a list; he got us, like, six of everything. He really wanted to go above and beyond.
In addition, he also gave us weekly “allowances” of cash, usually $50-$100 each, he took us clothes shopping, and he treated us to restaurant lunches and dinners on a fairly regular basis. I was stunned and amazed. A sugar daddy that gets nothing in return except the company of two college-age girls? That just doesn’t seem true. There must have been some price to pay. Nothing is ever free.
But I lived it, so I know the truth. It was awesome. We had this power over a man twice our age with no strings attached. All of the benefits of being spoiled: demand, take, take, take, give NOTHING.
Maybe he was just a lonely old man, or maybe he just had a sick fetish of being taken advantage of. Whatever the case, we took full advantage. We let him go sometime before graduation because we didn’t need him anymore. I think he was sad about it. A freshman girl came up to me at some point while we had him (even though we tried to keep it on the DL) and said, “I heard about your assistant. How did you pull that off? You amaze me! I idolize you.” I said, “Thank you baby girl, but oh please. You can have whatever you want. You just have to have the courage to go out and get it.”