Modelizers and Mobsters
I have been fine-tuning my theory about modelizers for years. Since Big is a reformed modelizer, I can no longer dismiss these men as shallow and superficial poon-hounds…or can I?
Still, my deep dive into the minds of modelizers led to the single sexiest thing Big has ever said to me, that day he swooped into Soup Burg—the coffeeshop around the corner from my apartment where I told him I wrote half my columns but never visited again—and decreed: “The thing is this…well, first of all, there are so many goddamn gorgeous women out there in this city.”
To which I replied, with my 1990s dry wit: “What an amazing observation.”
What he said next—along with the way he bit his lip—told me that Big would not be another cardboard cutout of a romantic interest, though we would go through quite a few ups and downs, as chronicled in this column and four subsequent books, on our way to happily ever after.
“But the thing is this,” Big continued, predicting our entire relationship. “After a while, you just want to be with the one that makes you laugh, you know?”
I nodded, and there began our flirtation, but this is a column about Miranda and the modelizer she once dated.
I couldn’t help but wonder: Why do I always highjack my friend’s stories with these self-involved tangents? Could that be why Samantha was pulling away? Miranda seemed to be disproportionately affected by these New Jersey mafiosos, dead or alive, so I really should have been more supportive of her during this strange time. And where the hell was Charlotte?
Anyway, Miranda and Nick Waxler rode the same elevator line for years before he finally asked her out. Miranda learned, too late, that she had been Nick’s “intellectual beard” for a couples’ dinner party, the female halves of which had decided they could no longer sit across the table from Nick’s anorexic dates.
Miranda told me she thought her answer to the dinner-party lob, “Old movie stars you would have liked to fuck when they were younger” had been very witty and accurate. “I answered with Sean Connery: yesterday, today, and forever,” Miranda told me, “but all the other girls Nick was bringing answered with guys like Charlie Sheen.” Deanne and Ellen told her they had learned to use the pouty-lipped answer as a barometer for brains and gave Nick an ultimatum: no more models. Hence, he asked out Miranda.
And just like that, Miranda stopped dating Nick.
I had a few questions about my column, so I caught up with Nick a few days later, back when I used to engage in actual journalism and interview people other than my friends. Nick’s response when I asked him for an on-the-record comment about models? “They make me fuck up my life!”
Nick said he was exhausted, that he was an old man at 34, and that he couldn’t keep going this way. I guess he took that little ultimatum seriously as well, because Miranda soon heard that he moved to New Jersey and went back to practicing law after his sports-agent schtick, a ploy to meet models, got old.
“Still, a leopard can’t change his spots,” Miranda announced when Samantha and I joined her for an afternoon drink at her new firm. The rooftop event space where Miranda’s kinder, gentler partners celebrated big wins, like the one Miranda secured for Global Families, Inc. shortly after joining the firm, overlooked St. Patrick’s Cathedral from the corner of 51st and Fifth Avenue.
“I can see Saks from here,” I interjected, looking over the railing, cocktail in hand. “Happy hour to me.”
“If I had a Victoria’s Secret on the ground floor of my office building, I don’t think I would get any work done,” Samantha said, staring straight down to street level. “Though I do prefer something a little less flammable.”
“That’s where I ran into Nick,” Miranda said. “He was down there ogling the mannequins in the window displays. He said it was the closest he gets to models now.”
“What kind of weirdo gets infatuated with mannequins?” Samantha mused.
“Reformed modelizers like Nick Waxler?” I offered, guiding us back on conversational course.
“His last name is not really Waxler,” Miranda said.
“Shocker,” Samantha pronounced.
“Sounds made up,” I nodded. I had thought it was Wexler until I had to fact-check it for my column…back when I did real journalism.
“His real name is Nick Charney, but everyone calls him Zev. It’s Hebrew for wolf.”
“So he was a wolf in wolf’s clothing,” I quipped. Samantha touched her nose and pointed at me.
“Actually, I heard he has a thing for dressing up as a turtle,” Miranda said, looking pensive.
“Remember when I dated The Turtle?” Samantha said. “I dressed him up in a Helmut Lang turtleneck.”
“That was hilarious,” I recalled, then noticed Miranda frowning. “So what is Zev up to in Jersey?”
“He represented a guy named Corrado—er, Junior, when he shot his nephew,” Miranda lowered her voice and looked around.
“Don Squirrel-Leone?” I squealed. I swear, that pun was not even mine; credit goes to the headline writers for the Jersey papers.
“Nick—Zev—is the one who came up with that insanity defense,” Miranda nodded.
“How could that man head an entire crime family?” Samantha wondered aloud. “He looks like Mister Magoo.”
“The way Zev tells it, Junior was never in charge,” Miranda said. “Even when the nephew was just the street boss, he still ran things in The Family. I’ve been digging around on these disposable men from New Jersey, and I’m learning that…”
As Miranda babbled on, I had a thought:
Maybe it was not men that were disposable. Maybe it was everyone in my life. Were Michiko Kakutani and Nina Katz correct in their criticism? Was I the one who threw people away?
“Carrie, you can’t put this in your column,” Miranda concluded.
“It’s okay,” I said. “I wasn’t listening.”