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Aughts

Prince of the Professional Nobodies

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A concierge darts from behind the front desk to intercept Gosselin and prevent him from coming in. “I know who he is!” the concierge says. “But he’s wearing sneakers and we can’t make any exceptions.”

“I’ll just buy new clothes! I want to meet the senator!” says Gosselin. He heads to the nearest haberdashery, and fifteen minutes later, after purchasing a new pair of shoes and borrowing a jacket from the front desk, Gosselin gains admittance to the club.

In a small reception room, Senator Warner’s fund-raiser is momentarily interrupted as Jon Gosselin enters the room. Confounded, Warner shakes Gosselin’s hand, not recognizing the short man in the baggy jacket. The senator’s aide whispers into his ear, and Warner excuses himself from the crowd, mechanically leading Gosselin to the other side of the room where a photographer is waiting. “I’ve always loved politics,” Gosselin says to the senator. “I’ve become a public figure. Why not run? One day … ” Warner halfheartedly smiles for the cameras, Gosselin’s statement going in one ear and out the other. After the photo is taken, the senator returns to his speech without introducing Gosselin to the crowd.

G osselin’s manager, Mike Heller, son of his lawyer, enters the waiting room of his Murray Hill–based Talent Resources, a marketing firm where Gosselin spends afternoons strategizing over his future endeavors. A former adviser to Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, Mike is full of ideas as to how Gosselin might capitalize on his current media presence. “I’ve got a couple of deals on the table. Nothing final. Ideally, we’re thinking talk show. We’ve also got some great ideas for Jon doing a furniture line for children. Tell him, Jon!” While Gosselin dispassionately describes several products, including an idea for a dual-purpose baby carriage for which he says he has applied for a patent, Heller initiates a screen saver on the large flat-screen television. The video rapidly rotates and fades in and out of pictures of Mike Heller in the back of limos with celebrities, at parties with celebrities, and in candid photos with celebrities, the TR logo floating around the edges of the screen.

“Ideally, we’re thinking talk show. We’ve also got some great ideas for Jon doing a furniture line for children.”

When Gosselin’s former girlfriend Hailey Glassman arrives, he wraps his arms around her, fully absorbing her into his chest as if he’d just spent the entire day under police interrogation and his representation had finally come to his rescue. “You’re my best friend,” Glassman says to him on the back porch of Talent Resources. Glassman, who has successfully turned her skin the color of a carrot, presumably from frequent visits to a tanning salon, holds a bouquet of sunflowers that Gosselin purchased for her as an apology for the latest batch of tabloid rumors about his various and sundry affairs. Since they first appeared together this summer in St.-Tropez, Glassman has been publicly vilified as a “home wrecker” and blamed for ending Gosselin’s marriage, though they began seeing each other six months after Jon and Kate separated. “It feels like the entire world is against me. They can say whatever they want about you,” Glassman says with a heavy New York pothead accent. There is an undercurrent of sadness in the room as Gosselin hangs his head, a shadow covering his face. If it weren’t for him, she would have gone back to school. Instead, they spend most of their time in their apartment, reading about themselves on the Internet.

“Shmuley doesn’t think it’s such a good look for me to be dating anyone right now … until the divorce is settled,” Gosselin later tells me. Following Rabbi Shmuley’s advice, Gosselin and Glassman have decided to take a “break from their public relationship.”

Tomorrow morning, Gosselin will make the two-hour drive back to Pennsylvania for his weekly changing of the parental guard. The paparazzi will be waiting for his arrival, loitering in packs on the edge of his property, hoping for something unexpected to happen, though it won’t. Gosselin will spend the next four days with his eight children, taking them to school, cooking for them, watching cartoons, and putting them to bed. For the first time in five years, there will be no cameras following him as he does this. In celebration, his brother and his friends will come over to drink a few beers. They might even have a bonfire or do some dirt-bike riding. “It’s really not that interesting. Even if they could film it,” Gosselin says, “I don’t know why anyone would wanna watch.”


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