The sexiest part of an affair is where it begins.
You know what the middle looks like, hotel-sheeted and ultimately routine, and you know the way it will end, but where and how it began is always a little surprising.
Historically, powerful men with slavering appetites have mainly acquired their girlfriends the way a pair of pants gathers lint—rather incidentally. Bill Clinton and his intern. JFK and his secretaries, his stewardess. Collecting a mistress in this way seems, as everything does in the past, more innocent. An abundant young woman wears a daring dress to the office party, and catches the president’s eye.
At the other end of the infidelity spectrum, there is the escort, the call girl. From Charlie Sheen to Eliot Spitzer, famous men since the dawn of arousal have valued the sex professional. She is discreet and it is a transaction and there is the added benefit of selection. The office intern might have caught your eye, but if you’d had it your way, you might have requested her trimmer around the center.
Within the unblushing batch of Tiger Woods’s alleged mistresses, about whom we now know nearly every freckled detail, there exist both extremes: ladies of convenience, like Mindy Lawton, the waitress who served Woods and his wife breakfast at a diner near their home, and high-priced call girls like Loredana Jolie Ferriolo, who had to Google the player to find out who he was.
Both methods of slaking the hunger have their pros and cons. Men like to hunt, and there is no need to hunt a prostitute. Men like to cheat without strings, and you can’t stop a civilian from falling in love. But Woods found a way to enjoy the best of both worlds in one type of woman, a Venn diagram of sexual satisfaction. Most of his mistresses lived in a nebulous in-between world. Not prostitutes, no, but just about halfway there. As surely as he has changed the game of golf, so too has Woods exposed the grazing ground of the halfway-hooker, and her natural habitat, the nightclub.
He met at least nine of the fifteen women in or around nightclubs: Kalika Moquin was a marketing manager at the Bank in Las Vegas, which is also where he met onetime cocktail waitress and full-time clubgoer Jamie Jungers. He met Julie Postle when she was a cocktail waitress in Orlando. Cori Rist at a nightclub in Manhattan. Holly Sampson met him through a mutual friend who is also a club promoter. These are not cases of eyes locking across a crowded dance floor. That’s not the way someone like Tiger Woods goes out. Instead, special introductions are made. Girls are brought into his orbit by nightclub managers and directors of marketing and promoters and waitresses and owners. They are selected and then delivered.
The most famous of Woods’s alleged mistresses is Rachel Uchitel, who occupies a position of power in this strobe network of girls and money and celebrity. As VIP concierge and director of VIP hospitality at Tao in Vegas and at Dune in Southampton and at the Griffin, Marquee, Stanton Social, and Pink Elephant in Manhattan, she was the ambassador of client desire.
Her job was born out of the culture of bottle service. The concept of paying for a whole bottle of alcohol and sitting at a table originated in Europe and grew a tail in the States in the early nineties, at New York clubs Life and Chaos. But it didn’t stick until 2001, when bottle service became the new way of gaining entry into a world that had previously not been for sale. You no longer had to be an Andy Warhol descendant to party at a place like Bungalow 8; you could be Joe Banker or Joe Banker’s son with his father’s credit card. And the staffers changed, too. Cocktail waitresses evolved from out-of-work actresses into Penthouse Pet–level creatures who sparred with their co-workers for client gratuities by expanding their breadth of service. Their take-home pay skyrocketed from $300 a night to $3,000 banner shifts. With the volume of VIP clients growing and the number of tables quadrupling, the need for organization spawned the creation of the VIP host, someone who could be trusted with the biggest clients.
In Las Vegas, at the Bank, Woods’s club of choice, a host would meet him at the door and walk him to his table on the second or third floor. From his perch high above the dance floor and flanked by superstar friends like Michael Jordan, Woods could look over the balcony and say, Oh, that table of pretty girls there, bring them up. The nightclub has become a smorgasbord. All you have to do is point and ask.
This world was splayed open when Woods crashed his SUV last Thanksgiving weekend. And it does not close because Tiger Woods has (for now) left it, returning to public life this week to play in the Masters, a chastened man. There are still rich VIPs in the premium corners of clubs from New York to Miami to Las Vegas, being “introduced” to girls who are not Woods’s girls but who are exactly like most of Woods’s girls. In most cases, there is an exchange, gifts or help for sex—though with celebrities, what the girls receive is often just the privilege of being with a storied name. The Woods scandal has upset the rhythm of this world, upping the stakes and rattling the locals. But you can’t keep wealthy men and pretty girls apart for long.
Rachel Uchitel is long and skinny and buoyantly breasted. Her lips are a fat heart. On television and on the Internet, she is the aviatored one moving serenely through airports as camera-headed men coo, Rachel, how does it feel to be a home-wrecker? Rachel?
She has not “gone out” since the National Enquirer broke the story about her alleged affair with Woods. That Thanksgiving weekend, there were 50 people with cameras banging on the windows of her Manhattan brownstone. She’s since been staying in Las Vegas, in the condo she owns at Turnberry Place, where the security is state-of-the-art.
“This new persona is the opposite of who I am,” she says. “I was alone every night. My life was my work. But people took my job and made it a scandalous, negative thing.”
Before nightlife, Uchitel was a segment producer at Bloomberg News and engaged to a man who died in the 9/11 attacks. In 2005, she drove across the country to Las Vegas, not knowing what she was going to do. Before she’d even arrived, a friend got her a hosting gig at Tao.
“When you lose your whole future,” she says, “it’s something that changes you.”
On one of the online memorial guest books for her deceased fiancé, several people have lately written in, consoling his parents that the woman their son loved is not the same Rachel Uchitel in the media—she doesn’t even look like the same person. They’re talking about an AP shot from Bellevue Hospital in the days following 9/11. In the picture, she is crying and blonde and holding his image. Comparing it with recent pictures, one can’t help but notice a Jessica Rabbit effect.
“I have big breasts,” she says, “yes. But I’m really offended by the notion that I used my sexuality.”
“There are mosquitoes, rats, gnats, leeches, agents, and then promoters. A promoter is a glorified pimp. But then everyone is a pimp.”
It’s a cool Las Vegas night in March at the new tapas place in the Aria hotel. Uchitel is wearing an orange cardigan and black leather pants, her thin legs balancing on top of high heels with some girlish platform to them. She’s picking at her tuna tartare but mainly she is out of cigarettes. She bums a few from the waiter and stands outside the place, a giraffe on stilts. She’s 35 years old, too old for being a VIP host anymore, she says.
“People say, ‘Oh, Rachel, she’s such a starfucker,’ that I hang out with only celebs. No. I hang out with successful people. I hang out with people who matter, and”—she says the next in the way an assistant might speak about a boss she deeply admires—“I’m honored to.”
A source in the business estimates that she made more than any other VIP host. “At my best,” Uchitel says, “I made $250,000 base, plus a guaranteed $250,000 from the tip pool.” Half a million a year, paid by a single club—probably Tao, though Uchitel will not confirm it. (She also says she has never been kept on retainer or paid by a client directly.) This does not include the extracurricular trips, on yachts in Saint-Tropez and to Monte Carlo. What she did on those trips, she says, was protect her clients and get them what they needed.
But she really hates the accusation that she set up sex for any of her clients. She is not a pimp or a madam, she says. “It’s not our job to get anybody laid.”
What the hosts do is more like placement. They are puzzle-doers, wielding a table chart and making sure the room looks good, depositing models beside Wall Street bankers in a Rubik’s Cube of dovetailing desire. They are also Realtors, selling tables, sometimes auctioning them off to the highest bidder. At the door, a host will procure a man’s credit card and his I.D. and quote him what the minimum will be at a certain table. Table minimums are usually around $1,500 at clubs in Manhattan, but a prime spot can go for as much as $30,000. And Uchitel has seen bills of $245,000 and higher for patrons who are buying huge Methuselahs of Champagne—the equivalent of eight standard bottles in one—or, in their schnockered magnanimity, have decided to treat other tables to rounds of Cristal.
In their BlackBerrys, VIP hosts lovingly store all of their clients’ birthdays, children’s names, sports teams, preferred vodkas. (Some of them also note which types of girls their clients like: loose brunettes, intelligent blondes, C-cups, real, and so on.) These are the things that make a good host. “And a good friend!” says Lynn Freeman, another former host whom Uchitel refers to as “the only other girl who knows her shit.”
It is a kind of friendship. The hosts are much closer to their clients than almost any other service provider in a wealthy person’s life. Money isn’t exchanged directly in most cases, so it can genuinely feel as though the host is taking care of you for no other reason than because she wants to. In return, she—or he; most hosts are actually men—is a part of the entourage, a trusted confidante.
“We’re not madams,” continues Freeman, because she’s sensitive about it too—the scandal has changed what people think of the position. But they do introduce the men to women they can have. “What we do is we bring a bunch of girls and guys together. If we worked at a bank and we brought a bunch of friends together for happy hour, and then two of them went home and had sex, nobody would think anything of it.”
Uchitel says the most she’ll do is go over to the bar and find a group of girls and say, “Hey girls, do you want to come and drink for free at this guy’s table?” When girls are brought to a client’s table, there is a twofold benefit for the club. First—and this part is called the honey trap—the girls consume alcohol so that the table will go through bottles faster; second, and more obvious, the girls keep the men entertained. Are the guys sometimes married? Uchitel answers, “None of our business. We are not there to judge. It’s not a synagogue.”
Steve Lewis, the former director of Life and current club designer and keeper of the nightlife beat for BlackBook, says this is half-true. They are not exactly pimps and madams, but the VIP hosts know which girls are loose and will place their clients with them. They know which girls will keep quiet. Lewis and others say that VIP hosts will often fly girls they know to events like Sundance for their clients. “Sure, there are girls in Utah,” says Lewis, “but not girls they can trust.”
To be a girl who is trusted, you need a track record of having slept with famous men and not talked about it. It’s an unwritten résumé. Talking about anything that goes on at the clubs is called “burning the athlete” or “burning the celebrity.” Privacy is prized invaluably in an age when the National Enquirer performs police-quality stakeouts and the video capabilities of cell phones have turned every banquette kiss into a YouTube trailer. It’s a wonder celebrities think they can get away with cheating, but if they do, it’s because of people like Uchitel. People who understand the value of future returns.
“You treat the celebs the way they want to be treated, you give them privacy and ensure no press, and then they’ll say later, ‘Yeah, I’ll have my after-party here,’ ” says Uchitel. “That’s why we’re so valuable.”
Uchitel won’t talk about Tiger Woods. Partly, it’s that omertà. But there are also rumors that she secured a deal from Woods’s camp. She announced a press conference in early December, as though she were going to tell all. Suddenly the press conference was canceled amid reports that Uchitel’s boldface attorney, Gloria Allred, was seen leaving Woods’s attorney’s offices. Allred’s own daughter, attorney Lisa Bloom, told The Early Show, “That can only mean one thing: As we say in the law, Mr. Green has arrived.” TMZ has reported that the amount is in the neighborhood of $10 million, to which Uchitel responds, “Clearly I have no comment.”
There is speculation that Uchitel must know truly devastating details to warrant that kind of agreement, though in texts and e-mails between Uchitel and Woods that have already emerged, the golfer sounds like a man having an affair with one woman, not fifteen: “I finally found someone I connect with, someone I have never found like this. Not even at home,” he allegedly wrote. “Fuck. Why didn’t we find each other years ago. We wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Uchitel has had previous relationships with famous men, Derek Jeter and David Boreanaz, according to friends and gossip that she will neither confirm nor deny. But people who know the score (as opposed to “scumbags who like to get close to the scandal,” as Uchitel describes the other set of talkers) say that the hosts don’t generally get involved with the clients. There are one-offs, yes, things happen, people develop crushes, they fall in love. But for the most part, women in Uchitel’s position don’t sleep with their clients. They don’t have to. There are plenty of willing girls. Younger girls and drunker girls.
In New York, the current clubs for the rich and famous and those who want to meet them are 1Oak, Avenue, Provocateur, and SL. Rose Bar and Boom Boom Room don’t do bottle service and are thus considered on the outskirts of its culture, though the latter, with its notoriously tough door policy, is the most exclusive late-night venue in town. Greenhouse, Juliet, Tenjune, and the rest are middle-of-the-road. Former hot spot Marquee is virtually off the radar for the cool crowd, having been all but replaced by its owners—Noah Tepperberg and former Uchitel beau Jason Strauss—with Avenue. Clubs have a short life span, and generally the owners of one that’s gone stale will open another instead of revamping the old, keeping the old one around to make money off the people who couldn’t get in when it was hot.
On a recent Thursday night around 2 a.m., 1Oak is packed. The tables, U-booths near the D.J., are spotted with candles and spired with bottles of Grey Goose. Under the jaundiced glow of the spotlights, there are hands on rears and girls in small dresses and men in shiny striped shirts. They have carefully chosen their clothes and they have spent time in front of mirrors trimming hair from nostrils and tonight is about sex and status and supply and demand and have and have not. After Jay-Z and Lady Gaga have had their third and fourth plays of the evening, thumping up from the floor comes the Kings of Leon, their song “Use Somebody.” The general-admission crowds dance, and the table crowds dance a little more woodenly, a little more entitledly, with their finger pads on their tables. The promoters are dancing with the models and the waitresses are dancing with the bottles and everybody finds a place on the floor.
The floor people, they are just to fill the place up. The celebrities and the athletes and the tycoons are the ones for whom this world is zealously designed. A rung below in after-work pinstripes are the money guys, the Deutsche guys and the Goldman guys and the no-name hedge-fund guys—the “whales”—guys like that one over there in a Boss suit and John Lobb shoes, standing beside the table that cost him $3,000. Standing very close to it, like a Little Leaguer who wants to steal second but has never done it before. This gentleman’s not dancing, but he’s thinking about it. Soon Beyoncé will call all the single ladies to action and they will channel toward him in a centripetal swoosh.
“I got invited to the Masters to host a radio show,” says Uchitel. “They offered me a house with a private chef.”
The women. Models at the top, near-models who have not made it yet—who have done a catalogue, maybe—are a step below, straight-haired and Louboutin-heeled, tanned and bored and exacting. These girls usually arrive with a promoter, someone hired by the club on a freelance basis to bring in a certain group of people. Indeed, nearly every job at a club is about bringing people in. There are hipster promoters who only bring in hipsters and model promoters who only bring in models, and some promoters daylight as male models. “There are mosquitoes, rats, gnats, leeches, agents, and then you have promoters,” says Steve Lewis. “A promoter is a glorified pimp. But then, everyone’s a pimp.” Some promoters don’t even refer to models as models. Lewis will often get texts that say, “I’ll be rolling deep with about a dozen hookers.”
Next in line are the cocktail waitresses—in the nightclub glossary, they are also called bottle waitresses, bottle girls—carrying Grey Goose and Cristal high above their heads. If you buy two or more bottles at once, they will sometimes deliver them with sparklers. So if you’re paying $2,400 for two $30 bottles of vodka, now the whole room will know. The models or near models will see the fireworks and float over, moths to green light. The bottle girls are so tired. You can tell when the sparklers light up their faces. Bottle waitresses don’t get excited for two bottles and a sparkler. Try ten bottles and a black AmEx.
Rachel Uchitel wants to make it very clear that she is not, nor was she ever, a bottle girl. “I don’t even know how to open a bottle.” These women are commodities, the type of girl who, in Uchitel’s opinion, might just as easily have wound up working in a strip club. “They know what they’re getting into,” she says. “They tell you up front, that they’re staffing model positions, like the shirtless guys outside of Abercrombie. And there are contracts about appearance.” No matter how beautiful, the bottle girls are told that there are thousands of girls waiting to replace them. They see them on the street. They see them in their clubs.
Kim is a 26-year-old brunette and a veteran of the bottle service. She’s served at a lot of Manhattan clubs, working her way up from third-tier places to the most exclusive ones. Kim is not her real name because she’s worried. Everybody knows bottle girls by first name and hair color. In a Nolita coffee shop by daylight, she’s got a gothic pallor to her. You can tell she’s the kind of girl who at night looks totally different.
“You’re a bottle waitress, and that means you’re half a stripper and half a pimp,” she says. “If you don’t book a client, you’re fired. Most places I worked, I had to sign a confidentiality agreement about celebrities. I have a friend who sold pictures of a celebrity. If anyone found out, she’d never work in this town again. Forget that. She’d never go out in this town again.”
Bottle girls, like VIP hosts, are expected to have client lists. Early in the evening, she will text her clients. I’m working tonight and my favorite D.J. is spinning. Come by! They come because she is pretty and she has flirted with them. Hey, baby. Hey, handsome. You lost weight. Sugar honey sexy baby handsome. They come because she’s someone whose backside they can palm, someone who will kiss them at 3 a.m. between tables.
One night, Kim had two clients come in. The owner of a major sports franchise and a Middle Eastern royal. “I couldn’t entertain them both myself, so I went and grabbed two models”—she makes a motion with both her hands as though she is plucking up two cats by the napes of their necks—“and I dropped them at the tables.”
At the tables, the bottle girls will up-sell their clients. They push Champagne because it goes faster than vodka, and they steer them away from the Veuve/Moët and toward the Krug/Cristal. Kim was making between $1,000 and $3,000 a night in tips.
“And that,” she says, “doesn’t include what’s going on behind the scenes.” She smiles, and it is not suggestive but matter-of-fact. “You’re making hooker money, right? So, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck …”
On her blog, SexDrugsandBottle Service.tumblr.com, Kim elucidates the difference between “bottle hooking” and real hooking: “Bottle Hookering … I’ve made upwards of $1,500 in a night, and I don’t have to sleep with any of my ‘clients.’ Though I do have to flirt with them, booty dance with them, call them, hang out with them, occasionally procure girls and ‘party favors’ for them, all while wearing teeny tiny outfits. So I suppose it’s a form of social prostitution.” Her counterpart, a college call girl whose blog Kim reads in her downtime, makes significantly less. “Her prices are $100 for a handy, $150 for a BJ, $200 for doin’ it,” she writes. “Mine are $400 for a bottle of Grey Goose, $300 for Veuve, $700 for Cristal.”
Kim became a bottle girl after she graduated from a very good college on the East Coast. “I figured: I’m cute, I’m young, I can make a shitload of money, so,” she says, holding up two middle fingers, “fuck it!” She had previously worked as a restaurant waitress, and she wasn’t naïve about the difference between that job and this one. “If you say you’re a bottle waitress, it’s better than saying you’re a stripper. But it’s the same thing as being a stripper,” she says. What she means by stripper is someone who is a touchable commodity. There is never money exchanged, but there are gifts the following week. Pairs of Louboutins, Louis Vuitton bags, trips. It’s not unusual for a bottle waitress to take two days off and fly to Vegas with a client. She won’t get fired for that, so long as when they return, the client will spend large at the club.
Just last week at Haze in Las Vegas, a whale left a $30,000 tip on top of the automatic 20 percent gratuity of his $182,000 bill. A girl can make up to $100,000 a year, working just three nights a week.
But it’s not just about the money, says Steve Lewis. “For most of them, it’s the thrill of calling their friends back home. Girls are getting into the hottest clubs in town, they are meeting celebrities. They call their girlfriends back home, ‘Oh my God! I was hanging out with So-and-so! He was so nice!’ ”
“At one point,” Kim says, “every single girl I knew was sleeping with a celebrity. It’s the access. Some of the girls definitely think, ‘He’s going to fly me to California and make me his wife!’ But then most of them are just like, ‘Guess who I just did in the bathroom?’ ”
But most of the men Kim would never be involved with in the real world. She had one client, a “fat dude from Long Island,” whose money and status came from being the close relative of a celebrity. “He thought I was his girlfriend, it was so gross. It was pathetic.” She never touched him, like that. At dinner, she would choose the wine—“Barolo, if we needed something full-bodied”—and that was as far as it went. “There was a courtesan, geisha feel to it,” says Kim. But he was valuable to her. She would have him pick her up from staff meetings, roll up in his car so she could show off her catch. The bigger the whale you reel, the better a bottle girl you are. The more you siphon from the whales, the more you mean to the club.
For Kim, the job eventually lost its glow. One night, she was taken off her shift as punishment for not selling enough bottles. The girls are expected to be sociable on their nights off, so she came to the club anyway as a patron with a big client in tow. When his friends left, the client began to grope her. They were kissing and she hated every second and she was being mashed into the couch and when she looked up at one point she saw her manager, watching them. Smiling like he’d forgiven her, he said, “I’m going to leave you kids alone.”
“I felt pimped,” she says.
Another time, at another club, Kim slapped a whale who reached his hand up her skirt and she got fired. Now she works behind a bar. She makes a lot less money. But nobody is touching her. “There’s a whole bar between me and the men now,” she says, and she draws the width with her hands.
“Now girls come out expecting to find Tiger Woods,” says Andrew Parker. It’s a Thursday night, and we are at CV Lounge on the Lower East Side, which is not one of the big-name exclusive venues but has a certain cachet—Jay-Z and Diddy have stopped in to check out the private couple’s room. Parker is a 40-year-old dandy, dressed in a self-designed suit and an ebullient pocket square and tinted glasses. He used to own a clothing store on the Upper East Side, but mostly he is known for being at parties, a launch for a small-batch bourbon, the premiere of a Ugandan film.
“Now girls come out expecting to find Tiger Woods. The odds of even meeting an investment banker who will really take care of you are slim.”
There is a new breed of girls coming to the clubs, he is saying, wanting to hunt the big game like Tiger. But it’s harder now than ever, because the inverse is also true. Men have been warned by what happened to Woods. They are more cautious when they meet a girl. They don’t give last names or occupations.
“The odds of even meeting an investment banker who will really take care of you are slim,” says Parker.
Girls are more likely to run into guys like Parker. He “hosts tables,” which means he is a sometime promoter, and the club will give him a table and a few free bottles with the understanding that he will bring in some pretty girls. He dresses like he has money, he goes out like he has money. But he doesn’t really have the kind of money they’re looking for.
“I’ve had at least a dozen girls over the past year not call me back because I don’t have as much money as they thought I did.” His good suit shrugs. “I slept with them. I wasn’t planning on marrying them anyway.”
If you’re looking for whales, you go out on Thursday night. Bankers go to Avenue and 1Oak on Thursdays. Mainly, these guys just want a girl for a night. Possibly a long weekend in Vegas or Miami. To meet these guys, a pretty girl just needs to hang around their table or wait for a VIP host or a bottle waitress to pluck her from the bar and say, Come on over and drink at this booth. The girls who are more experienced at this game will already be at a table with other men. Possibly, they will be looking to trade up, from traders to hedge funds or from hedge funds to celebrities.
Speaking of girls looking to trade up, here at the table with Parker are two quotidian examples whom we’ll call Kelly and Rebecca. Both 24, they aren’t models and they aren’t beautiful but they’re young enough and pretty enough. Rebecca is quiet but smiling. Kelly says she’s “a freelance banker.” They get to the bottom of their drinks quickly and often.
Kelly is wearing an eighties-style dress, all geometric shapes and latitudinous shoulders. She is hooking up with a 20-year-old male model but he’s not here tonight and she’s got her eye out for something else. Girls like her are either dating older men with money or young and good-looking ones without. There is a stupendous symmetry to this. The rich old men want to be young and good-looking and the young ones want to be rich, but both are sleeping with the same girl.
Now Kelly gets up, first her shoulders and then the rest of her. “Where are you going?” says Parker. She mutters something unintelligible. She’s wasted. Parker smirks and says, “She’s trading up.” Later, Parker will see her leaving The Box, being escorted out of The Box, rather, by security. She will be crying and angry and her dress will look like it needs a rest.
Also at CV that night is Parker’s friend Ricardo Garcia, a former hedge-fund guy turned PR guy and a promoter on the side. For him, it’s less a way to make money than it is a sweet gig with benefits.
Garcia says everyone is aware of how it works. “American girls, I take them out to a nice restaurant,” he says, “to the cool clubs, and they’re satisfied with that. That’s what they get out of it. American girls are looking at the kind of wine you order. But Russian girls, they’re after the serious shit. They want the Mercedes. Out at dinner, they’re plotting ahead. They’re calculating. They’re professional.”
Most of the foreign girls come from “bootleg” modeling agencies. Places nobody has heard of, or maybe a friend has taken some shots of them in their Brighton Beach one-bedroom. Fembot-pink bras and crappy lighting. “Money-hungry Russian girls go to the Boom Boom Room looking for serious bank,” says Garcia. “They say they’re students or models, but you ask them what agency and they say, ‘Oh, I don’t like talking about that.’ American girls are not as obvious. They pinpoint banker guys, they’re looking more for marriage or boyfriends. Maybe Italian girls and German girls will go to Cipriani Downtown.”
“Oh, Cipriani is a fucking haven,” says another guy at the table. “It’s the No. 1 spot in Manhattan for hookers and half-hookers.” The difference between hookers and half-hookers is that the former will ask for money straight away, and the latter will ask for gifts. They follow the money as the money follows the seasons along the worldwide circuit of bottle service. St. Barts in December, Miami in March, Las Vegas in May. In New York, half-hookers hang out at steak places like Del Frisco’s. Or the Friday-night parties at Le Cirque.
These kinds of girls, this is how you spot them. Garcia says, “You have to look at the discrepancy between her income and her lifestyle. These girls are going to St. Barts in May, Gstaad in winter. Their rent is three grand a month, and they don’t have a roommate. Dresses cost them $1,000, $2,000.” VIP hosts and bottle girls are half-pimps to these half-hookers, using them to keep their clients satiated. While some bottle girls will sleep with patrons, for the most part their interactions are limited to the confines of the club. Party girls are more like freelancers, and sex is their currency.
The exchange happens like this. A girl will say to a guy she has not slept with yet, but perhaps they have kissed or she’s let him touch her, “I’m short on my rent” or “There’s this dress I really want.” After sleeping with him a few times, she might say, “I need a tan. I should go to Miami.” The beauty is in the subtle gaucheness.
“There is no nightly prostitution” for the half-hookers, says Garcia. “It’s a weekly thing, or a monthly thing. And when both sides have gotten what they want, they move on.” Unlike with true escorts and some bottle girls, these party girls won’t admit what they’re doing. This is because most of them can’t admit it to themselves. Some girls are looking for husbands. Rich ones, but yes, they are looking to settle down. Garcia takes out his phone and shuffles to a picture of a gorgeous Swedish blonde. He says she was getting too expensive, asking for rent money. “I had to send her home.” Andrew Parker’s friend had to pay a girl to leave. She was squatting at his apartment, they weren’t even having sex anymore. “She wanted twenty grand,” he says. “They settled on ten.”
In the post-Woods era, girls will be looking for more—perhaps even the ultimate cash-in, to become $10 million babies.
Rachel Uchitel had to quit nightlife because of the fallout from the Woods scandal. In nightclubs, she has become the very embodiment of what happens when you break the code of quiet. In VIP concierge parlance, she is less an alleged mistress than a cautionary tale: Don’t pull a Rachel Uchitel. Friends have betrayed her, for money or for the thrill of being close to the muck. “None of those people know me,” she says. “They just want to pretend they know what the fuck they’re talking about.”
But she admits that the fame she has acquired can be parlayed. She has been offered partial ownership in a club on the East Coast, as well as numerous other gigs. “A couple of days ago, I got invited to the Masters to host a radio show, which obviously I said no to,” she says, “but it sounded cool. They offered me a house with a private chef.”
At celebrity blogger Perez Hilton’s birthday party, Rachel Uchitel walked the red carpet. “It was pandemonium,” she says, laughing. She wore an off-the-shoulder black dress and Prada snakeskin heels. People were screaming her name, cameras were trying to get her attention this time by saying how beautiful she was. “I was like a deer in headlights, but then I totally got into it and I started posing.” Katy Perry rode in on an elephant, and hot-pantsed men were dancing. Uchitel spoke to Hilton, who had written nasty things about her. “I realized he was doing his job, and it was his job to say scandalous things. So when we saw each other, it was like ‘Oh my God, hi!’ We didn’t even discuss it.”
Uchitel is reaching the point at which the scandal evaporates and all that is left is the camera and the interest and a condensed feeling of fame. “Nobody asked me about him,” she says. “It was great.”
Many of Woods’s alleged mistresses have tried to cash in on their notoriety in one way or another. Though perhaps it is not so much cashing in as it is figuring out a way to move forward after you’ve become famous for something that isn’t what you thought you’d become famous for.
But there is one other person who sees awesome opportunity in the world that Tiger Woods exposed. Jason Itzler, the former founder of high-profile escort agency New York Confidential and inventor of the so-called girlfriend experience (GFE), thinks there is an untapped potential in the half-hooking that goes on in nightclubs.
“That’s where trends in prostitution are headed,” he says. “Guys go crazy for the GFE shit.” He’s envisioning bottle waitresses becoming close with the clients the way they do now. But instead of doing what the bottle girls do sporadically and for an unspecific payback, Itzler’s girls would have sex (or perhaps just president-and-intern sex) and get paid. Full hookers, but in a social environment, with less stigma attached.
“VIP areas in clubs expose the most disposable income in the country,” Itzler says. “The potential for making money is through the roof.” He laughs and begins considering partners, locations, and outfits.
“I would call it,” he says dreamily, “the Tiger Club.”