Lost in Manhattan: Enter Olivia

, by Zoë Gulliksen


Meg asked her former college roommate, Olivia, if she would be interested in my blogging project. I would have asked her myself but I am admittedly scared of Olivia because she is strikingly gorgeous, a Republican, and petite. Towering over most females I encounter at 5’7’’ since the age of 12, I have always found women shorter than me to be scary. Short women are closer to the ground and thus have the higher ground (no pun intended) and could push me over if they so pleased. Anyway, Olivia was 5’4’’ with long dyed black hair and had agreed to meet with me.


She invited me over on a Monday early afternoon to her place in Murray Hill. I grabbed my voice recorder & notebook as any good journalist would do and took the subway down there. Olivia lived on the 17th floor in a one-bedroom apartment with the most spectacular view of the Chrysler Building. I was dripping with New York real estate envy.

The place smelled of cookies and cigarette smoke. Olivia was dressed in a green maxi dress with her long hair in a high ponytail. When I sat down she offered a plate of cookies, something she apparently baked on days when she was feeling “domestic”. I realized this was the first time I had encountered Olivia in the light of day as well as the first time she wasn't intoxicated.

Over delicious (organic) sugar cookies and glasses of soymilk, Olivia offered up some of her background: She was from Boston and had majored in Art History at Columbia where she roomed with Meg their sophomore year. In the summer before her junior year Olivia was working at Hooters over on 56th and 8th avenue, which is where she first met a man we'll call “Doc Holiday”. He was a surgeon from Atlanta who often traveled for specific operations in Manhattan.

Holiday was married to a woman ten years his elder, which made her about 55, as far as Olivia could guess. This wife was from old family money and had affairs with male models in their twenties, which left Holiday to as many women as he pleased. Over a late night of boneless wings and cheesy fries, Holiday fell for Olivia’s charm but mostly for how “perky” her butt looked in the orange shorts.  They soon began going out every time he was in town, but he loathed how they only interacted in hotel rooms.

In short, Holiday bought Olivia her Murray Hill one bedroom apartment to live in as long as she a.) kept it clean and b.) cleared her schedule when he was in town. I mentioned my comparison of her to Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’ and she laughed. She said Holiday wasn’t exactly prince charming, but he gave her a place to live and that was enough.

Olivia explained in a matter of fact and aloof air that she also has other wealthy boyfriends in town that “help her out” though she doesn’t consider herself to be a hooker. She has never had sex directly for money, but has made sure to surround herself with men who would take care of her. She would also never do porn because her “dad would most likely see it”.

I then asked if she knew other girls who had lifestyles like hers. Olivia said she had met other girls who accompanied Holiday’s friends to dinner parties, but she didn’t know if they were hookers or just lucky like her. When asked what she did with her free time she, with a wave of her hand, showed off the extensive art pieces that adorned her apartment. Olivia loved art, and invested her money wisely in buying and selling pieces she could afford.

“Would you open up an art gallery?”
“Not really. I’d actually like to open up a bakery some day.”

Olivia then asked me why I wanted to write about other people. I gave a long-winded explanation on how I wanted to write about life in New York City and what this certain group of people thought about the world but I didn’t want to write about just myself because I was tired of me and blah blah blah.

“So you’re like Harriet the Spy, but not trying to hide your spying.”
“Well, uh- I guess.”
“That’s cool, I liked that movie as a kid.”
“So you don’t mind if I use you for my project?”
“Go for it, Spygirl.”

And with that I’ve convinced 3 acquaintances into letting me write about their intricate and utmost personal lives for the Internet to see. Maybe this is what Ryan Seacrest felt like when he started the Kardashian show. However, I guess Parker would actually be the one most likely to have a sex tape…







Previously on "Lost in Manhattan":
1.) Gelato & an Idea
2.) Dirty Underwear & the Tardis