Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

When Socialites Write Books

The word "manny," like the words "manorexic," "mandals," and "man-pris," is one of those rare terms that can actually produce an adverse physical reaction in people: just hearing the first few letters of the man-fix manattched to those manwords is enough to cause your shoulders to hunch and bile to pool at the back of your throat. Therefore, use of these words is practically verbal assault. But as an article in yesterday's New York Times proved, there are far, far worse things than casually using the word "manny" in conversation–like, say, writing a shallow, fictionalized account of your Upper East Side neighbors and calling it The Manny:

"The Manny" started as an article that [Holly] Peterson wrote for The New York Times in 2002. It chronicled the popularity of male nannies among an Upper East Side set eager to expose their sons to the sort of informal knowledge about sports and girls that nannies and workaholic fathers were not delivering…

Ms. Peterson is willing to embarrass her class of mothers for a multitude of overconsumptive sins, such as alluding to ownership of a private plane by ostentatiously using the phrase "It's wheels up at 3 p.m.," and dressing their sons in lederhosen to mimic the famous image of John-John Kennedy in suspenders at the White House.

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Oooh, so it's like The Nanny Diaries, but with an "M" in front of it, and infinitely more annoying? Sounds completely necessary! And not only is it a horrible, aggressively unfunny novel, it's also a horrible, aggressively unfunny YouTube video:

The apartment was being used as a set for the video to promote Ms. Peterson's book, "The Manny," whose publisher hopes it will be this summer's version of "The Devil Wears Prada," a catty peek into a privileged world. Both novel and video are about a handsome male nanny who has an affair with a frustrated Upper East Side television producer…

The finished video features a steamy rap song with oodles of socialite cameos. The actress Karen Duffy stars as the manny-hiring and -bedding wife, complaining in rhyme that none of her help can school her son Dylan properly: "Got a driver from Jamaica, a tailor from Hong Kong, got a super from 'Rica, a maid named Wong," she raps…

"I knew they were game girls," Ms. Peterson said. "I wasn't asking the traditional waspy preppy types. You have to be a hambone to do this – I am one and I recognize one."

I guess hambones are the new assholes. Predictably, though, truth is stranger than fiction. Or at least the true-life "mannies" and moms are much dumber than their fictional counterparts:

Ms. Peterson introduced her real-life manny, whose name is John Margaritis but who goes by Sunshine. She had met him when he taught her children to surf last summer in Southampton.

"He's a manny and a personal assistant and soon to be a clothing mogul," Ms. Peterson said to Ms. Radziwill. "We've never had an affair," she added. Ms. Peterson said she is helping Sunshine, 20, start his own line of T-shirts.

"He's going to be in Vogue, and we're trying for Hamptons magazine," she said.

"Really?" Ms. Radziwill said. "What are the T-shirts going to say on them?"

"Sunshine," said Sunshine. "With an umbrella. It's sick. You'll love it."

Ew, that is sick.

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