#StartUp: My night with @ManservantsCO & almost kicked off the #SummitSeries cruise
Song that goes with the post:
Recently I had heard of this new(ish) start up called Manservants. It is (as one would expect) a service providing a chivalrous man on-demand.
The second I saw it, I not only got it - but completely freaked out. I tweeted about it, and wrote an article on this site (promoting it in social). Well, the founders read it, and invited me to their media launch party that was coincidentally that night.
I posted on Facebook about it, and (to my not-so-total-surprise) my single girlfriends in LA were totally game. Within an hour I had a list of 6+. Adding for the "LA flake" variable, I replied back to the RSVP with a plus 5. One of the gentlemen, Bartholomew, then messaged back indicating that it was a quiet soiree with less than 40 people.
Even better, I thought!! I sent a text to my new roll-dog Carolyn asking if she wanted to come to a ManServant party.
<tangent> I was introduced to Carolyn through our mutual entertainment attorney. She has a show on the Reelz Network. "She's where you were back when you launched Talk Nerdy," he said one day over the phone. "I think you can help her, and I'm kind of scared to unleash the two of you together in Los Angeles." True to my word, we not only met but totally hit it off. She's crazy and I love it. </tangent>
She sends me this video:
UHHH, I did a video on that a year ago, read the text.
I laughed saying, figures. Like energy is always attracting!
She wasn't feeling the greatest, so by staying quiet I watched her text back and forth (to herself) the I can't ... no I must ... I can't ... no I must. Was pretty hilarious.
Dude, manservants, I texted back. My brain cannot even process how much fun this party is going to be!!
I'm in, she texted back.
<tangent> I never have a problem going to a party alone, btw. It forces me to talk to people. Like any nerd, we're always in our heads and tripping over our own toes. People don't see it, but it's this epic war raged internally wondering where the exit is? Is there is something in my teeth? Is my hair flat? Going alone forces me out of my shell, which is a good thing. </tangent>
Outfit time, I thought staring into my closet. I pulled out an LBD, and my sky high stilettos.
Damn, I thought looking in the mirror.
The Manservant dress code is a tuxedo, so there was something amazing about getting dressed to the nines knowing that our men would reciprocate.
Carolyn and I grabbed a LYFT over to the event, and when we arrived men were standing in the window with parasol umbrellas.
OH HELL YES, we shouted from the backseat.
Seeing that space was so limited, we arrived early. (There was NO way I was going to miss this, clearly.)
When we walked through the door we were immediately greeted by a barrage of the most attractive men I have ever seen with parasols and fans.
I did what any normal girl would do in that scenario (THERE IS NOTHING NORMAL ABOUT THIS) - I loudly whispered to Carolyn ... bar bar bar. Need bar.
We walk over to the back area, and the trend continued.
What would you like, asked the server/ servant?
Incapable of speaking, I pointed to the champagne special they were offering.
Sex being off the table created a shift in power that I did not expect. These gentlemen were truly there to serve.
How long have you been doing this, I asked the manservant to my left known as Logan. (They all have fake names, btw.) My whole life, he said with a smile that slayed.
Quickly realizing that my journalistic side was going to have to rest, I decided to go with it.
More manservants joined the group moments later.
(YOU'RE KILLING ME SMALLS!!)
You ladies are stealing the show, said one servant.
I proceeded to giggle like a school girl. Literally, a fucking school girl.
There aren't a lot of people here, I reminded him.
I don't think we need anymore, piped another servant.
Would you like a seat, asked one of the gentlemen offering his knee?
I had zero problem obliging.
Funny, I spent all of my 20s waiting for a guy to drop to his knee ... 30 is lookin' damn good!
Bee tee dubs, he is actually fanning me in this photo. I couldn't stop blushing.
Carolyn and I continued to chat, realizing that conversation with the guys wasn't going to go very far.
I then thought of this experience in terms of business.
I am the prime demographic for this service, I thought. I’m 30, successful, and not interested in dating anyone right now. I know what I want, and I am absolutely going to get it. For $125 p/h have some eye candy? Men do it, why the hell not us?
<tangent> I totally get btw why the “Peter Pans” of the world love 20 something women -they are impressed by shiny things. At 30 you really don’t give a fuck and have a bullshit meter that ranks off the charts. Never again. Oh how the tides have turned!! </tangent>
I love the overall branding for the startup & their packages are super clever. They announced the “holiday packages” (cough cough) at the event which included a manservant to serve you wine at wine parties, a smokin hot servant to piss off your ex and pose for plenty of photos, and someone (my personal favorite) to bring home to the family. I think $125 p/h is an extremely reasonable price point. I am 100% on board with this idea!!
I wish I had come, texted my OG LA friend Rosanne on Instagram. Let’s grab drinks this week, I said back.
Happy Hour? Beverly Hills? she texted.
Is this what we have come to, I thought. We used to troll Hollywood, now we’re moving up in the world! (Little did I know it was because she lived in Playa Vista which is basically no-man’s land if you live anywhere east of the 405. (They had a big resurgence recently due to the Silicon Beach scene.)
<tangent> I met my OG LA friends because of the Playboy Mansion and The Price is Right. I was on the shuttle by myself (my friend got her fake ID taken and was denied entry), and heard these two girls (Meghan and Chelsie) talking about their day yesterday trying to get on the show.
I was on TPIR I piped up. Bob Barker furnished my first apartment in Los Angeles.
No way, you made it on?
Yep, I said back. And won. I made it all the way to the showcase showdown.
We all became a “little family” with people coming and going along the way. Having not gone to college, or really had friends in my whole life those relationships meant a lot to me. Chelsie and Meghan (and Chelsie’s roomie girl Alex) really helped me through rough times during the cockroach infestation. Poor Chelsie had to actually see my apartment (as I wound up suing my landlord and I needed a witness). I stayed on her couch for a couple of months, and wound up moving into their building. (SUCKED losing everything I owned - big. big. time. Having such great friends lessened the blow.) That was the one that caught fire so we spent that Orphan Thanksgiving playing with the wind machines and posting photos on Myspace. I don’t have the best of luck with dwellings, clearly. </tangent>
Way to go and get all famous Rosanne said giving me a hug.
God, it’s so good to see you, I say exhaling. (Nothing more powerful than a hug from an old friend.) We’re all so proud of you.
Thanks, I said with a smile. I can’t imagine how weird it must have been for all of my friends (whom I didn’t really speak to while going on my little Talk Nerdy adventure).
Not that any of us were surprised. How was the Manservant event? she asked.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I didn’t expect there to be this shift in a power dynamic. I was this giggling school girl - it made me want to be a domme again, I admitted.
<tangent> I still get applications weekly for slaves. Hands down still the most popular posts from Talk Nerdy were the DIY domme.
My friend whom was/is in the scene, is a switch (meaning both a sub and domme) so I went to him first to get a “low down.” I have to have a first hand experience when I am talking about something. I solely take calculated risks.
You’re really sadistic he said as I applied pressure to his neck with my foot. Are you sure this is your first time? (I take sweet pleasure in typing that word. s-a-d-i-s-t-i-c.)
Yep, I admitted. You’re a natural.
Guys have always said that, I said.
Slave ownership is a shocking amount of work. You can’t have them “top you” (meaning the sub becomes the domme. It’s constantly a mind fuck, and not sexual. It’s all about a power exchange. These men in the outside world are extremely successful, in their 30s, and need a release where they don’t have to think. I get it, for me, my release is spin class. Writers in general are natural introverts, so unless I am physically FORCED out of my apartment, I won’t want to go. (Especially the older that I get. Does masturbatory Netflix and chill count? The more that I learned about people the more patterns that I started to spot and then I become bored AND I fucking hate crowds.)
I am an extremely open minded person (which has served me well in business ... I hear the secrets of the internets).
Women have so much power in their sexuality. We forget about it living in a patriarchal society. There’s not a snowballs chance in hell I am sleeping with anyone right now. I am freakishly focused on my goals, and I’ve worked WAY too hard to get here. “Where-ever this theoretical ‘here’ is.”
Anywho, back to Roseanne …</tangent>
We had a great time catching up on years and years of here and theres - a lot of my LA girlfriends are getting married and settling down. It’s so strange being back and having zero desire to meet new people.
There happened to be these two gentlemen that sat down next to us. One in a suit, and one in a trucker hat and plaid. I am a TOTAL sucker for trucker hats and plaid.
That looks like an agent and talent, said Roseanne. I laughed realizing how “hard” they were trying.
About an hour into us sitting there, they finally started talking. The second he opened his mouth I realized what a mistake this has been. I am at the stage in my life where I don't want to pretend to care about meeting a perfect stranger whose sole goal in life is to get back to the place he spent 9 months trying to get out of.
We then peaced in the middle east and I grabbed an Uber back.
This is where things get really fun ...
A few days later I left LA to head to Miami for the Summit Series cruise.
I've been friends with the boys from Summit for ... 4 years? I first heard about them when they had their house in Malibu and hosted brunches. Everyone there had these really intense eyes are were FIERCELY passionate.
I have found my people, I thought to myself after their first event.
I had heard about the Summit cruise earlier in the summer (and received an invite), but wasn't sure if I 1) could afford it, or 2) I could physically go (with my insanely packed current workload).
It wasn't until a week or so ago that I remembered a colleague had a ticket, and I asked if it was still available. Fortunately, knowing the founders, the ticket got swapped out & all was good in the hood.
You have a suite, asked my friend OG digital LA friend Heather?
Yeah, you want to room with me? I spent years sleeping in cars, couches, and floors - I sincerely do not need a whole room to myself.
DONE! she said excited.
I got there early (overachiever line one), and started wandering the ship. 10 minutes into my tour I bump into a girl named Sasha from Boston.
There is only one Sasha, I thought ...
We then talked about where we were from and what our passions were. (I prefer to ask that vs. the typical "what do you do?")
Feels less douchey.
I'll be in LA next week for Thanksgiving. Do you want to come to the Malibu Wine Safari with me?
I stare back at her shocked ...
You can meet the giraffe from Hangover 3, she continued.
HE DIDN'T DIE?!?! I said clearly way too excited to be alive.
Done! I am so in!!
We then swapped info as we both had people we needed to meet up with.
You have no idea how excited I am with this new friendship, I said with a hug.
Not too shabby, I thought walking away.
The Summit Community has grown from a handful to now thousands. I was not super pumped about being on such a big ship with so many damn people.
I then met up with Heather and a handful of other friends that I had recently met. That's the whole purpose of Summit is to go up and talk to people. Everyone is SUPER friendly and looking to meet other "like minded" people. Dude, I was PUMPED to see Edward Snowden speak.
The speakers roster was a whose who of tech, music, and life. From Martha Stewart, to Chris Sacca, John Legend, to Stephen Jenkins (Third Eye Blind) - it was an eclectic bunch to say the least.
He's going to be flown in on a helicopter, declared one entrepreneur referencing Snowden.
What actually ended up happening was a google chat from Moscow. Still pretty damn cool to see the most wanted man in the world in the digital flesh ...
I am not a session person - I am a wanderer. Being on the Delta charter on the way out meant that I got an epic pair of new headphones from LSTN ...
Despite the expression on my face, I was actually having fun.
That was how I created boundaries around me and other people while I was couch surfing. I put the hood up in my hoodie and focused on writing and working - which is not easy to do in the beginning.
Anywho, the night rock and rolled on and somewhere around "this is normally my bed time," I snuck away from hanging with my friends and sat at the bar alone people watching.
I was severely, severely disappointed when I saw one woman physically shouting at the bartenders. I actually stood up and held my hand out telling her she needed to calm down. We were all waiting and needed to be patient. These people are KILLING themselves trying to serve this crew.
Then, another guy sat up on the bar stool doing the same thing. I stared in complete shock for nearly an hour watching over and over these entitled assholes be RAGING DICKS to these poor servers.
SIT DOWN, I shouted. Get it together, it's just a drink.
It didn't stop unfortunately, and that hurt my heart for this community that I respect so much.
"We're going to change the world" has now become "we know we're better than everyone else, so give me give me give me because I'm better than you."
Seriously, are any of us really changing much of anything? I'm a chick with a blog who got really fucking lucky. My contribution to society is being brutally honest, and following my own moral compass.
Heather then walked over and said she couldn't believe the look on my face.
I CAN'T BELIEVE WHAT I AM SEEING, I say back genuinely shocked. Were these people raised in a barn?!?!?
It seems we weren't alone in being shocked at the behavior of our peers.
I asked the crew the next morning, and well, most of the next day what their experience was like with this group.
"We have never had anyone like you," replied one bartender trying to be extremely diplomatic.
I apologize on behalf of the people here. I'd like to say they "know better" but frankly I don't think they care. I'm REALLY sad to say that I'm embarrassed to be here.
Knowing that people were going to continue to piss me off, I kept wandering with my headphones on around the event. I've been completely off the grid for almost 3 years so it was AWESOME getting to re-connect with some people and hear about their new projects - but the bullshit I not only didn't have the mental capacity for, but I was running REALLY short on patience.
I made a decision in that moment to put all of my anger on a shelf, and continue to find "good" people.
So, I did. (Like energy attracts!)
The second night, we met up with a group for dinner and Heather had to grab something back at the room. Dinners are awesome at Summit because people are mildly on their best behavior.
And I was excited to see the Winklevi ...
Bee tee dubs, why are the douchiest people involved in BitCoin? Am not a fan. At all.
After dinner, we ran back to the room for Heather, and I walked out onto my balcony. There were four of us at the time, and one of the gals we had just met decided to climb over the balcony onto this canopy of sorts (1o feet or more away from the ledge).
Heather starts yelling for her to come back over, as I hear a knock on the door.
Four scary looking security guards begin asking who was on the roof.
I accept responsibility for the actions in this room, I say. It's under my name.
Were you on the roof? he asked.
No sir, but what happens here is my responsibility and am very sorry.
My new friend then admitted it was in fact her on the roof. We need to see your badges, said security (whom I thought considering the situation was actually very polite).
We then went about our night like totes no big dee. Obvi, lesson learned, but whatever.
I got back sometime way past my bedtime and the next morning got up to take a shower.
You have a voicemail, said Heather.
I never check voicemails, I said laughing.
Maybe it could be someone trying to meet up with us, she said.
I then select the voicemail box, and it is a call directly from the captain.
A message for Jennifer Friel, my name is David and I am head of security on the ship. I have a message from the captain that you will be ejected from the ship when we land in the Bahamas. Please see us immediately and we will help coordinate your flight.
I turn around to Heather and start laughing.
They're kicking me off. I can't believe it.
I'm going too, said Heather.
Wow, I can't believe this. Let me think.
My friend has a hotel in the Bahamas, although I have absolutely no idea where we even are in relation to it. And worst case scenario, being from the Keys, I'm sure if that's not available I can find someone with an empty home. If this was going to happen anywhere, I know we are fine. I just have to find a way to talk my way out of it.
I then put on my clothes, which included a fantastically amazing cat shirt from H&M.
If I get kicked off this boat, it is going to be done in my cat shirt, I said laughing. I am going to figure this out - don't know how, but I just have to stay calm and logical.
We walked down to guest services where I was escorted to a little back room behind the desk.
You're Jennifer Friel, said one of the workers half relieved half where the hell have you been?!
Yes sir, I said obediently and respectfully.
As he continues walking us down the hall, I see a buddy of mine Jaspar.
Dude, I'm getting kicked off the boat, I said laughing. I can't believe how amazing this story is going to be.
You coming? asked the gentleman.
Yes sir, I said with a smile.
We then get to the back, and see the girl who did actually go over the balcony.
I am so sorry she says holding back tears. I've been here since 10 am (it was now around 1) and they won't budge. They said captains orders, and they have us both on tape.
That's funny, I thought because I wasn't actually on the roof.
Can I see the tape, said the corporate lawyer's daughter?
We have to wake up the captain to do so, said one of the security representatives.
Jen is a really honest person, said Heather.
We also heard you were very disobident and rude to the responding officers.
Now that pissed me off. EXCUSE ME, I said raising my voice.
We were extremely extremely respectful. I would never intentionally be rude to anyone, I said touching my heart.
You admitted to me on the phone this morning you were on the roof, said another representative.
WHAT?!?! I actually shouted back. I'm a writer and a lawyer's daughter. I am acutely aware of what I said. (I actually played dumb in the beginning, but decided to accept responsibility as the room owner.)
SHE NEVER SAID THAT, shouted Heather.
I would like to talk to the captain, I said after I calmed down. One person was on the roof. Only one. I would like to speak to the captain, please. If you do have this footage, I would ABSOLUTELY love to see two people on that rooftop.
Wait here please.
About 10 minutes later the guy who called me initially stopped by.
If we can review the footage and you weren't there, you can stay. Do you have anything you want to tell me before I look at the footage.
I looked him dead in the eye and said absolutely not sir. I did nothing wrong - I just wasn't going to throw my friend under the bus.
She gave me the biggest hug as she was escorted out.
I am so so so sorry.
Girl, I said hugging her. You have a friend for life. Please reach out.
She was holding back tears at this point, and I felt so bad.
You're going to write about this aren't you?
Hell yes! I said. This is an INCREDIBLE right of passage in my eyes. We're the craziest of the crazies!! Do you know how HAPPY this makes me?!!
Handful of hours of an inconvenience, certainly, but because of all my travels I know people everywhere.
This is why they're turning your life into a TV show, said Heather laughing. I totally get it now. This just happens to you on a regular basis, huh?
All day every day, I said with a smile. I think of it as job security.
Sometime later the security guy came back and told me that I was in fact right, and he apologized for the inconvenience.
Smiling, I confirm that I can stay right?
Get out of here. Don't let me see you again.
No sir, I said with an extra pep in my step.
Holy shit, I need a drink as I caught my breath.
I just hope there aren't anymore douchebags at the bar. Now is not the time to mess with me.
That's the thing in situations like this, all you have to do is stay calm and be respectful. The calmer I can stay the more logical I become. The "end of the world" is never the actual "end of the world." You figure it out! And through that develop this freakish confidence.
My poor new friend did get left in Nassau, and I have to admit it was strangely a highlight of the trip. I never thought I'd be disappointed to not be stranded in the Bahamas.
There are people that try, and there are people that do. My name is Jen Friel and I am a do-er.
I just might not always know what I am doing, but I am certainly trying ...
Thanks for reading!!