Who doesn’t want to be Gossip Girl‘s Blair Waldorf? She’s fashionable, smart, clever, confident, knows a lot of interesting people, and doesn’t suffer fools. Cool life! Coincidentally, Blair’s life and mine already overlap nicely. We both attended all-girls private schools, were debutantes, and attended both Columbia University and NYU as undergrads.
So, I decided to try La Vida Blair for a week to find out if it was as fabulous as I thought. Read on to find out what literally living like the character for one week in New York did for me—and how much it cost me, too.
This challenge started on a Tuesday because a) Blair can take a three-day weekend whenever she goddamn wants and b) on Monday I forgot.
You may remember that, while at Columbia, Blair got (then lost, then returned to, then was promoted from, then quit) an internship at W magazine, where she mostly planned parties. Since the magazine is in the same building as Glamour, I popped upstairs to see if I could be of any service or maybe just chat with an intern, but … there are no interns anymore. And the W employees had everything under control, so my help was not necessary.
While at W, Blair also sparred with her enemy/lover Dan Humphrey, the scruffy Brooklynite writer who shared her love of classic, foreign cinema. So, Tuesday night I went with a guy friend who lives in Brooklyn and looks a bit like Dan to a screening of Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women at MoMA. (It’s great! Go see it!) Not exactly Nanette at Film Forum like “Dair” used to do, but close?
I was invited to lunch by a girl who works at a rival publication, so I armed myself with freebies (a trick I learned from Jenny when she gave purses to her minions to get them to like her because she doesn’t have charisma) and prepared to manipulate her into telling me trade secrets. But then she cancelled, so I killed time by (window) shopping at the fanciest stores in Brookfield Place and brainstorming ways to fucking destroy her, as Blair did with academic rival Nelly Yuki, evil psycho Georgina Sparks, and wannabe Vanessa Abrams. Maybe cancelling a lunch date isn’t a huge deal, but Blair has exacted revenge over way less (see: pettiness against Vanessa for, what, being poor?).
After consuming my nutritious Blair-inspired lunch, I had just enough energy to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s, one of Waldorf’s favorites and the inspiration for multiple dream montages in the show. Halfway through the movie I needed a green tea, so I ordered a minion to fetch one for me and she said she was busy. The gall.
I made a list of everyone who slighted me over the course of the day and reported all of their Twitter accounts for harassment because I am bad at thinking up ways to get revenge on people. Also, I am lazy. This story will be updated if any of their accounts are suspended.
After a slow start to the day, I was blessed by Gossip Girl herself when I saw that another writer from another publication decided to start some shit on Twitter. Finally, a worthy nemesis! A honest-to-goodness feud!
Would this fight soon spiral out of control, threatening to ruin both of us, like when Blair tries to ruin Serena’s future by embarrassing her in front of the rep from Brown? Or when Blair tries to ruin Serena’s future by embarrassing her in front of the admissions officer at Yale? And both times ends up only hurting herself in the process because she constantly pushes away everyone who might actually love her?
I could only hope!
I needed to destroy the other writer’s life. I could try to a) get her fired, b) turn all her friends against her, c) do something to fuck up her appearance, or d) break up her relationship. The only one of these options that seemed tenable was (D) because I am friends with her boyfriend. I could seduce him, or tell him I caught her cheating, or dig up dirt on him and blackmail him into dumping her.
Unfortunately, before I could set my plans into motion, this bitch offered to be my FRIEND and invited me to DRINKS and we ended up HANGING OUT. I suppose people liking me is just my cross to bear.
When the GG gang visited Yale, a secret society kidnapped Dan because they thought he was Nate, and they wanted revenge on Nate because Nate’s dad swindled the society members’ families out of money when he was running a fraudulent business. Meanwhile, Chuck throws that same secret society a party full of drugs and call girls, not because he wants to join, but because he wants to use the pictures from the night as blackmail when, in 20 or so years, the Yalies are inevitably senators and bankers.
When I visited Yale, finding a secret society proved much more difficult. What with finals coming up, students were less than eager to talk to me.
Me: Hi, are you a member of Skull and Bones?
Student: What? No, I’m not.
Me: But that’s what a member of a secret society would say…
Me: Hey, I didn’t get into Harvard either.
Student: OK, bye.
I drained my phone battery on the train so I couldn’t take pictures of the Yale campus. But here’s Grand Central!
Friday night I went to my friend’s thesis play reading at Tisch, the arts school at NYU. At one point, Blair, Vanessa, and Dan were all competing for the attention of the Tisch kids, and Blair, in typical fashion, impressed them by arranging for Lady Gaga to perform for the gang (there’s also a fairytale musical/Hilary Duff subplot here, but it’s really not worth getting into). My friend’s play was good but unfortunately neither Gaga nor Duff were present. Afterward, we went to a dive bar where I decided to “act like Blair” and stand in the corner shopping for tiaras on my phone, waiting for people to talk to me. I left after 15 minutes. This felt accurate.
My roommates and I threw a small party where I tried to get everyone into an intoxicated game of truth or dare à la the sleepover shenanigans from season 1 that ended with Jenny, whom the Constance Billard mean girls were hazing, stealing a jacket from Blair’s mom’s store. But it was snowing out, so we ended up playing charades. That was fine because I am great at charades.
Now, Blair would probably spend a lazy Saturday ice skating with her parents (like when her dad and his boyfriend Roman visited), bossing her maid Dorota around, or having sex with one of her boyfriends. I don’t have anyone to skate with, boss around, or sex on, so I slipped into my version of Blair’s classic nightie-and-a-silk-robe ensemble (sweatshirt and bike shorts) and settled into bed with her fave holiday treat: pie.
Please note that I did NOT throw up the pie like Blair did during her Thanksgiving stress-induced bulimia relapse.
Instead, I contentedly watched another classic tale of the Upper East Side: Brian De Palma’s Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities.
We never see Blair go to the gym, so I don’t, either.
Expenses: none! I stayed inside hiding from the world all day! Like Blair after she’d been slut-shamed at school!
I attended the world premiere of Collateral Beauty. Serena’s the one who would be working the film people, whether as a publicist (for Tyra Banks!) or as a muse, whereas Blair would be more interested in finding the most powerful female producer in the room to learn her secrets on how to be a boss. Personally, I just wanted to find Edward Norton and tell him how much I like Keeping the Faith (IT’S SO GOOD). As it was, I sat next to a friendly entertainment lawyer and his daughter-in-law. We made polite smalltalk and they said they would check out my article, so if you guys are reading this, hi.
Collateral Beauty elicited heaving, guttural sobs from a good portion of the audience, which made me seem like a sociopath for having basically no reaction. In that way I felt very much like Blair.
Later that night, a tragedy on par with anything Blair faced occurred: I spilled LaCroix on my Mac.
I woke up bright and early and headed to my Genius Bar appointment at the Fifth Avenue Apple store. There, a nice young man named Joe—who unfortunately didn’t turn out to be the secret heir to a European throne posing as a commoner to enjoy the simpler things in life, like Marcus or Louis or, kind of, Chuck in France—told me I had spilled on the one part that touches all the other parts and fried the whole thing. In this situation, I suspect Blair would either throw a fit and demand they repair her computer for free or simply shrug and tell Dorota to pick up one of the pretty rose gold MacBooks. Instead, I bought myself one of the pretty rose gold ones, checked my bank account, and briefly left my body.
(If you’re wondering why Fifth Avenue is deserted and what those blockades are about, ask our esteemed president-elect, who spent the morning busily filling his cabinet with the worst ghouls and goblins of professional politics!)
That night I ate yogurt on the steps of the Met (high school Blair), tried to feed the ducks in Central Park (moody Blair), and joined the Whitney Museum’s Junior Committee (identity crisis socialite Blair). Well, I tried to join. The Whitney is no longer across the street from the Met; it’s downtown, and museum board memberships are difficult to come by and expensive to keep. Undaunted, I slipped a copy of my rez under the door of what is now the Met Breuer, and I’ll let you all know what happens when they call.
I popped by the Empire for a drink and NOT to be traded to my boyfriend’s uncle in exchange for ownership of the hotel, a ploy Jack Bass used to either gain control of Bass Industries or to drive Chuck and Blair apart, thereby proving that he is the better Bass. Maybe those are the same thing. Jack’s motivations were always somewhat murky.
The Empire really leaned into the whole Gossip Girl thing and offers a “Chuck Bass Cocktail,” which kind of ruined it for me?
What did I learn this week? So much. I learned indulgence is fun, but lonely if your friends aren’t also spending the week living the high life. I learned people aren’t very easy to manipulate if you don’t see them on a regular basis. I learned cars make life much less stressful and can allow you to wear much chicer outfits than the average pedestrian. I learned desserts make an excellent lunch until they don’t. I learned headbands give me a headache.
Most importantly, I learned that I have to get expenses approved before I buy things if I want to submit a receipt for reimbursement.
Grand total: $2,092