The One Where a Finance Bro Paid Me to Run His Tinder Account for (and While Pretending to Be) Him
Picture this: Harlem, New York City, 2013. An unemployed New York University graduate, with a decent résumé of internships and jobs, is unable to find full-time work, struggles to pay for rent and her MetroCard and therapy and meds, lives off $40 worth of groceries every fortnight, and in desperation, turns to Task Rabbit, a new app via which the 1% post the errands they won’t stoop to conquer.
That was my life. Every day, including Saturdays and Sundays, I left my fourth floor walk-up off the 145th Street A/C/B/D station in Harlem for various parts of the city. My career as a freelance free-for-all was successful, if not lucrative. In a little black dress and (comfortable!) heels, armed with an iPad, I admitted celebrities and other rich people into corporate parties, charity galas, startup IPO celebrations. In a dark T-shirt and dark leggings and sneakers I cleaned up graduation parties for folks celebrating the Dr. before their first names, the Esq. and MBAs after their surnames. Once I even filled bottles for a startup that wanted to sell a new kind of household soap. I didn’t ask what made it different from, say, Dr. Bronner’s or Mrs. Meyers, but I certainly found it odd that I, uncertified in food/beverage handling or any kind of sanitization procedure, should be filling bottles without latex gloves (I asked; none were available) in a dusty, empty Chinatown loft. I scrubbed floors, mixed drinks, walked dogs, arranged flowers, took coats at fancy dinner parties, washed loads and loads and loads of laundry, loaded and unloaded dishwashers, washed heirloom china with special soap, dried it by hand and placed it back in a cabinet that was kept locked.
At the time, the app allowed anyone who needed help with something to post the job, the hourly pay, and the date and time. The Rabbit could scroll through, select a task, and contact the employer directly. I built a nice little ancillary résumé, not as meritorious as my professional one, but in some ways more fruitful. All my passion for film and TV didn’t get me work. The so-called lustre of NYU’s film school didn’t encourage anyone to hire me. My Task Rabbit work history paid off—poorly, of course, plus the work was hard labor, which left me physically drained, and almost no one ever…