Who Am I?
How dare you. I refuse to believe you don’t know who I am. I’ll tellyou who I am. I have an army of Facebook friends and legion of Instagram followers. I’m hours of global TV coverage and the front page of The New York Times style section. I’m a sexual exciter of flailing fans from Oslo to Osaka (yes, they all came). I’m the savior of Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker, headliner for VH1, and crooner on national radio. I’m a monopolizer of tabloid pages and riot instigator in Sweden. That’s who I am.
Famous for being famous? Please. I’m miles beyond that. I’m famous for telling you I’m famous. There’s no one and nothing like me. I’m a legend. A pioneer. A completely self-created, self-inflated, internet celebrity and social-media monger. The media and various dip shits and concerned citizenry everywhere are always bawling that I represent everything that’s wrong in the world. Absolutely. I completely agree. There’s no point disputing it: I’m your worst goddamn nightmare. All I want to do is tell you precisely where it all went right.
Don’tYou Know Who I Think I Am? is the tale of how a privileged putz growing up in Scarsdale became this JewJetting, shiska-banging, celebrity-baiting, nightclub-blacklisted aristo-brat. It’s the story of how Justin Ross Lee morphed magnificently into JRL, aka “The EgoThat Attacked New York,” as The New York Post aptly called me.
In Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am?, I discuss and dissect my many run-ins with celebrities, including flights with Brad Pitt, fights with Paul Rudd, walking the red carpet with Gwyneth Paltrow, grifting Jeremy Piven (and banging his ex), and feuding with both Star Jones and Ashley Olsen (Star was more fun). I’ll explain just why the hell would William Shatner want anything to do with me. I’ll reveal the importance of keeping the press on a tight leash and how the right photograph in the right place can be more valuable than a million column inches.
I’ll reveal my secrets to gate-crashing major awards ceremonies, A-list parties, and gaining entrance to the most exclusive nightclubs and restaurants. I’ll cover the three P’s I never pay for: parking, publicity and pussy (the last one will help get the first 2 P’s for free). You’ll read about my tales of tail, my cunning conquests, and how I banged the Rabbi’s daughter on the holiest day of the year.
And yes, for all the road warriors and would-be jet setters, I will detail how to fuck the major airlines and hotels as hard as they fuck you. Shatner may negotiate for you. But let’s be clear: this is not a negotiation. This is guide to guerilla warfare in the battle for luxe.
That is the JRL guarantee. I’m the love child of a three-way between Howard Stern, Kathy Griffin, and Larry David, if you can stomach the image. Feel free to hate me if you wish (actually I prefer it), question everything I say (I honestly don’t care), ridicule me (for someone circumcised, I have remarkably thick skin), but I can promise you’ll still find me fucking funny. Laughing with me? Laughing at me? Laughing towards me? As you will discover, in my world it’s all inconsequential. Attention, good or bad, is its own reward.
Maybe it’s satire. But maybe it’s just the instructional manual for the modern narcissist. I’ve created and cultivated this shtick over many years, writing the book as I go. Now I’m ready to share it with the world.
Thanks for coming with me. Fuck everyone else.
I fucking hate when I’m asked, “So, what do you do?”
I find it painful to explain my vocation. I’m not really an asshole; I just play one on TV. To someone just meeting me, it can be a risky interaction. Explaining my anti-nine-to-five lifestyle tends to border on arrogance. Is this all an act? Hardly. I think of it as more of a performance.
Because I don’t do; I am. This glorious, repellent, beautiful train wreck of a life is my own fabulous creation and gift to the world. You’ve seen me on Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker, gracing the pages of tabloids, trilled about in newspapers, featured on morning shows in Croatia, and causing American sensationalism in Sweden. Or, more likely, you haven’t.
But that’s just the dressing, just the richly decorated yarmulke on the beautiful Jew-fro of my existence.
So what is it I actually do?
I’m a pioneer in the field of social media celebrity. I keep my loyal band of online followers on a tight leash, feeding them intoxicating morsels of my incredible life, just enough to keep them wet and interested. I gauge what gets their dreidels hard, then give them more. Some of them love it, even want to marry me. Most of them hate it. And those are the ones I care about most—the haters. If they fucking hate my dumb, smug, pampered face but keep coming back to the table for seconds, if they love hating me, I’ve got ’em. Right there is my key demographic. “Treat them mean to keep them keen” is a motto I adhere to.
“So that’s what you do? You stick shit on the Internet?”
No, again, I’ve lost you. That’s just an ingredient in my special sauce. It propagates the fan base and moves things along. But that’s not what I do. It’s what everyone does. Everyone lives their life online, and they all need a leader. Someone to look at and admire. I play that role. But again, that’s just a means to an end. Same as my fashion line.
“Ah, right, so you’re in the fashion business?”
Sigh. I’m prone to tell people I’m a haberdasher. First, because that sounds incredibly pretentious. Second, because of conversations like this. Trying to explain my life to someone who holds a position of authority is like trying to get a free hand job from an arthritic—that is, pointless and painful. However, this approach comprises a decent shortcut when I’m trying to conclude a tedious exchange. And it’s a slightly more diplomatic response than “Google me,” although I have resorted to that one when I’m feeling frisky.
I run a successful company, Pretentious Pocket, that produces pocket squares rendered from the finest “Fuck You” silk. But again, it’s a smoke screen. A way to make an impression on people, a device so they’ll remember me. If you give someone a business card, they’re probably going to toss it. Give them a beautiful, garish piece of silk in a presentation box and a handwritten note. It’s something that pays dividends every time they’ll see you. Trust me. It’s a business, and it gets me things for free.
“Why do you need things for free when you’re...