Jen Glantz, founder of wedding service Bridesmaid For Hire and author of All My Friends Are Engaged, is coming out with a memoir on Feb. 7, 2017. Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire): Stories on Growing Up, Looking For Love, and Walking Down the Aisle For Complete Strangers is a hilarious backstory full of wit that details how one tipsy idea turned into an overnight sensation. From moving to New York to pursue a writing career to helping brides she's never met on their big day, Jen's book will be relatable to anyone looking for love or just trying to figure things out.
Get a look at the cover below, plus an excerpt from the chapter "Women Seeking Women — Professional Bridesmaid."
My roommate walks toward me, thermometer in mouth, tissues stuck all over her T-shirt, as if she's trying to make an avant-garde fashion statement. She's got a weekend bag in her hand, hoping to recover in a more stable and calm environment: her parents' house on Long Island.
"You are not okay," the girl with the flu says to me.
I tuck my body into the fetal position, hugging my knees and falling apart.
"I was asked to be a bridesmaid today," I say, huffing to try and catch my breath.
"Twice. By two people I haven't spoken to in a combined average of four years."
Kerri makes an attempt at a laugh but coughs uncontrollably instead. She's as miserable as I am but with a fever. She tosses me a Gatorade from the fridge, insisting I need the electrolytes to snap me back to life and become a functioning member of society once again.
I've lived with Kerri for four years now, so she knows that when I'm going through a prima-donna episode of hot flashes, the only thing she can do is make me laugh and get me back on my feet, usually with food or a drink.
I grab my phone from my purse and download every single dating app the iPhone store offers — my ritual after being asked to be a bridesmaid. I post an old About Me section that I have saved in my Notes app into all of my new profile pages.
"You're like a professional bridesmaid or something," Kerri says, smiling in a way that lets me know that, even though, at this very moment, we both aren't doing so well, we will ultimately, eventually, be okay again.
"Yeah, or something," I mutter, lifting myself up and slamming myself right back down on the microfiber couch and into a pile of used tissues and cough drop wrappers.
I didn't know I closed my eyes until I open them again at 9:00 p.m. My phone has eighteen missed calls from Liz and Maria, and I discover that I'm sitting on top of an open, empty pizza box, with nibbled pieces of crust left inside, a half-drunk bottle of Three Buck Chuck on the coffee table. It's dark and Kerri is gone.
I grab the box that Liz gave me and pull it toward my chest, ripping it open to find a ring pop inside with a tag attached to it that reads, Say I Do to Being My Bridesmaid.
"Yeah, always a bridesmaid," I say, picking up the wine bottle with my index finger and thumb and doing an imaginary cheer with the stuffed animal moose tucked
into the crook of my arm. "Always a professional bridesmaid?"
Maybe Kerri was onto something. People always tell you when you do the same thing over and over again and expect the same results, you're insane. Well, maybe I could do the same thing over and over again and expect . . . a paycheck?
"Hold on, Moose," I say, turning to him for moral guidance. "Do you think I could make this into a business?"
Maybe there were people out there who needed someone reliable, someone who could be there for them when their friends lived a thousand miles away, or had a minivan full of kids and two full-time jobs, or hadn't been in their lives for a while, kind of like what was happening with me and Liz.
I sit up straight and look around my apartment. There are bridesmaid dresses stuffed underneath the couch, Save the Dates taking up prime real estate on the fridge, and thank-you notes functioning as coasters on my coffee table from brides responsible for big-ticket line items on my credit card bill.
Kerri was right. I was a professional. An amateur one, but still. Maybe it was worth a try, worth seeing if anyone would hire me to be their bridesmaid so I could pay my credit card bills and my rent on time for once.
I shove a slice of half-eaten crust into my mouth and grab my computer. I flip it open, double-click on the bouncing Google Chrome icon, and enter a website I've never visited before.
"www.Craigslist.com," I say to Moose, who's watching me with rapt attention.
I suddenly remember what my mom used to repeat to me on a daily basis when I was in high school: nothing good can come from staying out past 11:00 p.m. or going on Craigslist. But where else could I test this idea with real results? I could post a Facebook status about it, but all people would do is comment with an LOL or smiley face emojis. I could call up my closest friends, but I'd probably be interrupting them in the middle of clinking glasses of some fancy vintage of Merlot with their SigNif to celebrate the end of a long workweek.
But Kerri thought it sounded good, and she's my voice of reason, even if she does have a 102-degree fever.
"What section, Moose?" I say. Moose sits there, stuffed and still, not trying to stop me, so I proceed.
Women looking for women. That seemed like a good home for this sort of thing. I open up a new post and I begin typing.
Title: Professional Bridesmaid For Hire—w4w—26 (NYC)
Post: When all of my friends started getting engaged, I decided to make new friends. So I did — but then they got engaged also, and for what felt like the hundredth time, I was asked to be a bridesmaid. This year alone, I've been a bridesmaid 4 times. That's 4 different chiffon dresses, 4 different bachelorette parties filled with tequila shots and guys in thong underwear twerking way too close to my face, 4 different prewedding pep talks to the bride about how this is the happiest day of her life, and how marriage, probably, is just like riding a bike: a little shaky at first but then she'll get the hang of it. Right, she'll ask as she wipes the mascara-stained tears from her perfectly airbrushed face. Right, I'll say, though I don't really know. I only know what I've seen and that's a beautiful-looking bride walking down, down, down the aisle, one, two, three, four times so far this year.
So let me be there for you this time if:
—You don't have any other girlfriends except your third cousin, twice removed, who is often found sticking her tongue down an empty bottle of red wine.
—Your fiancé has an extra groomsman and you're looking to even things out so your pictures don't look funny and there's not one single guy walking down the aisle by himself.
—You need someone to take control and make sure bridesmaid #4 buys her dress on time and doesn't show up 3 hours late the day of the wedding or paint her nails lime green.
Bridesmaid skills I'm exceptionally good at:
—Holding up the 18 layers of your dress so that you can pee with ease on your wedding day.
—Catching the bouquet and then following that moment up with my best Miss America-like "Omg, I can't believe this" speech.
—Doing the electric and the cha cha slide.
—Responding in a timely manner to prewedding email chains created by other bridesmaids and the maid of honor.
"What are you looking at?" I say to Moose, who hasn't moved since I started writing the ad and hasn't alerted the authorities to grab my MacBook Pro out of my
hands. That's the benefit of having a stuffed animal moose as a best friend. They let you be reckless, they let you do what you want, and they sit there with an upward stitched mouth, cheering you on with pure unadulterated mute bliss.
I find a carton of strawberry coconut milk ice cream in the freezer and start eating it with the only clean kitchen utensil we have: a whisk. I read the ad over once more.
Nobody is ever going to find this, I think to myself. So why not post it?
I press Send, slam my computer lid shut, and place it on the coffee table beside the memorabilia of a single girl's Friday night bender.
I grab my phone and see another sixteen messages from Liz and Maria.
Earth to Jen
Are you alive?
I slide my finger over each text message and press Delete, deciding to read other messages — the kind from potential lovers — on my newly downloaded Tinder
One from Matt, 27, NYC, pops up.
Your name must be Beyoncé, because when I clicked your profile, the power went out.
"Gross!" I shout out to the infinite abyss of my Murray Hill apartment and toss my phone across the room, where it lands, screen up, on a dirty pile of clothes.