Mystery Guest

Jun 16, 2017
Originally published on December 29, 2017 10:55 am

Mystery Guest Jen Glantz stops by the Bell House to tell us about her unique business. Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton ask her yes-or-no questions to figure out what it is.

Heard on Annabelle Gurwitch: 'Don't Treat Me Like Family'

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While Robbie and Emily get ready for our final round, it's time for us to play a game. This is Mystery Guest. A stranger is about to come on stage. Jonathan, I have no idea what this person does, what makes them special or who they are. But our puzzle guru Art Chung does.

ART CHUNG: That's right. Ophira, you and Jonathan will work together as a team to figure out our mystery guest's secret by asking yes-or-no questions. Mystery guest, please introduce yourself.

JEN GLANTZ: My name is Jen Glantz. And I own a very unusual business.

EISENBERG: An unusual business. OK.

JONATHAN COULTON: An unusual business. Does your business involve either food or drink of any kind?


EISENBERG: Does it involve humans?

GLANTZ: Yes, lots of humans.

EISENBERG: Lots of humans.

COULTON: Is your business related to the arts in some way?


EISENBERG: Is your business linked to special events or holidays?


EISENBERG: Oh, look at that.

COULTON: Special events or holidays.

EISENBERG: Little door into something. Would I go to you if I were planning a birthday party?


EISENBERG: What kind of weird, special events are we talking?


COULTON: Are you in some way providing the people?

GLANTZ: Yes. Yeah.

COULTON: You rent people.


EISENBERG: Do you rent friends?


EISENBERG: You rent friends?

GLANTZ: Sometimes, yes.

EISENBERG: OK. So like a flashmob? Like that kind of thing?


EISENBERG: OK. So right. You just need people. You need friends.

COULTON: Do you sell followers on Instagram?

GLANTZ: (Laughter) No. But I've bought them before.

COULTON: Oh, yeah?


EISENBERG: Is it at all about creating romance or relationships?



CHUNG: Here's - I think focus on what type of event, maybe.


CHUNG: Is it a party? Is it a celebration of some kind?


EISENBERG: OK. Is it something that people in a couple would celebrate?


EISENBERG: OK. Is it an anniversary?


COULTON: A wedding?


EISENBERG: Oh, OK. So if you're getting married...


EISENBERG: Is it, like, you're getting married, and you have no friends, and you can get a bunch there?

GLANTZ: Sort of.

CHUNG: Sort of. But specifically what?

EISENBERG: Interesting.

CHUNG: What do people...

COULTON: Bridesmaids and groomsmen?


COULTON: You provide bridesmaids and groomsmen.


CHUNG: Jen is a bridesmaid for hire. She started almost three years ago with a Craigslist ad offering her services as a professional bridesmaid. This year, she'll be a bridesmaid at eight weddings and wedding coaches at seven more. And she recently wrote a book about it titled "Always A Bridesmaid (For Hire)."



EISENBERG: So why should people have bridesmaids at a wedding? What if they're just, like, I don't have any bridesmaids, and that's the way it is.

GLANTZ: Some people are cool with that. But others want to have a support system not their wedding. So they need someone to step in and say, I'm a professional. Let me help you out and be there for you because weddings are dramatic. They are not a celebration. They are a drama fest. My job is really to go in there and calm things down and make sure the bride doesn't cry because there's always tears.

EISENBERG: OK. So you're like a PR agent for the bride during the wedding.

GLANTZ: I like to say on-call therapist because...


GLANTZ: ...They need a lot of that.

EISENBERG: You're a wedding doula.



GLANTZ: That is the perfect way of describing this job in a sentence. Yes.

EISENBERG: OK. When someone goes, well, what are professional services? What do you offer? And you break it down. What are, like - you know, give me the three punch points.

GLANTZ: I've had to be a bodyguard for a bride who fired her maid of honor and was scared she was going to crash the wedding. And a mother of the bride forgot her bra, and I had to take mine off and give it to her.


GLANTZ: I say I'm the on-call therapist, the personal assistant, the social director and the peacekeeper because I've never been to a wedding when there wasn't some type of major, dramatic situation.

EISENBERG: OK. So when the bride's like, I'm not going out, what do you do?

GLANTZ: I say, let's go get an Uber. We don't have to get married. I had a bride five minutes before she was supposed to get married look at me and say, I hate the groom. I don't want to do this. And I was the person she went to. So I had to really make sure that she was doing the right thing as her stranger in the room, her hired bridesmaid.

COULTON: Did she leave the wedding?

EISENBERG: Very long story short - they agreed to go through with it. But they both had the conversation saying this wasn't real. It was just going to be - because they had 300 guests waiting for them. So she did walk down that aisle. But I think she just kept walking right after the wedding ended.



EISENBERG: Wow. So this is a fun job.


CHUNG: And how do you explain who you are to the other bridesmaids or family members?

GLANTZ: That's a good question. Oftentimes, the bride and I have a fake backstory of how we know each other.


GLANTZ: So I'm not Jen Glantz. I'm Jen Smith. I'm Jen whatever from art school, drama class, yoga, whatever.

EISENBERG: And how has this affected your view of marriage? Would you get married and have a wedding?

GLANTZ: I will never have a wedding like the ones you see after going to them. I think they're a little bit of a waste of money. I think people do traditions that - they have no idea what they're doing. I love marriage. I love love. I want to have a simple party with pizza and cheap alcohol and a great band. And that's it.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) That's amazing.


EISENBERG: I would have you at my wedding. So there you go. Give it up for our mystery guest, Jen Glantz.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.