Single White Famous
"The girls with the boyfriends are the ones who don't have much going for them," says Concetta Kirschner. "They're just sort of normal. And I'm not normal!"
Concetta, 28, is a Sicilian-Jewish rapper whose stage name is Princess Superstar. Her lyrics are raunchy-a song on her new album, Princess Superstar Is, depicts a teenage babysitter who invites her boyfriend over ("How nice it is to get laid / While you're getting paid")-and she posed for the previous album cover on the streets of Chinatown wearing nothing but panties, heels, and gold paint. But in person Concetta is giggly and shy, with bottle-blonde hair and a Betty Boop voice.
We're walking down Fifth Avenue toward 19th Street, on our way to a party sponsored by Aish, a Jewish organization that tries to get commitment-hungry singles to marry inside the faith (Aish founded Jewish SpeedDating, an event in which participants do a round robin of seven-minute dates). Concetta heard about the party from a friend and decided to go so she could meet a nice Jewish boy. As a fellow member of the tribe, I'm hoping I might get lucky, too.
We look about as far away from Tevye's daughters as you can get. I'm wearing a tight shell and pencil skirt, and Concetta's in fishnet stockings and a dress, with a pink plastic flower in her hair. "I put the flower in so they know I'm nice," she confides.
"Why do you need to go to a singles party?" I say. "You must get play all the time."
"Are you kidding? My last serious boyfriend was six years ago." Concetta explains that men tend to be put off by her stage persona-and her fans are too afraid of her to get intimate. "I met this guy in Union Square Park," she remembers, "and when I told him I worked at a record label he asked who was on it. I said, 'Princess Superstar.' He said, "Wait, is that you?' I said, Yeah, it's me,' and he said, I need to walk around the park.' When he came back, he was shaking." They didn't go out again.
I sigh sympathetically. The alpha-bitch life can be so lonely. "Very few men can deal with a woman's power," she continues. "They want to look at it and admire it but not fuck it."
"Do you think an alpha woman has to wind up with an alpha man?"
"Yes, but he has to be in a different field. Like Sharon Stone's husband. Maybe I'll meet my Phil Bronstein tonight."
When we walk into the party, we encounter several hundred eager-looking Semitic singles in their thirties, chatting and dancing to loud, promlike music. The guys are way hotter than I expected-some are positively Jon Stewart-esque.
"I'm so nervous!" says Concetta, as every man in the room turns to stare at us. "I feel like I'm in high school!" "I'm Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" starts playing.
We go into a small room in the back to get away from the Maccabean army, and step up to the bar. A handsome, slight fellow comes up to me and says, "I'm Daniel."
"I'm Amy," I say, "and this is Concetta."
"So what do you do?" she asks him.
"I'm a computer consultant. You?"
"I'm a rapper," she says.
"Come on, for real," he says.
"I'm serious," she says, exasperated.
"Look-1 have a gold chain." She holds her scripty PRINCESS SUPERSTAR necklace out for him to inspect.
He squints, still disbelieving, turns to me, and says, "What do you do?"
"I'm a sex columnist." He looks from one of us to the other skeptically. "We're not lying!" I shout.
"I have a confession," he says. "I'm not actually a computer consultant. I'm a spy."
When we move away, Concetta says, "You see how they feel like they have to compete? We need to find guys on our level."
We spot a stocky guy wearing head-to-toe surgical scrubs. What a genius plan: wearing scrubs to a Jewish-singles party. He looks our way optimistically, but we turn our backs.
An oily guy in his forties comes up to me and asks, "How do you like your diamonds cutround or square?"
"That's a good one," I say.
"I know," he says. "I've been using it all night." As Concetta starts chatting with a hot nearby yuppie, Mr. Robinson makes his move. He picks up a party favor, a plastic speeddating.com six-inch ruler, and flashes it at me suggestively.
I step on Concetta's foot, and she pulls me away, saying, "We're going to get some food."
"What about that guy?" she says as we wander off. She points to a hottie a few feet away. He's a Robby Benson type with sleek, tan skin, thick hair, and sensuous lips.
Before I can answer, Robby catches us staring, comes over, and introduces himself.
"I'm Amy," I say.
"I'm Concetta," she says.
Robby's smile gets wider. "Are you smiling because you're having a good time here?" I ask.
"No, I'm smiling because she has such a nice name." Concetta elbows me.
We keep talking and pretty soon he's homing in on her. Turns out he's Hungarian and works as a patent lawyer. When she tells him she's a rapper he believes her, and he's impressed. I move away, and he takes down her phone number.
When she and I get out on the street she screams, "Oh, my God! Isn't he hot? We're going to go out! And my prediction came true. He said, 'You stood out right away because of the flower.' I knew it! Maybe he's going to have a big dick."
"He definitely looked like a big-dick guy," I say. "Those fat lips."
"I think he's going to be really good in bed," she says. "And when I think that, I'm always right."
Robby wound up calling her the next day. They made a dinner date at the Boathouse Restaurant. They got along well and kept seeing each other. He turned out to be great in bed; as for the penis, well, when you're right, you're right.
Sometimes Concetta would get emotional, thinking about the attacks or watching the war on TV, but he was supportive and took good care of her. "When I was lying awake in bed I would just think about having sex with him instead," she says. "It helped me fall asleep."
Though he liked her music and didn't seem threatened by her, it didn't take long for reality to set in. The kind of guys that go to Jewish-singles parties are looking for marriage material, and as open-minded as Robby was, she got the feeling he couldn't see himself marrying a rap star. Her Phil Bronstein didn't want a Lil' Kim.
"We both knew it wasn't right," she says. "I think he was looking for someone more traditional." They broke up, but it was amicable. There was one positive outcome to the relationship, though: He's helping her trademark her name.
Published in New York Magazine, January 7, 2002