It Isn't Easy Being Fabulous

The trials and tribulations of Fabian Basabe

Readers can at least get a preview of Basabe's inner thoughts via his debut column for Gotham magazine's current issue. "Life in the Fast Lane" teasingly chronicles late-night club-hopping alongside Bill Blass spokesmodel Zani Gugelmann and Queer Eye's Thom Felicia: "We wound up at Bungalow 8, but that part of the evening is classified -- for what happens at Bungalow 8 stays at Bungalow 8."

Frankly, despite Basabe's demurrals, Kulchur is having difficulty discerning any downside to all this fabulousness. Is the excess wear and tear on one's loafers really that stressful?

"We have to answer to a lot more than whoever's paying the bill," Basabe argues, adopting the royal pronoun. "If you do something bad, it's remembered. People will talk. You'll have so many people in your life that weren't invited."

Basabe dancing with Barbara Bush: "People should mind their own business"
New York Daily News
Basabe dancing with Barbara Bush: "People should mind their own business"

Case in point: Basabe's provocative twirl with First Daughter Barbara Bush last February. Thanks to a well-placed photographer at Manhattan's Viscaya lounge, the New York Daily News splashed its front page with an exceedingly limber Bush straddling Basabe's leg while employing the kind of cleavage-baring dance-floor moves that would make an Olympic gymnast proud.

The result was a media frenzy. International paparazzi staked out Basabe's home, reporters dredged up unpaid speeding tickets and a DUI citation, while pundits tittered about redefining George W. Bush's "coalition of the willing." Online the dish took an even racier tone. "People actually go to these trashy Internet sites like Gawker and Jossip and give them information," Basabe sniffs. "Supposedly they know me from school or they saw me dancing at a party. People should mind their own business."

There were subsequent stories that a furious White House had banned Basabe from any further First Family contact, lest more images of a louche Barbara nuzzling her escort alienate evangelicals along the presidential campaign trail.

"As an election year, it opened up an opportunity to attack a very good family through a friend," Basabe recalls with a scowl. "As if somehow the choice of people [Barbara] hung out with reflects on them. It's just really disrespectful. I don't know how the press has this freedom to do these inappropriate things. But it was an opportunity and they took it." He stares at his drink, lost in thought, before suddenly brightening. After all, the Election Day results are in. "It was a cheap shot," he concludes with a wry grin. "It didn't work."

For the record, he adds, accounts that he sent Karl Rove on the war path are false. As soon as he heard of the early editions of the Daily News hitting the streets, "I called Barbara and said, öSomething's happening. I don't know how this works, but I'm sure you have a social secretary to handle this. What do we do?' We all spoke and they just said not to respond. That'll only make it last longer. Just wait a week and it'll go away. And it did."

Papa Bush, Basabe says, was very understanding. "There was no flak. If anything, they were more concerned for me." Papa Basabe, however, was beside himself.

"My parents were furious," he sighs, cringing at the memory. "They made me leave New York."

Where did you hide out?


Oh, what a rough life. Banished to Malibu!

"Well, it was a rough week," Basabe halfheartedly insists before finally blushing in the face of Kulchur's incredulous look. Then, with a self-deprecating laugh, he throws up his hands: "There are people starving! Don't they have anything else to write about? I had all these John Kerry people e-mailing me, asking, 'Can't you take her out dancing again?'"

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