Toss a stone into a group of college-educated women of childbearing age anywhere in Manhattan or Brooklyn, and the odds are not terrible — probably much better than winning the lottery or getting struck by lightning — that you will hit one who had a romantic brush with Martin Shkreli. Many of these stories, and the women in them, made their way to me over the years.
Unless they’re already publicized, I’m not going to use any of their real names in SMIRK, since I know quite well how reputationally disastrous it would be for the public to know that they, as a living, breathing women, dated Martin Shkreli. But I will say that the expansiveness of the list made brainstorming possible baby names — which Martin and I started doing during our prison romance — a bit challenging. I didn’t want to use any he was already “intimately” familiar with.
While bored at the Metropolitan Detention Center, a high-security federal lockup in Brooklyn, Martin amused himself by coming up with the number of “chicks” he was “with” before his incarceration in September 2017. “There are 40-55 in the last 12 months or so,” he told me in a prison email. I laughed when I read it.
Thinking of Martin’s rockstar-like notoriety after he suddenly was branded by the press as the “most hated man in America” over prescription drug pricing, I replied: “I mean I’m not shocked by the number so much, but why the range? What are the 15?”
He answered: “The gap depends on your definition of a relationship.” He later added that one woman he’d slept with multiple times, who adopted and gave him his rescue cat, Trashy, counted as “0.25” of a relationship. I didn’t get a full run-down for how the rest of the math worked.
But I knew there was “Linda,” the professional-looking 30-something, we’d run into one night when we were out in Manhattan together, before he was sent to prison, to talk about the book I was writing about him. There was “Gabrielle,” the young computer science graduate student who started dating him after she randomly texted him a picture of her boobs. There was “Stacy,” a lawyer…