Thank goodness for summer Fridays in advertising. Mine afforded me to head east in an SUV filled with bottled water, containers of cantaloupe, and an iPod with a playlist titled, “Camp Hamps.” It’s not really the Hamptons unless you hear JoJo and Will Smith at least twice. Forget sugar, a teaspoon of Smelly Clarkson will make all the Hamptons drama go down. It’s all drama, and this doesn’t really counts, mostly because no one feels accountable for their actions. It’s camp, self-tanner not included (Thank you Gloss Day Spa: for making me get naked and sticky without an orgasm).
Friday night, while we could still smell freshly cut lawns and the sun was still glowing orange, we headed to East Hampton for pizzas. While there, I met a boy I like to refer to as Rainbow Bright. Orange shorts, lilac button down shirt, half buttoned. Blue eyes. In a word: adorable. We’d meet up later. Information was beamed from one high-powered nerd phone to another.
Later consisted of JL East, where my friends and I ordered three plates of French fries and three stools at the bar. We were ready to settle in for the night. The chef insisted on sending us entrees with his compliments… for my friend. More of my friends arrived, the ones without summer Fridays, on plate two of the fries. And, with them, came the rest of Manhattan, and its men offering polite smiles and offers for drinks, and rides home. The thing with the Hamptons, it’s suddenly perfectly acceptable to hop into the car of strangers. It’s what’s done and encouraged. Make new friends, share crudités with them at 3am, then pass out on their sofas, or in their beds, or make them take you back to your place after they remove their contact lenses.
The story becomes a bit fuzzy here, when I sit poolside while the rest of my house is asleep. I’m not quite sure how I met the characters I did, only that I was solely responsible for doling out the nicknames for the boys we met. Stripes and Romeo captured our attention. I didn’t want to talk about what I did for a living because I still don’t know how to categorize it. And that’s what I’ve come to say now when people ask. “I don’t know what I do. It’s too hard to say.” Then I list off activities and someone hiccups “renaissance.” Then I sound like I’m braggy and hate myself the next morning. I don’t regret a kiss or a brazen move, a grab, or a look. I regret my mouth and the telling of my life.
I was nearly done with the evening until I’d felt an ice cube on the small of my back while asking the JL waitress/model for a glass of water. Rainbow Bright’s hand was holding the cube, trying to get my attention. “Try talking to me next time.” I don’t understand when men behave as though I’m surrounded by jungle gym bars and black playground flooring. Pulling my hair isn’t going to work unless we’re kissing.
The next day, I was busy not writing but saying I would write by our pool. I devoured lobster for lunch, then kicked it with the girls poolside, using facial bleach to combat the uneven self tanner that had marred my unpedicured feet. I was a disaster.
Later that night, Saturday night, I became a guest, armed with a bottle of obligatory house party wine, at a lovely barbecue. In the first five minutes, I was faced with an ex—I don’t even know what to call him. Not an ex-boyfriend, or ex-lover, an ex-date. I was faced with a man I’d dated for a few months. It hadn’t ended horribly, but it had ended with drama, the kind usually reserved for the Hamptons.
My relationship with the ex-date ended with a David Gray attachment via my email inbox. He was tired of making all the effort. I was tired of hoping he’d grow on me. So things ended; I knew he was hurt by it. “You’re so bad for me. All my friends say it; I shouldn’t be here right now with you.” He’d said it on our last-try date. It was the very first time I ever heard I was bad for anyone. I wanted to argue, mention the word, “honest,” but I knew he was right. I was bad for him because I didn’t want him back. Of course, he was at the barbecue, now months later, and I was drunk, texting him that I missed him. I was being bad for him, and I knew it. I didn’t want him; I just wanted him to want me. How selfish, how immature, how Hamptons.