Things To Do When You Don’t Have A Job:
2. Laugh because life is a cruel joke.
3. Accept that you’re a lady of leisure and let out your inner socialite: attend fabulous events, drink buckets of white wine, channel a Real Housewife. (Do not flip a table.)
Obviously I chose #3. On Saturday Leah and I went to a Pop-Up jewelry sail on a yacht at Montauk Yacht Club. The jewelry company is called Adornia and their whole thing is, “Women should adorn themselves/always be adorned.” No argument there…I guess?
The women, Mo and Bex, were so, so kind and practically thrust glasses of Chandon into our hands, urging us to look at the displays, to ask any questions, to sit and relax.
We got there a little after one o’clock when the weather was pretty shitty and the ladies were absolutely trying so hard to make the best of it. In fact, the whole thing was perfectly manicured and curated, down to the matching floral print bikinis the models sported.
Leah and I sipped our champagne and murmured faintly over the rings and bracelets and earrings. I liked a lot of it, but the price tag, not so much.
We talked to the woman who owned the boat with her husband. She said they sailed all the way from Maine down to the Virgin Islands, and made their living by renting the boat out for events like this one. They had a cute little dog she said was a stray they’d found as a puppy on St. John and I thought what a life that must be—never tied down to one place in particular, kind of just going—literally—where the wind takes you.
But back to the jewelry. I felt like a fraud so I decided I had better interview Mo and Bex about the concept and when/why they had decided to launch a jewelry company. Turns out they both just graduated from Wharton with MBA’s, which, I don’t know how much that means in this economy, but still it sounds impressive.
Bex explained to me, “Everyone has ten fingers, why not wear ten rings?” I hadn’t really thought about it like that before.
"I heard," I said, "that before you leave the house you’re supposed to take off one piece of jewelry or one accessory."
Bex shook her head in denial. “I’m exactly the opposite: I put on one more piece.”
Leah and I wished them well and said goodbye. We’d been there a little over half an hour. “Let’s get lunch?” suggested Leah.
So we headed over to Inlet and ate sushi and watched the boats coming and going on the channel and by the time we left the sun was out.
Yesterday I attended a luncheon/charity event. It was held at some mansion somewhere. The grounds were extensive enough that I didn’t actually see the main house, but the fields and trees and breeze and everything else was enough for me. To whit:
Don’t ask me how I get invited to these things.
The invitation said “dressy casual,” and outfits ran the gamut from sneakers and teeshirt (James Lipton) to fancy shmancy, like this lady in the floral maxi.
James Lipton was there because a) he has a house out here, b) he probably donates money to the cause, and c) one of the auction items was two tickets to Inside The Actor’s Studio and he sold the hell out of it by saying that whoever won the tickets could choose whichever show they wanted to attend and that Jake Gyllenhaal would be the guest on August 20th. Be still my heart.
We sat at numbered tables, and the older couple next to me started asking me where I had gone to school, what I did out here, what I hoped to do. They live in compound on the corner of Ocean Ave and Lily Pond Lane and have eleven grand children. I can’t even imagine. They were delighted when I told them I hoped to be a writer—I don’t know why since there’s no dearth of bloggers, columnists, novelists, whatever-ists out there.
And we listened to speeches, which I guess is a fair trade off for a free lunch (well, it was free for me, anyway).
The gist of it was that we should “pat ourselves on the back” for being here and contributing to the cause, the cause which is so important because “otherwise people would buy up all the land” and develop it (ie: build mansions); “lakes are ephemeral” (what that has to do with anything, I’m not sure, but, word); there was a shout out to the Native Americans who were here first (and this was in the context of one of the speakers explaining that his family went back 12 generations on this land, and then kind of realizing that, well, at some point his family probably took the land from people who were already living off of it—yay white people!); at one point the speaker said “web of life” and I imagined him holding Simba up to the gathered animals of the Serengeti; this woman was honored for something—it was a little unclear to me—and in her speech she talked about why she enjoyed coming out here and she said, “God forbid I should miss the ripening of the peaches,” and damn, that about sums it up.
Then we ate our locally sourced (I’m assuming) salads.
And then I went home, half-falling asleep in the back of the car, slightly buzzed on the aforementioned buckets of white wine, filled with half-decent catered food, and tired from all the talking, talking, talking.
I’m a ‘yeah, but..’ kind of person.
"Conservation is really important. Charity events like that raise money and awareness."
"Yeah, but…why does it need to be an ‘event’? Why do people need to have the cocktail hour, the tents, the food, the ridiculously expensive luxury auction items? Why do they need to get dressed up and feel glamorous and fabulous? Why do they need someone telling them to pat themselves on the back just for donating money to a cause that shouldn’t need to drum up support in the first place—it should already be supported? Similar to the jewelry pop-up sale, the charity event was selling an image that the people who come out to the Hamptons are eager to buy: one of opulence and wealth, of social elitism, of exclusivity. The invitation to the yacht said to RSVP, but there was no list, there was no one taking names. Yeah, okay, maybe to get a head count, but it was clear that anyone could just come on down. But the illusion needed to be there—the illusion that you’re welcome here but others aren’t. Hence the crazy expensive tickets to the charity luncheon, the women manning a table where we needed to ‘check-in.’ I just find the whole thing so unnecessary and so depressing that this is what has to get done in order for people to keep donating to a cause—the donors need recognition on a grand scale like this, they need to feel good about themselves in a public way. And in a similar sense, the jewelry sale was this perfectly manicured experience of an image these women were attempting to sell: ‘Buy our necklaces and you, too, will suddenly belong on a fancy yacht and have access to the VIP Hamptons experience.’ But what I find to be the saddest thing, is that so many people are eager to buy that image, to buy into that experience. That is what they hope to attain when they come out here during the summer: luxury, wealth, ease, the feeling of having the world at their beck and call. At the end of the day, it’s such an empty thing to hunger for, but there it is."
So yeah, that was my weekend.