For as many times I’ve been to “The Beach”(not that many, to be honest, but enough), I’ve never been to the main drag of East Hampton. There’s nothing remarkable about it except for the fact that it’s got good places to shop while you’re on vacation. I’m not a very good vacation shopper, or a very good non-vacation shopper for that matter. Eva, on the other hand, excels at it.
“Want to go to Intermix?”
I can think of about 100 things I’d rather do more right now. Read on a beach, lie on a beach, be half naked on a beach. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.
The Intermix of East Hampton is kind of the same as the one in Manhattan, the similarity being that there are clothes in it and you’re supposed to buy them. I thumb through the racks, noting that the purchasing style is best described as “urban beachy” – ranging in class somewhere between Manhattan and Miami. Lots of color, lots of cover-ups, too much color for my taste.
Something catches my eye to the left, a rustling in the force field. I look over, and then down a foot, at a young girl, about twelve years old, carelessly flicking through racks of $1000 Helmut Lang jackets like this place is Charlotte Russe. I remember shopping at that age. There was great respect for the act of spending money, because the money wasn’t mine. One looked at clothing with great reverence, touching the $30 dollar pairs of Z Cavariccis and $8 glittery underwear with a polite hesitance.
SCRAPE SCRAPE SCRAPE SCRAPE
The hangers move along the silver bar while she flips through shirts and skirts, her nude bra straps falling down about her chubby forearms. A blue patent Chanel purse with red accents swings from her shoulder. She is the Lolita from hell.
SCRAPE SCRAPE SCRAPE
Daddy’s standing somewhere towards the back wearing a blue blazer and denim, a pair of horrible loafers on his feet. He’s a massive, looming thing with gray hair, and likely where the robust young lady gets her unfortunate build.
Eva’s ready to go. There’s apparently “nothing good in here” even though I didn’t really look. We walk out the doors, following just behind Lolita and her horrible parents. I think of the day that person will one day con some poor bastard into falling in love with her and shudder.
Everyone in East Hampton looks exceedingly expensive. I’m wearing an 80s jumpsuit I bought four years ago that I chopped the legs off of and a pair of sandals with the zippers that won’t stay closed. When my youth and looks fade, I’m going to have to start paying more attention to what the hell people think of me and contemplate the merits of ironing my clothes, as well as brushing my hair.
We pass another horror in the making: a four-year-old girl wearing plastic demi-heels with the pink tufts of marabou. Loungewear for prostitutes on a kid not even in preschool. I look at the dad.
I don’t understand anything anymore.
Eva takes me into another store filled with clothes. I try on a poncho that weighs as much as a packing blanket and makes me look like General E. Lee. It costs $1,200. My fingers trace the embossed leather of a pair of leggings I tried on probably 900 times when doing showroom for the designer who made them. The task of pulling them up and around my knees left me with raw knuckles and friction burns. By the end of the week they were riddled with holes in the crotch, seams falling away from seams. I think I had two nervous breakdowns. Showroom. Clothes. Fun.
Eva buys a turtleneck sweater. Nude is her new black, she says.
We’re walking over to a St. Tropez-based store filled with overpriced silk caftans when I overhear a conversation between two little boys and a father:
“The president really can’t do much of anything,” the dad says.
“But they blame him for everything,” says the one child.
These are the conversations I want to hear. I want kids engaging with the world, not buying Chanel bags and wearing hooker heels before they can even read a book without pictures in it. I want to kiss him, hug him, tell that dad to keep on fighting the good fight, but I refrain, not wanting to be mistaken for his impoverished, younger mistress.
This is, after all, East Hampton.
[For the record, Suri Cruise is certainly beautiful, but she is the epitome of overindulgent, abhorrent parenting. Create your own monster; just don’t bring them to my Christmas party.]