Who’s going to wag their finger if we get a bit rowdy this Independence Day? You? The general mood, chez nous, is Party at a Rich Dude’s House — inspiration from the 2010 Ke$ha song in which she brags about waking up in the front yard the morning after a sloppy night. Her excuse for letting loose: “We’re young and we’re broke.” Our excuse? Nothing much, other than putting Covid-19 in the rearview mirror and just generally feeling the urge to kick out the jams. (At least a little bit. At least in our own mind.)
We’re arrived at an odd place, when it comes to social norms out here in the Hamptons. It’s pretty clear from the way people behave in parking lots and restaurants that general civility has been on a steady decline for decades now. (The motorists who speed by — or honk at us — when we pull over to let an ambulance pass are definitely going to Hades.) But, at the same time, public life has gotten a bit too conformist, a bit too dull, for our liking. South Fork society is currently defined by an odd combination of rude plus boring. If you’re under 30, you may not know what you’re missing, but, if you don’t know what we’re talking about, ask your Great-Aunt Dolores, who partied with the Beatniks on Asparagus Beach in the 1950s and painted herself purple and pink at hippie Happenings in the 1960s.
Are we the only ones who kind of wish the neighborhood children would plant fake shark fins in Town Pond once in a while, or that the visual-arts crowd would act even a little a bit more like the Abstract Expressionists (brawling, gossiping, and bed-hopping)? This summer, we’re seeking out opportunities for — light — misbehavior. For the Fourth, we’re going to stage a backyard re-creation of disco nights at Mellow Mouth (the freewheeling 1970s club that’s remembered in The Last Dance, Page 86). We’re going to eat our flounder raw (Raw Power, Page 65) and our tequila straight (With Salt, Page 77). What passes for a good night out in the Hamptons, circa 2023, may be a $20,000 table at a cookiecutter charity gala or $700 bottle service at a so-called “exclusive club,” but, in East’s book, real fun, like talk, is usually cheap.