Day 200: Items Purchased 0, Temptation Radar:0
Thursday, July 21
I’ve been fighting serious temptation to purchase a bathing suit coverup. My request seems far from unreasonable: white button up shirt-like beach coverup. Yet, I found myself en route to Palm Beach cover-less. That’s okay, I suppose. I mean, after all why the cover up? Is it really necessary? Why the hiding? Why the unspoken pressure to conceal? These same questions resurfaced during dinner with my husband in the fabulous Cafe Boulud this evening as we witnessed the most interesting family interaction among 2 parents and their middle-aged son. I tried desperately to ignore the riveting exchange and enjoy our fine french cuisine, yet I was immersed in what I imagined was the perfect illustration of family dynamics amongst the socially elite in Palm Beach.
It is obvious to me that the son, likely in his mid to late forties, joined his elderly parents for dinner to discuss an issue of great consequence. His mother, beautifully dressed in white trousers with turquoise Lilly Pulitzer tunic and still blonde, was accompanied by her husband wearing a navy sport coat, khaki slacks, and white bucks. After ordering their main course, the woman, with her pronounced New York accent, began interrogating her son on his alleged love-interest. Soon, we, and perhaps a few others in the restaurant, learned that he clearly disappointed Mom & Dad during their quest to secure him a suitable wife. It was revealed in the conversation that a admirable and most eligible woman had been introduced to him by friends of his parents and courted by him for some time. Ultimately, his interest waned and this dinner aimed to break the news to his disapproving parents that the relationship wasn’t working. He didn’t love her. His mother, obviously disgusted with the way he had invited her to the Hamptons for a weekend and soon thereafter severed ties, shook her head and called him a s&*#head repeatedly. They reviewed her assets with him in hopes that he would come to his senses and reconsider. They scolded him for a variety of things. He’d hear nothing of it. As I paused to dip into my appetizer, he curtly summoned the server, and made his demand, “I want you to box this food right away. I have to leave right now.” Like that, 2 extremely accommodating wait staff jumped to his aid. Within moments, he kissed his mother’s forehead, her eyes rolling, announced that he was finished ended the discussion. He stood up, revealing his obvious rebellion toward the formality of the establishment, in fuchsia shorts and deck shoes. Suddenly, it hit me: he was sick of dancing. Tired of hiding. Tired of marching orders.
I was reminded that even in the most elite hierarchy of expectation and perceived obligation, people still want to be free…even if it costs them tremendously. Mom and Dad continued their meal. So did we, celebrating the simplicity of our lives and that our foie gras had no strings attached.