Every day here The Hamptons, something strange happens. The good kind of strange – the kind that makes your veins buzz, your belly warm, and your skin prickle with newness. The kind of strange that assures you that you were right to come here – right to take a break from placing all of lifes importance on the safe, the secure, and the mundane.
You know I’ve said it before – I could have joined all my peers last month, emerging from the safe silky cocoon of college life, flying out into “the real world”. I could have found myself a desk in some start-up office in Galway – with glass everything, including double glazed windows that look out on grey misty skies.
I’d spend my mornings looking forward to double shot lattes at 11am, my afternoons secretly scrolling through pictures of Adrian Grenier on Instagram, and my evenings reading women’s fiction with a face mask on. On Friday nights, I’d meet my peers for cocktails in that usual corner of O’Connell’s bar. We’d sip and savor how amazing it is to be able to afford such luxury, celebrate emerging from the college cocoon metamorphosis. We’d relish the beginning of our slow, eternal office life – the overpriced gin reflecting the pastel color of our new wings – reflecting a forced contentment. (*NOTE: I have a university degree in creative writing, do not try these metaphors at home).
Instead, I’ve found myself here – trying to find myself – in the picturesque town of Sag Harbour, its warmth and neatness making life seem a little more simple.
Don’t get me wrong, I still live for double shot lattes – its just that now they are served with ice, my Irish name spelt incredibly wrong on the side of the cup, and a wide smile from an animated American. However, I’ve taken a sabbatical from Instagram, replacing it with a more human life – which is fine, because everyone here seems to have won some kind of genetic lottery, with ice blue/green eyes and sallow skin that even Adrian Grenier would envy … (I still enjoy face masks and womens literature, but stay tuned for more on that*).
First, I must tell you of today’s strange happening.
So, as I was telling you a couple of weeks back, I met this guy (lets call him Tom, because that is his name), at Mill Creek Marina. I’ve read before that a great place to start when stepping into the dating game is to find somebody with something in common with you – so when I saw that he was renting a kayak like myself, I knew this was fate. Upon closer inspection, I saw that he had two ears (just like me) and I knew I was on to something. Step two was to initiate some conversation, so naturally, I asked him could he wiggle his ears.
When he said that he could in fact wiggle his ears, I felt that he may be a little too intricate for me. But, I’m all about stepping outside of the safe comfort zone these days, so we stayed chatting, and I soon realised that he was British.
“You sound like you’re from LAAANNDAAANNN” I attempted to smile and simultaneously twirl my hair, regretting ever opening my mouth.
“I’m from Nottingham” he said.
“Oh, Nottingham, like the film!” I replied – and as soon as it came out, I knew I was mistaking it for Notting Hill.
He laughed a little, and told me I wasn’t the first Long Island-er to make that mistake. My embarrassment only gained traction when I told Tom I am from Ireland – and had absolutely no excuse for mixing up parts of England. But, can I just point out that it was a very hot and humid day, and Tom has those ice blue eyes I’ve been rambling about.. Can I also point out that he told me he had just received an “alien of extraordinary ability” visa – his extraordinary ability being that he sings and writes music … I was a little thrown, okay.
Anyway, two weeks worth of iced lattes and beach days later, I finally agreed to take a break from my hectic life as a Hampton’s socialite, and go on a date with him.
Well actually, like all moving love affairs, it wasn’t as simple as that. I woke up to FaceBook message from Tom this morning, asking if we were ever going to go out – “or are we just going to spend all Summer messaging?”
“I’m fine with messaging” I a huge part of me wanted to reply “I need a new pen pal”.
And whilst this is true – I’ve pined for a pen pal since I’ve had a pen – I had since scrolled through Toms social media, and learnt that he could sing like Rod Stewart … and his eyes …
So, yes, todays strange happening was a date. In The Hamptons! With a Man!
At home, the dating scene can be a little tricky. The thing is, it’s not really the dating scene – its always “just a coffee”, a “quiet drink”, “possibly a work thing” … there’s an unwritten rule that we must drive ourselves mad with anguish, trying to figure out what it is, what to wear, what it means, and so on. But like I said, things seem a little more simple here. The warm mornings make it easier to rise early, the roads are smooth and movie-like, people usually say what they mean, and dates are dates.
I had a handful of frivolous FaceBook conversations with Tom, and it had transpired that he is an Aquarius. This, and the fact that he is an English-man, is probably why he arrived to pick me up at 7:00pm on the dot. I had been rooting through my battered suitcase this afternoon, and found a pair of jeans that I tore rips in when I was supposed to be working on my philosophy thesis in May. I teamed them with a white embroidered blouse, and Tom told me I looked “rather lovely”. (It had to be the jeans, because we all know it wasn’t my hair… humidity equals frizz ball).
Tom suggested we do something that I would enjoy, so naturally I suggested we put face masks on and read womens fiction. He didn’t seem keen, so we ended up driving to Montauk. I spent half of the journey regretting being so honest about the face masks, but then Tom let the roof down on his car and I told myself to let the Summer wind blow all my regrets away.
“Je ne regrette rein” I told him, as we stepped out into the balmy evening, the view from Montauk lighthouse silencing us.
I’ve said it before, I feel that lot of life is all about timing – and Tom and I had arrived just on time for sun set. We watched as the ocean swallowed the sun, the sky roaring oranges and purples. Two strangers on a swinging chair, soaking up the strange things that can happen when we step outside the safe zone.
Okay, it’s almost 2am now and I’m at danger of getting overly romantic. I will report more about date night soon, but I will sign off with the ideas that I do not know if anything will happen with Tom and I, I do not know if a date is more nerve wrecking than an interview, I do not know if that the magnificent lighthouse still serves much navigational purpose – but I do know that it really did make me feel like I’m in the right place for now.
Talk soon x