How To Have A Zelda Fitzgerald Summer
The unpredictable days of May have wound to a close, which means those languorous June nights are upon us. Maybe it is that soft evening breeze scented with pink gin floating in from the south, or maybe a few notes of jazz dropping out of the neighbor’s open window, but the signs are definitely here: summer is on its way. Instead of rotting in front of Buffy reruns for the next couple months, these tips inspired by F. Scott’s muse herself will help you have the kind of summer they write novels about.
Do not work.
If this means quitting your job, put in your two weeks now. If this means simply not looking to end your current unemployed status, you’re off to a great start. The first step to having a summer worthy of the femme Fitzgerald is to have endless free time because you never know when you will need to make an appearance at a backyard soiree or skip town for a three-day bender. Bosses tend not to be very sympathetic to those who call off shifts due to the fact that they woke up in a different city and cannot possibly get on a train until the next day. Save yourself the hassle. Quit now.
Befriend someone with a country house.
If you happen to have a father who is a dignified Southern judge, skip this step. You already have a country house. If you don’t, it is critical that you find a friend who does because country estates are where you will get to wear all those hats you inexplicably bought over the past few years and be drunk in front of WASP families who have more secrets than they have marriages. You may even meet your summer beau here. If not, at least you’ll get to ride a horse, jump naked into a lake, go golfing, and eat things like crust-less tomato sandwiches. Oh, and you’ll be drunk the whole time, so don’t worry if those things don’t sound fun right now.
‘Yes’ is always the answer.
Do you think Zelda Fitzgerald married a literary hunk, lived in New York, Paris, and Antibes, and served as muse for some of the most enchanting novels of the time by saying she was “too tired to go out”? Doubtful. So when someone asks if you want to go for a drive, the answer is yes. Do you want to go dancing? Yes. Do you want to do a line of coke? Yes. Do you want another drink? Yes — as long as it’s clear. Only vodka, gin, light rum, and even tequila. Only these will fit the bill because when you stumble out onto a pristine lawn at dusk, the twinkling patio lights won’t reveal any stains on your pastel dress. In true Fitzgerald fashion you need to keep looking sharp from the time you roll out of bed at half past noon to the time you pour yourself back in at sunrise. Stock up on cucumber eye masks now.
Fall in love.
Catch his eye from across the glittering party. Look away, sip your Rosemary Collins, and continue your discussion of the new Elizabeth Von Arnim novel. When you sense his eyes are still clinging to you in your thigh-grazing beaded frock, look back and smile. Start a courtship that you have to justify to your friends who say it’s “ill-advised.” Stay dancing cheek-to-cheek long after the party is over and the bar has closed. Drink bottles of wine on the beach until the sun comes up. Have sex. A lot of it. Then realize it will never work and end things with a shouting match and shattered glassware. Never see him again. Until two weeks later when you start it all over.
Simple, right? Following these steps is guaranteed to win you a summer to remember. Your own side of paradise. If they seem difficult, that’s probably because you’re trying too hard.
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.