Summer Fridays--getting out of work early, getting a head start to the weekend, and all that good stuff--sounded really great, awesome in fact, until we read The New York Times Styles Section today. Intrepid reporter Cara Buckley, presumably with a canary and lantern, went on a social spelunking journey and found people who celebrate summer Fridays by partying at really trendy hotels which most of them can't afford. What we'll say is that it's hard to tell whether Buckley's intent is to mock or idealization with lines like "A man, his arm sleeved in tattoos, quickly lapped the pool and pulled himself out, water dripping as he twisted his mustache tips back into a perfect handlebar."
What Buckley wants to point out is that this idea--people playing hooky and hanging out long before the weekend starts--has hit a saturation point and not like anything we've seen before. And perhaps she's right, since it was right around this time 2010 when The Times's own Douglas Quenqua wrote about the death of Summer Fridays and how we should be lucky we're still working. So what's the drawback of this urban Shangri-La that Buckley found? Well ... there's this simple question, do you really want to hang out with people who are ...
... Financially Irresponsible: A lot of these parties started, in part, because there are people in this world (your blogger included) who cannot afford weekend Hamptons homes or aren't built (your blogger included) for the long commute out to the beach towns of hipster-hating Montauk and Fire Island. Which means, there are a lot of people like Nicole Wasilewicz, who Buckley found "clutching a frozen cocktail that she probably could not afford." Ummm, and there's this: "We just put a card down," Wasilewicz said when asked how she was going to buy the frozen drink she couldn't afford, adding: "We’ll know tomorrow."
The Drawback: You will never be able to afford The Hamptons if you're busy paying for your financially irresponsible friends' drinks.
... Not Ashamed About the Drinks They Can't Afford: Like any good trend story, there's a drink involved. It's called a Wodka Palmer, which Buckley reports is a "a slushy mix of vodka, iced tea and lemonade" priced at $14.
The Drawback: Saying "Wodka" out loud (try it... we'll wait) makes you sound like you an adult baby and is a cruel and unusual punishment. Wodka soda? Wodka tonic? Willy Wodka?
... Proving Youth Is Indeed Wasted on the Young: We didn't make this quote up. Our imaginations aren't this wild.
"We used to go out a lot at night, but we’re getting older, concentrating on our future,” said Reign Apiim Artis, 23, an artist wrapped in a bright sari, jewels dripping from her hair, a look she described as Paris, Tokyo and India meet Cleopatra.
Artis is real, well, her Twitter says so anyways.
The Drawback: What's the point of getting out of work early to party with 23-year-olds who don't want to party?
... Elitists: This could be a good thing, we guess ... "People here are usually in the upper echelons in their industries," says PR dude Flint Beamon (he's apparently real too), who Buckley reports is a regular at the Thompson Hotel's pool. "I’ve struck business deals by the pool," he adds. Which is great and all, but unlike The Times's other trendy hotspot story, "A Sneakers-Only Runway", about how high powered executives from Hermès, editors from W and Vogue, and a designer for fashion label Rag & Bone among others are all playing tennis at the Midtown Tennis Club, this one seems to lacking in the name drops. You could argue that the best networking connection Beamon (he belongs to a firm called PR Consulting) found that day was getting Buckley to print something about him -- The Awl was more than happy to make fun of what looks to be Beamon's spam-filled Twitter account.
The Drawback: If you're going to network, the best people to network with might be the ones who have important work to do in the office on a Friday.
... Also Elitist About Fun: "We could always throw a Friday night party, but Friday and Saturdays are for the dogs," Jules Kim, who co-hosts a Summer Friday party at The Standard, told Buckley. You hear that you animals? And Kim is on the same page as Beamon, who says that he stops partying by the end of work hours. "Otherwise it’s pathetic," he said.
The Drawback: Be prepared to lie about what you did last night, last weekend, or any other time that you have free plans on days that people usually have off.
So if that sounds like your type of scene, we're not going to stop you. Nor are we going to judge you...well that's a lie. You're totally fair game when you get "Times famous." But if Times fame isn't for you, nor is partying with Beamon and 23-year-old career-driven Cleopatra sartorialist Artis, we're totally down for drinks after work.
Photo of people totally having fun on The Standard's roof but not the people featured in The New York Times Styles piece is by Dan Nguyen via Flickr.