M ay 25, 9:01 A.M. Dear Diary: C’est moi, Phyllis Stine. Could be the longest day yet, as I have just returned to Carlyle Hotel suite from appointment with cosmetic skin specialist Dr. Patricia Wexler, who insists I do nothing strenuous. Nor can I recline, not for 18 hours. Normally, after Botox injections, and tons of etc., you can’t lie down, but only for four to six hours. As I am such a voracious customer, I need much longer time upright, lest the good liquids shift into the wrong spots. If I blow it, Dr. Wexler said she might have to invoke a sculpture of limitations on my cosmetic procedures.
9:11 A.M. Having so much time to think, have decided absolutely and under no circumstances will I take a house in the Hamptons this summer. Jamais. Jamais plus. J’refuse. Am on a higher horse now, questing for deeper meanings that won’t be found in the Hamptons, although I will miss the lamb chops with cute little white paper skirts from Catena’s, the posh market in Southampton, and silver-spooning at the helipad at the end of Meadow Lane, watching the helicopters land on Fridays.
It’s always a bumble of four-wheel-drive vehicles there–what do those people need those big semi-trucks for anyway?–with livened housemen fetching their patrons. While herons dive for cover to save their Marella Agnelli necks, here comes the whirling bird delivering Julia Koch, dressed for tea party, with the nanny and the baby. Cute socks. Here’s Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis and their Ralph Lauren dogs. Here’s Linda Wachner descending, briefcase first. Goodbye to all that, goodbye.
I inherited the Hamptons when I married Mr. Stine, because the Hamptons used to be called the Hampstines–some people may still call them that. They were settled by a branch of my in-laws, the aforementioned Stines, but the name was changed to Hamptons during someone’s Great Depression. My estranged always felt very much among family there.
But jamais for me. Let go. Move on. Especially don’t want to be in the vicinity of a Clinton vacation in August, according to the rumors. If Hillary runs for Senate, those Martha’s Vineyard summer holidays must end.
10:17 A.M. Nothing changes but one’s clothes. But plus ça change the more I think about Yves Saint Laurent. Except I don’t have any Saint Laurent at the moment as my Saint Laurents did not survive that little dip of mine into minimalism. Take off Donna Karan white organza panel dress and put on black-and-white zebra-print silk chiffon slip dress by John Galliano–the one on cover of June Harper’s Bazaar . Thank God for fashion magazines; otherwise I would forget what’s in my closet.
Go to Zitomer’s pharmacy for bottle of Solgar’s Herbal Tranquillity Complex and Diptyque candle, “Figuier” scent. Zitomer’s filled with people like me: ladies somewhere in between cosmetic procedures.
11:03 A.M. Return to Carlyle suite. Brunch: one Oreo.
11:09 A.M. Eat second Oreo, having forgotten about the first. Am a little tired from being upright for so long. A girl like me always benefits from putting her legs up at regular intervals.
11: 38 A.M. Realize I forgot to go to 75th-birthday dinner for John Richardson last week. Call Miho, the florist, and send bouquets of regrets to all concerned. Call Bergdorf Goodman personal shopper and reschedule fitting tomorrow for several Michael Kors tank tops. Change into cornflower blue Marc Jacobs cotton dress and embroidered Emanuel Ungaro raffia mules. (I once had a gym trainer named Raffia Mule.)
Sometimes I just get these great notions. Unless my literary friend Marina Rust is keeping something from me, New York does not have a poet laureate. But England does. Coming back from Zitomer’s, I overheard these two shiny British men talking in the elevator about how Andrew Morton was just named Britain’s new Poet Laureate. If Princess Diana’s and Monica Lewinsky’s biographer can become the Poet Laureate of England, then what about me in New York?
Of course, I’ve never written a poem, not really. Closest I got was when as a teenager I used to paraphrase Judy Collins lyrics and send them to copious beaux. What to wear to write poem?
12:05 P.M. Not missing Hamptons at all.
1:47 P.M. Wonder what they’re doing at Mica and Ahmet Ertegun’s in Southampton this weekend?
Put on black stretch-silk crepe Calvin Klein dress to floor–no shoes–very Christy Turlington meets Edith Sitwell. Thinking about Kosovo, gun control, Ricky Martin, but no poem comes.
Phone rings. Polly Glott, my fashion journalist friend, is on the line. Do I want to invest in The Face , the trendy British fashion magazine? I say, No, my latest thing is becoming the poet laureate of New York. She suggests I write about what I know, which I think is a really novel idea. She also says Britain’s new poet laureate is someone named Andrew Motion, not to be confused with Andrew Morton. And I go, “Morton, Motion … What’s the difference if they can spell?”
4:20 P.M. Have changed from Celine cashmere sweater and pencil skirt to La Perla lingerie. Written this poem so far, called “Shop and Toil:”
Oh how the ladies of Southampton do shop and toil.
But sometimes on a stormy night
(When sometimes on a stormy night between the cellular phone and the pinched cellulite),
A certain feeling creeps in the wind.
“Am I not all right?” it whispers.
“Am I not all right?” it whispers.
Dread descends on our ladies then,
Husbands gone, to town, or some other End.
Gray swallows the ladies and they toss and turn;
They reach out in the only direction they know–
Down Gin Lane,
Up on Halcyon until Meadowmere.
But morning drowns the fright.
“I am all right!”
“I am all right!”
The ladies of Southampton exclaim when gray abates in morning light.
“I am white.”
4:58 P.M. Put on silver-sequined, silk organza Chanel top and leather skirt. Ask concierge to send up man to take aforementioned poem to Mayor Giuliani, Tina Brown and Page Six … covering my bases. Bellman takes my envelope and hands me another. Look what’s on a very stiff card: “The Lord Chamberlain is commanded by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to invite”–there’s no room for my name because this is old English, I guess–”to the Marriage of their son Edward with Sophie daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Rhys-Jones at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on Saturday 19th June 1999 at 5 o’clock and afterwards at Windsor Castle.”
Frankly, I’d much rather be asked to the July wedding of Posh Spice to soccer player David Beckham, but when one goes with the flow one can only expect to end up somewhere.
Billy’s List: Quiz time!
1. Who is David M. Childs?
a. The costume designer for Notting Hill .
b. The architect with plans for a new Pennsylvania Station.
c. Ricky Martin’s alias when he travels.
2. Who is designing Posh Spice Victoria Adams’ wedding dress?
a. Stella McCartney for Chloé.
b. Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.
c. Vera Wang.
3. Who of the following is a passionate French cook?
a. House minority leader Dick Gephardt.
b. Dame Judi Dench.
c. Helmut Lang.
Answers: (1) b; (2) c; (3) a.