B oo- hoo! The end of summer. The sinking feeling that occurs at this time of year is like a magnified version of those Sunday-night going-back-to-school-tomorrow blues. This year, your post-summer funk is compounded not just by the looming Sept. 11 anniversary but also the absolute hell of Katrina, and may well last through Thanksgiving if you’re not careful.
Here are ten—O.K., nine—tips for contending with that gnarly post–Labor Day depression:
1) As of last Sunday, according to the New York Post, only 20,000 New Yorkers had made donations to the Red Cross, totaling about three million bucks. This is shocking and unacceptable. Y’all are a bunch of self-indulgent tightwads who deserve to feel depressed. Offenders must call 1-800-HELP-NOW and rectify this situation immediately. I guarantee that you will experience a post-philanthropy afterglow.
2) Hold back the black! Don’t do it—at least not yet. Black may be back, but diving into widow’s weeds while the weather is still hot and before the levees are fixed is going to do nothing to enhance your mood. Wait until it gets chilly. In the meantime, bolster your sense of empowerment with one of this season’s printed leopard trenches. Instead of the $2,480 one by Alexander McQueen, buy the equally attractive $715 number from Ramosport and give the difference to the Red Cross.
3) Do not schedule your annual physical in September. For years, I made the mistake of subjecting myself to this nerve-wracking ordeal right after Labor Day. The end of my summer became synonymous with the specter of my doctor advancing towards me with a rubber glove on his right hand. I now schedule my appointment in the spring.
4) Avoid large groups of thin, fabulous people (a.k.a. Fashion Week) and spend lots of time around jolly, ordinary people (flea markets, street fairs and movie houses).
5) If you continue to feel really dire into October, you might want to consider a name change, especially if you have a depressing name to begin with. My mother’s name was Martha. She ditched it for the more upbeat Betty in her early 20’s and instantly felt better about life.
6) This year’s post–Labor Day blues will be exacerbated by the staggering prices of the European designer offerings. Don’t waste your time gawking at stuff you cannot afford. Draw $100 out of the bank and, with a friend, play shop-or-die at a cheap store like Joyce Leslie or Strawberry.
7) Instead of moping on your threadbare old sheets, cavort exuberantly on some zippy brand-new Jonathan Adler bedding, available at Bed, Bath & Beyond or JonathanAdler.com. For maximum mood enhancement, Jonathan (my husband) recommends the bright green Palm Beach–y caning pattern. Prices range from $65 for a twin-sheet set to $180 for a king duvet cover.
8) Telling jokes never cheers people up; it reminds them of pervy uncles and dreary insurance salesmen. There are exceptions. Here’s a mood-improving joke that I heard at a Labor Day brunch:
A man goes into a French restaurant and asks the maître d’: “Do you have frog’s legs?”
“Of course!” says the maître d’.
“Well, then hop on into the kitchen,” the man replies, “and fix me a toasted-cheese sandwich!”
9) Rent Pollyanna, the 1960 classic starring Hayley Mills. The art direction alone—clearly the work of some Victoriana-crazed homosexual—will lift your spirits. An added bonus: This film is saturated with tips on how to navigate this season’s Victoriana trend.
10) Yes, Six Feet Under has ended, and Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive is drawing to a close—surely Fabian Basabe and Courtenay Semel must be the most amusingly dreadful people on the planet?—but there is a deluge of feel-good telly coming your way. Offset your deep feelings of loss by remembering that yet another season of America’s Next Top Model begins on Sept. 21; one sizzler of an episode features an encounter between myself and fellow gamine Twiggy.
P.S.: Am I the only one who was shocked by the vision of the future presented in the denouement of Six Feet Under? While we were supposed to be focusing on the unfurling lives of the beloved characters, all I could see were those clouds of frizzy white hair. I am now convinced that, in the future, there will be NO CONDITIONER!