Monday, June 3, 2013

Where do you Summer?

Here's a statement to make you feel all stabby: "I summer in Maine." I'd put it a close second to, "I go to Harvard" as a conversation killer. Have you noticed that people who go to Harvard can be a little sheepish about admitting they attend Harvard? Years ago, I had a conversation with a guy on a train that went like this:

Me: Where do you go to school?
Guy: Um, I go to a liberal arts school in the Boston area.
Me: Oooh, I love guessing games. Boston College?
Guy: No.
Me: Emerson College?
Guy: No.
Me: Northeastern University?
Guy: No.
Me: Boston University? Regis College? Mount Ida College?
Guy: No, no, and no.
Me: I give up.
Guy: Harvard.
Me: Cool. Do you pahk your cah in Hahvahd Yahd?
Guy: Um, no.

I have a lot (well, several) friends who went to Harvard and they are all very nice, normal people, but I think that there's an assumption that if you went to Harvard you must be some kind of socially awkward super genius or from a famous and mega-wealthy family. I'm sure that sometimes these Harvard stereotypes are true, just like there are surely some people from New Jersey who resemble characters from Jersey Shore. But, I'm equally sure there are some Harvard grads who would happily engage with me in a discussion about Kim Kardashian's maternity wardrobe.

Similarly, when I say that we go to Maine in the summer, I assume that this conjures up images of coastal cottages which are far from cottage-like, yacht clubs, and people who talk like Thurston Howell III. So, I end up jumping all over myself to disclaim my family's house: "It's really, really small. A shack, really" and "the one bathroom is so small that the K can't fit in the shower and he has to use the outdoor one." But, then I've mentioned that there's an outdoor shower and that sounds fancy (even though it's decidedly not) and by that point, my friend is nodding indulgently, but thinking, "Oh, sure, Miss Fancy-Pants. I know you're hanging out with this guy:"

From the Preppy Handbook.
The truth of the matter is that on occasion you'll see a guy who looks like a Gossip Girl parent in Maine, in my experience, you're far more likely to run into a guy who looks like this:

Picture taken at the 2010 Thomaston, Maine Fourth of July Parade. 

Which is kind of a bummer, because I could absolutely get into dressing like a country club matron. I just received a catalog (you all know I love my catalogs) from a company called, "Castaway: Nantucket Island" or it may be "Castaway Nantucket Island" or "Castaway, Nantucket Island." The punctuation is obscure enough to leave me wondering whether it's a new reality show like Survivor that is set on Nantucket (sign me up!) or an order to the inhabitants of Nantucket to go fishing or a suggestion that Nantucket snuck to the coast of Massachusetts as a stowaway. In any case, if you were looking for a source for needlepoint belts, look no further:

If you're traditional, go for signal flags.

These are more bad ass. Or, as bad ass as you
can be in a needlepoint belt.
 Embroidered shorts? They got you covered:

Oh, Trip, your BBQ shorts are a scream!
Or maybe Madras is more your thing:

I really feel like the bucks should be white.
What do you think?
What I love about this catalogs is how the models look like regular people:

Here she is, your middle school music teacher, modeling
whale-embroidered pants and cobalt blue top-siders.
Truthfully, if I thought I could pull it off, I'd totally wear some embroidered pants. Hey, yolo and it might as well be with critters on yer britches.

I also receive the Vineyard Vines catalog, which I love (sincerely). If you're not familiar, all you really need to know is that it's the official clothier of the Kentucky Derby. If you need further information, just look at their ties. There are over 150 different patterns featuring everything from chocolate labs to fish tacos. A lot of the VV shtick is selling a lifestyle; the one that people conjure up in their mind when I say that we go to Maine in the summer. The company motto is, "Every day should feel this good." VV has a blog, which features pictures from weddings that included VV attire. There are so many of these weddings that the old saying may be changed to, "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and something from Vineyard Vines." Here's a typical wedding featured on the VV blog:
Aren't they perfect? Seriously, her dress is lovely, the bridesmaid dresses appear to be something you might actually be able to wear again, and it even looks like they had nice weather for their wedding. My only concern for them is the high likelihood that one of the nine groomsmen made a rehearsal dinner toast in which he joked that the real reason that the groom wanted to incorporate crabs in the wedding attire is because he and the bride met at the Colgate student health center where they were both being treated for medically resistant cases of crabs. Naaah, they probably vetted the groomsmen and ditched the ones that would be so crude as to make an STD joke.

VV is great if you want mother-daughter matching outfits:

I would totally wear this and in five seconds there would be chocolate
and dirt and footprints all over my cute white pants.

Actually, we did have one day last summer when the kids all wore coordinating clothes:

Obviously, their outfits are from the VV Ottoman Empire Collection. Or not. So, when you picture summer in Maine, just think of it as a hybrid of kids wearing t-shirts with Islamic symbols with a little bit of this thrown in:


  1. A cat named Muffy?

    1. Okay, if you know me well enough to know that, then you should know me well enough to know that it was a joke name that, unfortunately for everyone, lasted for over 20 years as Muffy was the cat who was too mean to die.