I am often asked what it is like to be a celebrity in the Hamptons. Well, maybe not often, but I did receive one piece of fan mail that read:
Dear Mr. Sneiv,
I am a hard working devoted husband and father of three exceptional children. I walk the dog, mow the grass and take out the trash when asked. I dutifully attend church each Sunday. I just wanted you to know that I enjoy your weekly articles. In fact, I live vicariously through you. I only wish I too could be a celebrity on the East End, if even for just an evening.
There are many types of celebrities in the Hamptons. They range from movie stars to captains of industry. Artists, entertainers, musicians, politicians and writers also receive elevated status. More times than not, you could be standing next to one of them and you would not even know it. However, trust me when I tell you that there are things you can do that will get you the very same treatment they receive. It’s all in the presentation.
I believe there are many people living on the East End that share your fantasy. There is an army recruitment campaign that uses the slogan, “Be all that you can be…in the Army.” I have always admired that concept and in fact encourage people to be all they can be and then some. But I don’t want to just tell you what it is like to live like a celebrity. Rather, I want to give you the tools so that you can actually have the experience.
I am including some tips that will help you and all of Dan’s Readers become a celebrity for an evening, even if you
Tip # 1
Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself, “I am worthy of celebrity status.” You must have confidence to fake being a celebrity.
Have someone call over to one of the nicest local restaurants and let them know you would like to make a reservation for a very important person who will be dining at their establishment at 9 p.m. on Friday (Celebrities never dine at the standard dinner hour when it is busy.) When the host or hostess asks for the name, tell them that for security reasons, your client will be dining under the name Skippy Jack. That is the way celebrities do it so the restaurant won’t be full of paparazzi when they arrive. It will also make you sound important and they will assign you the best and most private seat in the house. Don’t worry that when you arrive, they won’t recognize you as a celebrity. Do you know what the CEO of Marathon Oil or Pfizer looks like?
Learn to speak celebrity. For instance, if you live in North Hampton and intend to visit Southampton, it’s permissible for you to let it be overheard that you will be spending time in the South this winter. If you will be taking the ferry out of Orient Point in the near future, then you may refer to the fact that you are going on a cruise this fall.
In terms of your attire, there are only two choices—dress down like you are just tooling around or dress up like you are going to a black tie charity event. Most celebrities, while in the Hamptons, are vacationing and thus want to get as far away from dressing up as they can, so you should be able to pull it off. A nice piece of faux jewelry can be worn for additional validation. There’s a guy named Flea, who sells Rolex watches in the King Kullen parking lot for $15 each.
Never be seen alone. Your friend or your wife/husband can pose as your assistant or bodyguard. Whoever accompanies you, I suggest giving them “tweet instructions” every 30 minutes or so. That way they can pretend to tweet to your legion of fans. Make sure you carry a cellphone to pull this one off. When you give tweet instructions, make sure you say them loud enough for others to hear. Something along the lines of “Great to get away from the cameras for a while, having dinner in
Leave the Nissan Altima at home and spring for the cost of a town car. Park your car in the parking lot near one of the East End upscale boutiques and schedule to have the driver pick you up there. That way even he or she won’t know that you are not a real celebrity.
Spray-paint your American Express card black. The Black Card carries a certain cache and says, “ I am somebody.”
Practice your autograph signing before you arrive at the restaurant. Make sure you sign your name very sloppily so they can’t actually read who you are. Big celebrities sign so many autographs that they literally spend less than two seconds fulfilling a request and that usually results in illegible letters followed by a wavy line.
Never wear a shirt that advertises anything. Celebrities don’t do that unless they are getting paid.
Consider having a friend follow you around with a couple cameras hanging around their neck. This is a sure-fire way to look important and garner attention.
Get a few hundred-dollar bills out of the bank. Wrap them around a big stack of one-dollar bills and make sure you flash the roll a few times a night. It will look like you have a celebrity bankroll.
When mentioning a fellow celebrity, always use their first name. You don’t need to actually say you know them, just make a comment like, “Isn’t Alec’s new bride just divine?” Or perhaps, “I heard Bill was at the Artist–Writers game.”
Don’t over-tip. Just ask any area waiter or waitress and they will confirm that most real celebrities are cheap.
I hope these tips will allow Brook and anyone else to experience the celebrity treatment for an evening. In the end I expect, although it will have been fun, the process will have been exhausting. Maybe it’s better to just dine at home with your loved ones. At least there, you always get the best seat in the house and you are guaranteed to be surrounded by the people who truly care about you.
P.S. There is another way to get exceptional treatment. Wherever you go, just tell them you are a friend of Mr. Sneiv of Dan’s Papers. You have my blessing.