Some more notes on the life of pleasure
At dawn, Chloe bursts in on June yelling alarms. One hysterical fire drill later, they wait on James, who is desperately in need of escape from self-loathing. They are therefore going to the Hamptons for the weekend, drinking all the way… June neither drinks nor wants to go, waiting for a phone call regarding a job. In the Hamptons, what she wants is to do a poor imitation of the life of the country squire.
She meets a dapper young man of dubious confidence who throws lavish parties, but remains a mystery to his guests. This hipster version of the great Gatsby is in various ways superior to the original, mostly because the object of his adoration is Chloe. But he is still in the thrall & at the top of the popular fantasies regarding pleasure. Chloe has no high opinion of him – yet his party was the reason she came. Now she’s depressed.
Chloe chases parties as if there was something there, except the fun. It is unclear what. Chloe sees one of her former party girls turned suburban mother – clearly, unprepared for the hardship. Maybe party girls are weak. Chloe is shocked at such fall from grace. She decides to go on to the party, so that she can have sex with the mystery man. Would this prove she has conquered?
Chloe suggests something about celebrity that celebrities seem to forget – James, never a great celebrity, now forgotten, was celebrated enough to forget it. What is celebrated is the newness of beauty. This means both the spontaneity of pleasure & discovery, seeing what’s what. Fashion is an attempt to overcome mortality.
James realizes he needs a stage on which to dance in order to regain his sanity. Put all the preparation for Dancing with the stars to some use. Presumably, he has been humbled enough to remember that doing something well is in itself pleasant. But every leading man needs a leading lady – James meets Mark, recently abandoned by his girlfriend, forever this time. She had invited him to the Hamptons, to bed him in her parents’ bed, hoping for a ring. It is not that easy to start a marriage, apparently…
They play midnight basketball, struggling with all the might of drunkenness, until they realize that they need to make their own opportunities. They are an example of failure to each other, which makes it easier to turn failure to their own advantage. Of course, all James needs to do is flatter people very willing to be flattered. Mark can do nothing except try to summon some daring. In the cold light of morning, the celebrity looks even more brilliant, as the mere mortal feels weak, spent.