Of Sex, Police and Chattel Bondage

This swan may be ashamed of his virility, but he is still a swan. Humans, however, are another matter.
This swan may be ashamed of his virility, but he is still a swan. Humans, however, are another matter.

I wrote that headline to get your attention. There’s not much I have to say that’s salacious, but perhaps you’ll hear me out.

Once upon a time, I worked as a house-cleaner and a boat-cleaner, a leaf raker and a personal assistant, and several other quite odd and menial jobs in the Hamptons. These jobs are perfect for someone who wants to cultivate their own personal brand of cynicism and low self-worth.

There’s only one thing I really learned when doing those jobs, and that’s how much the wealthy really, really love to talk about other peoples’ sex lives, particularly the sex lives of their hired workers.

This week, a young East Hampton Village Police Officer is in trouble with the department for what the tabloids are calling “bedding a meter maid” at a cottage in the village where the meter maid also worked as a housekeeper.

My first reaction was to be angry that a police officer would waste public money having sex while he was on the clock. Then I learned he was off duty. My second reaction was to worry that the people who walked in on the couple were frightened. But they haven’t yet pressed charges.

See, it’s kind of an open secret among laborers in the Hamptons that housekeepers do all sorts of things in the homes where they work when their masters are away.

When I was working on boats, the captains of the boats compared their relationships with the boats’ owners to slavery. They would sleep in the owners’ cabins when the owners were off working on Wall Street, just to feel better about their situation.

Sometimes the owners would show up in the middle of the week. They were always picky and particular about so many things, but, even though they seemed to know that someone had been sleeping in their beds, they never seemed to mind. It’s almost as if the idea of their servants’ virility made them think better of their own. On an animal level, that just makes no sense. But in the Hamptons, as in a society that tolerates slavery, it’s the way the world works.

The greatest irony is that, while the captains thought they were getting one over on their masters, they were actually feeding their masters’ most unspoken desires.

I once had a friend who caught his housekeeper having a tryst in his bed. She and her lover ran naked out of his house into the night. He told her later to never do it again, but he kept her on as a domestic worker. He couldn’t stop bringing up the incident at cocktail parties for quite some time. It was just the kind of story that social Hamptonites love to tell and retell.

Turns out, once I learned the officer’s name, I just wanted the story to go away. See, this cop just happened to help me out a couple years back.

I had parked my 1993 Corolla on Railroad Avenue in the village and gone in to work at The East Hampton Press. Someone in a brand new Volkswagen rammed into my front left quarter panel while trying to parallel park in front of me, and then went about his errands as if nothing happened. A good samaritan took down his plate number. The sex cop helped me find the perp. Our young officer was courteous, professional, and damn it, he did a good job. The Volkswagen driver came back to my office with a check for $800, an apology, and some lame excuse like “I didn’t think the owner of your car spoke English.” Fahrvergnügen. Really?

So, now, I guess, I know I’m grateful to the sex cop. And that’s all I really want to say.

 

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

3 thoughts on “Of Sex, Police and Chattel Bondage

  • January 21, 2014 at 5:41 pm
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    I’ll never again lurk around The Hamptons without wondering what’s between the sheets inside the doors behind those intimidating tall hedges. And I’ll never again swap canapes with a one-percenter without snarking him or her with a chattel question. btw, have you read Lucy Lethridge’s “Servants”?

    Reply
  • January 27, 2014 at 9:52 am
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    I have been very surprised by the amount of vitriol concerning this case. Is it just because it is winter? Just recently this young man was voted “Officer of the Year” working on a tough case. Both individuals here are young and unmarried. They were off duty. It sounds like people want them burned at the stake. Some people mention that he is “Hispanic” or that he has a
    bad attitude.” Wow people. Deal with your anger. When you leave Church on Sunday remember to practice forgiveness and compassion during the week.

    Reply

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