The Shit-Kickers of Madison Avenue
May 5, 2017 7:04 AM   Subscribe

“Then we take showers? Half an hour? Then we like shave our legs? Half an hour? Then we like put cream on our legs? Half an hour? Then we call up everybody who’s been like grounded? We talk to them for at least an hour? Maybe we give them an hour and a half? Then we go out and buy a quart of vodka and some orange juice and cranberry juice? Then we go to somebody else’s house and drink vodka with orange juice or vodka and cranberry juice? Then we get dressed? Then we get another quart of vodka and go to somebody else’s house? We become like outgoing? And we make calls to friends and invite them over? By then, we’ll be ready to go?”

This is like class prep for your teachers, kids.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:25 AM on May 5, 2017 [11 favorites]

Aw, nostalgia -- I graduated from public high school in that neighborhood in '88, and those kids would sit in our courtyard and smoke and sneer. The simple pleasures of childhood.
posted by LizardBreath at 7:30 AM on May 5, 2017 [8 favorites]

I remember these kids. As a public school kid in Manhattan I'd run into them sometimes. Very bad attitude, very little brain, lots and lots of money. I'm sure they're all very happy and successful.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:34 AM on May 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

Do you want Jared Kushner? That is how you get Jared Kushner.
posted by briank at 7:47 AM on May 5, 2017 [36 favorites]

I will say that I miss the nineties. I did not go to private school or even to New York at any point and in fact my high school experience was almost unremittingly ghastly, but it was a more optimistic time and I miss it.

Also, I had a lot of really great boots in the nineties. My mother referred to them as "shit-kickers", which was out of character language for her but perhaps she had been to New York.
posted by Frowner at 7:48 AM on May 5, 2017 [10 favorites]

The article skewers these kids (all those question marks in the dialogue cut), but it's loving toward them, too. I especially like this, about how they kiss each other hello: "Their kisses are heartfelt, making their unity, their devotion to and trust in one another, palpable. Kisses from their mouths are like the cool little first nippy smacks of a very young baby."

It doesn' t treat them like cartoon characters.
posted by thursdaystoo at 7:49 AM on May 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

Sweat? As in obsess over? I had never heard that one.

Kids those days.
posted by pracowity at 8:03 AM on May 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

On the first school day after the weekend, promptly at 12:36 P.M., the tenth graders are back in place at Jackson Hole, smoking, chewing gum, eating fries and onion rings, and reviewing the party. “I like feel real ripped off?”

Yeah, the Fyre Festival was a fucking disaster.
posted by Naberius at 8:10 AM on May 5, 2017 [8 favorites]

I like how they committed at least an hour to each of the kids who had been grounded.
posted by klausman at 8:12 AM on May 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

I remember Jackson Hole. Bad food and overpriced. Then again, wasn't rich enough not to care that the food I bought was crap...
posted by From Bklyn at 8:26 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also remember reading this at the time. It's like a corollary to Jay Mcinnerney's piece about Chloe Sevigny.
Yeah, Jared and Ivanka's crowd.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:29 AM on May 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

But most of all, I Remember Shit-Kickers.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:29 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

These were clearly not Lycee kids, because they weren't talking about everyone else in French.

Also, oh man. I'd forgotten about those kids. I went to probably the same school as Lizardbreath above, and it was private school-adjacent enough during that period when NYMag did a profile on the private school "street gangs" (not kidding), and while that stuff touched my school, most of us couldn't afford serious drug habits. Every single girl I knew from or in the private school system had an eating disorder. And there was apparently a lot of sexual coercion (see: drug habits and the pressures of the time). Mostly it made me pity, in an easing-the-resentment way, anyone who went to one of those schools. Like yeah they'd be fine financially for the rest of their lives, but their lives at the time, while free from financial concerns, were not free from suffering. This article is a lot rosier than my memory.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:38 AM on May 5, 2017 [9 favorites]

Oooh boy yeah. As a um...counterpoint, these two kids were, IIRC, on the edges of these sorts of cliques/groups (of the hard-partying sort in the NYMag profile, which was the other side of the linked article's fluffy depiction). Not socially outcast, but not in either.

Honestly, the article is...really depicting something that didn't exist. 1995 was I think the same year that one of the kids who would go to Jackson hole all the time was known as the blow job queen of the upper west side. She was 14, and was pretty much never sober.

What a weird, weird piece.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:46 AM on May 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Lillian Ross, god of Talk of the Town. I really hope someone someday anthologizes all of her Talk pieces.
posted by not_the_water at 9:58 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

So, basically, Cruel Intentions in real life? (Yes I know the movie was based on Les Liaisons Dangereuses)
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:12 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

[W]as known as the blow job queen of the upper west side...

Which means she gave a grand total of two.
Or one.
Or none. Because high school is and high schoolers are fucking cruel.
posted by aureliobuendia at 11:25 AM on May 5, 2017 [13 favorites]

I'm pretty sure that all the reasons why it's a bad idea to bulk-attribute shortcomings to any group of people apply to these kids, too.
posted by thursdaystoo at 12:44 PM on May 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

Which means she gave a grand total of two.
Or one.
Or none. Because high school is and high schoolers are fucking cruel.

Yeah, no. People don't break down, crying, when talking about that kind of thing for the rep.

They also don't go to rehab for shits and giggles (coke and heroin, just from my school! and again, we weren't the ones doing the crazy shit!), and they don't crash cars because of a rumor or whatever. And I'm also pretty sure they don't ironically have debilitating eating disorders that also require rehab and sometimes never leave them.

Again, these kids had money, so, you know, limited pity. But they were also almost entirely unsupervised, they had access to every drug you can think of, they were miserable, and, again, they had money. I spent many a weekend entirely fucked up on way too many things in someone's extremely expensive apartment, and I wasn't even one of the cool kids. (I couldn't afford it. But hey, I also didn't develop a coke habit, so there's that.) I know it's cool to dismiss high schoolers as talking shit or whatever, but it's also really shitty. These kids did these things. Daphne Abdela and Christopher Velazquez's killing of a random dude in the park was perhaps the scandalous highlight, but they weren't the only ones who hurt people, and that guy wasn't the only one who got hurt.

In retrospect, the sexual coercion stuff that was just accepted was...really, really bad. And it came with all the usual stuff. I mean, what do you do when the boyfriend beating you is the son of a really powerful judge? Nothing, because you feel trapped. (Wonder what happened to her.)

Try not to be an asshole about this. I'm pretty some of those people never recovered.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:32 PM on May 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

Hi guys! Dalton '93 here. Ask me anything!
posted by oneironaut at 3:22 PM on May 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

What horrible writing, what a tin ear for dialogue. Reminds me of fake grungespeak
posted by sleepy psychonaut at 7:36 PM on May 5, 2017

Hi guys! Dalton '93 here. Ask me anything!

What became of you?
posted by Chitownfats at 2:58 AM on May 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

What horrible writing...

There's no accounting for taste, I suppose.
posted by thursdaystoo at 4:00 AM on May 6, 2017

What became of you?

I went to university in Scotland, worked in the Parks Dept. in NYC, joined the Peace Corps, got a grad degree, worked on climate and clean energy policy--including a stint as a Senate staffer--got married then left government behind to start a brewery in D.C.. I currently work as a beer salesman to learn the business while we raise money for the brewery.
posted by oneironaut at 1:08 PM on May 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

oneironaut: Thank you for the candor, refreshing. And good on ya, sir. Not quite the dire life trajectory that the article would have predicted.
posted by Chitownfats at 10:13 AM on May 7, 2017

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