“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in his seminal classic, The Great Gatsby. “They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand.”
Thus, to many of us, it can be perplexing that some people might contemplate going under the knife so that they might endure the drive from Manhattan to their Hamptons home without being inconvenienced by the need for bathroom stops.
“Traffic en route to the Hamptons has gotten so bad that it’s sending some well-heeled New Yorkers to the doctor for a medical procedure that reduces the urge to pee so often,” according to a report at Insider.
“The Hamptons” are the towns of Southampton and East Hampton, which comprise most of the southern fork of the east end of otherwise-decidedly-unfashionable Long Island, New York. In Gatsby, the old money summers in East Egg, a fictitious version of the Hamptons in the Roaring ’20s. Today, glamorous celebrities, socialites, politicians, behind-the-scenes power brokers, and scads of hangers-on and wannabes flock there in the summer. Add in the servant class, and the throngs clog up the shops, restaurants, lodgings, and — most inconveniently — the roads.
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I’ve been out there once or twice myself, and unless something has changed, there is only one local road leading out to the sparkling enclave. Traffic was insufferable then, and that was 20 years ago. Much has happened since, including additional real estate development and many New Yorkers moving to their summer houses year-round to escape the city during pandemic times. Thus, the 100-mile drive takes four or five hours, and there are almost no restrooms on the way, resulting in a difficult situation known colloquially as “Hamptons Bladder.” Insider reports:
To combat “Hamptons bladder,” New Yorkers who summer in the exclusive Long Island enclave are seeking a pair of specialized medical procedures: prostate artery embolization, which reduces the size of the prostate in men, and “bladder Botox,” which decreases urinary frequency for women.
“A lot of people have problems with this issue. They come out to the Hamptons and have to stop four or five times on the way, but can’t find a restroom,” said Dr. David Shusterman, a New York City urologist who’s been advertising the procedures with the tagline “Race to the Hamptons, not to the bathroom.”
While it’s not uncommon for people over 50 to find themselves visiting the loo more frequently than they used to, it’s not something that would inspire most to seek medical intervention. The drive out to the Hamptons seems to be the bridge too far for a certain set, though. This is partly because the ride is often shared, and impatient important people get irate when their less continent friends break their stride.
Shusterman said he’s seen a 20% spike in patients seeking PAE procedures this spring. “I don’t see them until around May, then all of a sudden, May comes and they care more,” he said. “When they’re in a car with a bunch of people, they’re embarrassed because they have to go to the bathroom every hour.”…
Shusterman said patients have told him about clashes in the car with friends when they needed to get off the road and find a restroom to no avail. “Thousands of people are probably fighting about this every week,” he said.
The doctor himself can relate. “I can’t tell you how many arguments I personally get into — I’ve lost three friends because I’m the driver and refuse to stop for them,” said Shusterman. “There’s just no place to stop.”
Clearly, the old Gatorade bottle isn’t going to be an option for such fine folk. “They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves,” wrote Fitzgerald. “Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us” — for example, when they really, really have to go and there’s nowhere convenient or acceptable — “they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.”