Updated: Thu., Aug. 11, 2011, 10:49 AM
'I'm a Hamptons house ho!'
By DANA SCHUSTER and BRIAN NIEMIETZ
Last Updated: 10:49 AM, August 11, 2011
Posted: 10:52 PM, August 10, 2011
Cass Almendral has been having himself a great summer — and he owes it all to his house. Half a mile from the Southampton train station, his eight-bedroom, $4 million 1890s farmhouse, complete with a pool and hot tub, has been the site of many a summer bash. But it’s done more than just serve as a party castle. It’s given Almendral his cachet with the ladies.
“If you own a house, you’re at a huge advantage,” he says. Indeed, summer in the Hamptons gives new meaning to the term “house hunting,” as hordes of cement-weary New Yorkers arrive on Long Island, willing to use their romantic wiles to snag the catch of the season — seaside-home-owning New Yorkers. These homeowners are generous with the invitations — as long as their guests are generous with other things.
“I’ve had girls who’d take the bus over and linger around, then have sex with anyone who had a house,” says Almendral, managing director of Wall Street Solutions Group,Inc.Brother, can you spare a house? Some mercenary ladies head to the Hamptons for the express purpose of scoring a man with real estate.“They weren’t hookers. They got by through the kindness of strangers . . . they see the Hamptons as an adventure that’s also a safe, luxurious experience.” There are typically two types of Hamptons-home-hungry New Yorkers. There are the long-term planners, who set the trap early and start dating someone with a sandy abode in the spring (the better for feigning genuineness) and continue the lackluster relationship through Labor Day.
And then there are what veteran club owner Mark Baker likes to call the “professional guests.” “Their job, all attractive women, is to track and hunt down guys in the Hamptons and make a beeline for the ones with houses so they’ll have a place to stay for the summer,” he says.
While city dwellers have always been notoriously hungry for Hamptons invitations, the current economic situation has given homeowners even more power in the romantic realm. “I think this is becoming more common because the wealthy who tend to own these big houses are ruling the market right now,” says Bravo’s “Millionaire Matchmaker,” Patti Stanger.
“And there are no hotels in the Hamptons. You have no choices.” Baker agrees, adding that the entire social scene revolves around these property princes. “It’s become more prevalent this year — the guys are getting the house with the views, but they’re not able to wrangle the girls. So they’re friending promoters to bring the girls to them,” he says. “Then, clubs pay the promoters to bring the girls and the spender — the homeowner — to their club. The promoters get paid and the guys who have the houses hopefully get laid. It all goes hand in hand.”
Yes, it seems that summer lovin’ is definitely for the pragmatists.
“When you’re messing around in New York City, dating is all about marketing and advertising your goods,” says Brett Hogan, a 31-year-old Murray Hill resident. “So if having a Hamptons property is part of that, then of course you let girls know about your house.” Hogan, who owns a vacation rental business, 4 Seasons Getaways, and used to run a share house out East for eight years, says that there is an unspoken rule when a man or woman invites a romantic interest out for the weekend.
“My friend went out with this guy one weekend. And he was all upset that she didn’t hook up with him,” he says.
“And I said, ‘You shouldn’t be going out to the Hamptons for the weekend and not hook up with him. He is giving up his weekend for you and spending a lot of money on you . . . when you invite people up, the pretense is that you’re going to party and hook up.’ ”
While not every sand chaser feels the need to put out to get shacked up, others are fine with advertising their willingness to do just that. One 26-year-old whose parents have a lavish spread in East Hampton says he doesn’t “run around throwing my parents’ house out there as bait. I actually keep it pretty close to the vest.”
But when a casual dance-floor makeout buddy caught wind of the Upper East Sider’s weekend getaway plans, she put on the pressure. “She insinuated that if I wanted sexy time, I should invite her out.”
Despite his initial guardedness, the Hamptonite caved. “I didn’t string her along. She put herself in that position . . . and many, many others,” he says. “Realistically, we would have slept together anyway, but it would’ve maybe taken a couple real dates. Instead, she just hit the fast-forward button.”
“I now say, if someone is trying to use you, recognize it and use them back.” As for the age range of these Hamptons ladies? Either in their early 20s, or 30s and up.
“A lot of them become very picky when they’re 27, 28 — their time is limited. They’re not giving it away,” says Almendral. “But once they get into their 30s, they start giving it away again. The product is past its expiration date.”
Newbies on the city scene are quickly initiated into the game. “Some girls will pressure girls who are new to the city to be friends with a certain guy because of his Hamptons house,” says a 25-year-old woman who works at an investment banking firm. “It’s an overarching theme of the summer — find a guy with a home and date him.”
And while Stanger is not in favor of using someone, she’s says it’s “OK if you make the conditions clear, like a friends-with-benefits situation.” She adds that for the more wary, users are easy to spot. “A user never gives you anything,” Stanger says. “If I pick up the check all the time and I’m the man, she should be filling the house with groceries. If she doesn’t do that and doesn’t bring the Champagne for the weekends . . . you know she’s using you.”
It’s not just women hunting deep-pocketed men, however. “I know three women who have their own houses and they’re going after the polo players and young guys who think they can help them get the next job. They have a smart smile, good handshake and they’ll look you in the eye. They know what they’re doing, too,” says Almendral.
After all, the power is in the pad. “It’s, like, one of those things,” says Hogan. “When you’re in high school, people want to hang out with you because you’re the star football player.” “The football theoretically gave you the power. In adulthood, the house gives you the power.”