In Lower Manhattan–more specifically, TriBeCa–going back to school isn’t just about the children or their hyper-intense curriculum, one that would have been viewed as hieroglyphics back in the 70s and 80s, when most of these parents were going to “elementary” school themselves (and as for preschool, well, forget about it. That wasn’t a thing.). It’s about what the adults are wearing, how much they can stand out among one another in their couture. And since this will more than likely be one of the few times they make a cameo on the school grounds before leaving the task to the people they pay to raise their children, it is of the utmost importance to make an impression.
And mind you, it isn’t just the women who bring their fashion A-game, but the men, too. Maybe even more so. Whether gay or straight, they are aware that this is the ideal environment to troll and be trolled in. And so, it should come as no surprise to notice their perfectly manicured hands, “subtly” gelled hair and just too tight enough long sleeve D&G shirt paired with “laid-back” Tom Ford jeans. It’s the perfect blend of Italian and American.
For Andrew Wolinski, a 36-year-old divorcé who had waited this long in life to “be true to his identity,” this ensemble combination was meticulously thought out months in advance, with much deliberation peppered in before this very moment. This moment of having to drop off his three-year-old daughter, McKenzie Rose (no child was any child without at least two names to back up his or her status). It was his now ex-wife, Micaela Delaney (a middle name, not a last name), who had claimed responsibility for afternoon pickup–she, too, had her trolling agenda, and felt strongly that there was a better pick of straight men available in the PM, ones with a more “artistic,” “adventurous” spirit, since their loose schedule obviously permitted them the ability to come and go as they pleased in their work lives. Or at least it was Micaela Delaney’s theory. She herself had also opted for Dolce and Gabbana for her grand debut outside of Le Petit Génie preschool. Except, in her case, it was head to toe, a free-flowing black dress and black heels to match, completing the look with, of all things, a black cloche for this sort of funerary flapper appeal.
She knew this outfit was dangerously at risk of being “too summery” by the other mothers and queens, but she felt confident enough in its style and overt expensiveness to risk it. But, in this case, it isn’t Micaela Delaney whose Dolce caught the eyes of every appraising father milling around outside of Le Petit Génie. No, instead, that morning, they were all riveted by Andrew–who had the sort of aura–especially rare in New York–that radiated “I’m different than the others, you’ll want to get to know me.”
Maybe it was how he carried himself, or maybe it was the way he made McKenzie Rose look more like his escort than his daughter. She was like JonBenet meets Kylie Jenner. And still, it was Andrew they all gawked at. Ah, there was no better debut for fashion and sexuality than the first day of school in TriBeCa.
As Andrew was ensuring McKenzie Rose had her Alice + Olivia sweater buttoned, another dad, Mark Wasserman, a 41-year-old font designer, approached.
Mark practically drew back at the affirmative answer. “My god, I barely recognized you from last year. You were all Hugo Boss cliches of pretending to be straight.”
News of Andrew and Micaela Delaney’s divorce had clearly spread with the same rapidity of a herpes breakout.
“Well, I was… not quite myself then.”
Mark winked. “I’m glad you are now.”
Could it really be this easy to segue into the sexuality he had so long known he gravitated toward? He couldn’t fully respond to this internal dialogue before McKenzie Rose added, “Who were you before Daddy?”
He cringed. He had always hated being called “Daddy.” It made him feel perverse, like he was doing something wrong, living up to the worst connotations of the moniker.
“Mark just means, well, I was with Mommy last year, and now we live apart.”
“Oh,” McKenzie Rose said simply, not wanting to broach the subject further as it was obviously something her parents would have to sort out themselves. She was really more concerned with whether or not her lip gloss was still on as Richard Charles Browning V passed by looking incredibly dapper.
Just when she thought he might look at her, he instead glanced up at her father, who was attracting quite a bit of attention, much to McKenzie Rose’s dismay. In anger, she pulled her hand away from his and declared, “I’m going inside now.”
Andrew nodded his approval. “Sure sweetie, see you tomorrow.” It still sounded strange saying that. It emphasized he was a part-time father now, exempt from the total burden of partaking in a mid-twentieth century concept of “the family.”
He often regretted not just confessing his preference to Micaela Delaney before a child had to come into the world. But then, he imagined she knew, and simply didn’t care. She wanted the Dolce and Gabbana perks as well. And she wasn’t going to get them from anyone else with the cunty attitude only he found charming, and that was merely because he could chalk it up to her “doing” Joan Crawford for his benefit.
The money he had was a comfort, sure, but how was it going to guide him through the uncharted waters of his sexual awakening? Mark might only be interested for the novelty effect. From the looks of everyone eyeing him right now, it was almost regrettable that he had decided to take McKenzie Rose to her first day of school. He should have worn something less attention-grabbing. He should’ve stuck with Hugo Boss.