True Prep = Hyde

Remember The Preppy Handbook from the early 80s?  Author Lisa Birnbach poked good-natured fun at all things prep: the schools, the dress, family relationships, lifestyle, etc.  As young faculty, those of us at Hyde got a kick out of the fact that we got a “shout-out” by being listed as a Bohemian Prep School.

Well, open up the cover to the recently published True Prep (Knopf, 2010) and you’ll be greeted as follows: “Wake up, Muffy. We’re back.”  Yep, thirty years later and Birnbach has written a sequel offering an update on every factor imaginable.  (e.g., The Biggest Change in 30 Years: the acceptance of fleece.  Explanation: “We always thought our reliance on natural ‘guaranteed to wrinkle’ fabrics was our right and trademark.”)

And let it be known that Hyde stands proud among those few select schools who can say that they’ve been referenced in both books.  Let me explain.  (First let me take my tongue out of my cheek.)

A section of the book called “REHAB: The New Boarding School”… ahem… stay with me, it gets better…begins:  “Where you attend (and possibly get booted from) boarding school is one of the most important elements of your pedigree.  And just as important is where you go to rehab to lose your addictions – the dangerous behaviors your parents sent you away to avoid, but you still managed to to pick up anyway in the safety of the middle of the woods somewhere in deepest New England or outside Santa Barbara.”

Then they rank the best known rehabs, actually comparing each one with a corresponding prep school.  For example, “The traditional Betty Ford Center – where patients have to make their own beds and are forced to do grueling manual labor, such as emptying their trash – is the Exeter for alcoholics and drug abusers.”

It goes on to say, “Like Exeter, Betty Ford boasts a high-profile student body, and the administration is fastidious about staying in touch with its alumni through regular newsletters.”

OK, you get the idea…

From there, the rating moves on to Hazelden: “the St. Paul’s of rehabs…  no-frills, offering the added benefit of mental-health therapy to address issues like Pop’s second family or Mummy’s setting the Christmas tree on fire after too many bloodies and sedatives.”

Then there’s Silver Hill Hospital (aka “Silver Spoon” or “Silver Pill Hill”) in “ultra-preppy New Canaan, Connecticut ” where “45 acres of pristine rolling green hills, commons-like yards, an outdoor tennis court, a fitness center, and an admissions office will make you feel like you’re at Pomfret, not the loony bin.”

Finally, the analysis moves out west to Promises in Malibu and Cirque Lodge in Utah:  “They are the Hyde Schools of rehab – rustic and tough but with a loving touch.”

Hmmm… “rustic and tough but with a loving touch.”  That’s a tag-line I can live with.  Kind of like it, in fact.

Onward,  Malcolm