article

07.08.10

The Summer of the Entenmann's Man

Sex on the dunes, or how I Iearned to stop eating half a cake for breakfast. Gael Greene on a time of lust and industrial pastry.

For many years, I took summers off from my magazine commitments and moved to the Hamptons to work on a book. First it was my novel, Blue Skies, No Candy. Then it was a second, Doctor Love. And after that I spent a summer putting together a proposal for a sex guide. It should not be surprising that my head was full of lusty fantasy that summer.

At the time I had two men in my life, sort of, as New York City romances go. One who lurched back and forth between not being able to stay away and not wanting to hurt the other woman he’d promised to marry. The other, a perfect companion—smart and intuitive, a passionate gourmand, a tireless dancer, always in the mood by bedtime, but an incurable Don Juan, antsy at the thought of even a weekend of togetherness.

Every two or three days, I tried something new from the Entenmann’s Bakery corner at the nearby IGA supermarket.

I’d been so in love with my husband, even after he became my former husband, that I couldn’t fathom not falling in love again soon. I had always believed that loving, even when it didn’t lead ultimately to commitment, was good practice for really loving one day.

This particular summer I had found the kind of house I loved that I could actually afford, on the second dune with a view of the sea grass and the ocean. It was a true beach house, an unwinterized shack with an extra bedroom, everything I needed in a kitchen and a small guest suite over the garage and I could afford it. Although it was beyond East Hampton or Springs, a big stretch from Sag Harbor, I knew people to join for dinner or movies after a day of forcing myself to sit at the typewriter. (Yes, I came late to computers.)

Friends came to hang out on the weekends. We shopped at farm stands and seafood shops and cooked together. But weekdays stretched long and could be lonely. I comforted myself with coffee cake for breakfast. Every two or three days, I tried something new from the Entenmann’s Bakery corner at the nearby IGA supermarket.

One day I spotted him kneeling at the market’s Entenmann’s display, moving boxes of cookies. He was tall with sun-bleached hair and a sweet American boy face, in a powder-blue short-sleeve shirt and navy shorts.

“There’s no pineapple crumb cake today?” I complained. I had become addicted to this incredibly sweet loaf with its chunks of pineapple and crystals of sugar. He looked up, curious, rather serious. His eyes matched his shirt. It could have been a conspiracy as well as a uniform.

“We don’t do pineapple every day. Try the cinnamon pecan loaf.”

“It’s good too. But I really like the pineapple. Tell your company there’s a serious demand out here for the pineapple.” I rolled my cart off to the dairy department to pick up yogurt, stopping for cereal. He wheeled by me toward the back of the store. I headed for the dairy case, debating cheese, settling for no-fat yogurt. There he was again trundling by me with more boxes heading for the baked goods shelf.

I was almost home when it suddenly hit me. The Entenmann’s man had been following me. I turned into a driveway, wheeled around and headed back to the supermarket. His truck parked in front of the deli just east of the IGA—obviously the next stop on his route. I parked. When he came outside, I pulled my car up alongside. “I live just up the road off Whaler’s Lane,” I said. “Would you like to stop by for a beer?”

“I have to finish my route,” he said. “Give me directions and I’ll see you then.”

The truck pulled in front of the house. He didn’t seem shy at all and certainly wasn’t at all aware of how adorable he was in his baby-blue uniform, lightly tanned with soft golden down on his arms and thighs. He looked around a little and drank the icy beer I handed him, then headed toward the slightly darkened bedroom. With no preamble and no conversation he set down the empty bottle, kicked off his sneakers, dropped his shorts and introduced me to a man who was insanely enamored with cunnilingus.

He was either an inspired natural or a scholar of women. Possibly both. He seemed ready to go on forever. Finally when I couldn’t bear another searing sensation, I begged him to stop. He talked. There were so many women on his route, he marveled, so many predatory women, eager and available. He was married and lived not far from the factory in one of those non-Hamptons. He loved the woman next door, too. Cunnilingus was his favorite thing.

Weekdays suddenly seemed delicious and electric with possibility. I stopped obsessing about my two elusive men. I felt no need to eat half a cake for breakfast and felt fulfilled with two small slices.

I timed my IGA visits to match his schedule. I even managed to get several pages of my book written every day to justify the reward of his visit. He didn’t come every day. And sometimes days would go by and I would imagine him with some slim, younger brunette in Bridgehampton or a lusty redhead in Wainscott. Did he rotate us? But then he would arrive. The truck looked ridiculous parked on the dune. I wondered if my neighbors saw it and what they might think but decided I didn’t care. We would make love for a while. He would drink his beer. And then I would walk him back to his truck. He would jump up into the driver’s seat, toss me a coffee cake and back away.

The summer ended. I moved back to the city and my two on-again off-again guys, steeling myself for hopeless fix-ups, just in case love might strike. My agent negotiated a contract for Delicious Sex.

One day he called to say he would be in the city for the high-school basketball championship at Madison Square Garden and could stop by after. I was wearing a lacy black nightgown and Rive Gauche by St. Laurent when I let him in. It felt strangely awkward seeing him in my living room with the fake Louis armchairs and the folk art paintings. He was wearing long pants and brown shoes. Without the bleaching of the sun his hair seemed dishwater blond, certainly not golden. It was sweet to see him but it wasn’t the same. The electricity was gone.

These days I never see that big delivery van with its painted cakes and cookies parked at a supermarket or moving along the highway in the Hamptons without smiling, remembering the summer of the Entenmann’s Man. And I hope there are still sex-besotted locals and delivery men for all the lusty weekday “widows” at the beach tempted to eat too many pecan coffee cakes while waiting for their guys to arrive on the weekend.

A New York restaurant critic for 40 years and author of seven books (two bestselling novels, a sex guide and a memoir: Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess), Gael Greene’s reviews and archives can be found at her website.