READ EXCERPT: 'The Debutante Divorcee,' by Plum Sykes

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Later on, when the sun had started to set, and, I must admit, we were all slightly tipsy from the cocktails and heat, the conversation got more intense.

"Do you ever think about getting married again?" I asked Lauren. She was lazing in a hammock, being rocked gently by the wind. "Yes. I think I won't," said Lauren.

"Quite right," agreed Tinsley, who was mixing yet another cocktail. "Married couples are so dull."

"I know," I agreed. "It's terrible."

The fact is, a married girlfriend is never as fun as she was when she was single. One of my secret -- and, I admit, terribly superficial -- fears about getting married had been that I would become as dull as my dull married girlfriends.

"So, Lauren, why did you break up with Louis?" I asked. Lauren sighed. Then she said, "We broke up ... because, hmmm ..." She paused, as though unsure of the answer. "I guess I thought I was getting married for the right reasons -- because I was in love, and Louis had gotten me a darling Van Cleef ring, but the truth is, no one should get married just because they are in love."

"That's not very romantic," I said.

"Marriage isn't a very romantic proposition," declared Lauren. "It's a practical arrangement. Sorry, but it's the truth. I figure if I avoid the marriage bit, I can still have the romance. But you look like you are so in love. Don't listen to a word I say. It's different for everyone. I don't have a clue."

"I'm sure you do," I said.

"OK, well if you want to know what not to do," continued Lauren, "I'd start with don't have a wedding for four hundred. It completely clouds your judgment. I knew the whole thing was going be a downer the day of the wedding. Can you believe?"

"How?"

"There we all were up in Maine, at this nice sort of private hippie island my mom's family has had forever. It's got a couple of cute cottages. I remember looking out to the ocean the day before the wedding and seeing a crystal chandelier going by on a barge for the tent. It looked like they'd stolen it from the ballroom at the Waldorf. The thing is, I hate chandeliers of a certain type -- I had to literally move out of my parents' place on Park when I came to New York because there were chandeliers everywhere -- and here I was getting married and trying to leave the chandeliers behind and the chandeliers were still coming after me," Lauren recalled. "It was all wrong," she shuddered. "The whole thing was just crazy."

Lauren slid languidly off the hammock and started rummaging around in her bag. A few seconds later she held up an exquisite pair of Victorian cameo earrings. She expertly pushed the posts through her ears, saying, "I do love wearing my baubles on the beach. Don't you think these are very Talitha Getty, Tinsley?"

"So Talitha. I worship her style. If you are going to die, make it an overdose and everyone will worship your fashion sense forever," she declared.

"That's an awful thing to say," insisted Lauren. Then, looking slightly nostalgic, she returned to the subject of her marriage, adding, "Finally, one day I went on vacation and ... well, the truth is I just never came home. Everyone was frantic. When I think back," she concluded, with a mischievous smile, "I'm really appalled at my own behavior. I've never met anyone as terrible as me."

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