Lockup: the new rehab
The summer season is in full swing, and this year there’s a fabulous new vacation option for those who’ve already been pampered at Golden Door, Canyon Ranch and Miraval, hit the links at Pine Valley, Pebble Beach and Augusta, and slumbered at the Pierre, Las Ventanas and Hotel George V.Ever the trendsetter (everyone who’s anyone has a Chihuahua and a sex tape by now, right?), Paris Hilton has made a stint in jail the new “it” adventure destination for those who’ve seen and done it all. She’s doing for hard time what Angel Cabrera did last Sunday for closeted smokers who golf.Assuming she continues to accrue good time/work time credit this weekend, at press time Paris was scheduled to be set free Monday, giving her just in excess of three weeks of some quality “me” time in the slammer. Socialites everywhere are seemingly racking up DUIs and parole violations in order to get on the wait list for the big house. After all, what obscenely wealthy person about town wouldn’t relish the opportunity to eat instant mashed potatoes knowing there’s very little chance of running into anyone in the upper echelon (save for Lindsay Lohan and a select few CEOs) for 23 wondrous days and nights?According to published accounts of Paris’ stay in Los Angeles’ Century Regional Correctional Facility, the experience has been less “The Shawshank Redemption” or “Papillon” and more “Legally Blonde” (although, after three weeks in the slammer and no reports of her colorist paying a visit, that remains to be seen) or “Born Yesterday” (the Judy Holliday version, not the Melanie Griffith remake).Paris has wiled away a few hours each day in her 120-square-foot room with a toilet, sink and “sliver of a window” strengthening her brain with the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times (not confirmed is if she’s been given a dictionary to look up the big words or a speech coach to help her pronounce them). She’s also had consultations with a spiritual adviser who said she was sent to the clink because her “spirit or soul did not like the way [she] was being seen … God released [her].” She’s also attempting to heal on her own, perusing self-help books (presumably with lots of pictures).In addition to working on her inner self, time in jail has apparently also been kind to Paris’ outer being. A friend who visited last weekend gushed that she looked “so beautiful.” Seeing Paris in a standard-issue orange jumpsuit with her hair pulled back, the friend added, “It felt surreal, like a movie. No make-up; she is naturally beautiful. I was stunned. She was as beautiful as she is with make-up.”It has been reported that reading her fan mail (she’s received more than 20 crates of it) is the highlight of each day. Paris is allegedly attempting to answer as many letters personally as possible. One fan who received a response reported that the heiress was kind enough to dot her i’s with hearts and sprinkle X’s and O’s at the bottom of the letter, which she signed, “Love always.” She’s also spent much of her time doing personal writing, although there’s been no confirmation from the literary world if Barnes & Noble can expect to line its shelves with a prison memoir/coffee table book in time for the holidays.While she won’t be able to brag about engaging in the traditional prison art of license-plate making, Paris has dabbled in other crafts while locked up, making her dad a Father’s Day card, complete with pictures.Paris has also worked on honing her conversation skills, placing collect calls to Barbara Walters of “The View” and “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. And the post-prison perks have already started to filter in: NBC is reportedly paying her as much as $1 million to do a sit-down interview with Meredith Vieira on the “Today” show, and People magazine plans to snap her first post-pokey pics for the princessly sum of $300,000.Moreover, not just Paris is benefiting from her stint in the can. Designers Kate & Kass received a mention in Thursday’s New York Times Style section because Paris’ sister, Nicky, visited her wearing one of their frocks. Hermes has also gained some ink during the 23-day sentence, the Birkin bag being noted as the pocketbook of choice of Paris’ mom when she pops in to look after her incarcerated offspring.All in all, the exclusive experience appears to have been an enriching one for the celebutante, who said this week, “I’m so much more grateful for everything that I have, even just to have a pillow at night or food. You know, my gratitude has gone up so much.” The other guests – oops, inmates – at the facility, have been called “friendly” by Paris. And of the help, er, guards, she has sweetly said they are “fair.”The price for this custom Hilton vacation – $1,190.78 a day – is a slightly higher than a stay at an average Hilton hotel, although the total does includes psychological and medical testing and psychotropic medication. The upside is the bill goes to the taxpayers. The downside is there’s no opportunity to be credited with miles or points.Sure, the Hotel Plaza Athenee in New York leaves Fauchon lavender chocolates on the pillow at turndown. But for anyone looking to one up the country club crowd with a completely unique adventure, could there be anything better than bragging about the intake body cavity search you had on your summer vacation?E-mail questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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