The Real Housewives of New York City
Alright, let’s get this out of the way right at the top, shall we? There is no such thing as glamping. I’m sorry, there just isn’t. Well, actually, there is, because this is the second infestation of it we’ve seen on a Real Housewives franchise (the patient zero of this was Alexis “Jesus Jugs” Bellino of the Orange County Bellinos), but we are not going to let it became a thing. Of course, this abomination is a portmanteau of glamorous and camping, though it sounds more like something that has to do with putting crystals on one’s private parts.
Yes, glamping cannot become an actual thing, like party buses and pole-dancing classes. We already have wine charms and backyard water features and designer velour tracksuits and all of Miami. We cannot survive glamping, too. Especially the way the Real Housewives do it. There are leather couches and throw rugs and a flagstone fireplace with a real brick chimney. There is a bar and some café tables. There’s a television for World Cup season (R.I.P., America). They are just sitting in the nondescript rec room of a mid-level condo building in a second-tier American city. The only difference is that it has no walls.
These women have beds and cocktails and comforters and heat lamps. There are not one, but two, attractive butlers. The bedrooms might not have walls, but they have heavy canvas covers to keep the bugs and the bears (and New York City ladies dressed up as bears) out of them. This is not camping. This is not keeping your beer cool in the creek and heating up baked beans still in the can. This is not sleeping on the ground with a rock in your back and your mother joking that she’s going to make you use leaves every time you go to take a shit in some low brush that you pray to Jesus is not poison ivy. That is camping. This is just a luxury hotel that hasn’t been finished yet.
Since we’re talking about glamping, let us also talk about what kind of host Kristen is. All the ladies think that she is an awful host. Okay, not really. Ramona, the close-up picture of a butthole some bottom sends you on Grindr, and Sonja T. Morgan of the Big Sky Bluff Morgans, think that she is a shitty host. Well, I hate to break it to them, but they’re wrong. Let us first imagine that we don’t live in a universe where Andy Cohen was sitting around in his robe in his West Village apartment with two blond twinks asleep in his bed one Sunday morning when he sat down on the couch and took a sip of coffee and put his left ankle on his right knee to air out a little bit and thought to himself, “Montana!” and then called up an assistant producer who arranged and paid for the whole thing. Let us first imagine we do not live in that place where Kristen literally had nothing to do with planning this trip.
Now let us remember that Ramonja are super high-maintenance ladies. Just because Kristen didn’t organize outings they deemed glamorous enough does not mean Kristen is a bad hostess. She planned events, which is what she is supposed to do. Just because Kristen didn’t organize private butlers for the group does not mean she is a bad hostess. It means that she is a normal, reasonable person who goes on normal, reasonable vacations and can plug in her own hair dryer and butter her own toast if she needs to. She does not need a dropout from Fergus County Community College wearing a plaid shirt and a smile to come in and do it for her. When Ramona shows how she is a good hostess, all she does is put a six-pack on some ice. To Ramona and Sonja, a good hostess is the one who provides the booze.
Remember when Ramona, that little piece of a popcorn kernel hugging your back molar that you just can’t dig out, provided her own air-conditioning unit when visiting Heather in the Berkshires? Again, that is an unreasonable expectation of what should be offered and Ramona, God forbid, cannot be inconvenienced or live her life for one second without someone catering to her exacting and bizarre standards. This does not make Kristen a bad hostess; it makes them bad guests. For Ramona to say that she is doing all the work to make sure she is comfortable is outrageous. “You didn’t anticipate all my wild needs and expectations, so I had to make sure they were provided for myself. You are a bad hostess.” That is bullshit, and I hope Kristen really knows that.
Still, the fight between Heather and Kristen was totally stupid. I felt for Kristen when they were at that dinner, and she had been fighting and crying all day. The look on her face can only be described as weary. And I’m not quite sure what Heather’s problem was with the whole geocaching thing (other than the fact that geocaching is stupid). Kristen was right: Heather was kind of being a jerk to her about not wanting to do it, and as Kristen’s oldest friend there, should have shown her a bit of support to rally the girls to at least try to do something that Kristen wanted to do. Did Kristen overreact? Probably. But whatever, Heather should have seen that she was really upset and been like, “Girl, you alright? Why are you so mad about this? Holla!” But she didn’t.
Kristen’s whole thing about Heather being bossy was so wonky in its Real Housewives logic that I can’t support that either. The Real Housewives have this thing about “owning” their bad behavior. They say, “Yeah, I know I’m high maintenance, but I own it,” or “If she’s going to barf under the brunch table, that’s fine as long as she owns it.” It’s like you can get away with just about any offense just by being self-aware. This makes no logical sense whatsoever. It’s like saying we should exonerate all murderers who confess. “Well, he’s a psychopath, but he owns it, so it must be fine.”
Kristen wants Heather to own her bossiness, but what will that really do? Will it make her any less bossy? No. Will it make her not boss people around to not go spelunking through a scraggly forest with a GPS monitor? No. What the hell is owning it gonna do? Nothing. So who cares? Kristen went too far saying Heather was bossy at home, but she didn’t mean it like, “Your husband is worthless and you order him around like a shrew”; she just meant that Heather is the more forceful of their two personalities, sort of like Josh is with Kristen.
Oh, hmmm. What an interesting thought. Kristen is fighting back against someone whom she sees as bossy and manipulative who doesn’t want to do something she wants to do and belittles her for wanting to do it. Why would that possibly touch a nerve with Kristen? Hmmm? Might it be because she is married to Josh, a bong that fell over on a dorm-room floor and spilled its water all over a soiled sweat sock? Could it possibly have anything to do with the fact that her husband is currently partying with his friends in the Hamptons rather than taking care of their children? Do you think that maybe has something to do with it? Hmmm. I wonder. (No, I do not wonder. It does.)
Heather and Kristen’s reconciliation was also a bit odd. After making that crack about Heather’s husband, Heather demanded that Kristen apologize to her even after Heather’s jerkiness was what started this whole mess. But I can’t really be mad at Heather. She’s a soul sister if there ever was one. When they were sitting on the rock and she said, “You’re my friend and you can freak out as much as you want, but the next day just be like ‘Sorry.’ Holla!” I totally felt her. She’s a good one, that Heather.
The rest of the events of the episode were a bit lackluster, to be perfectly honest. The women went to their first rodeo dressed like they were the serving wenches at a crappy saloon at Disneyland. Countess Crackerjacks, in her turquoise statement necklace and fringed chaps, especially looked like she was going to man the churro cart in Frontierland but then would get sick of working and blow out the pilot light so that she would have to take two hours going back to get it relit, wasting most of her shift. They also used Porta Potties.
This reminds me that Sonja is oddly obsessed with her body in a very childlike way. She’s always talking about how she needs vitamins to poop or that she peed her pants or that she farts when she wants to clear the room or something. And isn’t her floozily flirting with every cowboy at their little BBQ just thinking too much about another one of her body parts? Well, maybe not too much; maybe just the right amount. I can’t say I blame her — it gets lonely out there under the stars at night in Montana when you’re sleeping in a tent that is nicer than three quarters of all the studio apartments in Manhattan and every apartment in Bushwick.
Just ask Adam and Eric, the two ranch hands who helped the ladies their night when they were glamping. They attended the barbecue as well, laughing at the world’s tallest cowboy who was also their boss, and chuckling as the ladies missed the target with their hatchets, which was really the first time that ever happened for them. Adam and Eric stood around and ate their grits with huckleberry chicken and kicked dirt on each others boots, and Adam looked at Eric’s smile and smiled himself.
The next morning, they were at the front desk to finally kiss all these ladies good-bye. As their two vans dusted the road as they hauled off to the airport, Adam watched them drive off into the distance. He had to get his niece Madison a birthday gift after work, and some wrapping paper, too. He had to get some detergent and find out with Eric was doing with his weekend, if maybe he wanted to go to that one bend in the river where they have their lawn chairs set up and just stare out into the trees. They loved watching the leaves brush up against one another, bending the light in a million different configurations, one never matching the other. The light always tinged with green, steeped in the nature it was shining through, fueling the very things that were filtering it. He never thought about those women again, not even once, but sometimes, when the trees and the light and the glints in the river and stones smoothed over by its incessant flow were all in just the right alignment, he would think of their vans as they pulled away and the dust and his niece’s 7th birthday party, and he would smile.