The Real Housewives of New York City
Every so often, we are given something so honest, so pure, so beautiful that it makes the heart hurt just thinking about it. It could be the melting snow on a mountain turning into a waterfall, the laugh of a child as he grabs onto your leg, the sound of an orchestra hitting their instruments in tune. That is what we were given this very evening by the Real Piñata Beaters of Margarita Mondays at Dos Caminos Midtown East. It is a symphony making the sound of tragedy. It is a magnified snowflake, perfect in its crystalline construction and unique in its magnificence.
Just ponder the scene; Bethenny Frankel is crying in her hotel room while Countess Luann de Lesseps (née Crackerjacks) tells her betrothed, “How could you do this to me — at the Regency! In front of everyone?” I haven’t seen something so riveting since I looked over the side of an active volcano and saw the mummified remains of small birds frozen in ash. Bethenny tells us that she was sitting there watching Luann have the call with Tom, the one where they talk about his infidelity and we are there too. We were all sitting there, listening as it happened. It was blissful, like being coated with the rain in the lushest jungle while mangoes fell at our feet and opened up to display their neon-yellow succulence. This is the promise of reality television. This moment, this voyeuristic embolism, is nirvana.
All right, let’s approach this thing, first, from a meta level. Bethenny handles the situation perfectly. Yes, it was a little crazy that she went all Hart to Hart investigating Tom’s infidelity at the Regency to get all of the times and dates, but she is right: Luann needs all of that as well as the pictures to believe it. Although Dorinda and others wondered why she didn’t say something sooner, it makes perfect sense. Why say it at the beginning of the trip so they could all sit around and talk about Luann’s relationship with Tom the whole time? Oh wait, that’s all they do anyway. Never mind.
What I didn’t understand was Bethenny questioning Luann’s concern that it was at the Regency, in front of everyone. To me, that was the awful part about it. It’s one thing if your man wants to get drunk and make out with some random chick in Guam or Hoboken (which is actually farther away from the Regency than Guam). Who cares about that? You can chalk that up to too many tequilas and a bit of lapsed judgment. It’s another thing to be sucking face with some broad in a place where the two of them go all the time, where people they are acquainted with can watch her being cuckolded, right there in the bar of one of the tonier establishments south of the Met.
The best reaction is the teary-eyed Ramona Singer, the one giant roller lodged in her hair like she was dressed as Snooki for Washed Up Celebrity night on a gay cruise (I would have gone as Dancing With the Stars–era Kate Gosselin or any of the girls to play the lead in Hairspray other than Ricki Lake). Ramona is just so happy that a friend could bring news of Tom’s infidelity instead of Luann finding out on “Page Six,” which is how Ramona found out that her husband was cheating on her. (Well, if she had only listened to that psychic in Morocco maybe it would have been different.) Her righteous manic sadness injects the scene with something very important, almost elegant, like the Ride of the Valkyries playing at the beginning of a Jackass movie.
Of all the people to call it, though, Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Salsa-Dancer Emoji Morgans is right on all counts. She asks how anyone can be surprised that this happened. She is absolutely correct. Here is a dude who has been hobagging his way around the cougars of the Upper East Side for years. Of the women on the show, he’s made out (and more) with three of them. Does anyone think that after a month of dating Luann, he’d just stop dead in his tracks and quit drunkenly sucking face with hoochies in Chico’s at the Regency?
Then Sonja says that Luann doesn’t want to deal with the underlying issue, she just wants to marry Tom. Holy shit! It’s almost as if Sonja stopped drinking and became the Oracle at Delphi or Dr. Phil or a psychic with her own show on TLC in-between a program about little people and that Tyler Perry show about white people. Luann is determined to get married and that’s all she can think about. I’m with Bethenny: The moment this all went down, I knew she was going to stay with Tom.
And you know what? I’m fine with Luann still marrying Tom. She’s absolutely right: This is something between the two of them and it was right of her to ask the women not to talk about it in Miami until she had the opportunity to straighten it out with him. We all get wasted and do stupid regrettable things. We can certainly make out with someone in public and not really have any feelings for that person. It’s like when I did the slap-and-tickle with Fredrik from Million Dollar Listing at the Cock in the early ‘00s. It didn’t really mean anything and both of us would rather forget it. But it happened. Thank God cell-phone cameras barely existed back then.
Yes, if Luann and Tom can work this out and she can forgive him and he promises it’ll never happen again (or even if they decide that it can happen again and they’re cool with it) then the wedding should proceed. But Sonja is also right: There are some underlying issues here that need to be addressed and it seems like Luann wants to investigate those about as much as Miley Cyrus wants to take a drug test.
Where Luann goes wrong is the way that she approaches the situation when they all return from Miami. Tom calls up Dorinda and tells her she should round up the other women, tell them he wasn’t cheating, and “take a bullet” for Luann. As Dorinda says, there are pictures. They all saw them. They’re not going to buy that caburlesque song and dance. Secondly, Luann telling Bethenny to stay out of her and Tom’s business is absolutely ridiculous. Tom took their business out in public, shoved his tongue down its throat, tried to remove its thong while it was still standing there at the bar, and let someone take pictures of it. Her business found Bethenny, not the other way around.
The worst, however, is when she walks over and tells the women to stop talking about her or she’ll leave. I mean, bye Faux-licia. Luann is so obsessed with her own situation that she can’t imagine them talking about anything else, just like she couldn’t imagine how her situation related to Ramona and Mario. When Ramona says it brought up memories of what she went through, of course Luann thinks Ramona is talking about Tom, the guy she met a month ago, instead of Ramona’s husband of 20 years whom she just recently divorced.
That piñata, though. Man, what a bad idea. Why on earth would anyone put $10,000 of jewelry inside a piñata shaped like a martini glass? Doesn’t Bethenny have better things to waste her money on? She should just buy that jumpsuit she wears to the final party in every single colorway because I have never seen a garment of clothing look that amazing and chic on any living person ever, and I have seen both Diana Ross and Katharine Hepburn at the supermarket.
But why would you want to put all of that jewelry in a piñata, a thing a bunch of women are just going to whack with wooden poles? Isn’t that how jewelry gets damaged? Isn’t that just asking for a brooch to lose a semi-precious stone, like when an 8-year-old loses a permanent tooth hitting a piñata at a birthday party? I mean, I always wanted a piñata full of poppers until I realized that is an incredibly bad idea because all of the bottles would shatter and then everyone would have an eternal contact high, hearts pumping from exertion and amyl nitrate and all of their involuntary muscles loosened and ready to be invaded. Well, maybe that’s not the worst idea.
Of course, we could talk about other things at the party: Adam’s incredibly handsome haircut, Ramona vowing to give away the jewelry she got in the piñata, Sonja’s date with Chef Boyardee, Bethenny toasting the empowerment of women without irony, Sonja writing her next tagline when she says that she’s a Sagittarius and they get lucky, Ramona putting her hand right in Dorinda’s sweaty armpit, how we only got one glimpse of Ramona’s date Eyal, and how that was enough to set my loins afire. I could talk about all those things, but sadly everything was dominated by Luann and Tom, a man who had about as much screen time this season as Rey, a half-eaten slice of 99-cent pizza you find lying cheese-down on the carpet on a Sunday morning.
But it’s not Sunday morning. While we watched the footage on our TVs, computer screens, or jury-rigged Amazon Kindles, across town a redhead watched the same footage of Bethenny in her hotel room on an iPad in her living room. She saw her former friends crying with righteous sadness. She saw Luann looking flawless in her striped dress as she wretched and swooned around the suite. She saw Dorinda hardly believe what was happening and Jules struggle to fill out her overalls. She saw Carole swanning around in her yellow dress, confident that she was the only one who would make it out alive.
She saw them all, tested and stretched, like globs of Silly Putty smeared onto the newspaper to try to pick up a panel of Apartment 3-G. She saw them reach for each other, bony hands gripping thighs, arms encircling biceps in quivering embraces. She saw them reach for alcohol, drinking the Skinny Girl swill right from the branded bottles, their hands trembling like caterpillars in a stiff breeze. She saw it all and it was what she wanted. She sent that woman to that bar, she sent the texts, she paid off Tom. She put all the pieces in place and her checkmate was finally here.
This is what she wanted. She thought this is what would calm her and make her feel better about herself. When she saw what she wrought, though, she was horrified. “I’m sorry,” Jill Zarin said, her manicured fingers dragging down her face as she tried to tear her eyes away. “I’m sorry,” she said, fidgeting back and forth. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” as she moved around the room because it felt like her feet were somehow going to fall off of her body and the badness would seep in. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry.”
She walked out of her living room where she had been watching and out into the hall. She was searching, she was looking for something to comfort her, something that she could cling to. Another person, maybe, someone to tell her that what she had created wasn’t unleashing negative energy into the universe at such a rate that the sun would soon be blotted out. She looked both ways down the long hallway of her apartment building and she couldn’t see anything but the calm yellow light of the sconces, the same yellow a firefly sparks in the last charge of its bioluminescent tail. “I’m sorry.”