The Real Housewives of New York City
If I could, I would spend the next 2,000 words talking about Bethenny Frankel’s new apartment, an abode so grand that her cast-off lighting fixtures go for $3,000 on the black market before they even get to a Dumpster. I know it might not look like much, but I would give two inches of my penis for an apartment like hers (and then I would look really stupid walking around with a half-inch dick). Those ceilings! The Nancy Meyers kitchen! The bathroom that is big enough for a bathtub, a shower, and a bench where your knees don’t get splinters rubbing up against the bathroom door when you take a No. 2 like they do at my house! God, I would love to live in that apartment.
For everyone who doesn’t live in this pretty little island of Manhattan, you’re probably like, “Oh, no big deal.” Remember that New Yorkers are the kind of people who watch House Hunters so that we can feel some strange sense of proud masochism that in other parts of the country you can buy an entire house with granite countertops, an open floorplan, and stainless-steel appliances (apparently the only three things that people in square states care about in their domiciles) for like $200,000. Bethenny’s place is like $5 million, at least. I don’t know where it is, but depending on the neighborhood that could fetch $10 million, easy. Why am I even talking about this? While typing this, the only thing keeping me from throwing my body in the Hudson is that it might wash up on the New Jersey side and be found by Danielle Staub while taking her shih tzu, Vicodin, for a walk in the early morning.
There were two strange things about Bethenny’s apartment, already complete with the “Skinnygirl red” accent walls. One was that it was filled with dozens of boxes with “RH” on them, which I first thought stood for Real Housewife but actually seem to stand for Restoration Hardware. That means that either Bethenny cleared out a Restoration Hardware of all its boxes so that she could move her existing stuff or she ordered all her furnishings from Restoration Hardware. Seriously, Bethenny has a $10 million apartment and can’t hire a decorator who could do better than ordering her stuff from the J.Crew of furniture?
The final strange thing is that I totally agreed with something Bethenny had to say. She is “split down the middle” in the fight between Heathole (Carther?) and Countess Crackerjacks. Like I said last week, everyone was wrong. CJ shouldn’t have left her naked man unattended, and Carole and Heather shouldn’t have freaked out about it as hard as they did. That’s when I realized that this is sort of the perfect Real Housewives fight because there is no obvious solution and it could just go on forever with no resolution, like whatever was brewing between Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga before Teresa got herself thrown in the clink for writing too many bad checks at the Posche Boutique. (That is what happened, right?)
We are going to have to keep staring this fight straight in the eyes for quite some time, as LuAnn reminded us at Kristen’s charity party, joking that at least the man she was with was age-appropriate, unlike Carole’s boyfriend. Then Carole asked the world which is worse: dating a younger man, or making out with a married man? I also ask you that very question. I would have to side with making out with a married man, but honestly, I say just fuck everything that moves and don’t give a shit what other people think. I think that’s what happens when you grow up listening to too much Madonna.
Speaking of Kristen’s charity event, it was, well, it was something. She was there with Josh, a VHS sex tape that someone accidentally sold at a yard sale thinking it was a copy of Anne of Green Gables the movie. He was not wearing a hat. It seems that the last time we saw him he had some sort of fedora-ectomy, which is a delicate surgical procedure by which an American male of the douchicus maximus genus has his most ludicrously inappropriate accessory excised from his scalp. Still, he is Josh, a lube-covered doorknob that you just can’t twist enough to open.
As for Kristen, the fleek was not strong with her at the charity event. From the waist up she looked absolutely divine, like Betty Draper’s stand-in for a shoot of Mad Men. But then below she was wearing a pair of Yummerz Tummerz Denim-Flavored Pantaloonz under her ball gown. Nope. Not even for all the cleft palates in Mexico.
The only other remarkable thing about the party is that Ramona thought that her Jesus and Mary Chains should get equal billing to Yummerz Tummerz denim because she donated several chains for the pairs of jeans and thought it was, and I quote, “a slap against womanhood” that she didn’t get credit for donating these baubles. First of all, no one wanted those dumb chains. Second, if you wanted billing, you should have asked for it. No one who is going through the hectic ordeal of organizing a charity fund-raiser is thinking about this detail unless it is brought up. No one has ever said, “Oh, gee, I might help Ramona sell more of her stupid blinged-out rosary beads if I add her to this placard at a charity event.”
Heather’s response was perfect. “Take a walk,” she said. That is perfect. There are so many places that I would like for Ramona to walk. On the top of the list (and off the top of my head), here are a few: a volcano; the bog of eternal stench; through a gutter clogged with those adult butt-wipes that get stuck in storm drains; the monkey cage at the Bronx Zoo; the Bronx; the intake center of a mental-health facility; a Dunkin Donuts in Flushing; the bathroom after it has been blown up by Josh; the streaks someone else left in a toilet bowl.
The rest of this episode really belonged to Carole. First of all, she took Heather and Dorinda to see a coffee-grounds psychic in Queens, which at first made me very wary. Has there ever been a psychic on Real Housewives when things ended well? Do you remember what happened to Ramona in Morocco? Or what about St. Camille Grammar’s dinner with Alison DuBois? The only thing worse than visiting a psychic on one of these shows is hosting a “game night,” having your vows renewed, or trying to reason with a creature named Kim. All of these things end in disaster.
Regardless, this psychic really knew what the hell she was talking about and correctly predicted that Carole was going to London to pick up her husband’s ashes, that Heather’s son was about to have surgery and it would be fine, and that Dorinda should really break up with that big toe of a man she’s been dating and find someone else. She also served snacks. Carole, what is this lady’s phone number? Because I really want to go visit her. Now, granted, I don’t drink coffee and really don’t believe that I will survive past the next season of Vanderpump Rules without Stassi, but I would like to visit her. I certainly have more faith in her insight over any shrink that would let our sessions be televised on basic cable.
Next up, Carole had a little dinner party with her new man Adam and, I must say, from what little I’ve seen of Adam, I really like him. Maybe that’s because I would like to tie him up to a tree in a field and cover his body with honey and then try to rub it off with my naked body without using my hands, but it might also be because he just seems really chill and fun and like he isn’t bothered by much. Like Carole says, he has a lightness to him. That’s a very attractive quality. It seems like he also has a healthy skepticism and a little bit of side-eye for Carole’s more extravagant eccentricities. I love Carole, but it seems like he reins her in just enough that it would keep her from fretting about her own life too much. You know, he could teach her that when life gives you olives, you make tapenade (and spit out the pits at Ramona Singer if she’s sitting close enough).
The best scene of the episode, though, and really one of the best scenes in all of Real Housewives history, was Carole and Dorinda chatting about their late husbands in the Delta Lounge. Of course we know all about Carole’s history, but to hear her talk about it so openly and effortlessly without putting any pretense or sentimentality onto it was really refreshing. Carole was saying, “This is me, this is my life, take me or leave me, just don’t judge me when I wear a jumpsuit that is a little too tight to dinner one night.”
Dorinda was the perfect person to talk to about this. This wasn’t two women sharing their pain and coming to some sort of catharsis; this was two survivors sharing war stories, talking in that shared vernacular of a life lived. This is the commonality of experience when life isn’t all white wine and parties with step-and-repeats. This is about two women touching each other’s scars and not having to say much else about them because they both know how they got there. It really got to me. It really moved me a whole bunch, and I wish that we could get a lot more of this on these shows and a little bit less of the fighting and back-biting and name-calling and back-and-forth-ing.
I wasn’t the only one who was moved. A woman was sitting close by at the bar, staring into the Delta logo painted on the wall so that she wouldn’t be caught so close to her targets. She started listening as they went back and forth about their late husbands and the unexpected changes in their lives. She heard about the friends that they lost and the social lives they withdrew from. She heard about the chaos crayon that they couldn’t stand to color with anymore. She heard about the simplicity they craved and the solitude they needed. She heard about feeling like frauds when they smiled and how sick they were of answering friends’ questions when they asked how they were doing. She slowly swiveled in her chair while this was happening, and now she was staring right at them, and she felt those nasty prickles in the back of her throat like she was going to cry.
But it wasn’t what she heard that made her sad, it was what she imagined. She thought about losing her husband, with his silent support and his sunglasses that he always wore inside, even when they were at a nightclub supporting the launch of a new line of scented dog-doo-doo bags. She realized that one day she was going to have to live without him, just like these women. Really, they were all the same, not only these three but all the women everywhere, all the wives whose happiness depended, if even a little bit, on their partners.
She was so caught up in her reverie that she didn’t even notice the attractive blonde in a flight attendant’s uniform who had walked up next to her. This woman turned a bit in her direction and started when she saw her. “Oh my gosh,” she told the flight attendant. “I’m sorry. I was somewhere else.”
“That’s fine,” the flight attendant said. “Do you still want it to happen?”
The woman turned back around in her chair to face the bar again and stared down at the ice melting in her Diet Coke. “Yes,” she said. “But wait until they’re in the air before you do it.” The flight attendant nodded and walked away, her rolling bag trailing her silently. The woman looked up at Carole and Dorinda again and then back into her glass. Jill Zarin squeezed the lemon resting on the lip of her glass into the Diet Coke. The juice ran down into a cut in her cuticle from the $8.99 manicure she had gotten earlier that day. It stung like a revelation, or the sun going down on a beautiful day.