The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Alright, let’s just get all of this discussion about Yolanda Bananas Foster and her Lyme disease out of the way, shall we? Yolanda has Lyme disease. Her children have Lyme disease. As Lisa Vanderpump says, if Yolanda said her kids have Lyme disease, then who are we to question it? So, like Oprah handing out cars, it’s Lyme disease for everyone.
I’m really so annoyed that this conversation has become the cornerstone of the season. I guess that’s what we needed to make things a little bit exciting. At least it’s an issue that everyone can coalesce around, especially since Yolanda has been so (understandably) absent this season. This is the first season of any of the Housewives franchises in a long time in which I’ve actually liked all of the cast members (with the exception of Kyle, who I can at least tolerate). But, yeah, it can’t all be visits to Kyle by Alene Two: The Revenge and tasteful lunches with two glasses of rosé. We need something. I’m not saying I miss the six-foot-tall woman whose name means a strong alcoholic spirit or the stripper who stole your Uncle Carl’s Camry. But we need some spark to ignite this thing.
That said, I don’t even know what this fight is really about. Basically, Kyle asks Lisa if Yolanda’s kids are getting treated for Lyme disease. Lisa says she didn’t know they had it because their father, Mohamed, hasn’t said anything and then Lisa says, repeatedly, that she didn’t want to talk about it. Erika tells Yolanda that it happened, and Yolanda brings it up with Lisar when Lisar goes to apologize for insinuating that Yolanda had Munchausen’s. (Remember The Adventures of Baron Munchausen? I freakin’ loved that movie.) Then Yolanda brings it up at lunch with Lisa and Kyle, and they’re pissed at Lisar for telling Yolanda that they said it, but Lisar didn’t tell her. Erika did. Now Lisar is mad that she’s being unjustly accused of telling Yolanda.
There are so many levels of miscommunication going on here! It’s like a French farce: At any moment, a delivery boy who just happens to be the prime minister’s long-lost twin brother is going to arrive with a package that contains the head of a dead monkey. This thing is so crazy and convoluted, I’m not even sure who is right and wrong anymore.
Okay, I’ll try to figure it out.
RIGHT: Lisa, Yolanda, Erika, the American Lyme Disease Foundation, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’s John Neville, the ghost of Roy Rogers, whatever Jemima Kirke is wearing exactly at this moment, chalupas, how Tonya Harding looks today, anything covered in chocolate, Amazon Prime, attempts to revitalize Lea Thompson’s career, the smell of Cinnabon when you are late for your flight.
WRONG: Lisar, Kyle, Erika’s creative director Mikey, Eileen’s bags, losing on scratch lottery tickets, the bodega across the street from me running out of Funny Bones, The Revenant definitely winning at least one Oscar while Glenn Close still hasn’t, that ’80s nostalgia has yet to bring back Jams, Rose Byrne when she uses her natural Australian accent, bandanas, Gus Kenworthy refusing to respond to me on Snapchat, Andy Cohen’s swimsuit collection, carbs.
Alright, two more quick things about Yolanda and her Lyme disease and then I’m moving on to the things I really want to talk about. First, Erika was really fighting dirty when she just straight-up lied and said she didn’t tell Yolanda about what Kyle and Lisa said. If she didn’t want to talk about it — and there is no reason why she should when she was still high on adrenaline and gay attention after her gig at Pervert — Erika should have just said, “Oh God, let’s talk about my titties and we can fight about this on the ride home tomorrow.” No, she just lied. I’m afraid Erika is a dirty fighter and that makes me a little sad.
Second, I loved how Yolanda showed up at lunch with Bella and Anwar’s medical records to prove that her kids have Lyme disease. When she pulled out that manila envelope, Kyle was just like [UNBLINKING EYES EMOJI] and Lisa was all afraid and didn’t know what to do. I find this incredibly ironic because on The Real Housewives of Orange County, the entire cast acted like it was perfectly reasonable to ask Brooks to show them his medical records. When we actually see someone show the medical records, it becomes clear how absolutely insane for chocolate cereal everyone is by expecting a normal person to turn over such personal information.
Lyme disease discussion — check! Now I can just go off on several paragraphs about how Eileen Davidson is the best thing on television since they cancelled She-Ra: Princess of Power. Eileen is absolutely amazing because she is an attractive, successful woman of a certain age who goes around speaking her truth. She’s not interested in covering up what is wrong or pretending to be someone else. She’s just like, “Whatever, here I am. Who has some Cheez-Its?” Eileen is like the Quarter Pounder of the Real Housewives. She’s not as flashy as a Big Mac, but she’s a delicious and dependable addition to the menu, and one you will regret slightly less the next morning.
Her shining moment of the episode is when Kathryn calls her out for having a really ugly bag. Eileen is just like, “Whatever, I’m a Maxxinista. Deal with it,” *three snaps in a Z formation*. I also love that she says, “When I took it out of the closet, I knew it was a bad looking purse, and I took it anyway.” That’s funny, the National Enquirer said the same thing after it told everyone Clay Aiken was gay. ZING! But really, Eileen does not care. She shows up in her vintage 1978 Calvin Klein denim jumpsuit looking absolutely killer, then calls everyone in the limo a “superficial bitch” because they drop $3,000 on handbags like they were at the movies and upgraded from a medium to a large for 25 cents more.
I also love that Eileen loves Erika. She loves loves her. I think she’s going to name a cockroach at the Bronx Zoo after Erika for Valentine’s Day. That’s how serious it is. I’m that in love with Erika too, because she also does not care. Erika does not give a rodent’s tuckus about what anyone says about her or insinuates to her or says to her face. Not only that, she provokes them. She knows that Kathryn hates the word “cunty,” so she wears a hot pink necklace to her after-show party to rile her up. I almost expected Lisa Vanderpump to walk up to her and go, “Oh no you didn’t!” and Erika says, “It’s only a word,” and Lisa says, “I don’t care about cunty. How dare you wear pink!”
I do think Erika goes a little far telling the women that the word can’t offend them. It’s up to everyone to decide what does or does not offend on an individual basis. For example, you can call me a fat homosexual all you want, but show me one pair of Crocs and I will be offended until you’ve had all of your toes forcibly removed. Wearing the necklace did the right thing: It brought the word up for discussion, normalized it for the women, and showed them that it’s okay.
Most of those women don’t understand the vernacular of “cunty” in the same way that Erika Jaynerardi and I do. To the gays, “cunty” means cute, sassy, and amazing. I like to call this the “Bye Felicia Cycle of Gay Slang.” It starts out with African-American queer youth, and then filters to middle-class white gays via RuPaul’s Drag Race. Then middle-aged white women discover it at their hair salons, spin classes, and kikis over organic juice. Then, as it finally reaches the mainstream, the black kids on the pier already have a new term that no one has decoded yet.
Of course, the best part of Erika Jayne is her gaggle of gay dancers. There’s Scot and Clyde and Marckus and Jonathan. There has to be a Jonathan. There’s always a Jonathan when men with spectacular abs and Speedo tan lines hang out together and hashtag things #Instagay. Oh, Erika’s dancers with their firm, slappable behinds that don’t even know what a Funny Bone is or where to find them in the bodega (second aisle to the right, next to the paper plates). Oh, those dancers. The funny thing is, there is a whole bus full of them and none of them sleep in the top bunk, if you know what I’m saying. It’s sort of like the misnomer of having a “bottomless brunch” in Hell’s Kitchen.
When Erika and the other women totter on their embellished heels, they leave those dancers in the bus. Clyde pulls out his vape and asks anyone if they want a hit. “You know me, I smoke everything, including pole,” says Marckus, taking a long pull and exhaling the smooth, scentless smoke. They pass it around the circle, wearing their half-shirts from the performance at Pervert and a fine layer of drying sweat. Scot keeps sitting up and moving the strap of his jock, which is cutting into his right cheek with the sharpness of the cheese section at Whole Foods.
“Why don’t you just take it off?” Jonathan says. “Yaaass!” they all yell, with the confidence of someone who always has a new message every time he opens up his favorite dating app. They know where this night is going. Marckus leans over and rubs the ripples of Clyde’s torso, familiar with each and every contour. It’s like exploring his own body, but not his own. He touches his own chest too, comparing, wondering if he’s good enough, knowing that he is, but doubting anyway.
Scot peels off his pants and after bending over, he snaps up exaggeratedly, tooching his booty out and running his hand up his naked thigh peppered slightly with hair. Jonathan giggles, but Clyde and Marckus are making out on the couch, like two halves of a Best Friends broken -heart necklace reunited. You can barely see the crack between them. Scot walks over to them and kneels on the ground, undoing their pants and casting them aside as they still suck face. He started rubbing their thighs and they patted his head, bringing him into the action.
Jonathan knew he was supposed to join in, and he stood there, feebly rubbing his crotch, hoping it would get him excited enough to fit in. The sex was just a part of this crushing sameness — all of them with their names and their bodies and their Robyn playlists on their matching iPhones. They were gorgeous but in the way 2(X)IST ads told them to be, masculine by way of artifice, confident in that they stood in a phalanx that surrounded all of West Hollywood. Jonathan knew this was what he was supposed to want. As Clyde and Marckus switched in and out of contact with Scot, they were waiting on him with indifference, but seeking the validation of his desire.
Jonathan just stood there, rubbing harder and harder, trying to eradicate his doubt because he didn’t know what he would replace it with. That bus was his world, the sounds of their lovemaking a melodious treble over the rumbling bass that escaped the walls of Rick’s, where scores of shirtless men pushed toned flesh upon toned flesh, writhing in a teeming mass like a wave far out at sea that will never crash.