It’s official: Doug McLaughlin is without his balls. The balls are dead, long live the balls. After Lydia and the rest of the women talked all season about how he is going to have them cut off, they finally go to see a surgeon … who does no cutting, slicing, severing, or anything otherwise invasive. Instead, he just cauterizes a small part of his anatomy and life goes on as usual.
Getting a vasectomy isn’t really that bad. I actually accompanied my straight male friend (note the use of the singular) to get one and he didn’t even need an ice pack or much of anything. We went to see an X-Men movie right afterward. Other than the ice-cold Coca-Cola he held between his legs, he didn’t need much else. God, all of these Orange County men are such whiners.
However, I do feel like it’s appropriate for Doug to ask for a party on a boat to say “good-bye to his balls.” This is an elective surgery and it’s one that he’s having so that his wife won’t have to stay on the pill. He deserves a small concession and he asked for a party on a boat. Also, these people are on a reality-television program and the producers are actively inventing reasons to get the cast together, so this is as good as any other. I mean, at least no one is launching another stupid line of rosé.
What I won’t tolerate, however, is the “snip gift,” which Doug and Lydia want to make the male equivalent of the “push present.” That convention is disgusting enough: It’s when a woman gets a gift, usually jewelry, for pushing out a baby. Just like “bikini body” and “baby bump,” “push present” is one of those phrases that feels like a family of worms just took up residence in my mouth every time I am forced to say it.
The very idea of a “snip gift” reminds me of when I was a kid and I would say to my parents, “There’s a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day, why isn’t there a Kid’s Day?” My mother would respond, “That’s because every day is Kid’s Day.” That’s how I feel about getting a gift for a dude who is getting a vasectomy. He already has everything, what does he need one more thing for? He does not. I mean, it’s an afternoon of mild discomfort. Women go through worse taking a Plan B and anxiously pissing on a half dozen First Response tests. Just doing this once is the least anyone can ask of her husband.
The rest of this episode feels a little bit like going to Sizzler: It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet of familiar dishes and you don’t want to eat any of them. Even if you do, there is no way that you’re going to feel satisfied at the end, no matter how fresh the chocolate pudding is. Just look at this episode: It is more of Shannon and David’s relationship being garbage, Vicki and Tamra talking about missing their friendship, Peggy not being able to explain her cancer to anyone, Kelly Dodd talking about Scrotox, and Meghan doing absolute fuck-all other than wearing a giant pair of earrings that look like they were stolen from the set of Jem and the Holograms and making cute crafts with her daughter’s footprints.
I guess the most pressing of these is Peggy and Diko and this cancer nonsense. At Lydia’s Balls Voyage party, Diko, a jar of drugstore pomade your sister-in-law gave you as a stocking stuffer, tells David Beador, a Facebook ad for chafe-free gym shorts, about Peggy’s cancer. David starts asking a bunch of questions about whether or not Peggy really had cancer. Later, when Peggy is making cookies with her children, she says she is “disgusted” by this behavior because it didn’t come from a place of concern.
No, it did not come from a place of concern; it came from a place of confusion. That’s because Peggy and Diko feel the need to explain the ins and outs of every procedure and test that she had to a bunch of people whose experience dealing with cancer is listening to Meghan ferret out the truth about Brooks faking the disease. They always talk about the “BRCA test” and “masses” and “three millimeters of cancer” and people are like, “Say what now?”
Here is what Peggy and Diko should be telling people about the situation: “Peggy’s mother died of breast cancer, so Peggy got a bunch of tests done. The doctors found a small bit of cancer in one of her breasts and she decided to have a double mastectomy. Yes, it was probably an overreaction, but Peggy was scared and she didn’t want to take any chances.” That’s all they need to know. That is the whole story in three sentences. No one cares about the ins and outs of her medical history and no one thinks that she’s faking, since she obviously had her breasts removed. What they’re confused about is the way these two shape the narrative, and that is no one’s fault but Peggy and Diko’s.
The funny thing about cancer and medicine, though, is that all of these women are so scared that they’ve made their medical files public record. Vicki shows up to her and Kelly’s colonic with her flu test to prove that she had “influenza B.” Kelly is like, “Who travels with these?” Um, the Housewives of the O.C., because being able to present documented proof of any illness is now the actual norm for these people on a post-Brooks environment.
Oh my God, those colonics. Would you ever go with your friend to watch her get the poop sucked out of her body like she’s a human septic tank? I would go to a dozen vaginal rejuvenations before I’d sit next to even one colonic. That’s disgusting. Especially since it puts Vicki into such a state that she begins wondering why everything in her life goes wrong and why all of her friends and partners leave her and her heart is always broken. Vicki, it has nothing to do with impacted feces in your bowels, it has to do with your behavior. If she wants her life to change, then she will need to start making some changes and take some blame for driving all of these people away. But that is about as likely as Lydia’s mother putting away her edibles for an afternoon and joining the Ladies Auxiliary, so I’m not holding my breath.
Now we have to move on to the “Shannon and David’s marriage is a sham” portion of the program. These two are just looking for things to fight about now, like when David says it is “fancy” to eat in the dining room and Shannon disagrees. Or what about when David keeps accusing Shannon of growing up with a “silver spoon in her mouth” right in front of Shannon’s mother who is visiting from Nashville? At this point, these two might as well be feeding their children the poisoned cookies from Flowers in the Attic because whatever it is they’re doing is just as healthy.
It is also sad to hear Shannon talk about how she doesn’t want to go to the doctor because she’s afraid to find out that her weight gain isn’t a physical problem. I mean, duh doy. I can tell her that. I haven’t even won a game of Operation and I can confirm for Shannon that all of her problems are psychological rather than physical.
Finally, we’re left with the idea that Tamra, a belch you can’t get out, and Vicki, a dress in your closet you never remember buying, are finally going to reunite next week. I will admit I’m sort of rooting for them. But I’m rooting for them in the same way that I’m rooting that this male model’s alopecia gets cured. I am rooting out of common decency, but I know that even if it happens, the result will be negligibly positive and have no greater impact on the world at large. But most of all, I feel like Vicki’s boyfriend, Steve. “Fix it, because I’m going to have to keep hearing about it and I don’t really want to.” God, Steve may be an awful person in every other manner, but he understands me. He really sees me.
Somewhere, off in the Newport Beach sunset, a boat lolls on the dock like a golden retriever trying to fight off sleep. Our close personal friend unmoors it and hops aboard, starting the motor with a grumble that sounds more like morning hunger than it does an escape. But he stands behind the wheel and plots a course into the great wide open, under the skies of blue, out in the great white open, a rebel without a clue. Yes, Doug’s Balls were finally freed from their host and sailed out until the vast expanse of the ocean hugged them like a pair of premium cotton briefs, and the salty spray in the air crackled with the possibility of a life unrealized.