It finally happened.
I feared this day. I lit an abundance of abundance candles and I recited incantations in shadowy rooms to stop this day from ever arriving. I contemplated how I could tunnel my way to another astral plane just in case this day ever appeared on the hazy horizon, much like those prisoners from upstate New York Shawshanked their way to freedom before they were shot. But I suppose a part of me didn’t believe any of it could really happen so I ceased my prayers and stopped my chanting and discontinued the exhausting practice of mailing out warning letters to publishing houses that were addressed with little letters I cut out of magazines in my own form of a ransom note and so part of me now blames myself for the single most horrible thing to ever happen to the written word since a Kardashian earned an A in penmanship in the third grade.
Please grasp the hand of the person closest to you – and if you’re currently alone, grab onto a wall – as I relay the hideous news that Ramona Singer has written a book that will be released into a world that’s still dealing with ISIS and global warming and relationships formed on The Bachelor that won’t even last as long as a penicillin cycle. The book is called Life On the Ramona Coaster. Ramona’s face is on the cover. There are people out there who will buy the book and then display it on a bookshelf. And if someone even thinks of buying me a copy, I will strap that person to a chair and make him listen to every single word of Ulysses as it’s read by Jill Zarin while her scrawny and shaky dog scurries around his feet.
That there are people out there who are clamoring for Ramona Singer’s life story is the kind of thing that makes me fear for the future of humanity. That someone close to her must have said, “Yes! Definitely title your book Life On the Ramona Coaster! It’s so adorable how your probable bipolarity is now your trademark!” makes me want to attend marches for mandated sterilization. That the release of the book means that Ramona will embark on a book tour and appear on television more often than she already does makes me want to become Amish.
That her book will undoubtedly sell more copies than my book makes me want to paint my entire home Skinnygirl red, guzzle some tequila, and embrace agoraphobia because I’m just not so sure that I belong in a society where Ramona Singer is continually rewarded for being such a fucking monster.
It was almost too much for me to tune into this latest episode of The Real Housewives of New Yorkafter seeing an excerpt of Ramona’s book online – written, I’m guessing, by a ghostwriter who is now comfortably ensconced in a padded room – but I decided to embrace my strength and forge ahead and I’m glad now that I did because the opening sequence with Carole was really quite touching.
Arriving in London, Carole and Dorinda look both tired and hopeful. Dorinda, who had felt a preeminent sense of dread for how being back in the place where she spent so much time with her late husband might cause her emotions to go haywire for real, actually experiences a wave of peace as she looks outside the window of their hotel. Carole, still relatively cool and collected because she’s Carole, says goodbye to her friend and readies herself to meet up with the Priest who will hand over the urn of her late husband, a task she never believed she’d actually be tasked with.
I’ve become so accustomed to the women on these shows bringing another Housewife with them to appointments both menial and significant. I can’t count the number of times one woman has accompanied another to visit a plastic surgeon and I fear the moment when Sonja sauntered into a legitimate brand meeting for Skinny Girl for no reason whatsoever might never leave the foldiest folds of my mind. It was therefore refreshing – or as close as this franchise gets to refreshing – when Carole set off alone on a journey she was scared to take, bringing only a small camera crew with her as an emotional fortress. But the thing is, I usually make a whole lot of fun of these women for doing serious shit on camera because it all usually reeks of exploitation. I didn’t feel that way about what Carole did. Maybe it’s because she looked so nervous and flustered about walking into a church when she hasn’t been inside of one for so long. Perhaps it’s because of how she cautioned the Priest that she doesn’t really like to do things such as hug or cry. Definitely it’s because of the soft manner in which she traced her fingers lightly over the urn that held what remains of the love of her life, a man she glows talking about still. The moment that could have been beyond distasteful was actually rather poignant and pure and my heart really clenched for Carole in genuine empathy as she rode back to the hotel with the urn beside her on the backseat and then my heart actually cracked when she climbed into bed and touched her hand to the urn that she placed on the nightstand beside her while she cried real tears as she remembered who she was in what probably feels like another life.
I’m willing to wager – and double-down on said wager – that the old Carole would never have believed that in this life she’d spend her days with people like Ramona and Sonja. Ramona shows up at Sonja’s and immediately requests some wine which is served by Raquelle, Sonja’s Stylist Intern, and don’t think I didn’t laugh my ass off for a good minute and a half when I saw that “Stylist Intern” was capitalized onscreen like it’s actually a legitimate proper noun. Raquelle serves the wine in champagne flutes and is chastised only for a moment as Sonja says, “This is how we learn things,” because Sonja Morgan is nothing if not a teacher of all things classy. And along the lines of such class, it’s time for Sonja to share her wisdom with Ramona about the fine art of the one night stand, and about this subject I’m guessing Ms. Morgan’s a fucking pro. But Ramona doesn’t even want to hear a word about a one night stand because she would never have one and the guy who showed up naked in the bedroom back in the Turks and Caicos villa was just someone she put to bed and fine, maybe she read him Goodnight Moon and perhaps she went down on him just for a second, but it was no one night stand! She was just the wing-lady, and she’s said it so often now that I think that she might actually believe what’s she’s claiming to be true though I scream bullshit.
Just then there is a knock at Sonja’s door and two men holding roses and boxes of what I’m guessing are giant containers of generic herpes medicine show up like they are princes in a fairy tale who have lost their chariots that were equipped with a GPS system. But they are actually there on purpose to invite Ramona and Sonja to a party Bethenny is throwing and I hope Sonja’s Invitation Intern took notes, though my guess is that the guys she’ll send out to knock on the door of her friends will be clad only in speedos.
Back in London, Dorinda shows up in Carole’s room and they sit cross-legged on the bed and sip wine and Carole tells Dorinda all about what she went through earlier and how the whole thing was far more emotional than she anticipated. And they nibble on tea sandwiches and Carole is wearing sweats and the conversation between the two flows with honesty and regard and I think I’d happily watch a show where Carole and Dorinda sit in hotel rooms around the world and talk about shit that’s real. One little nugget that comes out during their talk is that Dorinda actually met her current boyfriend through her late husband and the two loved one another and maybe I’ve just been watching these shows for too long or I’ve read too many mystery books, but I can’t help but feel that this piece of information will somehow loom large at a later date, like when someone screams something across a cocktail party once Dorinda leaves the quiet atmosphere of London and returns home to the crazies. But while still on that hotel bed, just the two of them, they share the feelings of guilt they each internalized for resenting their loved ones and their illnesses and it’s very clear that these women have lost something besides a husband.
I’m glad they have one another.
The next day, Dorinda takes Carole to her friend’s store and they talk about the whole Luann thing and Carole nails it when she guesses that what Luann is probably really annoyed at is the fact that she’s still seeing Adam. Then Carole tries on a fuchsia sweater and I’m so used to seeing her in blacks, whites, beiges, and greys that I almost fell over.
But I regained my footing fast because we’re back now in New York and it’s time for Bethenny’s Skinnygirl Party. I know! I too was shocked that Bethenny would have a party that’s branded from head to toe in her logo! That kind of showy product placement seems so unlike Bethenny, right? The servers are decked out in red and the party is to launch the company’s new Pinot Noir as well as something called a spicy lime margarita – which I’m betting tastes similar to paint thinner cut with lime-flavored strychnine – and one of the hostess’ main goals is to flood the place with attractive men who might be kind enough to plow Ramona, Sonja, and Luann before the night is out because an essential part of being a good hostess is anticipating your guests’ needs. Like, when I arrive at a party, my friends know to have Diet Coke for me and I think it’s really sweet that my friends and Bethenny have that one special thing in common in that they enjoy making their friends happy.
During the mini interlude we get halfway through each episode, Ramona sits and drinks some wine with her business partner Peter, a guy she says she has an attraction to, and I’m just going to be blunt here: watching Ramona flirt makes me more uncomfortable than the squats I did earlier today. Listening to her voice go down six registers as she flips her hair and asks him questions about his divorce makes me wish I could just walk in on my grandparents having sex so my eyes can stare at something less awful – and my grandparents are dead.
Back in London and away from Ramona and the feminine wiles she purchased on sale at Costco, Carole and Ramona walk into an empty bar that quickly fills up with some of their English friends for a little cocktail party and it might be the only time on this show when people do the double-cheek-kiss-thing and it doesn’t make me want to heave my television against a wall. It’s a get-together filled with kindness and decency and I really want to stay in London with these people and avoid Bethenny’s party where she’s playing pimp for a humongous asshole.
But back to New York we go and we’re thrown into a party where everyone is dressed in the color of Satan’s kidney and Bethenny gets on the microphone and makes a toast to getting her girlfriends laid and cameras flash and the women all make duck faces and seriously, I don’t need to go back to London per se, but I really wish I could teleport myself to someplace, anyplace, besides this party.
I hear Beirut is lovely this time of year.
Heather arrives next and everyone is accounted for besides Sonja and Luann and that one sweet lady who sometimes lives inside of Ramona’s fragmented head. The kind personality has the night off though and the shitty person Ramona really is has shown up and she’s also decked out in red and she confronts Bethenny about why there aren’t more men procured for her personal delight. I’m hoping the actual answer is that the single men of Manhattan sent each other a text blast similar to an Amber Alert warning one another to steer clear of the Skinnygirl party because Ramona Singer was there and she was looking for some ass and that’s the kind of sex that could haunt one clear into the twilight years. Bethenny’s reaction is to tell Ramona to fix her false eyelash that’s clamoring to get away from such a horrible human being and then to vent to Heather and Kristen, who are far nicer to her than she has ever consistently been to them.
And then it happens. Every now and again I have conversations with people who don’t watch the Housewives of any fucking city and I try to explain the draw and also the ways in which some of them are so awful and I find it difficult sometimes to put it into words, to provide a concrete example of the presumptuous gall some of these women wear like that gall is a Chanel blazer. I mean, sure, I can try to accurately describe the nasty battiness that was Kelly Bensimon and I can act out the way she once ran through traffic like it made any sort of sense and I can attempt to explain the vapid and cruel emptiness that is Kim Richards, but I just need something more specific to have at the ready. And now I have it and I think I’m going to record the moment Ramona flicked a guy away with a dismissive wave while sneering, “He’s a bartender,” on my phone so I can stop trying to use things like words to explain anything anymore.
As Ramona leaves to scour the city for fifty-five year old models, Sonja and Luann finally show up. Not one full minute later, Sonja is grinding against a shirtless guy, knocks out her tooth as she disrobes him, and Bethenny – plastered out of her mind on the booze that has made her a zillionaire – is laughing on the floor while her tit falls out.
Ramona’s expanding hymen aside, the party was a success.