I think it’s very sweet and maybe even kind of special when the world bustling around me begins to mirror the rarified world of that of a Real Housewife. For instance, when I’m having a moment of questioning whose sperm could possibly be good enough to one day settle within my uterus – or just on my sheets – how could I not think of Bethenny and how she made the decision to choose that guy Jason to be the father of her child before eventually realizing that he’s the kind of douchebag who would walk around with a wedding ring on his finger for years after getting separated in the hopes that maybe doing so will make him appear more vulnerable and make her appear more like a gigantic asshole to the idiots who consume US Weekly as though it’s real news. And – in further important parallels – when I’m going for a conservative kind of look, sometimes I wear my hair in a low ponytail just like Carole and I also ask people for advice just like Sonja does, but the people I speak with are my actual friends, not interns who somehow manage to earn college credit for being forced to speak to me about abundance candles and bikini waxes and young men who simply don’t know any better. Still, I believe it’s that never-ending mountain of commonalities that manages to join together The Regular People and The Housewives into the kind of pulsating human chain not seen since the majesty of Hands Across America.
That said, if I was commanded to join hands with either Ramona or Sonja, it’s entirely possible that I’d let the world in general starve or simply just send a check to the most famine-ridden locations on the planet because I’m willing to do a lot in the name of charity and goodwill, but touching either one of those women is not on my list of Things I’ll Do – and I once pledged a sorority and I did ridiculous things like fake orgasms in front of a crowd, but I’d rather perform fake screaming orgasms around the clock tomorrow than have to get close to two women I cannot believe have been permitted to breed.
Speaking of Ramona – who, crazily enough, has been coming off as far more lucid these days than Sonja – I probably also wouldn’t get close to her this week because she’s all but hacking up a lung due to some awful cold she’s come down with. But could anything stop Ramona from meeting Dorinda for a drink or from attending a party where rumor has it some single men might show up? Of course not! Ramona is a survivor – or, to look at it more accurately, Ramona is not about to let an opportunity to flirt on camera fade away before her dilated eyes because of a silly thing like germs. Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s been reported somewhere that there are men out there who are attracted to phlegm and it seems to me that those are the men who might also view a woman like Ramona as a potential soulmate.
Between croaks and coughs, Dorinda mentions that she will be throwing herself a birthday party in Ramona’s favorite place, the Berkshires, but I’m betting that she’ll actually stay there this time instead of using whatever positive energy she’s been expending just to wake up in the morning to instead hail a private jet and I for one am hoping that things go better for her on this trip and that happening upon some bark and twigs in the woods won’t again result in her having sinister flashbacks to her past. But knowing that Dorinda’s boyfriend will probably show up to celebrate his beloved is the kind of thing that might cause the rest of the guests to spontaneously become as sick as Ramona and, while she has obviously told Dorinda that she’s not the biggest fan of John, Dry Cleaner to the Stars, she kind of holds in her real contempt for him until it’s just her in front of a camera.
"It's not just me,” explains Ramona. “There's a lot of people who don't want to be seated next to him at a dinner party." And I hate to admit it, but Ramona is probably right. First of all, there's the grabbing thing the guy’s got going. Then there's the sweating, which is never appetizing, and certainly not during a meal. And worst of all, he looks like the kind of person who would try to steal food off of your plate, a crime that should be followed by the punishment of being stabbed with a utensil, and I’d reserve the right to select the appropriate utensil depending upon what it is he tries to snag away from me. If he steals a stalk of broccoli, I’ll lunge for a fork.
Touch my dessert and it'll be a steak knife.
Ramona also mentions to her friend that Mario has been asking to be welcomed back into the family and she’s not sure how she feels about any of it and for this stuff I’m not going to judge her. I think Mario has always come off as kind of sleazy, but I also could never imagine spending more than a consecutive minute and a half with Ramona, so I’m guessing the guy has some incredible reservoir of strength. Plus, I’ve done the backsliding thing when it has come to some men and there’s always a chance I’ll hop on that ride again, so due to my desire to avoid labeling myself an absolute hypocrite, I’m gonna let the Mario thing slide for the time being and instead just make fun of Ramona for everything else that she does.
I’m actually having a way more difficult time accepting that Carole has all but assembled a political think tank in order to realize a goal that nobody even knew she had: to become a member of the Board of her apartment building. Listen, I’m all for getting involved and embracing power, but there’s just something that strikes me as wrongwhen one of the people recruited to help you seem both smarter and more sane than any other person running for the position is Ramona Singer. Still, it’s not just Ramona who is doing the heavy strategizing. Heather and her husband are there and so are three other people who do things like look serious while asking Carole if there are any skeletons in her closet that will be yanked into the light by the opponents who apparently will stop at nothing to destroy her, and I realize that I might sound a little nuts here, but there’s definitely a part of me that wants to immediately pack up all my stuff and move into that building before the end of the week because sometimes watching insanity is just interesting. But I’ll refrain from bubble-wrapping my wine glasses for the night and instead I’ll just gaze at my television screen quizzically because, though she is surrounded by people who look well-paid and educated, the signs behind her that say emphatic things like “VOTE FOR CAROLE!” look very much like they were made by my students with glitter glue, and it would be lovely to think that my kids are getting involved in politics, but it's more likely they heard there would be Molly-stuffed gummy bears or a hot chef around their age somewhere on the premises.
And thank goodness all the suit-wearing people are there because there is a scandal on the horizon and, shockingly, it’s not that the woman in question is a willing cast member of The Real Housewives of New York and once had to duck quickly to the left because one of her reality television co-workers heaved an artificial leg across a restaurant. No, it turns out that Carole arrived home late one night and forgot her keys inside so she jimmied the lock and left some damage. She already paid for the damage, but that’s the kind of thing that could sink her political ambitions and, if that’s really the case, I cannot understand why a reality show is not currently in production that takes place entirely in that building because I’d watch that shit on a loop and even call in sick so I wouldn’t miss anything like someone accidentally buzzing up the guy from Fed Ex without written consent and a notarized thumbprint from every single neighbor.
Perhaps Bethenny should remember how trying co-op boards can be and just embrace being homeless for the time being, but she’s got other things on her mind and she’s carting her too-full head with her to therapy. As she walks in and sort of says hello, I’m reminded once again that her greetings are so unbelievably icy and I wonder if it actually takes her a minute to remind herself that whomever it is she's meeting with wasn't one of the feral nightmares who raised her but instead somebody who actually wants to help. But after meeting with her former stepfather and getting something she thinks might resemble closure, she doesn’t particularly want to discuss how any of it made her feel and she all but explodes when her therapist asks her such a question.
“What do you think it felt like?” she fires back vehemently, taking aim at the wrong person because all of the residual pain she’s continuing to haul around from her formative years is still there and it’s hot pink and raw, and even though therapy is expressly for dealing with that kind of shit, I’m thinking that if she’s not ready, maybe Bethenny should have cancelled her appointment and instead spent the morning either getting herself a nice pedicure or punching a wall. But this therapist doesn’t fuck around and he stares back at Bethenny and all but challenges her to confront what is real and soon she is telling him about the times her stepfather used to call her mother a cunt and then drag her down the hallway while beating her with a phone, and the whole thing is so awful – an NC-17 rated Lifetime movie that was real – and Bethenny takes a deep breath through her tears and acknowledges the obvious and painful fact that those experiences have scarred her and, despite that build up of layer upon layer of scar tissue, she is still impacted by those horrific moments and they have a direct link to how she is able to connect or not connect with the people around her in the present.
After therapy ends and Bethenny collapses from emotional exhaustion and I too take a quick catnap because that shit was rough, we head out into the night to an exclusive event to fete Sonja for appearing on a magazine none of the guests at the party have ever heard of and Sonja greets each woman who walks in while resplendent in a red silk dress that is part of a collection so exclusive that it’s still not being sold anywhere, and that includes Kmart. The cover girl of this issue of Latino Show has come to the event with her boyfriend Dominik, and I know that you must also be thinking that it’s so oddthat Dominik would show up at a place where there are cameras, because I think we all know that there is nothing that terrifies a burgeoning model more than free exposure.
But we don’t really see Dominik for the rest of the night. My guess is that he’s posing outside for anybody who has a camera and might have also mentioned the continuous flow of hot water at home, but there’s no time to really think about the guy because Sonja is inside and she’s acting like this event for a magazine most people she knows have never seen will finally validate all the nonsense she’s been spinning about her massive luxury brand that will surely make her an absolute fortune. And the women buy into the hype! Well, some of them do. Kristen is first up to grovel and she compliments Sonja on her gown and tells her the pictures of her in the magazine look fantastic and she’s sorry she didn’t believe that Sonja was a designer just because not one item of clothing ever actually came to fruition for years, and where might she be able to purchase one of her garments now? Sonja’s response is similar to the one a senior member of “her fashion team” will spew off to Heather later on: the collection will be available in 2015 in a boutique so exclusive that only Sonja and her Swami Priestess will be able to visualize it.
It’s right about then – right about the moment Sonja has officially begun to convince someone other than the lady who lives in the back part of her head that this business thing is real – that everybody else shows up. Dorinda is there and so is Heather and in walks Ramona and then Bethenny and Sonja’s dentist is also there because it’s never a party if there’s not at least one dentist on the premises. Ramona is mildly confused as to what she’s there to celebrate and more confused that Sonja, who is not Latina, is the featured model in Latino Show Magazine, but there’s really no time for quibbling about things that are actually facts because we get to see a bunch of shots of Sonja’s layout and the woman looks so fucking airbrushed that I legitimately think that the photo editor was torn between which species she wanted featured in the pictures. It reminded me of the time that my mother and my stepfather actually sat down for Glamour Shots because they had been dating for about a day and a half and they were so blissfully in love and nothing says devotion more than a shitty photo session that takes place somewhere like a mall and then they gave all the kids copies of the pictures – 8x10 copies of the pictures – and I felt badly for laughing at them so I hung the picture up in my house and when my boyfriend came over and looked at it, he actually screamed in fright and I took the picture down and I hid it in a closet and the two of us did some deep breathing and promised one another that we never had to look at that picture ever again. I have it still, though. It’s crammed in the back of a closet or a drawer and I keep it because I find it prudent to always hold on to whatever blackmail fodder you can get, even if you’ll probably never use it.
But back to Sonja. She is there to introduce Heather, CEO of an actual fashion line that is for sale everywhere, to her team, and though Sonja is wearing a dress from her “collection” and though she actually has people surrounding her who believe this collection might really happen one day, Heather knows that one dress does not equal a clothing line and she’s right. It all gets even more suspicious when Heather asks one of the main guys involved in the business which stores will carry Sonja’s silk wearable masterpieces and the guy cannot answer a simple and direct question about anything involving a logistic and I’m willing to bet that nobody will really ever be able to buy anything of Sonja’s besides her townhouse.
Since parties for nonexistent clothing lines and a model who has no pores and doesn’t appear human must eventually end, we pick up the next day at Carole’s house where she has invited over some friends to wait with her for the election results. She is a good hostess, so she has drinks ready and pigs in a blanket that have lived deep in her freezer for over three years and she’s anxious about finding out if she has won or lost. Thank goodness she has her friends around! There’s Luann, who says, “Carole doesn’t get up before noon, she can’t water her plants, and she has no kitchen,” so she can’t understand why Carole would be the right person to run for the Board. Then we have Ramona, the woman who, upon hearing of the scandalous lock-jimmying story, mumbled, “Well, she just lost this one.”
It’s so comforting to know that one can always rely upon friends.
Speaking of friendship, Ramona just dropped a nugget of a story into a larger tale that she brought Mario some food very recently – maybe even a chicken nugget – and the rest of the women are surprised by that and would like some clarification, but Ramona’s not talking. She also lets Carole know that she met a man in the Hamptons and they have been dating, but she won’t so much as admit to holding his hand, but at least Ramona’s bizarre and random withholdings are taking Carole’s mind off knowing if the glitter posters worked and if she will soon be anointed Queen of the Board. On the other side of the room are Bethenny and Heather, and Heather asks Bethenny some questions about how it has been dealing with the custody issues and Bethenny is shocked – shocked! – that something that has been reported on exhaustively in tabloids and told by her personally in a People Magazine cover story and referred to on the reality television show on which she stars would be brought up by a woman at what is supposed to be a little party but is actually six women gnawing on expired appetizers and waiting for a phone call. Bethenny is not about to discuss anything with Heather and she is certainly not excited to bond with another smart and successful woman over anything real. Perhaps Heather would rather peruse the eight new Skinny Girl products Bethenny has crammed into her clutch and they can talk about how none of it tastes even the least bit like a stream of urine riddled with disease.
I found it difficult to deal with the suspense of it all too, but we finally learned that Carole won the election and everybody claps and Heather is the only one who looks genuinely thrilled for her friend and then that scene ends and we wind up with Ramona again at the restaurant she’s bought into and she and her partner are looking for more staff. The person they interview has listed “stapler” as equipment she has mastered and says that the reason she was let go from her last job was basically because she’s a kleptomaniac, and we can all giggle at what an idiot this person is, but all that really means is that she has probably already signed a contract to be the star of Bravo’s newest reality show. Mark my words: that chick will be sitting on a couch next to Anderson Cooper on Watch What Happens before year’s end.
On the other side of town, Bethenny meets up with Carole to do some pretend furniture shopping but it’s really because both of their names ended up on a call sheet because they had to do a scene together and Bethenny figured she might as well multitask because if there’s one thing she needs more of, it’s stemware. But soon they ignore the home furnishings around them and the staff of the store who probably work on commission and might want to sell something to the homeless zillionaire and Bethenny sits across from Carole on furniture neither of them will end up buying and opens up instantly about how difficult it is to be away from her daughter during the times when Jason has custody and she falls apart then, weeping genuine tears of sadness while Carole begins to look terrified. See, Carole doesn’t love dealing with emotions, but she is a decent person so she verbally offers to hug Bethenny while making no actual move to do it, but that’s actually okay because Bethenny is probably the only person colder than Carole and she knows that both of them might spontaneously combust or gain ten pounds if they wrapped their arms around one another.
When the terrified salesperson comes over, Bethenny asks him if they have alcohol and he asks if he can bring them anything besides alcohol.
“Drugs,” Bethenny responds dryly without skipping a beat and her delivery is perfect just then and I wish she could always be funny like that, but then again her life does not sound particularly hilarious any way you stare at it – including while you’re on drugs.
Speaking of drugs, what exactly has Ramona been on all season, and more important, what is her “friend” Michael on that made him decide to date Ramona in the first place and then offer proof of doing so by appearing on camera at Dorinda’s birthday party? And does whatever they’re taking come in pill form, because if so, I’d like two bottles.
I’m beginning to think that every meal the women eat this season will somehow be in honor of Dorinda, and I just want to let her know that I had sushi for dinner tonight and I thought about her the entire time. But it is going to be her birthday soon, so Luann throws a little dinner where champagne and caviar are served and Heather and her normal husband show up and Ramona greets Dorinda’s boyfriend somewhat coldly and I find I cannot care about any part of that when I can’t stop myself from staring at “Ramona’s friend” Michael and wondering why the hell he’s not running for his life. Dude, no kind of on camera exposure is worth waking up to a crazy person. If I put that expression on a greeting card or get Sonja to make a tee that says it, will he be more apt to believe me and heed my warnings?
It seems I have the right to be just a wee bit concerned because the old Ramona is coming out, crawling from beneath her tranquilized haze to say at the table – apropos of exactly nothing – that Heather and Luann have a wall of insincerity up against her and both women look confused that she has said such a thing and while the fighting starts, Michael is out of the frame for most of it and I can only hope that he’s carving the letters to the words “HELP ME” underneath the table with a butter knife or spelling it out in caviar so the waiter eventually gets the message. And really, this is his chance to escape because Ramona has been sidetracked by her own delusions and she plants herself on Dorinda’s lap and coos in her ear and tells her how much she loves her and that’s when Luann jumps in to say that Dorinda actually called her recently and she was very upset because Ramona had said some unkind things about John and Ramona quickly says that Luann was the one who said the nasty words about a man they all clearly can’t stand, but soon there is fighting over the table about which woman is the bigger liar and Ramona keeps whispering her devotion into Dorinda’s ear and then she does it to John too and the ease with which this woman violates personal space might be something I could marvel at if it didn’t freak me out so badly.
Next week, Kristen and Dorinda begin to brawl about how John once gripped Kristen’s ass at a party and that it’s maybe Kristen’s fault because she didn’t punch him across the face and tell him to stop and Luann appears looking like one of the characters from Dynasty who liked to throw her nemesis from a balcony during a party without breaking a nail or a sweat. And unless I’m on a shopping spree at every single store across Manhattan (besides Kmart) buying the Sonja Morgan collection before it sells out or vaporizes like a bad dream, I’ll be watching.