Sonja Morgan does not swallow.  It does not matter how trashed on expensive champagne she is while philandering with rappers she’s never actually heard of on a yacht in the French Riviera.  It does not matter if the dick in question is attached to the crotch of a man who believes with all of his might that maybe Sonja is as fabulous as her interns tell her she is every Thursday morning after the prayer circle for hot water at her dilapidated townhouse has concluded.  It doesn’t even matter if she is on Atkins and is desperate for some protein.  No, the only way the discerning Ms. Morgan will take a gulp of semen is if the guy whose Cowper’s Gland it exits from is carrying a Black Card.

LITERAL LIFE LESSON #1 FROM A REAL HOUSEWIFE THIS WEEK:  Swallowing can be the happy outcome if you’re a guy who has great financial success and you’ve chosen to spend some time with Sonja Morgan, a woman who has callouses on her knees and delusions of grandeur in her heart and in her mind.

SUBTEXTUAL LIFE LESSON #1 FROM A REAL HOUSEWIFE THIS WEEK:  Talking about the merits of swallowing while cameras are filming you with the intention of broadcasting that footage will potentially cause your child at least one major issue.  It could turn out to be something in the addiction or eating disorder family, but if Sonja’s lucky it will only yield a tell-all book told from her child’s humiliated perspective once Sonja reaches her twilight years. 

But before the court-mandated therapy sessions or the media frenzy brought on by the unavoidable child emancipation trial can begin, Sonja and Bethenny sit down for yet another meal where no food is served.  Sonja has journeyed far to attend this little get together.  It seems that leaving the Upper East Side and getting herself downtown is akin to traveling to some faraway land like New Jersey, and I can only hope that her interns packed her a mini baggie stuffed with trail mix so she won’t be hungry, especially since the twenty year old model she slept with last night cannot even spell “Black Card,” and all that means, of course, is that she hasn’t swallowed nutrients in hours.

When Sonja first walks in, Bethenny is reading book edits over the phone to someone I hope is a well-paid editor, but she gets off the phone quickly and maybe it’s because Sonja lost her entire mind that one time when Temporary Housewife Cindy dared to take a work call while meeting with Sonja, a woman who is far too fabulous to work and who has to work anyway when she was able to earn her first million by the time she was twenty-five?  So what if it was a million dollars in Monopoly money?  And just so everyone knows, part of her international lifestyle brand could very well include Sonja’s smug grin plastered across a small nation’s commerce, so we’d all better get used to the idea now.

Bethenny has always liked Sonja, but she’s been hearing all kinds of “judgment” from the other women about how Sonja has been acting almost certifiably crazy and she wants to see for herself.  I have to say that Sonja is not making it easy for Bethenny – or really anybody with hearing – to go all in on her sanity.  She calls herself “a movie producer,” even though the one job she had as a maybe-producer ended with a seven million dollar judgment leveled against her.  But it’s when she speaks of her “international fashion/lifestyle brand” and she cannot explain one single thing about that brand except for the fact that it will include perfume (who here wants to smell like Sonja?) and probably faux platinum   dental dams and that it will all one day be sold at either Bergdorf’s or in a gallery that only exists in Sonja’s fever dreams.

I can’t say too much in Bethenny’s defense these days because she has made herself come off like kind of an asshole so far this season, and that’s been a real disappointment to me because I used to find her kind of delightfully snarky and now I only see her as rude.  Still, she manages to keep her head from blowing straight off her body as she gives Sonja advice based on her own wisdom that has been gleaned through actual experience and not hallucinations:  Focus on doing one thing – and do that one thing well.

Will Sonja listen?  It depends, I guess.  Does Bethenny have a Black Card?

Away from the abject crazy are Dorinda and Luann.  They are getting pedicures, and Luann arrives wearing Burberry while Dorinda is swathed in another fur collar and they discuss how John, the boyfriend Dorinda hates, showed up at the bar the single women in the group went to so many weeks ago and I cannot help but wonder why we are still hearing about this non-event.  John didn’t procure a lap dance for himself.  He did not go home with someone who clearly has vision problems.  He didn’t even fondle fabric and then offer to dry clean something for some chick, so what exactly is the huge deal here?  I legitimately fear that the reason that particular bar is getting so much air time is due to some recent deal that will turn the staff of Beautique into the newest Bravolebrities and, just as a precaution, I’m going to start the petition to finally make it all fucking stop.

What also comes out over pedicures is that Dorinda was never really scared of the world before her late husband got sick, but now she feels almost afraid and more vulnerable, and that is certainly the kind of thing that could happen when one’s world gets turned upside down and then stomped upon.  I don’t officially like Dorinda yet – there’s something about her I found quite off-putting and potentially abrasive – but I feel some compassion for her because being afraid sucks.  But it’s time to move beyond the human stuff that actually matters and to wade into the nonsense so Dorinda also mentions that she found Bethenny to be rather harsh with Heather when Heather recently brought up that Kristen felt hurt by not being included at Bethenny’s birthday. Over the last several seasons, my impression of Heather has been that she has rarely to never acted in a way I would describe as illogical or out-of-her-fucking-mind-crazy, so it’s almost impossible for me not to root for Heather in a fight that should never have even happened in the first place.

LITERAL LIFE LESSON #2 FROM A REAL HOUSEWIFE THIS WEEK:  If you’re even in the ballpark of being psychologically balanced, the average viewer will allow you to get away with almost anything.

SUBTEXTUAL LIFE LESSON #2 FROM A REAL HOUSEWIFE THIS WEEK:  The Bethenny Backlash has begun and Dorinda might very well become a founding member of the group that will try to dethrone Bethenny from the chair covered in a plush velvet that exists only in her Bethenny’s mind.  But it’s not all Bethenny’s fault that she’s become rather insufferable; homelessness is hard on everyone. 

And then there’s Carole.  She meets up for drinks (“Something healthy,” requests the morbidly obese one) with Kristen, who has not had very much of a presence this season.  Even thisinteraction is not really about Kristen.  Instead it’s meant to set up a scenario where Carole can inform her (and us) that she and her young chef are all but living together and that Luann might freak out when she hears the news because Adam used to date her young niece.  It’s time, of course, for Carole to bite the scruffy, hot bullet and then tell Luann her dirty little secret.  The longer she waits, the worse it will be – an expression I realized was nothing but entirely accurate as I waited for Ramona to finally appear on my television screen only to feel all cold inside when she finally showed up.

Clutching a bottle of wine like other women hold a purse, Ramona walks into Sonja’s intern-crammed townhouse.  Sonja has invited Ramona over so she can prove that she does swallow some things (like green juices) and to ask Ramona if she would like to go to Atlantic City for her birthday.  See, she knows how hard it will be for Ramona to turn whatever age she’s about to turn because her entire life feels like it’s been hit at close range with a bounding torpedo and Sonja is a decent enough friend to want to be there for her.  (She’s not a decent enough friend to greet her later on at a party, but we shall get there eventually and, in the interim, we should just be relieved that the party is not being held at Beautique.)  Ramona is thrilled by the Atlantic City suggestion.  After all, it is a place where both guzzling wine and doing The Ramona Dance is applauded, and she is grateful that Sonja suggested such a trip.  They call the other women to invite them too, and Sonja complains that the other women are not supportive of her businesses, ignoring that the lack of support is because, as Heather says, they have not once seen “something tangible.”  The whole thing kind of reminds me of how we would all look at my nephew strangely when he was three years old and he was convinced he was in a rock band and that the drummer of his band was named Wax and that the band was called Scream and he would ask us to please buy him the CD, and when we would try to explain why we couldn’t, he would get angry and upset and he would yell, “They’re not in my head!”  Like my sister did with her young son, Ramona ventures that perhaps Sonja just shouldn’t talk to the others about any of it.

Over at Dorinda’s apartment, her daughter and her red lipstick appear so that Dorinda can put into motion the next gathering of the season:  a cocktail party for all of the women and their mates.  It’s a perfect opportunity for Dorinda to get to know the others and to introduce John to the women who are not already repelled by him and Hannah listens to it all closely and says some supportive things but there’s something about the girl that concerns me.  She is just twenty-one and I will not speak ill of someone I consider to be a child (except for that one hybrid creature Theresa of The New Jersey Housewives birthed – that one I will talk all sorts of shit about and I’ll do it because I am still not convinced she is of our species so it all feels like fair game), but there’s something off to me about her.  I feel like I see twinges of something I’d coin “latent Kardashianism” going on inside of her.  This girl wants to be famous for doing nothing, I can’t stop thinking every time she appears onscreen.  And honestly, in a society such as ours, she is well on her way.

LITERAL LIFE LESSON #3 FROM A REAL HOUSEWIFE THIS WEEK:  Maybe try not to confide what you hate about your boyfriend to the daughter who despises him more than she despises a nude lip.  That shit will come back to haunt you.

SUBTEXTUAL LIFE LESSON #3 FROM A REAL HOUSEWIFE THIS WEEK:  Maybe it’s also better not to air everything you hate about a person you’re supposed to be in love with to the world at large unless you’re looking for a clever and rather nasty exit strategy.  But if it is an exit strategy that will result in the guy needing intensive therapy, then have at it.

Once again losing my brackets in my Housewives gambling ring, it turns out that Kristen is still on this show!  She has herself a new fashion blog, and as one blogger to another, I honestly wish her the very best of luck.  She does things like wheel carriages filled with shoes down a city street and then slip out of her clothing while her assistants shield her with umbrellas and then the pictures are taken with an iPhone, which is what I ended up using to take my author photo for That Yearbecause the actual fancy camera broke after the first shot.  Kristen knows this endeavor will not make her wealthy enough to actually leave the man who wears a ridiculous hat to Dorinda’s party, but she is having fun and I’m happy for her that she has a mini-storyline that involves something other than reacting to other peoples’ news.

Since Kristen’s blog is about fashion, it only makes sense to segue from her scene to Sonja and herfashion line, a line that is so exclusive that it’s not available anywhere.  (Really:  I Googled “Sonja Morgan fashion line” and no stores are carrying it.)  But negligible things like actual products that are produced aside, Sonja seems to have herself a fully-developed cast of characters who validate her belief that one day very soon she will be a lifestyle guru.  And there is some evidence abounding that makes it all sort of seen legit.  I mean, there’s a bunch of professional-looking people in a room who have titles like CFO and CEO and there is a logo printed up and lookbooks for a Spring and Summer line.  

Into this expensively funded fantasy walks Bethenny, a person Sonja feels supports her in the way that the others do not.  Bethenny is basically there to corroborate Sonja’s belief that this business is not one giant hallucination – and maybe she will even tell the others that Sonja is clearly the next Mark Cuban and the rest of them can just go suck it – but Bethenny, though impressed by what she sees (in that she is able to see anything), is perplexed that a simple question like, “Where will this line be carried?” cannot be answered.  “We know everything,” is actually said by some woman in a black business suit, and I think the line was meant to indicate that every high-end store in the stratosphere will be clamoring to carry the Sonja Morgan fashion line.  

If that woman indeed knows everything, perhaps she can tell me which store is selling so much as a flimsy Sonja scarf that was designed to cover your nipples when it gets a little chilly.

I think Bethenny might have practiced her “try to have no expression” face in her bathroom mirror before the meeting because she almost appears constipated by trying so hard not to look judgy when Sonja vomits up a litany of her past accomplishments that include (no joke) her screenplay, her movie, her sexy novel, the toaster oven, that time she was a model, and Marc Jacobs.  Now, I have no idea where Marc Jacobs fits into any of it, but apparently he was a key figure in Sonja’s massive past success.

“I forgot that I took a hit of acid,” muses Bethenny after hearing Sonja’s fictional resume, and when she leaves the room filled with people who can’t stand it when someone savvy asks easy business questions that can not be answered, someone in the room pops champagne.  It could be to celebrate the fashion line.  It could be to commemorate the deep friendship between Sonja and Marc Jacobs.  But my guess is that the champagne is brought forth to herald the fact that Bethenny has finally left the room.

LITERAL LIFE LESSON #4 FROM A REAL HOUSEWIFE THIS WEEK:  If you have a product that is not sold anywhere, you are not a professional businessperson and saying that you are makes you look like an utter fool.

SUBTEXTUAL LIFE LESSON #4 FROM A REAL HOUSEWIFE THIS WEEK:  Marc Jacobs might not be litigious enough to file a slander suit against a Real Housewife.

And finally we embark upon The Party of the Week, the one Dorinda is throwing for the new friends she is being paid to hang out with.  Everybody except for Bethenny is there.  Even Kristen was invited!  Ramona, Luann, and Carole all show up sans dates, but Sonja arrives with young model, Dominic.  This generically handsome kid is really hanging in there.  He is putting in the time and effort to hang out with older women who fight in public and, since we know she’s not swallowing, my best guess is that he’s spending time with Sonja for the stories that will come out of it that he can trade for social commerce with people who might care and for the onscreen exposure.  I honestly cannot find any other reason for this silly union – and that’s clearly because of who Sonja is because I wouldn’t blink twice if it were Luann dating a kid and I actually hope that Carole and her young chef work out.

Turns out that Luann is less excited about Carole and Adam than I am.  She found out the news before Carole told her and she doesn’t love any of it.  Adam dated her niece and they are still in touch and Carole actually knows Luann’s niece and spoke to her about Adam in the past and Luann just finds the whole thing bizarre and maybe a little wrong.  Carole, however, doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, but because both women are not descendants of the lunatic family, the disagreement ends with only a shrug from each.

Elsewhere at the party, Heather’s husband once again proves how lovely and personable he is during his brief onscreen moments, Dorinda’s sweaty boyfriend John keeps moving in for kisses so loud that I can hear an actual “smooch” sound that makes me wipe my own cheek and lips, Heather is asking Sonja why she – an actual person with a fashion line – was not shown Sonja’s collection, and Sonja is actively ignoring Ramona, who at one point speaks to an almost empty tray of tuna.

LITERAL LIFE LESSON #5 FROM A REAL HOUSEWIFE THIS WEEK:  Tuna rarely talks back.

SUBTEXTUAL LIFE LESSON #5 FROM A REAL HOUSEWIFE THIS WEEK:  When in doubt about how to behave as a newly single woman in public, doing pushups on the floor of a bar is one way to go but maybe it’s not the best way to go.

Since she is so busy flitting around the room so she doesn’t have to answer any tough questions like, “When will your huge luxury line be available?” Sonja also manages to ignore Ramona.  She did not greet her when she arrived and she is not speaking to her at all and the whole thing is hurting Ramona’s feelings because Ramona is a pulsating collection of cells that are barely held together by a little thing called betrayal and she cannot add a friend betrayal to the sour mix because that’s the kind of thing that could make her fall apart completely and then who will speak to empty platters of food?

As the hostess, Dorinda takes it upon herself to unite Sonja and Ramona and she makes the two of them meet in the middle of the room so everybody can watch a ridiculous argument like this one take place:

Ramona:  Why did you ignore me when you came in?

Sonja:  I’m here with a date!

Ramona:  Who cares?  My feelings were hurt.

Sonja:  Whose earring are you wearing?

That was the actual conversation, but the animosity eventually faded to almost nothingness when Sonja hugged Ramona and told her that all she wants is for her friend to be happy.

But seriously:  where did Ramona get those earrings?  They look like they could be part of the Sonja Morgan Luxury line!  Dear young Dominic, it might really be time for you to run away.  And, if I were you, I’d head in the direction of a woman who swallows.