Well, the Real Housewives are back, representing us for what we can only hope is their last season. Thus far, the rest of America has learned that we New Yorkers:
• Like to take our clothes off and can make it sound as though we are doing some great public service. In Bethenny’s case, she is saving the animals via PETA. Kelly is doing it for all womankind, showing everyone that 41-year-olds can still have Playboy-caliber physiques.
• Go to parties and forget to bring our party manners, hence ridiculing, as well as arguing with, the hostess, as LuAnn and Jill did when Ramona invited them for a day on a yacht; and Alex did at Jill’s Saks party, where Ramona also took on both LuAnn and Kelly.
• Get a job or a man—or both—and then dump our friends. Bethenny has a best-selling book, a husband, a successful brand and a new reality show on the way. Jill who?
• Pretend to be who we’re not. LuAnn is no longer married to the count, yet still clinging to that Countess title for dear life. Would being simply LuAnn from the Hamptons really be so bad?
• Think we know more than everyone else. Alex and Simon have kids; so naturally, they’ve written a book about how to raise children in the city. Thank goodness. I don’t know how we’ve managed thus far. Jill has written a book based on advice from her sage mother, because apparently she thinks no one else has one.
• Attend exclusive fashion shows, dine at expensive restaurants, carry designer luggage that costs as much as some people’s rent because there is no recession in the Big Apple
This whole bunch confirms what those outside the city already believe—that we are shallow, petty and rude. Oh yes, and as with every season, everyone is made aware that there are obviously no black, Latina or Asian women/wives of means in New York City.
The New York reality star who just might save us in the eyes of those who live outside the tri-state area is PR maven, entrepreneur and single mother Kelly Cutrone, star of the other Bravo show Kell On Earth.
Cutrone moved here two decades ago from upstate New York, surviving on her wits and networking skills. She worked her way up to owning People’s Revolution, which represents predominantly fashion clients. The show chronicles hard work in a cramped office, where there are no Ugly Betty hi-jinks, Devil Wears Prada bag swinging/coat flinging and no one dances through the hallways singing “Think Pink.”
Kelly’s two partners are Robin and Emily. The trio prove that NYC women can work together without backstabbing one another and talking about each other when one leaves the room. The rule of the office is that everyone stays until the work is done and they all leave together.
Yet, for all the commune-like ethos, account executives and interns come and go, as do clients, which is realistic in a fast-paced and competitive place like this town. It also shows the effects the economy’s downturn has had on business: clients that don’t pay, diversifying to keep afloat and Cutrone personally funding the business to keep everyone in paychecks.
Most of all, though, the rest of the country might begin to see us as nose-to-the-grindstone workers, thanks to Cutrone’s mantra, which is also the title of her new book, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside.
Maybe the Real Housewives will take that advice, then not be let back in.
Lorraine Duffy Merkl’s debut novel, Fat Chick, from The Vineyard Press, is available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
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