I was Facebook chatting with some friends the other day about part two of the "Real Housewives of Orange County" reunion show when a really ugly side of me started to come out — a side in which my desire to make people laugh directly competed with my fear of being reincarnated as Paris Hilton's best friend or one of bin Laden's compound mistresses (tomato, tomahto ... I honestly can't decide which would be worse. Massaging bin Laden's crusty sandal toe and wondering what that crashed helicopter is doing in our yard or listening to Paris tell me why she's sooooo pretty?).
During the "Real Housewives" chat, I had to erase and retype phrases like, "Vicki's face is all puffy from fillers and Botox, but what she really needs to do is sand off those acne scars on her cheeks like Brad Pitt did in '08 because that's straight-up honeycomb." and "If Jeana's a size 6 then the camera must add 45 pounds and a full-sized second butt. Oh and what was with that old lady neck and those years of marital regret under her eyes?"
I know. Horrible, right?
I replaced my mean statements with other somewhat less mean statements, of course — I'm not working at Hallmark here — but before I did so, I debated whether I should. This is the "Real Housewives," after all. They are vile, self-indulgent, silly, lying, self-righteous women who seemingly go on the show for the sole purpose of taking down other women and proving to Bravo that they deserve their own spin-off and a screechy record contract. Furthermore, cattiness is the currency there and, when in Rome, you spend your vacation money.
Besides, I'm not this mean to real people in real life (most of the time). So I should have a pass to say whatever I want about these she-wolves because they do it too, no?
What's that, Paris? You want me to hold your cocaine purse while the police search your limo?
Then I started to think about where this might end up. If I go full-throttle on the witchiness and excuse it as just following the Real Housewives' cue, I could get lost down a real rabbit hole of moral terror.
Here are some of the lessons the Real Housewives have taught me:
Gay men are merely must-have accessories. Behind every fabulous woman is a fabulous man, of course. This goes without saying. But, as OC's Tamra astutely pointed out, gay men have become the new toy chihuahuas. When uber-Christian Alexis, who has made it quite clear that she thinks being gay results in a fiery hell brought down from on high, is traipsing around town with her Gay in tow and acting like she owns him — well, it just makes you want to hand the poor man a sock so he can be set free like Dobby the House Elf in "Harry Potter." "Here you go, little buddy. Now grab that curling iron and RUNNNNNNNN!!!!"
White Range Rovers will throw them off the scent. You don't want people to know that your credit cards are past their limits? Or that you're $11 million in debt? Or that you don't have money to fix up your house to sell it? Or that you don't work and have to sleep with a man named Big Poppa to make ends meet? Time to get a white luxury car! Double points if you can get your significant other to "casually present" you with the vehicle at a party ... when the cameras are rolling. "OHMYGOD!!! Are you serious? Are you SERIOUS? I love it!" Sometimes the only difference between "Real Housewives" and "My Super Sweet 16" is ... actually, I can't think of a single one.
Foreclosure is another word for "No, no. I'm still rich.": I thought people who foreclosed on their homes were supposed to be downtrodden or at least a little ashamed about the situation. Not on "Real Housewives"! When Peggy's husband Micah was sipping on some French wine and started lecturing his dinner mates on the benefits of "living within your means but still experiencing a taste of the finer things in life" I knew right then and there that homeboy couldn't pay his bills. Sure enough, I read last week that they're in foreclosure. But then, during the reunion show, I learned the RH strategy: Hide your cash. Transfer your house to a business name. Declare the business bankrupt. Foreclose on the house. Move to another nice house. Par-tay! Way to go, fake rich people. Way. To. Go.
Trade in your man. TRADE HIM IN!: I have to admit that when Gretchen was talking about preferring a man-lease-program to marriage, my mind might have wandered to a recent deal I struck with my husband of seven years: For every 10 kisses he gives his cat, he must give me one. Some mornings I get 15 kisses, which makes me think the cat deserves more tuna. Anyway, Gretchen is dating Slade so no one can blame her for her noncommittal attitude, but when Bravo surprised Vicki by showing an interview with her beleaguered soon-to-be ex-husband Donn ... well, things got real. Donn thinks Vicki is divorcing him because she sees nearly divorced and happy Tamra cavorting with her hot, younger Spaniard. Ohmigosh, you could cut the truth with a KNIFE in that room. Because you know what? Well, A., that Spaniard is HAWT. And B., boring husbands with receding hairlines and an expired Viagra prescription have no place in the world of "Real Housewives."
So, there you have it ... the slippery slope of Real Housewives-dom. Which is why I just ... can't ... stop ... watching.
Liz Farrell is the editor of Lowcountry Current. Follow her at twitter.com/elizfarrell.