Real Housewives of Whose World?

After easily avoiding every single episode of the Real Housewives of Anywhere, my curiosity was piqued last week with its latest franchise, primarily because it was filmed in Vancouver where I was born and raised.

I figured I’d tune in at least once to catch some of the beautiful Vancouver sights, and maybe see a few familiar faces. I watched the first two episodes while I worked out, and surprisingly, my time in the gym whizzed by.

“Did you like it?” one of my girlfriends asked excitedly. I had to admit: I did.

I can’t say why exactly, but I recognized instantly that it was a guilty pleasure comparable to eating grilled cheese sandwiches made with processed Velveeta and white bread. I knew it wasn’t great for me and there were much healthier alternatives, but it wasn’t going to kill me either.

The five gorgeous housewives featured in the show live very different lives than I do. They live very different lives than almost every woman I’ve ever known. But it wasn’t their extreme wealth and privilege that I found interesting, it was the inane dramatic situations that I got a kick out of, even knowing how staged they were.

“It’s not real,” one of my male friends said. “Two of them aren’t even from Vancouver. They’ve been transported from Toronto and the shows are scripted.”

Who cares, I thought after I saw it. It was funny.

“But it’s not intended to be a comedy,” he said. “I don’t get how you could like that crap.”

I understood his frustration with me. After years of voicing my dislike at the mere idea of reality TV, I must seem like a complete traitor to him. Especially for a show obnoxiously  celebrating meaningless excess and aesthetics.

“Didn’t you find it amusing how that one woman would bully her friends and when she was confronted, she’d turn it around and tell them to get over it and get therapy?” I asked. “Or the woman who said that her primary source of income was two divorces. Full stop.”

“No,” he replied. “They were contemptible.”

I couldn’t take it as seriously as that, though. It reminded me of the days when I watched Joan Collins and Linda Evans scrapping it out in their glitzy shoulder-padded ensembles on Dynasty, a popular ‘80s show.

But, like Dynasty, is the Real Housewives of Vancouver a must see? Is it going to add value to my life? Are these the kind of women I would choose to hang out with in real life? No, no, and you never know.

Unlike the queen-bee bully of the show who preached the importance of not judging others and then proved to be incredibly judgmental herself, I refuse to judge these women because I don’t know them.  As far as I’m concerned, they are just playing exaggerated caricatures of themselves for the sake of entertainment.

Sure, their job is easier than an actor’s because they don’t have to learn lines. But their job is also harder because people assume they are the personas they represent since it’s supposed to be “real.”

True or not, it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to feel less empty about my new guilty pleasure, so I’ve decided to only watch it when I’m working out. I can justify doing so if it makes my workouts whiz by.

To see how others felt about the Real Housewives of Vancouver when I asked, please watch my video at LoriWelbourne.com

Grin and share it

Chatting and smiling away at people at a recent event, I eventually went to the bathroom to discover an obvious smear of lipstick on my front tooth.

“Did you notice this?” I asked my friend, pointing it out as she joined me at the sink.

“Wow,” she laughed, “That’s attractive.”

“I know,” I replied, rubbing it off with a tissue and reflecting back on all the people I’d been talking with.  “It’s probably been there for hours.”

“I’m surprised a fancy utensil didn’t save you the embarrassment,” she said, referring to the many times she’d witnessed me checking my teeth in a knife or a spoon, or, on the rare occasion, a fork.

“Why don’t you just buy a compact?” she had once asked me as I was inspecting my smile in a butter knife after lunch.

“I should,” I’d said, mentally adding it to my shopping list along with the notepad I’d need in order to remember what I was adding.

“Looking into a little mirror would be classier than peering into a knife,” she said, checking around to see who else noticed my odd routine.

“Or I could use the camera on my iPhone,” I said excitedly, displaying my newfound solution to the mirror I never had in my purse.

“That’s an improvement,” she said as she watched me squint into my phone. But I never did make the switch and continued with my mirrored utensils out of habit more than anything else.

Yet, as diligent as I’ve been about checking my teeth, here I was with lipstick on my front tooth again. And what surprised me more than that was the fact that no one was clueing me in. Were they unobservant, in need of glasses, or just too polite to point it out?

In a desire to be helpful I rarely keep my mouth shut in cases such as this. If I see a tag sticking out, a hair out of place, an undone zipper or something dangling from a nostril I feel duty-bound to let that person know. Even if it happens to be a stranger.

If I hesitate all I have to do is ask myself whether I’d want to be informed if the roles were reversed. If the answer is yes I charge ahead and let the person know.

If the answer is no, I don’t. Like the day an old friend pointed out something I thought was better left unsaid.

“Wow,” he said smiling broadly after seeing me for the first time in years. “You’ve really bulked up, eh?”

I marveled at this guy’s ability to share an observation most people wouldn’t dare, while others can’t even point out something as easily fixable as lipstick on a tooth.

“There’s something dangling out of your nostril,” I said smiling just as broadly. “You might want to check it out. Would you prefer my knife or my spoon?” It feels good to be helpful.

To watch how strangers reacted to the lipstick on my teeth please watch the video that accompanies this column at LoriWelbourne.com