Showing posts with label Real Housewives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Real Housewives. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What If I Was a "Real Housewife?"

I was watching "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" Sunday night, and I started wondering about why the "Housewives" franchise was so popular and why I liked to watch it.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I like reality TV.  

I am not ashamed to admit it. I even wrote a whole blog post about that once, "Reality TV, A Primer."  I listed my favorites, why they were good TV and what you could learn (yes, you can actually learn something from some reality TV shows - how to be naked and afraid or race around the world or cut up a chicken in 60 seconds or less). 

Here is what I said about "The Housewives" in that blog post.

"Why is it good reality?

Because watching other people live out their dramas while I am drinking a glass of wine with my feet up is very relaxing.

What you will learn:  that you are truly addicted."

And I guess I am.  I look back on earlier posts and see that I have not only written about television quite a bit, very early on I also wrote about the "Housewives."  But I guess I have more to say.

I know people who not only turn their noses up at these kinds of shows, but at television in general. But I also know, that people who consider themselves intellectuals of a sort (and I am one) are watching.

Here is an article in "Psychology Today" that is a case in point:

"Why We Can't Stop Watching The Real Housewives." 

"A survey of over 200 people by my Psychology Today colleague Steven Reiss, found that people with intellectual interests were equally as likely to watch reality TV as those without an intellectual bent."

See, you other intellectuals?  You can come out of the closet now.

The article ends with...

"And what about the transformation of the term “Housewife” from it’s mid-19th century focus on domesticity and running the household, to a term synonymous with “girlfriend” or “posse member?”  Whether married or single, a mother or childless, rich or poor, working mom or stay at home spouse, friend or enemy, all the women are known as “Housewives.” And there’s something refreshingly unifying, and transformational about that!"

So somehow vindicated and feeling less guilty, I took it one step further.

Why isn't there a Housewives franchise for us "over the hill gang," us retired folks?

What if I was a "Real Housewife" on a show like that?

What kind of a "Housewife" would I be?

From my many years of watching, er, studying the Housewives, I have broken  down the criteria for being a housewife into 5 characteristics:

First, to be a "Real Housewife," you need a tagline.

At the beginning of every show, each Housewife introduces herself with one sentence to describe herself, known in the biz as a tagline e.g.

Lisa Vanderpump - Beverly Hills - Season 2:
"Life in Beverly Hills is a game, and I make the rules."

Kenya Moore - Atlanta - Season 5: 
"I won Miss USA, not Miss Congeniality."

Nene Leakes - Atlanta - Seasons 1 & 2:
"I don't keep up with the Joneses, I AM the Joneses."

Dina Manzo - New Jersey - Seasons 1 & 2:
"If you think I'm a bitch, then bring it on!"

Tamra Barney - Orange County - Season 5: 
"Housewives come younger but they don't come hotter."

You get the idea.

So if I was a retired housewife, this would be my tagline:


 "I may be a lady of leisure, but I won't take anything lying down."

How's that?

Second, to be a housewife, you need to create conflict by being a meddling mother, sister or friend or HAVE a meddling mother, sister or friend or a bone to pick with someone ALL OF THE TIME.

I guess I have done my fair share of meddling in my life.  Bone picking, not so much except with Hubby and the kids, but my bone picking days are over. I promise.

Third, you have to be a skinny bitch.
I could probably qualify for the bitch part, but we women of a certain age have decided to save our faces instead of our butts.

Fourth, money or a peripheral connection to fame.
Well, I DO have a pension and I have high fived a Beatle (Ringo) and had my picture taken with Andie McDowell.  Does that count?

Finally, a real housewife must have a point of view.
No problem there.

It's fun to imagine the glamour of being a "Real Housewife," wearing designer gowns, looking fabulous as the camera follows me around on expensive shopping sprees and to parties full of celebrities, but I would guess that the "Real Retired Housewives of Seattle" won't be happening anytime soon.

And much as I love reality TV, I know there is nothing "real" about the "Real Housewives."  My daughter ran a high-end swimsuit shop in Atlanta a few years ago and a couple of the housewives came in and were filmed there.  My daughter told me how the producer set up the shot by telling the housewives what they were going to talk about. I can't say I was that surprised about the lack of spontaneity, but it did burst my bubble a bit.

So we know that the "Housewives" are not really "real."

But what IS a real housewife, something all of us ordinary women can aspire to?

Here is what I think.

The word "real" is defined as "actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact, not imagined or supposed. (of a substance or thing), not imitation or artificial, genuine."

This last weekend, this retired housewife decorated two Christmas trees and the rest of the house, watched a movie or two (we were snowed in), exercised, texted and talked to our grown children.  Today (still snowed in), I wrote this blog, texted my daughter, talked to my son, exercised, watched some TV and enjoyed a glass of wine with the wine guzzling poodle while enjoying the fruits of my weekend labor. 


Oh, and I spent time with Hubby.

Tomorrow I plan to brave the elements, go to the gym, go to a movie, run errands, cook dinner and hang out with Hubby. 

Such is the life of a Real Housewife (retired).

We can vicariously enjoy the drama and glamour of the TV show as we sit in our real homes with our real husbands or our real families or our real friends.

But as defined in the "Psychology Today" article I mentioned, we women are all "housewives," regardless of our age, our marital status, our wealth or whether we work outside the home or not.

A real housewife is real: she actually exists, she is genuine.

She is a girlfriend; she is in our posse.

She is a real loving wife to her husband (if she has one) or significant other.

She is a real loving mother to her kids (if she has them).

She is a successful career woman.

She is a real friend (I hope she has some).

And she is real and loving to herself.

We are the Real Housewives.

Thanks for reading!
See you Friday
for my review of
"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part I,"
"The Week in Reviews"

and the latest on my


"1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project."


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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Retirement as a Real Housewife

[I review the movies "Glorious 39," "The Brass Teapot," "Beware of Mr. Baker," and review a few good books.]

But first
Retirement as a Real Housewife

I was emptying the dishwasher for the seventh day in a row, something Hubby used to help with when I was working.  I realized that now that I am retired and Hubby is still toiling in the fields of employment, many more household tasks have fallen to me.  So as I stood by the dishwasher, a clean coffee cup in one hand and a grater in the other, a little thought bubble appeared over my head:  "After a 40 year career with only the usual few weeks off, even to have my children - Am I now a housewife?"

 And if so, am I a "Real Housewife?"

Though many of you may disapprove of such reality shows, I have the feeling most of you have heard of this franchise:  "The Real Housewives of Orange County" started it all, followed by "Atlanta," "New York," New Jersey,: "Beverly Hills," and "Miami."  There was even one in Vancouver, B.C. which I tried desperately to find, but it was not available in the U.S. and I found one in Sweden called "Swedish Hollywood Housewives," which featured one of Paul Anka's wives (saw some of it in Sweden).  If you crave a little more background, click here.

Anyway, again, as I let my mind wander while putting the dishes away, I wondered if my retirement would encourage my slipping into a meaningless life full of shopping, plastic surgery and flipping tables, just like the "Real Housewives." Would I be the star of my own life in  "The Retired Housewives of Snohomish County?" 

Do I fit the profile?

Let's see....

Blonde:  Yep (and it ain't easy). 
(Though not all of the Housewives are blonde, the exceedingly high proportion of those who are, makes that one of the important criteria.)

Speaking of proportions...

Advanced plastic surgery, especially lips and you-know-whats: Nope (not yet anyway).

Rich:  Nope, not likely either.

Skinny Bitch:  Not the skinny part, anyway.

Thrives on drama and attention:  I suppose. 
There were some exciting days at the library trying to explain to the same customer over and over why the drinking fountain didn't squirt the water higher or getting the homeless guy, who took a sponge bath every Monday night at closing, to come out so we could lock up. "Yoohoo, Mister."  Knock, knock, knock.  "We really want to go home." 
Or the "not all there woman" who thinks celebrities, including President Obama, are having sex on her bed and it's driving her even further around the bend eventually leading her to punch a library customer in the nose. 
Ah, libraries, dusty bastions of books and quiet.  NOT!

Revels in gossip:  I do revel in gossip about people I will never meet, such as celebrities, which I think is OK, but I don't approve of it when it comes to my friends.  But did you hear about...?  Just kidding.

Excessive Shopping:  Guilty as charged. 
With three closets full of clothes that I will probably never wear again, this is my Achilles Heel and puts me right there in the "Real Housewife" sphere,  but so far, since I have retired, I haven't been to the mall once.  Somehow my urge to shop is balanced by the horror I feel when I check the bank account and look at those platform sneakers I just had to have. 

Flips furniture over:  Though there were moments in the library when I wanted to flip the reference desk when a customer asked for his library card number for the 30th day in the row or when a customer rushes up to the desk, says she is in a big hurry and can I please look up the meaning of life on the computer really quick, but I managed to fight off the urge.  But good thing I retired when I did.

Is known to dress up little dogs in costumes:  Oops.


Tarquin as Scarlet O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind."

Tarquin as Melanie in "Gone with the Wind."

Tarquin as Baby Huey.

Tarquin as "Little Tiny Tim" in "A Christmas Carol."
Tarquin shows his Huskies pride as he prepares to attend a University of Washington football game.

But what sets me apart from a Real Housewife is, I don't just dress up the little dogs.
I dress up ALL of the dogs!

Here is Fred as an intellectual.
And Mildred as a Fashionista wearing a Beatles T-shirt, trendy red leather boots and a fetching Fascinator.

Despite my penchant for dressing up my dogs, not sure if I really fit the "Real Housewives" criteria.  However, Andy Cohen, Executive VP of Development and Talent at Bravo said in addition to being wealthy, the main things he looks for when casting a "Real Housewife" is being strong and having a point of view.  I think I qualify there. 
So no starring role in "The Retired Housewives of Snohomish County," but I am the star in my own life which consists of films, food, fashion and fun!

Speaking of which, here is Rosy the Reviewer's Week in Reviews:


An interesting British Film about a young woman who uncovers a plot by her father to avert plunging England into WWII by appeasing the Nazis.  Downton Abbey fans will recognized Hugh Bonneville and if you are a fan of British actors in general, they are practically all in this film!  A bit weak in places, but it definitely pulls you in.
Rosy the Reviewer says... Recommended for the acting and the ambience.

British Actress Juno Temple seems to be everywhere these days.  She was in "Glorious 39" (above) and stars in this indy dark comedy about a struggling couple who find a magic teapot that dispenses money every time they or anyone else feels pain.  Much pain ensues. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...Highly recommended, especially if you like movies like "Eating Raoul."
A profile of drummer Ginger Baker, who was most famously a member of the band Cream.  He's one angry guy. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...Highly recommended documentary, especially if you are a fan of Cream or "The Golden Age of Rock and Roll."
Haven't been out to eat much this last week.  I am still working on my plan to dine at every fine restaurant in Seattle from A-Z but, though I made it to F, they kept opening new restaurants that started with a letter from A-E, so now I am working my way through the neighborhoods instead. 
So in lieu of a restaurant review here is my recipe for the best chicken wings (and they are baked not fried so calorie friendly:
You can use split chicken wings or whole ones, it works both ways.  Use about 2 and a half pounds, and though the recipe calls for you to puncture the wings with a knife all over, not sure that's really necessary.  Guess that would help hold onto the sauce.  Cover a rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with foil, put a wire rack on top of that.  Place the wings on the wire rack, sprinkle with salt and put in a 425 degree pre-heated oven for 35 minutes, turning once.  Then broil them for 7 minutes on high, turning once. 
Then toss with your favorite sauce.  
 I do Buffalo wings by melting 2T butter and whisking in 1/2 c. buffalo sauce such as Frank's and 2T distilled white vinegar.  Toss the wings in the sauce along with 1/4c. blue cheese dip.  Yum!
The other sauce I like is the sweeter Thai sauce:  Mix 1/2 Thai sweet chili sauce with grated peel from one lime and 1t. fish sauce.  Toss with the wings and some French-fried onions.
For more sauces, this came from the January 2013 issue of Good Housekeeping and if you want to get that article?  The Library of course!
Nothing to report.  I look like hell.
I have three books to recommend this week:
Shoreh is an Iranian actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in "House of Sand and Fog, one of my favorite films.
Rosy the Reviewer says...It drags a bit but is recommended for her account of life in Iran under the Shah and his ouster by the Khomeini and how one becomes an actress in Iran.
This is similar to Richard Templar's "The Rules of Life," which I also liked.  And if you are a fan of Bucket Lists, you will probably like this. Jones and Templar are both Brits, so very British in his prose, such as giving yourself a Boxing Day once per month.  He uses Boxing Day as a metaphor for having one day per month where you do whatever you like, without planning, just going with what presents itself.  He adds a Now List Day, which is one day per month you work on your Bucket List, and a Goals List Day where you work on the top three things on your "Wish List" - those things you wish for that would make your life better.  He is very list oriented, but I liked his approach as I continue my quest for the meaning of life.  For more information, check out his website.
Rosy the Reviewer says...If you are on a similar quest or just want to fix what's wrong with your life, give this one a look.

Here is the true-life account of the film "Heavenly Creatures," another favorite film. (Both Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey came to the forefront in this film.  Winslet has reached superstar status and Lynskey has been in "Two and a Half Men" for the last 10 years, but I am also seeing her more and more in recent films). 
Anyway, back to the book.  Two teen girls in New Zealand kill one of the girl's mothers as part of their elaborate scheme to not be separated and to live a beautiful and fantastical life together.  One of the girls grew up to be best-selling author, Anne Perry.
Rosy the Reviewer says...If you like true crime, this is a good one.
More Fun:
Saw The Fixx at The Triple Door last Thursday.  A really great performance from a band that has been rocking since the 1980's.  And The Triple Door is a great venue for seeing bands.  Feels like a nightclub but big enough to feel you are seeing a concert. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...If The Fixx performs near you, go see them. You will enjoy it.
Well, that's my Week in Reviews. 
Now back to being a regular housewife.
But before I go, here's one more for the road.
Mildred as Joan Crawford!
Disclaimer:  This blog in no way disparages housewives, only "Real Housewives."