White Elephant in the Room
It's still Christmas in August! I hosted my holiday party at Hotel Griffou because it's in my neighborhood and quintessential. Quintessential? Who says quintessential? Note in my notepad: Stop saying quintessential.
Griffou has a long shady history of boozy nights and notorious scamps, from Sinatra and Nicholson to Oscar Wilde. And like all good hangouts, it has a grisly murder in its past. A century ago when it was Madame Griffou's boarding house, a young girl was killed by her much older and married lover there, and then he killed himself. I think they still haunt the place. I think that's why Jacques didn't show. #Superstitious.
An important skill when hosting a dinner, by the way, is the ability to adjust the seating when someone doesn't show. When I thought Jacques was coming, I had him seated on my right and LuAnn on my left, because they're good company and I enjoy them. Although I definitely did not enjoy the whooping and scalping jokes at Le Cirque, I wanted to smooth things out. Jacques didn't show, but he got the wine coaster-cock ring. LuAnn came stag and got George. All's well that ends.
Here's the party, in a nutshell. Please sing these lines to the off-key tune of a popular Christmas song with a partridge.
Five espresso cups,
One cock ring.
Ball gaggy thing,
And a fast and skinny lizard on my arm.
The Story of George, and Martha
I decided against trading my lizard for the good karma jewelry and instead took him home and named him George, after the randy dinner guest who brought him.
I bought George a terrarium and filled it with foliage and little logs to climb up and down on, but George was lonely. So I brought home Martha and recast them as the ferociously married couple of Edward Albee's play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
(Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton scream and insult their way through the movie version of this play, in quintessential Housewife style.)
Martha seemed good for George. They ran and wrestled and chased. I occasionally caught Martha lying on George in what looked like a tender post-coital moment. They were young and in love, I thought. They had their whole lives ahead of them. That is, until they didn't.
One night I came home to find Martha bent and splayed at unnatural angles. She wasn't breathing. I called Louie, the pet specialist from Petland where I'd found Martha. He came right over. Louie examined her and gravely delivered the news: Martha's neck was broken – violently, as if she'd been hurled against a wall. Like, maybe, a glass terrarium wall! Louie also noticed something about George. There were abrasions and cuts on his legs and abdomen, and bite marks on his neck. Louie had seen it before -- these were tell-tale signs of lizard abuse. Like their namesakes, Martha and George had been engaged in a gruesome and pathological dance. But then Louie made a more startling revelation. Martha was a boy!
Suddenly, I had a juicy scandal and potential homicide on my hands. Was it an accident? Did Martha careen into the glass in a frantic attempt to escape or was it murder and made to look like an accident? We may never know. George succumbed to his injuries the following week.
RIP George You were a Good Man.
Hustle and Flow
There’s no time to cry about dead lizards, though, when there are buns in the toaster oven. Where's the head on that torso? And where's Sonja?
I'm glad I finally got to see this photo shoot, I'd been hearing about it for months. This is the photo shoot that launched a thousand fights, an infamous battle of the Toaster Oven Wars. This photo shoot, in fact, is a continuous source of friction until the very last day, and last moment we filmed. Don't ask, I can't tell.
We're always encouraged in these sorts of disputes to "take a side." Usually my side is, "I don't take sides when two grown women are fighting." But after seeing the photo shoot caper I will come clearly down on the side of Heather.
Heather is an expert in branding. She holds 11 patents from the United States government. Do you know how hard it is to get anything from the United States government? She is an expert in getting her message out. We spent the first month of the series talking about how much Heather talked about Yummie Tummie (behind her back, naturally.) She knows what she's doing.
Heather knows what she's doing, Big Guns knows what he's doing. Sonja is late. She's worried Big Guns is late. Sonja must have asked for Big Guns 300 times. Sonja doesn't seem like a business woman, Sonja's a character. Sonja's a lot of things. For the life of me, though, I don't understand her obsession with toaster ovens. Show me one that can prepare the meal then cook and clean itself, and I'm listening.
Toaster oven or not, Lady Morgan knows how to pose. She's like a golden age movie star. She steps in front of the camera and blooms like a tropical flower. It's not easy to hold a pose like she does. I’ve tried to make her "sexy face" but end up looking like I've just smelled bad fish. That face and perfectly curved mouth should be posed in front of cameras all day, it could sell anything. Anything but toaster ovens.
There are only 3.2 million toaster ovens sold in the United States every year. So unless you're shipping them to China it's hard to make a living selling them. Why, then, is Sonja in this business when she could be doing a madcap one-woman play on Broadway? I would happily write it for her, and I keep telling her this but she won't listen to me.
I don't know what to say about menstruation. Is it peri-menopause that makes middle-aged women draw attention to their periods? Jason says it best: Yuck. Gross. This photo shoot needed more hustle and less flow.
Watch Sonja's toaster oven videos to learn some things about tinfoil. Did you know it's thought to cause Alzheimers? #crazy.
Big Guns, give that torso my number. I'd like to get a drink with Josh's torso sometime.
Ramona is talking real estate again. Yes, this is my petite casa. In Manhattan real estate speak, it's also my 2-bedroom 1-bath duplex apartment. I only allowed them on the first floor.
I don't have meals at home. I host dinners out with candles, place cards, and games (see above: Hotel Griffou). I never have food in my house. I like my lunches like my men -- cool and casual. You're not going to get a formal lunch with me, sorry. I'm a pizza-eating on-the-fly kind of girl, the ladies are lucky I didn't bring out Cup O’ Noodles. It's one of my top five favorite foods and I have an entire cupboard of them. (They last forever.)
In lieu of food, I got the ladies personalized M&Ms. How fun is that?!?
Salads, and then a trip. I wanted to take a break from writing -- I'd finished my manuscript but had rounds of edits coming up -- and because Russ was playing a blues festival in St. Barths, I thought it might be fun to go. Blues Festival to visit Russ. Time off after handing in my book. Two reasons for the trip. Remember that.
Did I really say I wanted to spend time with all of them as much as I wanted to see Russ? Did you hear me say that? In real life, I'd rather spend the entire week shacked up with Russ at a beachside motel in Asbury Park than spend a week with five women at a $40 million dollar house in St Barth's. But this is Reality. Russ is cute and he writes songs and plays music and doesn't care if he's invited to the party or if someone talks behind his back. He cuddles better than anyone else I know, too.
"Girls trip" Oh no! That is going to bite me on the reunion couch. Stay tuned.
Leave a man missing you, good advice Miss Sonja. I love the feeling of missing someone. I even said so in Episode 3.
"I have mental problems too," said Ramona. Did you hear her say that? This is one of the reasons I like her, she's guileless.
During the filming of this scene I didn’t notice how anxious Aviva was. But watching it, it’s very clear that she does not want to go without Reid.
"Mark my words you’re going to have a great time!" Ramona chirps to Aviva as the healthy salad lunch ends. LuAnn, a bit more darkly, adds, "Or you're going to totally regret it."
Curtain comes down.
ACT 2: Who will eat their words? Will it be Ramona or Luann?
Who can spell Photoshop?
Ramona may have looked 40 years younger in her photo but she was up to her old tricks at this last party. She was especially crazy tonight -- pulling people aside, this way and that. She's like Sue Sylvester on Glee, yanking kids out of chorus lines, in front of all their friends, to "have a talk."
And what are the talks about? Blackballed! From Sonja's toaster shoot! OMG! It was a photo shoot. It's not the McCarthy hearings. And there were already too many cooks in the kitchen without tinfoil.
LuAnn was right. Heather should have just said, "I don't want you there, Ramona. You're a pain in the ass."
The new Ramona is screaming, I dont understand this. Old Ramona screams, New Ramona screams, there's chatter at yoga. She needs to hold plank position until her life changes. Old Ramona is the new New Ramona.
War of the Rose Lipsticks
I've never seen Aviva or Heather wear red lipstick before or after this party. Why am I so shiny? I was sick that night but dragged myself uptown where I hoped for a good bout of screaming. What did you think about my ponytail? I wasn't sure if I liked it, there was a bump where there shouldn't have been. I hate when that happens. I'm in search or the perfect pony tail.
The wine game was a joke that no one got. Big deal. Why is Aviva asking about the wine game? Second to the photo shoot fiasco is the wine fiasco. I still don't get why anyone cares about the wine game. Ramona could barely muster any crazy for it. She's been holding the fifth since before the plank pose that changed her life. Everyone is looking for a fight tonight.
Aviva talked behind LuAnn's back. Heather and I listened behind Aviva's back. Mario talked behind the front of Jacques back. Ramona chimed in over Heather's back. I was trying not to talk behind anyone's back, but there were so many backs! There were backs everywhere you turned.
The highest level of disrespectful? Viv's, what are you talking about? You had me at Hello but then you lost me at -- cue dramatic music
My blog, much like this week's show, is a cliffhanger. To Be Continued. . .
P.S. Mt Airy, North Carolina is the "Toaster Capital of the World." I'm planning another girls getaway, who's in?
Check out face yoga here. As always, you can buy What Remains here. Contact me on my website here. Follow me on Twitter here, Facebook here, Pinterest here. Also, follow Russ Irwin (@RussIrwin1) and my sister (@teresadifalco).
RIP Martha You Sick Bastard.