Carole Radziwill: Self-Awareness Is Not a Valuable Quality in a Housewife

Carole can't believe titles like "old money" and "new money" are still being thrown around. 

I’m going on the record to say, I like Jules. I don’t know her well (and didn’t know about her age-shaming tourettes tic yet), but so far she seems adorbs. She is peppy and well-dressed. She is eager to please even when she is talking non-stop, enough for the whole table to share a migraine for dessert. It amused me, though, that the complaints she rattled off about Bethenny were the very same things she exhibited herself at our dinner. Fast-talking. Opinionated. Rude. Self-awareness is not a valuable quality in a Housewife. She leveled Bethanny with so many passive aggressive digs, she could have used a bulldozer if one had been parked outside her 10,000 square foot home. 

Let’s see. No boyfriend. Huh? Oh, yeah, she’s rude because, she doesn’t have a boyfriend. Yeah, no.

She has a super small house. Hmm...it’s bigger than most homes in the country, and it has a guest house and pool room.

No sex for six entire months! No Sex! That must be it! Only I had sex two nights earlier, and I couldn’t get out of there quicker. 

I’m old money and she’s new money. This might be my all-time favorite “what did she just say” Housewife slight. It’s the financial equivalent of the infamous hand gesture heard around the world. Season 2.

Let’s stop there for a minute. There are two universal rules about “old money.” First: you never say money. Second: You usually don’t have any. If you’re really truly old money, you mostly have a lot of Louie-Louie furniture to pass down. Think Downton Abbey

Old Money is a term used to describe upper-class families possessing inherited wealth over many generations. That sounds cool, right? New Money, on the other hand, is a term used to describe people who work hard and reap the financial benefits of their work. The idea with new money is that a person is born into one socio-economic class and within her lifetime rises to a higher one. You know, the dream our nation was built on. This, to me, sounds cooler. 

I did a spit-take when I heard Jules say this. People are still throwing around words like that? Old money? New money? And during a political year? I’m starting to think this is all part of the Donald Trump Effect. Yikes.

Like the majority of people in this country, my money is middle-aged — neither old nor new. My parents worked hard, sometimes two jobs, to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. I worked to put myself through college. I paid my own bills even when I was married and my husband could have easily paid them. I still work hard, and while I have nice things, I don't feel the need to point them out. I am more proud of my accomplishments — as I am of the accomplishments of my parents and their parents — than I am about how many bags I own or how big my house is. I may not have inherited wealth, but I have some inherited humility. (Reality show notwithstanding. Wink. Wink.) 

But aside from the fact that no one who is old money actually says they are old money, isn’t Jules the poster child for new money? She talks about money, she drives a giant car, she lives in a house ridiculously large for her small family. And later this season, when we are at a casino, she literally throws piles of one hundred dollar bills down on the table. She does, I swear. 

Bethenny is the Sour Patch Kid — sweet and sour at the same time — to Jules’ 100 Grand candy bar. You know, the one with the showy slogan, “That’s Rich!” Again, self-awareness is not a popular trait in a Housewife. I have my own shortcomings, and many of you have pointed them out over the years, but being un-self-aware isn’t one of them. 

Okay, now before the haters get all twitter-crazed, I am very aware that cameras are recording us. It's a TV show. We know. So, for instance, when I say, “Can we be catty for a minute?” to Dorinda at dinner and proceed to say omg about the state of Jules’ house, I know she will hear what I am saying.  But I say it because that is what feels real. You all do it. I had just met Jules, she invited me to her home which had a huge hole in the living room and construction debris everywhere. There was not a cushion in sight. She talked about picking up Mexican workers at the corner gas station. She knew inviting people over would illicit some kind of curiosity about her. She knows (I think) we’re on a TV show, too. 

So, of course I tell Dorinda the minute we are “alone” that the house, at least the part I saw, seemed well…strange. Perhaps Dorinda would have some insight. That is what all of you do, too. It is what social friends do — they discuss mutual social friends when they’re alone with the hope of understanding and getting a bit of insight. Of course, I copped to it right away when Jules arrived. Does this make me a “mean girl”? Not really. This is what happens every day in every social friend group in every little neighborhood and 10,000 square foot home in the world. We talk about our mutual friends (and yes, sometimes it’s catty!) when they are not there. The people we don’t talk about? They aren’t our friends. We don’t care enough about them to ask. 

Not to belabor the point but let me be-labor. Old money also lives on the Upper East Side. Where I go to meet Ramona and Jules goes to meet Dorinda. Jules and I live downtown and I agree with Jules, it’s a pain in the ass to go uptown in the middle of the day. To put it in perspective, I could drive to Hoboken, New Jersey, grab lunch, and be back in my apartment in less time then it takes me to get to the UES. 

But I go to the UES because if anyone deserves a big birthday celebration this year it’s Ramona. And speaking of celebrating, is everyone as sick of all this talk about John as I am? Give that man an apple! Bethenny and Ramona talk about him. Bethenny talks to Dorinda. John talks to Bethenny. Dorinda talks to Ramona. Then Dorinda tells Luann and Sonja that Bethenny and Ramona are talking about him. And it doesn't stop anytime soon.

In “All About John,” our own version of All About Eve, Dorinda makes a star turn playing the iconic Bette Davis role, aging movie star Margo Channing. The ingénue, Eve Harrington, is played by John and like Eve, John insinuates himself into this group of women, ultimately threatening Dorinda’s career and her personal relationships. 

Now that I think of it, doesn’t Dorinda makes a great Bette Davis? Bette Davis was the bomb! Dorinda may have been Bette Davis in a past life. Find out next week when I invite a past-life psychic to my (very small) home to uncover all our secrets!

 

Raise a glass with me: “True girlfriends are loyal and protective.”  Yes, Bette, we are. Air kiss. Air kiss.

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Carole Radziwill

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