the REAL real housewife of New York City

So who’s watching The Real Housewives of New York City? Personally, I hang on their every word. When David works late, I have been pouring myself a glass of wine and gorging on Bravo’s nightly marathons. David will come in sometime in the second hour and say, “I can’t believe you watch this,” and then sit down and watch with me. He’s not fooling me one bit.

I don’t watch because it bears any relation to my life whatsoever. I watch because these women and their lives seem so horrible, and so different from mine, and that’s all the more interesting because I only live across Central Park from them. It’s like being up close with the gorillas in the Congo Room at the Bronx Zoo; you can’t believe these people live their lives this way, right next to you.

But I have learned a few cautionary tips for my own life. I just cut about two inches off my hair to avoid any chance of looking like a cougar; that is to say, a woman over 35 who is still trying to look like a teenager. Demi Moore can pull it off but that is IT. These women, with their overprocessed butt-length tresses, just look like they’re trying too hard.

The other thing I’m struggling with, after seeing it reflected in these women’s lives, is the New York City (and urban in general) trend of kids calling their friends’ parents by their first names, instead of Mr. or Mrs. Whatever. I’ve always resisted the latter. I’m not some old lady, some fuddy duddy! But the truth is, after kids are a certain age, and so are their parents, it just doesn’t sound right. On Real Housewives, some bratty 12 year old was saying, “You work it, Ramona! You shake what you got, girl!” to her friend’s mom, and it just sounded WRONG. Creepy, wiseass, and again, like the cougar wants to feel like she is still a pup (or whatever one calls a young cougar).

But I don’t know how to turn this trend around. At what age did your kids start calling people Mr. and Mrs? Have they always? Is it situational? Is it the age of the kid, or the age of the parent, that makes using first names more or less acceptable? I would love to hear others’ thoughts on this.

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Mollie April 10, 2008 at 3:42 pm

I was just discussing this with the husband the other day! It’s a big gray area for me too. On the one hand, I feel too young and hip for “Mrs. O’Reilly.” On the other hand — well, what you describe. Not comfortable with that. I guess I’m transitioning from the early-twenties, babysitter phase to the potential friend-and-peer-of-the-parents phase.

Both the husband and I grew up calling adults Mr. and Mrs. so-and-so, and we like that in theory — it just seems weird to apply it to ourselves. And we’re still grappling with the aftermath, as we discovered when it came time to write thank-you notes for wedding gifts given by our parents’ friends. We may be all grown up, but we can’t suddenly switch to first names!


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