The 5 Reasons I Love The Real Housewives Franchise

Look, not that I need to justify myself to you, but I read all the time. I read lots of books, many of them long, most with multi-syllabic words. And like the marathon runner who keeps a rigorous diet is allowed a slice of cake every now and again, I can take my brain out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a while, growing spores as I soak in the obnoxious giggles of past-their-prime mean girls. I love it. And why not? It’s schadenfreude at it’s most potent. And who doesn’t love that?

1. I feel better about my body. I will be honest, I have a fairly normal body type. I’m certainly not fat, but I’m not overly thin, and I have some decent curves. I feel like a woman. I feel comfortable and confident in my body. And never more so than when I watch the vapid collection of bike racks with fake breasts that trounces around on that show. I don’t know what that gene in middle-aged rich women is that suddenly tells them, “Attractive=Thin. At all costs. The thinner the more attractive, no exceptions.” And while we should all strive to be healthy and stay in shape, we should all stop somewhere before “Auschwitz inmate with melons duct taped to their chest.” I recently saw some viciously HD photos of Camille from BH on a red carpet, and her crepe paper skin stretched over her ribcage reminded me of a tanner working an old hide over a radiator. Unfortunate.

2. I love being poor. The hilarious percentage of the Housewives that have lost, exaggerated, or never had their money in the first place is amazing. They live in a world that demands they be absurdly wealthy, and as they long ago sacrificed their dignity and personal morals to sleep with a balding, emotionally distant investment banker–there’s no turning back now. They are obligated to be in a constant competition with each other over who has the biggest car, the tightest facelift, the gayest manservant. And it’s refreshing in a recession to know just how fake so much of this opulent disposable income can be. I may be eating Ramen noodles out of a pan, but at least I didn’t buy it on credit.

3. I’m glad I’m single. The marriages on this show may be the biggest sham of all. The few couples that seem to be able to stand each other in the same room for more than five minutes are inevitably only keeping their sanity by routinely cheating on each other. Never before in our cultural history has the blatant “You are relatively rich and I am relatively attractive” handshake been so clearly trotted out for the world to see. It’s brutal at times to watch the strained, fake, loveless exchanging of credit cards and sex that are these “unions,” but it solidly reminds me that money most certainly does not buy happiness, especially in terms of relationships. Obviously one needs enough money to survive comfortably, but at a certain point, their money seems to just serve to build a bigger house with more rooms to put between them.

4. I feel blisteringly intelligent. It is so rare that any of the women on this show are genuinely funny or intelligent, and even the ones that have become catchphrase-spewing parodies of themselves (Nene, Jill, I’m looking at you) were not that funny to begin with. The funny ones are funny in the way Joy Behar is funny, she’s not really but we need to put women on TV occasionally and this is best we can do. The true humor of this show always comes completely unintentionally, and often from their misguided attempts to seem smart. Whether incorrectly spewing out a word they clearly read on Dictionary.com or telling each other that they’re not interested in conflict in between screaming and wig-pulling matches, they seem so blissfully unaware of how visible their extra chromosome is. I guess a bit of exposure and enough money will convince anyone that they have something meaningful to say, but I often wonder if these women know how absurd they look. Well, judging by the vapid celebrities that occasionally go on political shows and reveal to the world how utterly uninformed and incapable of forming an opinion they are, this may be symptomatic of anyone in front of a camera. I bet they make their own version of MENSA complete with glitter-covered party hats and Hello Kitty membership cards.

5. I know how not to raise my children. There is this strange phenomenon amongst rich people, the simultaneous need to have children coupled with the utter disinterest in actually raising them. And it seems the richer one becomes, the more they feel entitled to pawn off the precious time spent with their offspring to some Ecuadorian woman twice their age. The women on this show, however, have taken the concept of having a nanny to unreal heights, employing several for every one child and having them work in shifts (I’m assuming in an effort to never actually come in physical contact with their children–the dream of any parent). When they are seen with their children, it’s either a disconnected photo op or a temporary moment of discomfort before handing them off to a caretaker so they can rush off to that well-deserved manicure. Now, the ones with older children obviously don’t live in this situation, but judging by how insufferable and entitled they all seem to be, one can only imagine they received the same treatment.

Oh, well. If my life doesn’t seem to be going the way I wanted, I’ll just marry rich and pawn my self-respect for a slot on a reality show. I’ve always wanted to meet Andy Cohen. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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