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The Real Housewives of New York City Are Really Insensitive

What kind of dumbass owns a swanky apartment in Manhattan but won't fly business class?

RHONY cast member Jenna Lyons enjoying business class.
(Gavin Bond / Bravo)

I am beginning to develop a very adversarial relationship with the new cast of the "Real Housewives of New York." Until one of these columns goes viral, it's going to be a one-sided situation, but trust me, my enmity towards these women deepens with each passing episode.

As I noted in my last Housewives blog, the girls are finally being dramatic, which is better than when they were being boring and whiny in the Hamptons—nobody's throwing drinks or calling anyone a pedophile, but at least there's some kind of conflict driving the season forward. The events of episode eight, however, have led me to a dire conclusion: In the spirit of being "authentic" and "real New Yorkers," most of these women are bad (perhaps irreparably bad) Housewives who wouldn't last a nanosecond on any of the other franchises. 

What brought me here? Basically, the core conflict of this episode is that the cast members are going on a girls trip to the Caribbean island of Anguilla, and Jenna Lyons decides to take a different flight, in part because she wanted to fly business class and the rest of the women were flying coach. This makes the other cast members livid, as if Lyons said posting on Instagram Reels or taking an Uber Black or giving your child a last name as a first name should be illegal—and their anger betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what their jobs are.

On a show that is explicitly built around celebrating fabulous, excessive lifestyles, with a cast of women whose resumés include vague entertainment PR, nepotism real estate, influencing, modeling, and breaking off three engagements by age 36, turning your nose up at someone upgrading their air travel status is ridiculous and pathetic. 

When Lyons meets the other women in Anguilla after a few days of tanning to lessen the appearance of scars from her rare genetic disorder, the other cast members bombard her with questions, openly laugh at her when she's confused about why they're mad, and then make fun of her genetic disorder while they're all getting ready to go to dinner. It is both offensive-offensive and offensively uncreative. The only woman who is remotely nice to Lyons is Jessel Taank, who adopts a measured "that's kind of stupid, but who cares" attitude to BusinessClassGate, probably because she would have done the same thing if she'd thought of it first—which is why she's the only other RHONY cast member I actually like watching. 

ANYWAY, I think this week's episode was a lesson in how "authenticity" is often a thin veneer for artifice.

Most authentic New York City moment: A woman tells another woman to suck her dick

Like I said, this episode, the women are mad at Lyons. Sai De Silva says "Ew!" and calls Lyons corny and "embarrassing" when Erin Lichy reveals Lyons's business class move—reasoning which Lyons told her in relative confidence earlier in the episode, after she told the rest of the group she was traveling early to get a base tan to lessen the appearance of the scarring from her genetic condition. Brynn Whitfield, in a confessional, says the fact that she took a separate flight from the other women shows that Lyons "doesn't have the 101s on the girlfriend handbook." (Apparently, bringing someone homemade butternut squash soup after they had oral surgery and then throwing them under the bus with the rest of your fake-ass friend group, like Lichy did to Lyons, is in that handbook somewhere.) 

Later, the cast members wait on Lyons's arrival and just kind of broadly talk shit about her—Whitfield makes fun of her "baby voice," De Silva says she needed to wait for a "first-class taxi" to meet the rest of the women, and Ubah Hassan sums it all up with a quintessential New York sentiment: "Jenna can suck my dick." Hassan doesn't even seem especially mad at Lyons—it's more a tossed-off bon mot than a genuine expression of anger. That's the kind of specific, offhanded, nonsensical rudeness and disrespect that makes this city so special.

Least authentic New York City moment: Jenna Lyons and her brother look at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on purpose

I've obviously seen the giant christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center before, and it's beautiful, but those have generally been drive-by viewings—mid-errand, or killing time while I wait for an out-of-town friend who inexplicably wanted to meet up in Midtown. Actually traveling to Rockefeller Plaza to look at the tree is a weird move. It's so crowded! You can't even get that close! Who does that?

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