Southern girl gone wild

Confessions of a Rebel Debutante by Anna Fields is a bittersweet memoir that is heavy on the bitter. Anna details her idyllic small town childhood as a tomboy, but even then she has issues with the bullies. According to Anna, she begins her "debutante training" at age 11, with dance classes and finishing school. This is when Anna’s so-called “rebellion” begins. 

 
It is not unique; it consists of truancy, smoking and the usual teenage cutting up. The book is a fascinating contradiction, in that while Anna sees herself as rebel, but she adores everything about the South. She can’t get enough of Southern traditions or her own mythologized family
 
Anna’s biggest problem is that she can’t click with “in crowd”. And even though she doesn’t admit it, that’s what she wants to be — in with the “in crowd”. In true ‘belle’ style, she attributes all her problems to her superior intellect. After completing finishing school she goes an Ivy League university where she doesn’t fit in either. Anna then takes a fling at acting in Hollywood where she also works as Diana Ross’ assistant.
 
Eventually, Anna returns to New York to attend graduate school. She works for Jill Zarin of The Real Housewives of New York City. Those two tales alone are worth the price of the book.
 
Anna is a perpetual victim as she tries to conquer both Hollywood and New York. One thing we learn from Fields is that Southern debutante training gives a girl plenty of chutzpah. 
 
If you aren’t familiar with debutante rituals or Southern traditions you’ll be fascinated and amused.
Share



The *itch is back

Her new new show Bethenny's Getting Married got a boost from the feud with former BFF Jill Zarin?

Recently I got a little annoyed when I had to say to no to someone. I was being pushed, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t care for the wheedling or the disappointed tone when I had to refuse the request. I don’t say no to people very often. If I can help, I will, and that is what is so frustrating about the lack of give and take. This is not the first time this has happened. I have started to wonder if being nice and considerate is confused with being a doormat by too many people.
 
Don’t get me wrong, I am far from a defenseless victim. I have an edge. A wicked sense of humour is a formidable weapon. I can defend myself when necessary. But, why should I? I prefer civility and cooperation: two things the world is sadly lacking these days.
 
I don’t want my default setting to be an automatic “no”. Nor do I want develop the type of confrontational persona I see so often these days. It’s unattractive. I always wonder what is wrong with someone who is confrontational for no reason. What makes them so insecure? I am always amazed to find that some people, especially women, think these tactics convey confidence and power. The opposite is true.  
 
Joan Collins the iconic*itchGranted some successful and powerful women are *itches. We have all heard about them. And no, I don’t mean women who are assertive and called names for it. I am talking about successful “mean girls”; the one who are nasty, manipulative and demeaning for no reason. Joan Collins perfected this type character in the 1980s in her iconic roll as Alexis Carrington. People still adore her for it. It is fun on-screen, but not in person.
 
Audiences couldn’t get enough for Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. I have to wonder if the new Bravo series, Bethenny Getting Married would have had its record high ratings if not for the feud between Bethenny and her former BFF Jill Zarin. All the Bravo Housewives series are popular.
 
When it come to entertainment — the *itch is back. Human behaviour is fascinating. There is a certain entertainment value in seeing outrageous people behaving outrageously. Princess Anne Banton Lofters, the creator the Real Housewives of Atlanta, told me “people like to live vicariously. If you are just a housewife, it’s exciting to see a catfight and watch women who drive fancy cars. They like to see a fantasy life and watch these women who are larger than life, with all their drama. They may sit at home and say ‘Isn’t that awful that she did that!’ – but they enjoy it”. http://www.dolcedolce.com/?p=1847
 
I think she is dead on. People like to root for their side just as people who watch sports. Or they enjoy seeing someone do something they would secretly love to do, but they would never have the nerve to do it, or they wouldn’t have the stomach for the repercussions. Those of us who think about repercussions are the last guardians of civility. I know that thinking about the damage that bad behaviour wreaks is often what keeps me from losing it. And heavens know there are days I would to love to pitch my own fit at rude and infuriating individuals. 
 
That brings me to those who scorn these shows – the participants and the viewer. I got a kick out of talk show host Joy Behar, who recently said she couldn’t believe how women on those shows talked. She constantly talks over her own guests and insults people. Perhaps she doesn’t see herself, or she feels her status as a “comic” excuses her. Some friends, who can’t watch such things, are the worst offenders when it comes to bad behavior. Even though I love them, there is no way to avoid the fact sometimes they are fractious, outspoken, and just plain *itchy.
 
Lots of lovely people don’t watch reality TV or Dynasty-type shows, but they are polite about it. It’s the way I am about sports. I don’t get it, but I see no reason to be rude about it.
 
The *itch may be back in style, but the tide turns quickly, as Jill Zarin on The New York Housewives found out when she got a little too nasty in a fight with the popular Bethenny Frankel. Viewers turned on her big time. It was ugly. But then again viewers are fickle, so she may be next year’s queen of the small screen. One thing is certain; controversy keeps you in the news and sells merchandise. And no matter no how popular you are, everyone won’t love you. Someone will always take a shot at you for something. Staying civil under fire is a good thing, but being a doormat is crazy and self defeating. I’m not much on being a wallflower who fades in the background. But I don’t think that means you have to be a *itchy bullhorn and drown out everyone else either.
 
As for me darlings, I am going to stick to being civil. But I like knowing that I can channel my inner Joan Collins whenever I need her. 
 
NB: I spell it *itch not out of any false gentility, but to avoid getting DD stuck in overzealous spam filters that don’t like certain words, especially for those of you who read us at work.
  

 

Share