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”.
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.



All about Evelyn

Some people have called Evelyn Nesbit the first “it” girl. Others have referred to her — as the tabloids of her day did — as “the girl on the red velvet swing”. Evelyn Nesbitt was a young woman who lived by her beauty and was ultimately destroyed by it. She became a successful commercial model by time was 14. She was the toast of New York’s’ jaded millionaire set at 16, as a performer in the popular Flora Dora review. She was exploited by her widowed and clinging mother who allowed her to be deflowered by the famed voluptuary Stanford White. Later she was pursued and tortured into marrying the mad millionaire Harry Thaw. Thaw had been obsessed not only with Evelyn but also with Stanford White, whom he murdered. Evelyn was sacrificed to his defense and mercilessly condemned in the press as gold-digger. Alas, she and her son scraped by for years on little money. She finally received $10,000 from Thaw’s estate when he died. He left the same amount to a waitress he hardly knew.
Joan Collins played the Girl on the Red Velvet SwingAmerican Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White; The Birth of the “It” Girl
and the Crime of the Century, Paula Uruburu tells the tale of a young girl trapped in gentile slavery. Her widowed mother made one bad decision after another, reducing the family to near starvation. Uruburu’s book captures the mystery and pathos of a young girl who never had a childhood, but was from her earliest teenage years an object of desire for others. This is a fascinating, heartbreaking, and remarkably relevant read. It’s the perfect literary candy for a long plane ride or beach getaway!