Andy Cohen Meets The Real Housewives of St. Louis

It’s official. I am 2-2 when it comes to saying absolutely ridiculous things to celebrities. My first moronic blubbering happened when I met Micky Dolenz of the The Monkees last summer. My second just recently occurred at a book signing with Andy Cohen, Bravo television executive and champion of The Real Housewives franchise…who also happens to be a fellow St. Louis native. Because of this, I have decided I should cloister myself away with my computer and only interact with the public via my blog. Apparently, I am really lame in person.

Cohen’s new book, “Most Talkative”

Cohen made an appearance at the St. Louis County Library last Friday to publicize his new book Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture, and my friend Catherine and I thought it would be fun to go see him. We are both guilty of being Real Housewives fans after all, and I have a little soft spot for Cohen. Aside from marveling at his grace under fire during every Housewives reunion special, he is also responsible for bringing the shows Top Chef and Project Runway into my life. One sparked my interest in sewing, leading me to spend precious bonding time with my grandmother learning her tricks of the trade for pillow shams…the other sparking my interest to gain five pounds. There’s also a sense of pride that comes along with seeing a likable homegrown boy make it in the big city. But mostly, I was hoping to get some Housewives dirt. I was sorely disappointed on that front. But “bravo” to Cohen for being smart enough not to bite the obnoxiously blinged-out hands that feeds him. That’s some good old Midwestern common sense.

After I took this photo, I looked at Catherine and said, “This is SO Andy”…because, you know, we’re pretty close and I know this stuff.

I like that Cohen is a proud St. Louisan. He often references being a native of The Lou on his live late night talk show, Watch What Happens Live. And he was just as appalled as I when, during a game of Pictionary with a couple of the Real Housewives, Kyle Richards had no idea what the St. Louis Arch was. He is a loud and proud Cardinals fan. And a recent article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch relayed his feelings on his place of birth: “When I tell people I grew up in St. Louis, their first reaction (is sometimes) ‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’ (…) Here’s what: Apology not accepted — or needed. I loved growing up there.”

Wearing my “Housewives of St. Louis” tee-shirt. Cohen did acknowledge it when he signed my book: “Kelly! RHOSTL!”

Given the props Cohen routinely gives to his roots, Catherine and I thought it would be funny and perhaps (not so) clever to make The Real Housewives of St. Louis tee-shirts to wear to the book signing. (Cohen did make clear during the interview with McGraw Millhaven prior to the book signing that there will never be a St. Louis Housewives…for purely selfish reasons. As he put it, he doesn’t want to be home for a relaxing Thanksgiving break and run into the “Ramona of St. Louis.”) So I took a little trip to Walmart (because that’s where any good Housewife gets her apparel) for some $4 tee shirts and printable iron-on transfers. I spent a good thirty minutes or so recreating the Real Housewives logo with our esteemed city name and icon of choice: Orange County has the orange, Atlanta has the peach, New York has the apple, Beverly Hills has diamond-studded sunglasses…what better to represent St. Louis than the Imo’s pizza logo! Not only does it have the Arch, but it is also the symbol of the square-beyond-compare of delectable provel cheese…the cheese to which Cohen confessed to loving, though he touted it as the cheese they put on salads at Cafe Manhattan, not mentioning Imo’s once. What???? I have to admit I doubted he was REALLY from St. Louis for a moment.

Anyway, Catherine and I were totally digging our shirts, despite the fact that we were surrounded by women who were dressed as if they were auditioning for Real Housewives themselves. It’s all good, we thought. All the more reason we’ll stand out. Catherine even dared to hope that maybe, just maybe, Cohen would love our shirts so much he’d give us a “mazel” on his talk show. That was stretching it a bit, but surely he would love our playful sense of humor, right?

So our turn came to get our books signed. I walk up to Cohen and immediately thrust my hip to the side, point at my chest with both hands, and say in a somewhat cocky manner, “Like my shirt?” Oh…my…God. He smiled a little and said “Aw, cute.” But it was totally in the tone someone uses when she first sees a friend who has just gotten her hair butchered at the salon. Really? I spent a good thirty minutes on this tee-shirt buddy! Perhaps to make up for my failed attempt to win his friendship with my shirt, I go on to say, “Thanks for always representin’ the STL.” ……………??????????????? Yes, that was “representin'” minus the “g” and “STL”…not “St. Louis.” I actually used the letters S-T-L preceded by the word “the.” I will no longer comment on this for there really are no words. What I SHOULD have said was, “Please tell Alexis Bellino to stop reminding people she’s from Missouri, because it’s giving us a bad name.”

Totally adorable?

One of the librarians quickly snapped a photo of Catherine and I with Cohen. I was excited to see it since the librarian kept saying how “adorable” the photo was as she was taking it. She very obviously loved our shirts and found them very clever (aHEM, Mr. Cohen). However, either she was in need of a new prescription for her glasses, or she just thought Catherine and I were more “adorable” if our faces were blurry, because the photo was a pretty big fail.

But all in all, I give the experience two thumbs up. Sure, I wish we had gotten a better reaction about our shirts, but really, it’s not like it was this crazy original idea. And we had fun with it, so that’s all that matters.

In honor of Cohen I will end this post in a similar fashion to how he wraps up each episode of Watch What Happens Live…with my “Jackhole of the Day” and my “Mazel of the Day.”

My “Jackhole of the Day” goes to the crazypants woman from Iowa who expected Cohen to recognize her voice since she had called into his show three times, and who both asked to be his wife and wanted to know what her chances were of becoming a Real Housewife. His response? A very honest probably not that good. Honey, if Real Housewives of St. Louis doesn’t have a chance, I wouldn’t hold out any hope for Real Housewives of Des Moines.

My “Mazel of the Day” goes to Cohen himself for giving me something fun to do with my good friend on a Friday night. Then again, the rest of my day consisted of a trip to Walmart, making an unappreciated tee-shirt, and cleaning up my dog’s barf off of our living room carpet…so he really didn’t have all that much competition. Now THAT’S the life of a Real Housewife.

“The Real Housewives” Parenting Class

I have a confession. I am a Real Housewives junkie. It is a bit shameful, I admit. But I can not stop. It has all the sweet and salty elements I crave. But more than anything, I think I watch it because it is great for my self-confidence. Sure, they are all beautiful women living in swanky pads wearing the latest designer duds. But watching them tear each other to shreds over trivial issues that would make even a high school clique cringe with embarrassment makes me feel, well, very mature and balanced. And they certainly prove that money can not buy happiness…or class (yes, Countess LuAnn, my finger is pointing ironically at YOU. I hate to break it to you, but claiming to have class and singing a song about class does not mean you actually have it. Neither does using the word “darling” or your incredibly annoying overuse of its Arabic counterpart, “ya habibi”).

The Real Housewives of New York City

But as I watched The Real Housewives of New York City reunion special this week, I realized that this show may actually make me a better parent. And I say that with no sarcasm in my typing fingers. We’ve all heard that parents should model the behaviors they WANT to see in their children. Well, the reunion special was a wide open, freshly Windexed window into a big, giant house of crazy, full of every behavior I do NOT want my children to exhibit. Name calling, blatant disrespect, and lying, not to mention so much talking over one another that the decibel levels must reach that of a wailing siren (but more grating). And these were GROWN women! I don’t know how host and fellow St. Louis native Andy Cohen stomachs it…he must get a hefty paycheck.

But what disturbed me more than anything was the total lack of willingness to take responsibility for any slimy thing that was said or done throughout the season…despite the fact that it is ALL DOCUMENTED ON FILM! Anytime one of the women was asked about a snide remark, backstabbing action, or just plain mean intention, she would immediately blame someone else or divert attention by bringing up a time when someone else wronged her. Not that this has never happened before on one of the many Real Housewives episodes, but it just seemed that much more prevalent this time around.

Maybe that is because my daughter is getting older. She is weeks away from entering first grade, and it amazes me how already I am seeing very clear and vivid glimpses of the young woman she will become. Her wheels are turning, trying to figure out the world, where she fits into the world, what society finds acceptable, what her mother and father find acceptable. And more than ever, she is trying to discover what she can get away with and what she can’t.

I have to admit that earlier today when I caught Grace very intentionally throwing a toy at her brother and defending herself with, “It’s not my fault. Michael yelled at me, and the toy slipped, and he was just standing in the way of where I was throwing it,” (as if to cover all her bases of motive and accidental scenarios), I flipped. I suddenly saw housewife Kelly Bensimon lounging on my couch denying some catty comment she made about Sonja (again, despite just seeing the clip where she said it) then claiming it wasn’t her fault if anyone was offended by it.

“You WILL take responsibility for what you do!” I chided, as my daughter looked at me a bit bewildered. “Now say you did it. Say you threw that toy at your brother!”

Her little voice quietly parroted me. “I threw that toy at my brother.”

“Thank you,” I said. I breathed a sigh of relief that I had made her take responsibility.Then I walked out of the room…completely forgetting to punish her for hurting Michael in the first place. But that is okay. I will just blame my poor parenting moment on The Real Housewives of New York.