You’re someone’s reality show. Especially if you’re one of the extremely online.
My favorite memory of my ex was a month into him moving into my place, and it was time to settle into my weekly therapeutic watching of the Real Housewives of New York. He huffed and sighed, then looked at me and asked if I was really going to watch this show. Yes, I was. He then began to list all my life achievements & milestones as backhanded compliments attempting to guilt me into turning the TV off. I’d tell him: Yeah, I get it but this is my thing that I like to do. I can’t watch heavy shows all the time. I like the people watching, I have a much-maligned degree in the humanities. The housewives franchise started in the place I was born and raised, Orange County. I have been a faithful viewer of almost every franchise. It’s a few hours a week and it makes me happy. It was my guilty pleasure and I wasn’t going to apologize for it in my home, everywhere else I would be embarrassed about it, but not in my home. My sanctuary, where I could watch and eat garbage free of judgment.
My ex would soon sink into the sofa beside me after dinner to watch the Real Housewives of New York and by season seven’s end, he would admit he found LuAnn attractive and the “contrived” storylines engaging. He genuinely laughed with glee, when LuAnn walked into the kitchen in Turks and Caicos, in her bikini and robe, unapologetic and hot after serial “slut”-shamer, Ramona Singer, let a naked man go astray in their vacation home. He did refuse to watch my other beloved favorites, Vanderpump Rules, Below Deck and other regional franchises of the housewives including Beverly Hills, Atlanta, and Melbourne. I haven’t been able to dive into Potomac or Dallas, ever and I gave up New Jersey before Giudices went to jail.
People in the past who have tried to shame me for my love of these anthropological dumpster spectacles, typically have been those whose hobbies that could take up much more time than a casual housewives viewer. Some of them play video games, some of them are extremely into social media and some are into sports. I’ve always thought there were parallels between sports and reality shows. Very Into Sports People speculate on the players lives, how much they make, who they’re dating – aka women they can blame for the sportsmen’s failures.
I only know most of these famous sports guys by people they’ve dated. Our Lady of Perpetual Sweet Potatoes, Olivia Munn and Aaron Rodgers. His uniform is green right? Model Kate Upton is married to a baseball player? Football? Reality show all-star Kendra Wilkinson is also married to a former baseball or football player. I want to say, he’s a basketball player, but that’s only because his name Hank Baskett. Kim Kardashian’s second husband, basketball player, Kris Humphries. Does he still play?
Here are more athletic HABs (Husbands and Boyfriends) combos, past and present, I can name off the top of my head: Hilary Duff and Mike Comrie (hockey), Iggy Azalea and Nick Young (basketball), Shakira and Gerard Pique (soccer/football), Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade (basketball), Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher (baseball), Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady (football), Ciara and Russell Wilson (football), Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler(baseball).
I still remember all the obsessive pieces about Jessica Simpson during her relationship with Tony Romo by the sports media. The greatest hits include: Tony Romo Rejuvenated His Career by Breaking Up with Jessica Simpson in 2009 according to Skip Bayless in 2016. Complex ranked “The Curse of Jessica Simpson” on Tony Romo’s list of Biggest Fails. Entertainment Weekly got in on the madness with their poll asking people if they believed in “the curse.”
Even after she left Romo behind, the headlines traded on her name while still pitting her against her exes. Jessica Simpson’s ex Tony Romo beats her to the altar. “The singer turned fashion mogul who has built a billion-dollar empire is engaged herself to NFL player Eric Johnson…She announced her engagement just days after her ex-husband Nick Lachey revealed he had proposed to his long-time love Vanessa Minnillo.” Tony Romo beats Jessica Simpson to parenthood. Yes, I’m sure Jessica Simpson, “mogul who has built a billion-dollar empire” is wiping her tears over being “beat” to marriage and motherhood by a few days or weeks.
Bill Simmons had some disgusting hot takes about Jessica in the wake of the Romo breakup: “Tony Romo dumped Jessica Simpson for either partying too much (the rumored reason) or gaining too much weight (the real reason, or at least the one I’d wager on in Vegas), followed by Simpson partying even more and gaining even more weight. We might have a new Kirstie Alley on our hands; poor Jess suddenly is built like Kirby Puckett with breasts. (Not that this is a bad thing. I’m actually attracted to Zaftig Clingy No Self-Esteem Jess, my single strangest celebrity attraction since Renee Zellweger put on her Bridget Jones weight.) Did you ever think an NFL offseason could shape about 20 future Us Weekly covers? It’s happened, my friends. Sneaky weird.”
For someone complaining about NFL offseason becoming tabloid fodder, he effortlessly weaves his misogynistic ideals with some niche pop culture references. I feel like old Bill definitely has seen all the Bridget Jones and Sex and the City sequels and is currently printing out his tickets to Mamma Mia 2!
So tell me that sports spectators aren’t as ghoulish as reality television fiends.
If you’re not spectating through “Bravolebrities” or sports teams, you might be doing the spectating or even better be part of someone’s online spectacle.
Whether you’re sharing your shock about an acquaintance who is getting married for the second time in 3 years in a group DM with your two closest friends or someone is bitching about your second vacation to Hawaii this year. Sometimes we emote to our friends and sometimes we create a throwaway account and get advice from the masses on Reddit.
Pick your Social Media Platform and your Modern Day Problem!
Instagram: This guy is tired of being an Instagram Boyfriend. Be thankful you’re not 19 years old and tracking your boyfriend’s online status via Instagram activity. Your partner is obsessed with making your child insta-famous and is spending a lot of money to do so. Your partner lies about a hike and you find out through social media.
Twitter: Your partner puts their Twitter on private when you find out they still follow the person they left you for. I don’t know if I could ever be a teenager simultaneously in love with another and addicted to Twitter. This person decided to read through their exes’ entire tweet history.
YouTube: What do you do when your new boyfriend is a “decently popular YouTube Content Creator”?! What do you do when you find out your new partner is a bigoted, hateful troll in the comments section? What about when a parent starts believing everything they watch on YouTube?
Facebook: A husband hasn’t accepted his wife’s Facebook “friend request” after 2 years of marriage, his excuse is that he doesn’t use Facebook much, but somehow he has accepted 2,000 other people’s friend requests. Valentine’s Day 2018 ruined by Political Facebook Group drama. This Millenial is over The Olds posting everything to Facebook.
Did you think there wasn’t drama revolving around activity on MySpace for old people aka LinkedIn? There are ex-spouses continually viewing LinkedIn profilesenough for someone to write a few paragraphs about it. This person even UPGRADED (ok free trial month, supposedly) their LinkedIn account to verify their ex was viewing their account.
Uncle Ted’s been posting flat earth videos weekly for the past few months. That girl that sat behind you in sophomore English class is now an anti-vaxxer. Your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend has an Instagram for her micro-teacup Goldendoodle named Zedefer.
Someone’s ex-wife, let’s call her Celestia, has nothing better to do than to tune into her own reality show, you! You’d think Celestia has her hands full, trying to move on from her marriage into the new life she chose by leaving her husband for an older man who is the shape and consistency of a large potato, but you’d be wrong.
While you’re gap-mawed watching Bethenny and LuAnn spar in The Berkshires, Celestia is posting photos of herself “living her best life” with her “partner in crime” on her new Instagram account. She’s no longer a frumpy wife from Nowheresville, USA, she’s a sexy divorcee with an older man!
While you’re shocked that a grown man, who goes by the name Jax Taylor, would get arrested on a luxury vacation in Hawaii by stealing sunglasses, Celestia is finding weekly excuses to contact her ex-husband after ignoring him for over a year. Like some sort of transparent Ramonja level of espionage.
You’re watching Heather Dubrow, turn into a rogue producer in Ireland, Celestia is reconnecting with a ragtag group of old friends trading access to social accounts for social currency in the form of invitations to wine nights where they troll people on Instagram.
It might be a combination of being old and being trolled by many dozy pillocks in the last few years, I’ve started to sincerely not care. No matter what you do, others bullshit will be projected on you and if they’re not paying your bill, drying your tears or feeding you then it’s time to turn down their volume to 1. I’m not saying to surround yourself with sycophants; it’s important and good to get fearless feedback. I’m working on it. I don’t have any answers, just more tangential questions and long-winded anecdotes intersecting on pop culture and all my feels.