Why I Shouldn't Be Ashamed For Watching 'The Real Housewives': A Male's Take
Okay, maybe I should be.
As a male in society, there are certain habits and behaviors that I’m supposed to partake in and be happy with: mowing the yard, watching televised golf, drinking muscle milk, listening to Nickelback and Foo Fighters and playing video games with “my bros” with little-to-no dialogue because men bond better through activities than conversation. Well, no thank you.
While (after years of resentment) I find myself liking to mow the yard, I cannot truly attest to liking any of the latter. Muscle milk tastes like a chalk & Elmer’s glue cocktail, popular “rock” music sounds like the audition round of The X Factor, video games frustrate me because I’m stubborn and want to win without a challenge, and golf on TV is about as entertaining as watching The Tree of Life on mute – that is to say, there is a lot of greenery and boring silence.
I like to think of myself as a product of the aught age where the gender gap is beginning to narrow and androgyny is the new black. I enjoy building things with my hands and getting dirty on ATV treks, but I also enjoy browsing Target and long conversations over brunch about an online Amazon sale; “I’m the male voice of my generation,” says my inner Hannah Horvath. While most modern men aren’t as embarrassed by their feminine side as Don Draper-generations past, there is one thing that I only feel comfortable telling a few select female friends about: I am completely obsessed with Bravo’s The Real Housewives franchise.
There it is. The taboo statement has come out of the proverbial Dior-handbag-stuffed closet. I honestly do not know what it is about this franchise that keeps me tuning in, but I feel like it has to do with what Battlestar Galactica (manly man show!) preached throughout the entirety of the series run: all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again.
Week after week and city after city, the housewives play that statement like Wizard’s chess, instigating their signature quip of “drama,’ and demolishing whomever dare stand in their way. Words and insults are thrown like Chinese daggers, the ever-changing relationships and alliances could give the men of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy a run for their money. And the glamorous 1% world that, as Americans, we’re supposed to aspire to be seem more like the playground harassment of elementary days.
When I watch the series I like to think of it as a collecting of data for my nonexistent book deal with Harper Collins about gender conflict. I’m learning how to decipher women and understand them better. When men fight, we throw a punch and it’s done. When women fight, it is catty, strategic, manipulative and oh-so-entertaining. If I ask you to bring wine to my charity fundraiser, I need to clarify that I want you to bring the wine to be donated, not to drink yourself. If you decide that you want to be a pop star instead of a hospital nurse, I need to be supportive instead of attacking your credit as a singer. When you start your own shoe line of overpriced high heels, it would be the most evil thing in the world for me to make a pun on words about the brand name. And the most important advice I’ve learned, never throw someone out of your party for being rude, it’ll come back to haunt you 3 episodes and one trip to St. Bart’s later.
While my enjoyment of this show definitely discredits my manhood, I don’t really care. We live in a world where an openly transgendered woman is competing for Miss America, men are staying home to raise kids, women are voting in elections more than men, and, hey, there was a time where dudes had frosted tips. I shouldn’t be afraid to tell people that I watch Housewives more than I should be afraid to tell them that I watch Dexter, Homeland, or American Horror Story. And if they give me crap for it, I’ll just tell them that I know plenty of guys who watched Gilmore Girls back in the day. Ok, it was only one guy, but still.
Featured image via Jezebel.com