Of Jibs and Owls and Dolphins

OK, this week we’ve got more trouble for Chrysler, the swine flu, Justice Souter announcing his retirement and yet I spend my time wondering why Kelly and Bethenny on Real Housewives of New York keep trying to talk things out and get along.

Look, sometimes, for whatever reason, two people just don’t like the cut of each others jibs and that’s that.  I know I’ve experienced it many times – both ways, meaning, that plenty of people don’t like my jib and I don’t care for the jibs of some others. (What is a jib? It is a type of sail on a ship and the expression may go back to pirate times, old-timey pirates, not the Pirates 2.0 we’re dealing with now. Essentially the expression means, “I don’t like your face.”)

For the purpose of the show, it seems like the cast wants them to be friends or at least to be civil to one another. But it’s not happening. They can’t even have a conversation without wanting to stab each other. This past episode, there was a sit-down at Jill’s condo before yet another charity meeting. I found myself getting quite excited because, after all those years of watching The Sopranos and various mob movies, I’ve always wanted to have a sit-down. Hashing something out in order to avoid all out war. But Kelly and Bethenny went off into a bedroom, sat down and proceeded to have a conversation in which nothing was resolved and no demands were made; no favors traded. An unsuccessful sit-down, indeed.

It felt as if they were in a class called “Learning to Have a Conversation” but weren’t quite advanced enough to really listen to each other and pick up each the other’s thread of thought. Or maybe they were just babbling so they wouldn’t accidentally blurt out, “I hate you, bitch!”

Let’s listen in:

Kelly: I mean, you look so fabulous in your dress and here we are sitting on a teenager’s bed and it doesn’t matter because I’m still better than you are. (Thinking: What is up with this crazy bitch not acknowledging how much more fabulous I am than she is? It reminds me of how put upon I was in high school.)

Bethenny: You met me, like, five times and you pretended not to know me and that hurt my feelings because you think you’re a celebrity but no one cares. I mean, maybe in four square miles of Manhattan they care but otherwise, no one cares. You don’t have a brand. I have a brand. I’m Skinny Girl! (Thinking: I might be thinner than she is, in which case, I win!)

Kelly: Life is too short, you know? That’s why I wanted to meet you and tell you up front what a waste of space you are. I could have dragged the process out, pretending not to know you for about five more years if I wanted to, but instead I put my pink boots on and marched right down to the bar, half an hour late, and told you how much you sucked. (Thinking: This is a total rehash of the bar, when I told her she was beneath me. I hate to keep saying it but I guess I have to until she finally gets it!)

Bethenny: Remember that guy I was dating? We came to your house. You ignored me. You think you’re better than me. (Thinking: I want her to admit that I was with a guy she wanted and couldn’t have because that will mean I’m better than she is!)

Kelly: Stop! That’s enough. It’s so childish. There’s only room for one completely fab, skinny, late 30s to early 40s chick and it’s me, OK? (Thinking: Why won’t this troll just give it up already?)

Bethenny: You don’t have to give me the finger. Metaphorically speaking. I mean, you pretty much gave me the verbal finger at the bar. (Thinking: I’m hungry.)

Kelly: You were so upset after that. It damaged your psyche. (Thinking: I’m hungry but of course I can’t let her see me eat anything.)

Bethenny: I could not have cared less. I see you and I think about having to pick up my dry cleaning. (Thinking: I wonder what happened to that claim ticket?)

They aren’t broadcasting on the same frequency. It’s like an owl and a dolphin.  I’m thinking Bethenny is the owl and Kelly is the dolphin. Now let’s play that out:

Dolphin: Here I am playing in the surf and you can’t even go in the water so I’m better than you are.

Owl: You’ve seen me flying around about 11 different times and yet you don’t try to be my best friend. You’re just a dolphin, traveling around in your pod of other dolphins. I’m an owl. I’m Hooty McOwl.

Dolphin: Life is too short. I might get trapped in a net tomorrow. That’s why I brought you here, to point out that we’re different species and you’re the species that sucks.

Owl: I used to date a lion! You saw me with the lion and you ignored me! I was his lady friend.

Dolphin: Stop! That’s enough. I want to frolic in the water.

Owl: I want to sit on a tree branch and stare at things.

Dolphin: You’re boring. You can’t swim.

Owl: No, you’re boring. You can’t fly. I look at you and I think of eating rabbits.

I mean, what’s the deal here? Do they have to like each other? NO! Let them despise each other. At least they can then be authentic. I think that if two people can openly admit that they don’t care for each other then there is the possibility of getting beyond that and co-existing. It’s when you feel like you should like someone and don’t that it gets hard and weird.