Not So Cute: Kelly From The Real Housewives of New York City
[singlepic=527,320,240,,right]Do you watch The Real Houswives of New York City? I do. Oh yes. And this season is so much better than last season, since we actually get to see more of the Countess being a snobby bitch, and Ramona is starting to seem like one of the more reasonable members of the clan, despite her indisputably CRAZY EYES? But most importantly, there is the addition this season of the character, Kelly, who is a former model divorcee who divides her time between a house in The Hamptons and a loft in Soho? And oh wow is this character a boondoggle. For one thing, she fits into the same demographic, roughly, as the beloved Countess, except for the fact that she is divorced, an advantage that the Countess acknowledged by saying, “You don’t have to deal with this kind of stuff anymore, you lucky bitch.” Bet the Count was really pleased by that line.
[singlepic=526,320,240,,left]The first time I ever encountered the confusing cipher that is Kelly Killoren Bensimon was when I bought a pair of jeans at Bloomingdales a few years back, and they gave me a free book with my purchase. That book? The Bikini Book by Kelly Killoren Bensimon, and if you haven’t seen the cover, let me be the one to expose it to you.
That kind of vaguely uncomfortable and embarrassed feeling you have right now? That is kind of what Kelly makes me feel when I watch her on The Real Housewives of New York City. All the time. A clip from the show depicts Kelly explaining the cover to her book by saying that she wanted people to think, “Now this is something.” Well, in that sense she succeeded, because even if I got it for free, and even if I have fairly liberal reading practices, my response to this book was, “This is something I want out of my house.” So I tried to sell it on Amazon, but nobody wanted it.
That was before I could possibly have known that Kelly’s book is just an encapsulation of her character. Because she has some kind of disorder, but I cannot figure out what it is precisely. She flirts with and gets piggy-back rides from boy-toys in front of her traumatized ‘tween daughters, talks about how everybody hopes that she’ll show up at their party, claims to be a “private person,” even whilst engaged in the confessional interview of a nationally televised reality show, and has skin that changes from sunburn pink to spray-tan orange over the course of an episode. But these kinds of narcissistic disorders are the pixie dust upon which the Bravo network has built itself.
No. What I am talking about has more to do with situations where Kelly seems to be from another planet–a planet where everyone has legs the length of a giraffe’s and where they think they speak English, but in reality their giraffe-legged language is just different enough from English to cause confusion when attempting to communicate with a legitimate English speaker. For example, Kelly claims to not have enough time to work with all of the charities she wants to work with. OK. So the Countess, social-climber that she is, asks Kelly, “Oh, what charities are you involved with?” Which seems like a reasonable, if transparent, question to ask. But Kelly, not understanding? states, “Oh, I’m not involved with any charities.” Wha?
And her problems with language also lead to uncomfortable social situations for Kelly. Like, sure, she’s beautiful and everything, but something is wrong. First there was the episode where she was riding horses, and invited Ramona to come and watch her ride. While Ramona waited patiently by the dressing room, Kelly snubbed her on the way out and–lest you think this was a mistake, she then answered Ramona’s greeting by saying, “Can I just have a second?” impatiently. So, this would be rude no matter what, right? But I figure, she’s doing some kind of equestrian trial in the Hamptons, she must be doing something very very difficult. Right. So she gets out there, and the little things that she has to jump over? Are like a foot tall. The Countess’ 17 year-old-daughter was jumping over things twice as high and wasn’t acting like a bitch.
But the most disturbing thing for me, about this Kelly woman, is her use of the phrase, “That’s cute.” Now I’ll be willing to admit that I’ve said, “that’s cute,” on occasion. Maybe even directed at an article of clothing. I admit it. And it’s a kind of throw away phrase to begin with. But usually it’s the kind of throwaway phrase you use when you greet somebody and like their shoes. Well, Kelly, apparently, feels the phrase hasn’t met its full potential. Because in last week’s episode, she first used the phrase, “that’s cute,” to describe Bethenny’s friendship with the designer John Varvatos and his wife. Their odd exchange went a little something like this:
Bethenny: Yeah, I know John. I know John and Joyce.
Kelly: Oh, that’s cute.
Bethenny: . . .
Now this usage, standing alone, would be bad enough. Because in this situation, it comes across as being just really patronizing. Like, “How cute, Bethenny thinks she knows a designer! Oh good for her!” Which would be bitchy enough in any language. But worse than this was when there was a meeting of the Housewives to discuss a charity event for Pediatric Arthritis. After showing up late, Kelly explained that she had “lots of charities” that she didn’t have time to work with, and that no, she wouldn’t be lending her name to this event. When it was explained that the particular interest in this charity stemmed from Jill’s daughter, Ally, who actually has arthritis, and who was sitting at the same table, Kelly says what? You guessed it. “That’s cute.”
It’s cute to have arthritis? Wha?
Now, just to make sure this was not some kind of new phrase with which I am unfamiliar, I did my homework. According to Urban Dictionary, there are three definitions for “aww that’s cute,” viz.:
- Said when you have no response to something such as “I love you.” ex. “I love you” “Aww that’s cute”
- A phrase (said in a long drawn out way) to say when you are not sure what to say tosomeone who has admitted feelings to you; When someone has said or done something similar to being cute, this is what you say. ex.Person: So, I basically, pretty much like you hella alot.
You: aww that’s cute.
Person: *Goes to kiss you and misses*.
You: aww that’s cute.
- Said sarcasticly [sic.] after one or more people say or do something they believe is cool, but was really just gay.
Now, admittedly, I’m even more confused. Did Kelly think that they were telling her they were in love with her? Could be. Still, her response is, “That’s cute,” and though I’m confused, and Mr. Right-Click (who I force to watch this show with me) is confused, everyone on the TV is looking at each other like, “Oh yeah, isn’t it cute?” Wha? Are the giraffes taking over?
To add fuel to the fire, recently, Kelly was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor assault after punching her boyfriend (Nick Stefanov). Apparently, Stefanov sustained a black eye and a cut cheek after Kelly hit him with a closed fist. I have to assume this was serious, if the boyfriend was willing to go down and trade in his masculinity in order to file a complaint. He did note that Kelly had the humanity to take off her engagement ring first, before punching him in the eye. Now, that is cute.