By women like me, I simply mean the ones with the mini Trader Joe's ice-cream cones and glasses of Malbec settled into the couch for a marathon session of city after city, followed by a three-year old reunion and capped off by some kind of social media edition of an episode we just watched*. I mean, women who long ago gave up the preface for Facebook status updates about RHONJ/NY/A/NJ/M/OC by saying something smartypants or esoteric or involving clock algebra equations. I am talking about women who have favorites (Carol) and frenemies (Gretchen) and a nemesis (Sheree) for each season, city and even 4-minute segment. Women who have lives, partners, big careers, kids. And maybe a case of low-cal cocktails or shapewear or a cuff bracelet purchased in solidarity with the ladies on television who are nothing like us.
Except maybe they are like us. Maybe they are enough like us that they might chat us up if they happened to be a few feet away from us at a cocktail party. Or perhaps they would compliment a jacket or winged-out gel eyeliner if they got close enough during an interview. Maybe they have six-degree connections to us or realize suddenly they were on the stage crew of "Jesus Christ Superstar" when you made your spotlight appearance as Unnamed Disciple #2 during sophomore year. The possibilties of finding ourselves in that Venn diagram intersection between Real Housewives and Just Real are endless.
And they might very well include a comment about the word "whore."
Or at least that's what happened when I met Jill Zarin, just as brassy and ambitious as she was when she was on RHONY. I was at the SocialLuxe Lounge party at BlogHer '12, delighted and quite possibly squealing to meet up with some of my longtime and adored bloggy ladyfriends and to finally see some new bloggy ladyfriends I've become friends with over the last year. That was enough for me. I even skipped out on getting a shoulder massage and my hands henna-ed because I was so very happy touching the hair of women who have probably already secretly warned all of their readers to beware that I might wind their fancy Pinterest braids around my pointer finger and then sigh wistfully.
I cropped Monica out of this one just so I could pretend like Jill Zarin and I had a moment of our own. Plus, Monica looks so darn cute in the first pic, it might as well have just been her standing there.
But Jill Zarin was there, and I'd noted how glowy and fabulous she looks in real life (which I am sure people who are seen often on TV never hear) and even better, how killer her heels were.
Jill Zarin gave me the shpiel about the vacuum cleaner she was campaigning for at the event and I listened. I don't need another vacuum unless it is to torture the downstairs neighbors who've asked me kindly not to walk, drop things or breathe, but I listened politely. While staring at her shoes.
Then I complimented them. I firmly believe if a woman has on killer heels, you are compelled to let her know you love them.
And she said, "They are Jessica Simpson."
This made me fall off my own heels. And not just because I was wearing Jessica Simpson shoes, too. (I was. Truly. My favorite Jessica Simpson shoes.)
"I am, too!" I said, possibly too enthusiastically.
She said she wished the shoes on my sweaty, tired, pin-needled feet were actually her own and offered to switch with me. OK, we all know that's not how it went, no matter how many cocktails I'd already had. But she did say she noticed my shoes as well and liked them.
Then I got bold and gave her my card. I'm not one of those pushy business card ladies, even at blogging conferences where you get one just for stepping on an elevator with someone else. She saw my logo, remarked on it and then said the word that made my face light up.
"YOU HAVE THE WORD WHORE ON YOUR CARD!"
And Jill Zarin is right. I list myself as "BLOGGER | EDITOR | SHAMELESS SHOE WHORE." I feel it's congruent with my pink suede wedge heel blog icon. And also my foul mouth. Oh, and don't forget the practical prostitution I'll engage in at a TJ Maxx to find a pair of designer peep toe platforms in my size on the clearance shelves.
"I do," I said with ease. I think it earned her respect. "That Jessica Simpson makes a damn fine shoe."
For some reason, I feel compelled to say this whenever I speak about my love of Jessica Simpson shoes with someone. Of course, I know that the Official Jessica Simpson isn't sitting around with her fancy electronic Project Runway-ish sketch pad conjuring up next season's designs from her own designer imagination. But I enjoy pretending that's what happens and enjoy even more making people believe that, in my heart of terrible-actress hearts, I earnestly believe that she's cobbling patent leather D'Orsays like nobody's business.
The effort -- and joke -- didn't go over so well. But Jill Zarin tucked my card into her assistant's waiting envelope and said some niceties while we posed for pictures where I am not looking nearly as red-carpet ready as I wish I did.
I click-click-clicked away (and went off to a party where I collapsed into a couch and clutched my purse like a granny sitting and waiting for a bus, mostly because Jessica Simpson totally needs to add more padding to her next line). But the Jill Zarin encounter did not end there.
This week, I got an email from Jill Zarin. She gushed about my shoes again and asked me to come over for a white wine spritzer next time I am in NYC.
No, no, no. Of course not. But she did email. It was to a group, not in any "Dear Jessica Ashley" fashion, but from her email. An intern may have tap=tap-tapped it out to all the ladies who pressed a whore card into her weary, no-chip manicured hands that night. But I was totally on the list.
Jill Zarin asked me to tell you (yes, loves, magnifcent, whorey YOU) about her new jewelry line, which is full of affordable cocktail rings and rhinestones and owl pendants (OWL PENDANTS?! Isn't that solely Kelly Bensimon's accessory?). She asked me to help spread the word that her Skweez Couture shapewear line is available now.
But what really counts is that she thanked me IN ALL CAPS for all the support and then signed the note with an "I love you."
I think she meant it. I really do. I think she called Jessica Simpson up and told her a highly-influential, slightly buzzed lady blogger was wearing phenomenal shoes. And then I think she opened up my business card fondly traced a finger the logo imprinted there, and in her, a spark of admiration ignited into love.
Or maybe she just really, really wanted to convey how much I could have used another layer of shapewear under my dress.
No matter. I met Jill Zarin and we have shoes in common. And she is entrusting me with her love and pre-sale code for a Buddha cocktail ring. And all of that, friends and Real Housewives ladies who are three bags deep into some fat-free Doritos and a Watch What Happens Live with the boring realtor dude from Million Dollar Listing, makes me one happy high-heeled whore.
Now it's your turn to spill what you have in common with the Real Housewives: A husband? Some small, cackling guy named Harry? A tendency to devour champagne and then eat other people's customized cakes? Extensions? I'll take what I can get, so please do share.
*What in the world will people Tweet about Jesus Barbie? Or LuAnn's uncountesslike party gaffe? How many times can we @ Andy Cohen before he sends us a Mazel baby tee? OH MAH GAW! When will they integrate Pinterest so I can make Ramona's best pinot grigio glugging pose go viral AGAIN? These are all questions to be covered thoroughly in the social media episodes, just so you know where to funnel your Tweet-happy fingers and Rolodex of Real Housewives information.