Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Exposed Life of Caroline Stanbury, Lady of London S2E2

Episode 2: The Barefoot Baroness

More Meaningful Title: Who Knew Danish people had sexy Royalty with British Accents, or was I the only one who didn't?

In the opening montage, the following happens:
Juliet asks her hard-working beleaguered husband for a Chanel bag, using lots of that vocal fry men love, Lady Julie feeds what looks like an orange tarantula and Caroline Fleming takes a moment to pray while her dogs eat breakfast. Perhaps a Scandinavian custom? Google is silent.

And we're back!
Caroline shows up at Marissa's in a gorgeous fur and brags that it keeps her warm. Wonderful insight, Caroline. As a Canadian I can concur, fur does in fact keep you warm in the winter. I feel like we are friends already.

One of the things Caroline always needs in every situation is a servant. Immediately upon arriving she is laying in Marissa's bed and getting Marissa to remove her gorgeous suede stripper boots from her sharpened sticks legs. Classic Caroline. Another handy tool Caroline uses to always feel superior is to disagree with a statement and then quickly use it against the original owner of the statement. It is maddeningly effective at keeping people completely off balance. Marissa complains that removing the stripper boots is silly (i.e. she is perfectly aware what Caroline is doing), and Caroline quickly responds with "Have you heard yourself lately?" when Marisa mentions she has her assistants respond to text messages. Immediately Marissa – or whomever – is put on the defensive. Caroline always wins because Caroline is unapologetically rich, blonde and anorexic; she does not share a normal woman's level of guilt. So refreshing. Life must be gloriously simple for a woman who cares only about herself and immediate family. I want to be just like her. Caroline needs to watch her back, though, for I sense that Marissa is just busy taking notes and grabbing my attention as the second most important character on the show, as well. Caroline then labels the fight between Marissa and Juliet 'her problem'. This woman is a Master Class in Self-Absorption, I love her.

Best Line of the Episode:
"We were two blondes on the London scene and we had an absolute blaaaahhhhst" – Caroline Stanbury, on nuclear disarmament

The double-barrelled turkey dinner must have been very boring because it does not even warrant actual footage, both are portrayed as flashback footage instead. This leads me to wonder how insane the season will actually get, if something like this gets left on the cutting room floor. Someone named Annabelle has a moment on the show. She is thin with bangs, wears black and referred to as an 'It' girl. *yawnCaroline Fleming is introduced. She is fabulous, authentic and her Christmas party forms the "plot" of this week's episode.

Caroline and her skinny calves arrive first, empty-handed, in a dress that illustrates her life-long desire to remain undernourished is going swimmingly. Another guest arrives with flowers and Caroline mumbles 'oh my gawd you brought flowers' like someone handed her a dirty diaper. What is the problem with flowers, Caroline? Caroline sits at the dinner table, ingesting nothing, staring stiffly with a frozen smile on her face. Food obviously disgusts her. Same, Caroline.

The room is too quiet and Caroline must establish supremacy so she passive-aggressively insults Lady Julie's beautiful full-skirted dress labeling it a 'prom dress'. Once again, that is a uniquely American tradition - methinks the lady doth protest too much! - and Caroline secretly wants to be an AmericanTalk turns to an event hosted by Marissa that Juliet is not invited too. Lady Julie (The-Viscountess-with-too-many-children) underscores that she will be bringing all of them, meaning it will be a zoo. Caroline – not to be outdone – shouts that she will be taking all her children to the event as well. This made me laugh out loud for some reason. Do fashionable English women only take some of their children out at a time? Because the alternative is laughably cruel, and not unimaginable in the case of Caroline. The person Annabelle describes Marissa's hosting of this event as wanting to be seen as a 'happy family' and 'very aspirational middle class'. That's a lie because the Dowager Countess Grantham of Downton Abbey has clearly said that being 'defeatist' is very middle class. Is being bitter part of being an 'It' Girl? Because you can keep it. Annabelle is neither happy nor has any family, the definition of defeatist. 

Caroline declines her dessert and dominates the conversation with the saddest Oliver Twist story of being forced to eat food fruit at fat camp boarding school, creating a 'mental' block and she can never eat it again. Classically disordered, Caroline, you are fooling no one. This exchange reinforces my theory that Caroline was bullied as a youth creating the monster we see before us today.

Meanwhile…at Gift Library, Caroline and her thin legs march around in a burgundy aviator jacket. Once again, 'everyone' is wrapping in the backroom because they have lots of orders blahblahblah…
Caroline is eating something!
I see her chewing! She is holding in her beautiful fingertips something … it's an infinitesimal candy she calls a 'jelly tot'. It is so small it can not be seen with the naked eye, yet it requires that one eat it with their mouth open. Fascinating. She has a meeting with husky-voiced Rania and mentions a future financial loss as "two hundred thousand dollars". Doubly fascinating. Would the loss not be calculated in pounds for a Brit? Caroline asks Rania to choose people to fire and Rania begins to cry. We already know how Caroline feels about emotions from episode one and tells her to 'go away'. Rania obediently scurries off. Caroline has the decency to respond sheepishly in the talking head segment on the subject of driving a good business idea into the ground and her investors losing money.

Cut to Mob Wives a Mafia-style sit-down between Marisa and Juliet. Juliet gets her ass handed to her by Marissa. Juliet is a manipulative trainwreck since last season who does everything wrong and is so embarrassing I can't watch her, so good riddance. I also find her very unattractive outside of the talking head segment and very attractive in it. I don't like the feeling of being confused so I'm happy to see her go. Marissa is correct in a number of ways. Married to a Brit and trying to be seen as a foremost hostess, she can not allow anyone in her inner circle to undermine her at the risk of both her career and her marriage. She tells Juliet that they are merely friends, not BFFs, which is still a pretty generous concession. Juliet is crushed, despite not really liking Marissa. Pick a lane, Juliet. The episode ends with Marissa demurely sipping a cup of fresh mint tea, quietly smirking to herself. This woman is rapidly gaining my full attention.

Next Week: We are all One-sie.

Foods Caroline Talked About in this Episode:
1. Caroline complains that she is so hungry she can "inhale all the chips" but we never see it. Well-played, Caroline.
2. Caroline complains that she has been asked to leave 'whilst I have pudding in my mouth'. This is a lie. She ate no such pudding.
3. Jellytots

Things Caroline actually ate in this Episode:
1. 'Jellytots'

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Exposed Life of Caroline Stanbury, 'Lady' of London S1E1

A bit of background. I have a new obsession, Dearest Reader, and it is the Bravo scripted series reality show known as 'Ladies of London'. The first season was such an absolute tragic train wreck that I will not mention it here and instead chose to begin my evisceration with Season 2. It's like skipping a grade in school, I'm special. Deal with it. Full Disclosure, London is my absolute dream, if only because I am deeply confused about whether Jane Austen novels are actually happening concurrently with episodes of Borat. It's like, how can one little place have so much going on? Let's get started!

Episode 1: London Calling

More Meaningful Title: Caroline secretly wants to be an American

Why are we even pretending that any other character of this show even matters? This person, a person so fascinatingly complex and watchable, is the undisputed central character to the show and the lynch pin that ties all the other women to London society.

We begin Caroline's second season journey in the offices of her doomed business "Gift Library". Unfortunately she seems to be the only one who doesn't know she will soon be in receivership, but her employee Valentina ignoring her repeated yelps may give her some clue as to where she stands. She makes noises that the place is busy but every person is sitting at a computer immobile, so not sure what she means. She keeps referring to some sort of gnome people somewhere in the backroom working hard, like Santa's workshop, but they are never revealed. Caroline does, however, drop a small detail that she has also 'acquired' a second business known as 'The Wedding Shoppe of Caroline Stanbury' but a quick Google search reveals nothing more than a few puff pieces about it and besides, it's part of a larger store called Brown – which may be a family relative. More to come on this. Then she condescendingly asks the room at large if she "can eat lunch now?" although there does not appear to be a soul who gives a shit if she catches on fire; so lunch it is, Caroline. Enjoy!

This blog finds Caroline's eating habits out of joint with her physical appearance and will be carefully monitoring her calories. It's easy because for a woman with a well-maintained eating disorder, she talks about food a lot. This blog finds her allusions to the USA also of particular interest and will be taking stock of it as well. In this episode, she mentions the US four times.

The main conflict in this episode is where Thanksgiving dinner will be held. Marisa is hosting a large elegant party at her private dining room Bumpkin (WTF? did they name it that on purpose?) as she has done for years and Juliet wants a homespun mess of a party because it's her birthday and little tiny babies should get what they want on their birthday. But Juliet does not want to host it, or cook for it, or even fucking shop for it. She just wants an American-style Thanksgiving to happen somewhere or she will burst into tears. On the flip side, Marisa's whole deal is the doe-eyed earth mother from puritanical America who arrives naked and afraid on the beaches of London only to win the heart of a handsome prince lord and take her rightful place among the British aristocracy. She sees herself as having something to offer in this space and maybe she is correct. Frankly, she strikes me as a bit sociopathic and this may all be completely engineered.

Best line of the Episode
"I give good guest." – Marisa, on being invited to parties

Cut to Caroline's kitchen, early morning, where she is being briefed by her staff on the schedules of her children. Most of the things the children have planned in upcoming weeks comes as a surprise to her. She stares at her staff with vacant blue eyes and takes noisy bites of buttered toast served in a basket. She has less depth than Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Hilary was funny. In the talking head segment Caroline gives a long list of negative words people have used to describe her: cold, hard, heartless, cold-hearted. What is really telling is that Caroline does not disagree with any of it.

Enter Juliet.

One of the things Caroline does to intimidate other women is to comment on their outfit immediately upon laying eyes on them. They either get a "what are you wearing?" or a grudging "you look nice". Juliet arrives dressed like a character from Dynasty and gets a "you look nice". Juliet responds with "you look like shit". Classic Juliet.

Caroline does know, however, the right things to say in all situations but Juliet refuses to be 'relaxed' and allows a single tear to drop in front of Caroline, running the orange blush applied in perfect circles to Juliet's extremely white cheeks.
Caroline reacts like Juliet has shit nuclear waste on her Persian rug.
Same, Caroline. I can't fault Caroline on this. Juliet's emotions are scary.

Then – in an act so kind and soft  I literally cannot believe it’s the same person - Caroline volunteers to have a small party in her own home to appease Juliet. While Caroline is clear that it comes at no personal cost to herself, it still requires a reorganization of her staff and home and it's a lovely and generous offer one makes to a friend who has fake cried in front of you. Then Caroline smiles and becomes the single most beautiful woman I have ever seen on reality TV with a hangover. She honestly looks like an angel. I paused the TV to bask in the beatific glow of her splendor.

Caroline hosts a cocktail party in her big empty house. Her house accurately reflects the desert wasteland of her own emotional landscape. Everything is taupe and voices echo. It also reminds me of those people who take on mortgages that are too high and then have no money left over to furnish the place, but keep explaining it away by saying they have just finished a 'reno'.

I remain unsure where this party stands chronological using the Arrow of Time. Is it before or after the ill-fated double turkey dinners?

Marisa – a woman with a title, a fully furnished home and a business that makes things that people actually want to buy – is described by Caroline as 'a social climber' and that it 'reeks of desperation'. Bravo thought so much of this statement, they used it in their promotional ads for Ladies of London. Classy, Bravo. As a pretty aggressive social climber herself, Caroline may live to eat those words, and I will be here to gleefully record it. 

Caroline reminds me of a really poor girl who grew up with rich bitches in the '8os and is still trying to emulate them. Remember this, Dear Reader, as this theory will be supported in later episodes.

Marisa has a very clear view of what is going on and while she is correct, she arrives at the party wearing the frumpiest outfit. Every other woman is 6 feet tall, black-clad and suicide blonde. And then there is Marisa bearing a hat in the shape of roasted turkey with Caroline's name embroidered on it. Caroline remarks that she 'has never hated a gift more'. 
Same, Caroline.

Marisa proceeds to be awkward with Juliet, provoking an argument. Caroline watches from the second floor over a – wait for it – clear plastic banister treatment circa 1983, like a gorgeous praying mantis cocking its head slowly and rubbing it's fore claws together. For a moment, the scenario is shot like a Hitchcock movie complete with a Disney villainess and I fall down on the floor in ecstasy.

Caroline walks down and of course does the right thing; tries to stop the argument, but not without reminding the room at large that she is skinnier and blonder than Marisa in an aborted effort to give a back-handed compliment. It’s like something the drunk wife of a Texas cattleman would do at a rodeo, it's amazing. There has never been a woman more desirous of being an actual American then our own Caroline Stansbury.

The Episode ends there. Next Week: The Barefoot Baroness

Food Caroline talked about in this episode:
1.     Can I eat lunch now? Ambiguous. Well played, Caroline.
2.       She pretended not to know what Goldfish were
3.       She pretended to know nothing about Thanksgiving but laughed at the thought of putting her 'hand up a turkey's rear end'. Pretty good guess, Dearest.
Total Calories: only those from alcohol.

Things Caroline actually ate in this episode
1.     A piece of toast. Loudly

Friday, September 4, 2015

Dating in the Modern Age

I wear my heart on my fist.

Monday: The married coach of a professional soccer team invited me for a drink. I thought about it but politely declined.

Tuesday: Nothing planned. I go to the gym and absolutely kill my workout. An old ex-bf contacts me out of the blue. I was very serious about him but he's on the rebound and just looking to get his dick wet. I lose a little respect for someone I really looked up to. I have an avalanche of emotion and the rest of the week suffers for it. Two weeks later, against all my best intentions, I'm back in his bed...I know, I know

Wednesday: A man who had invited me and planned the date 10 days prior cancelled 2.5 hours before. I feel like he chickened out, poor thing. I tried to encourage him but it was no use. Like my conservative Catholic mother always says, 'You can't suck a dead dick back to life'. (That's a joke. My mother never said that. My Protestant grandmother did...)

UPDATE: Over the next week, this man sends upwards of 10 messages asking for a second date until I eventually have to block him. I would have gone on a second date if any of the messages had the same excuse for cancelling the first time, but they were all different! They ranged from the serious (his friend's mother had a seizure) to the mundane (he was stuck at work) to the ridiculous (he had to ref a soccer game). Ugh! Soccer again!.

Thursday: A man who's been dogging me for a third date invites me over and over again until I get confused and agree to meet him at (basically) the last minute. He keeps changing the date and venue I become impatient and cancel. Honestly, good riddance.

Friday: This was expected, actually. A man was begging for a date for two weeks but not planning anything despite how specific my profile was. If you are familiar with the phrase 'give 'em enough rope and he'll hang himself' then that's exactly what happened. I played social director, planning a quick drinks date and he balked. No surprise there and a bit of a relief because I had scheduled my car for detailing at the same time. I can't be in two places at once!

Saturday: This is the your regular run-of-the-mill dating story...
Boy meets Girl.
Boy Takes Girl to the Beach (for their fourth date).
Boy Invites his two friends along on the date, too! 

They are: 
the old Married Woman he had an affair with, and 
her (formerly cuckolded) Husband.'ve never heard that one before? 

Boy, are you ever sheltered! Live a little!

Sunday: A man I forgot I scheduled a date with (my bad), cancels on me. 

He said that he didn't like my blog (his bad). Since he was meeting me on a kink website, I'm surprised that he had the nerve to judge. What a hypocrite! My blog has nothing to do with other people, I write it to amuse myself and keep a record of my year. I didn't judge his fetish about 'face-fucking' or wanting an Asian submissive. Like an emotionally mature adult, I naturally assumed it had nothing to do me.
Opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one. Luckily, this dude likes assholes!