The Discounted Countess

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by jason_els, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    For all you fans of the Real Housewives of New York, it looks like the axe has fallen on our favorite aristo, Luann.

    In a breach of etiquette certain to anger the countess, who is just about to publish her etiquette book, Class With the Countess, Count Alexandre de Lesseps dumped his fourth wife via email while he was in Switzerland cavorting with his 20something Ethiopian mistress.

    I feel bad for Luann because I think she was genuinely fond of her husband and she has certainly done a good job of raising her kids to be decent and unpretentious (unlike the ghastly McCords). Luann is, however, stuck on her title and I think it's boorish the way she corrects people around her. Maybe getting de-aristo'd will help her put her head back on her shoulders.
     
  2. midlifebear

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    Okaley Dokaley: You're going to have to help me with this, Mr. Jason of the Els. I'm not familiar with what passes a New York café society these days. I'll do a Wikipedia search, but where does one read about the goings on of "the very very rich [who] are different than you and me"? The NY Daily Post? I've not heard of the Lesseps or the McCords. And I know of only two families with progeny on the Upper East Side lleft over from the Edith Wharton's well-documented Age of Innocence.
     
  3. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Well obviously no Vanderbilt, Slater, or Bass would be caught dead doing a reality TV show so no, the Real Housewives of New York aren't true Social Register/Fuzzy Green Book bluebloods, but the Countess de Lesseps is the closest thing the show has to a true socialite. Her husband's family were ennobled for building the Suez Canal back in the days of Napoleon so they're not even ancien regime aristos, but a title's a tile and it does open a few doors here and there.

    Luann is the count's fourth wife so there are at least three other ladies running around calling themselves Countess de Lesseps so not even her title will be unique. It appears the French have adopted the business of allowing divorced wives courtesy titles so she will now have to be styled, Luann, Countess de Lesseps, though she will, technically, no longer be ennobled.

    It's a great fun TV show to watch all these nouveau riche couples trying to scale the social ladder and failing miserably. Luann was the only one who really stood a chance as she had some class, but without the count, she's just a Connecticut former beauty queen of some Indian ancestry. Now Pamela Harriman proved that background is not necessarily important to getting into the world of real New York society, however Luann is no Pamela Harriman.
     
  4. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    As to where you can read about the real Hi-So set goings on, it's pretty much down to Town & Country, Social Register Observer, and sometimes Liz Smith (who was just fired!). Limelight is still something most shy away from save for publicity pics for benefits and the like.
     
  5. D_Portelay Porquesword

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    I feel bad for her, she is one of my favorites. I don't see her "correcting" people as being so much a bad thing as her trying to live up to her title the right way.

    Those ghastly McCords just gross me out too Jason. I can't imagine having that kind of status in life and living in scrap heap as they do for so long. It's pitiful.

    I love Jill as well. (that gay husband is a mess!) Bethany is just bitter and has a rotten attitude. I don't care for her.
     
  6. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

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    Luann comma Countess or not, as you say, Jason, a title's a title and, true to form, I imagine she'll wring the most out of it. She may be the best of a bad lot, but a boor who would "correct" her "friends" on such things deserves what she gets.
     
    #6 B_Nick8, Apr 1, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  7. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Luann is definitely one of my favorites. I think she's a good mom and relatively easy to get along with. She's easily the most attractive and has the best dress sense.

    The McCords are all about trying waaay too hard to impress everyone else. I think it's wonderful they've found each other because, frankly, they deserve each other. I couldn't imagine either of them living with someone who wasn't just like themselves. There is no ease to them at all, no true confidence, and it shows. And the kids! Those poor kids will be the most fucked-up club kids ever to be seen. Imagine being raised as trophy kids who speak four languages just to impress everyone else. It's like they're performing circus animals.

    There's an old society tradition of the wronged wife getting to cash-in any way she can even if it is a bit unseemly. Now that she's being sent back to the reservation, the rules will be eased for her and she'll be able to take full advantage of her new-found stardom. Oddly enough, however, it wouldn't surprise me that one of the reasons the count dumped her was because she kept an indiscreet profile by doing the TV show. Luann does get one perk, and that's because she's the mother of the future count. When Alex passes away, she'll be allowed to style herself, The Countess Dowager de Lesseps. In the social minutae of titles, it will be a higher-ranking title than the courtesy title she'll have when the count finally divorces her.

    The correction thing is ridiculous. On one recent show she hosted a party for her daughter and her friends but then used the party to give etiquette lessons! Imagine being invited to someone's party to be told you need etiquette lessons! Now maybe some of these girls could truly use it, but one should never assume a guest is anything other than a paragon of grace and affability no matter. The whole point of entertaining is to make one's guests feel comfortable and welcome, not be examined under a microscope. She did the same thing to Bethanny with the car driver. If Luann really didn't like being introduced to the driver by her first name, she could have, at most, explained to Bethanny, "If you could, in the future, please introduce me as Mrs. de Lesseps because I prefer only my friends and family to call me by my first name." It's a bit old fashioned to say that, but not unreasonable as any other person is entitled to ask for the same courtesy. Instead, Luann appeared embarrassed and then told Bethanny, "this is how you do it." That was rude and good for Bethanny to say so.

    I can't wait to see how well Class With the Countess sells. It's certainly a book I want to thumb through to see just what Luann, er, Mrs. de Lesseps, has on her mind.
     
  8. midlifebear

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    Thanks for the heads up regarding it being a reality TV series. It will most likely be picked up by Sony Entertainment or FOX International if it's as ridiculous as you describe. Yea gods! Reality TV of the Manhattan dubious?

    I have one long-time friend, Virgil Corydon (last name omitted), AKA "Cordy" who is the only son of a family from Pittsburgh, of all places, that is actually listed in The Stud Book, which I assume is the "official" Social Register. Cordy is a wonderful, down-to-earth guy who has helped me renovate and remodel countless homes, especially kitchens, but for the last 20 years he's been a banker. Big guy (6'4"). Buff, goofy, always happy and beautifully muscled with 22-inch calves. He won my heart (although he's straight) when I discovered he was living in a new garage he had just built where his portable table saw took prominence doubling as his coffee table when not otherwise in use to measure twice and cut once. He would eventually build an "attached house" to his original garage home.

    I only realized there still was such a thing (beyond Wharton novels) as a social register of "the orginal 400" when I noticed all of Cordy's other friends were named Tucker, Bifster, Muffin, Pats, Tippy, etc., all with similar back grounds and pedigrees; truly the whitest people I've ever met. Cordy's parents are extremely nice and fun to hang with, but when they speak they tend to keep their teeth clenched together.

    So, the very very rich really are different than you and me?
     
  9. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

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    Indeed, I can't imagine. The book ought to be called Klass With the Counte$$.
     
    #9 B_Nick8, Apr 1, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  10. jason_els

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    There really is a Social Register. You can view the website here. That's the real social register. There are more than 400 names in it and the great majority are people you've never heard of. You can apply to become a member here, but be forewarned that like any restricted club, you'd best know quite a few current members and have a background compatible with the membership. That's a polite way of saying that if you're not asked to join by current members, there's little chance you'll get listed. Celebrities are NOT in Social Register unless they happen to be, as they say, "our kind, dear." Madonna doesn't stand a chance but Sigourney Weaver, Glenn Close, and Michael Douglas are. It's worth noting that many people who could be in Social Register are not as they see it as a quaint anachronism.

    The teeth clenching thing is what Lisa Birnbaum hilariously described as, Locust Valley Lockjaw in her classic The Preppy Handbook.

    Carpentry and furniture making are respectable pursuits for people with that sort of background and have been for a long time. It's one of those quirky things that you think doesn't make sense (son of a defense tycoon become a carpenter). Maybe it's because Jesus was a carpenter?
     
    #10 jason_els, Apr 1, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  11. HazelGod

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    This is one subject about which I am exceedingly proud of my willful ignorance.
     
  12. Bbucko

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    Hear, hear!

    My capacity for schadenfreude is insufficient to find any pleasure indulging in the Real Housewives series; not that I watch that much TV anyway. but when I do indulge, my taste runs more toward Project Runway or ANTM.
     
  13. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    Ah, Jace ... in fine American fettle, you're saying that the aristocracy is for walking over?

    Uh, they're bruxers?
     
  14. prepstudinsc

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    I feel badly at how the Countess was dumped, it just goes to show that having money does not give one class.

    As to my favorite, hands down, it's Jill. She is the only normal one on the show. The new girl, Kelly, is just an absolute train wreck. She's pompous, pretentious, and looks like a tranny.
     
  15. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I suppose I should have said lozenge. That would be appropriate for a female aristocrat, but nobody would have understood it and I like the implied alliteration of title and tile.

    I would assume they are bruxers. Very tight asses do not allow for the passage of poop so bruxism helps them avoid eating anything other than liquids like gin and bloody marys.
     
  16. HellsKitchenmanNYC

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    I hope she breaks a nail and chokes on it. I hated all the Housewives series I had the misfortune to see.
     
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