Etiquette vs. Self-Preservation: RHONY Edition

Source: Bravo TV
Source: Bravo TV

Here is a true story: when I was in the eleventh grade, my current best friend and I had a falling out. Nearly two decades later, we are BFFs, roommates and as close as sisters, but at the time? Whoa baby, it was ugly. U-G-L-Y. Anyone who has ever met a sixteen-year-old girl will understand just how ugly a BFF-breakup can be. Girls are mean and I was no exception. When she and I stopped speaking, we only stopped speaking to each other. I was more than willing to speak to anyone else and let’s just say, I won our mutual friends in the divorce.

Every year, our group of friends had what we called a “Harry Hanumas” party, because half of us celebrated Christmas and half of us were Jewish. We’d gather together at someone’s house and do a Secret Santa exchange a few nights before Christmas. Side note: these parties actually pre-date the infamous “Festivus” episode of Seinfeld, so I consider us to be quite revolutionary. But I digress. My point it, we were having a holiday party and it was my year to host. My former bestie had pulled my name for the Secret Santa exchange, but I didn’t expect a thing. I mean, we weren’t even speaking! She hated me and it was kind of mutual. I didn’t bother to un-invite her to my party because I didn’t think she’d show up in a million years.  Boy, did I underestimate her. About an hour or so into the party, the doorbell rings. It’s former-BFF with her new friends. She comes into my house and throws a present at me (literally, she threw it) and then left as quickly as she came. If you’re curious, it was the Romeo + Juliet original soundtrack on CD, a used copy.


To this day, we still laugh about this incident. Why on earth did she show up to a party hosted by someone she couldn’t stand? Why did she get me a gift? I mean, okay, it was her own copy that she wrapped and threw at me, but she still bothered to do it. Why? Was her sense of propriety greater than her desire to pretend that I didn’t exist? It’s not like we were even civil. We were downright hostile. Remember: teenage girls. NOT. NICE. So why did she come? Why do women feel the need to fake social niceties when they don’t even like each other? Had the situation been reversed, I don’t think I would’ve shown up.

I guess I am more like Heather, who “keeps it real.” In this week’s episode of the Real Housewives of New York City, Heather celebrates her ten year wedding anniversary and pointedly does not invite Aviva. Sonja and Ramona are oddly torn asunder by this snub. How DARE she not invite Aviva! You must stay true to “the group!” But Heather doesn’t see why she should invite someone to her party if she doesn’t even like them. She did the same thing last season when she didn’t include Ramona in on her trip to London. Heather lives on Planet Heather, which isn’t a bad thing. She puts her own desires first when it’s her event. If she doesn’t like you, she doesn’t invite you to join along. Naturally, Aviva acts like she was excluded from the second coming or something, when in reality she probably didn’t even want to go. And in solidarity, Sonja and Ramona skip the event, even though they’d previously RSVP’d.

Source: Bravo TV
Source: Bravo TV

Let me say this: my BFF is nothing like Aviva (good lord, no, she is wonderful and quite sane, I assure you) but she believes in keeping your word. If someone invites you to a party, you stop by. Even if you don’t want to go, you stop by. If you’ve been tasked to get someone a gift, you give them a gift. Even if you don’t like them, you dig out that Romeo + Juliet original soundtrack from under your pile of flannel shirts and X-Files paraphernalia and you stick a bow on it. Even at age 16, she believed in these things. And even though it’s not what I would do, I see her point. So, should Heather have sucked it up and allowed Aviva to come to her party, for the sake of group solidarity? Or was she right to exclude someone she doesn’t want to be around? It’s a tough call.

What do you think?

3 thoughts

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