Category Archives: Thoughts

Reality TV: The death of us?

In the wake of Russell Armstrong’s suicide, many people are wondering about the affect that reality TV has on those who are portrayed in these shows. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Russell Armstrong, he was the husband to Taylor Armstrong in the first season of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. During this season, Taylor was very open with her marital problems and looked very unhappy in her marriage to Russell. In July, Taylor filed for divorce saying she endured “ongoing verbal and physical abuse” during the six year marriage. Russell was dealing with financial problems in addition to his marriage falling apart, which is said to be what drove him to take his own life.

Taylor Armstrong on the Wendy Williams show discussing Russell

Sadly, this isn’t the first person to commit suicide after being on a reality TV show. Most of us can remember the lady who killed herself in front of Paula Abdul’s house after being rejected from “American Idol”. We later found out she was an Abdul-obsessed whack-job, but still, there are roughly 10 other people who have committed suicide after taping their reality shows.

What does this say about reality TV? That it drives people crazy enough to be suicidal? Absolutely not. I do not believe that negative attention or public scrutiny resulting from being on a reality TV show could possibly be the sole factor in one’s suicide. Hear me when I say “sole factor” so you don’t think I’m a cold-hearted bitch. After doing some research, I found that a good number of these people also suffered from mental illnesses ranging from depression to bipolar disorder prior to appearing on TV. Take a mental illness and a couple jabs from America’s people… also throw in a public break-up and maybe some money troubles and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster. You never know exactly how sensitive people will be to the public humiliation they endure on reality TV so these television shows should not be frowned upon or looked at as though they are the only cause.

My advice to those venturing into the reality TV world: make sure you’ve got yourself some tough skin, that your brain isn’t out of whack and lastly, don’t get in a bathing suit unless you’re completely comfortable with your body in it (fat jokes are the worst).

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North vs. South… Or are they really as different as they seem?

Living half of my life in rural Massachusetts and the other half in metro-Atlanta, I consider myself a mixed breed. A little bit of southern charm and a little bit of aggressiveness. On a daily basis, I can go back to my northern roots and drive like a complete Masshole then come home and get ready to go out wearing my cowgirl boots. Over the years I have been able to observe how different the Northern and Southern culture in America really is. Southern folk  actually do seem more friendly and people in the North seem to always seem to be in a hurry. Some of you would say that I am basing this off “stereotypes”, but let me make it very clear that I have experienced both cultures and can most definitely pinpoint the distinct qualities of the majority of people living in both locations. The most interesting of all these “stereotypes” placed on people from both the North and the South is the type of guys. Surprisingly, I’ve had many first hand encounters with two seemingly different types: “The Southern Gentleman” from the South and the WASPy guy from the North. But do their differences outweigh their similarities?

The first stereotype comes straight from the bible belt: “The Southern Gentleman”

You know the type. Or at my age (23) guys may seem to be “The Southern Gentleman”, but really they just want to get in your pants. Just envision those guys 10 years from now. “The Southern Gentleman” holds the door for you, is perfectly attired, and he is romantic and chivalrous. Every woman wants to feel respected by her man, which seems like what “The Southern Gentleman” strives for. But in modern society women can sometimes feel belittled or inferior when a man treats them in the “traditional” way. Many women want to be in the workforce, not home with children and preparing meals. So this brings up the question, is treating a woman “traditionally” respecting her? If it’s not, then “The Southern Gentleman” is actually not a gentleman at all. I have dated quite a few “Southern Gentleman” and definitely do not fit the cookie cutter traditional Southern female mold. I’m more of a “pick up your pace, I can get it myself and ew grits are gross” kind of girl. Which proves that although “The Southern Gentleman” is attracted to someone different than who they think they’re supposed to be with, once the fascination with a girl who has never hunted a day in her life (fact) fades, they always go back to the Southern belle their parents would approve of.

The next we have the blue-blooded “WASP” from the North

These are your high society White Anglo-Saxon Protestants that live in Manhattan, vacay in the Hamptons, and have houses in Aspen, St. Barts and Martha’s Vineyard. Yes, these people actually exist. I will never forget an ex-boyfriend of mine from college telling me his grandmother upon hearing I was from Massachusetts told him I must be “blue-blooded with family money and to stick with me”. Huh? Anyway, I’ve watched enough of “Gossip Girl” and “Real Housewives of NYC” to know that these people… Actually exist. Once again, the WASPy man is traditionally dominant in the household, but unlike “The Southern Gentleman”‘s chivalry and romance, these guys repress emotions. It’s not uncommon for television shows to depict these types of men, they seem stuffy and unapproachable… and usually have affairs with their secretaries or something. I had a trust fund WASPy boyfriend (different boyfriend) who was from a particular city where anyone not from there or part of the Yacht Club was welcome… not to get off topic but like, WHO CARES. Needless to say, that relationship lasted up until the “meet the parents” part.

A common trend among both of these guys is that their expectation of the woman they choose to be with is based on certain criteria established long before they were even born. Both men assume it is their responsibility to take care of their wives financially and have their wives take care of them physically (not entirely in a sexual sense, more as a prepare meals, clean the house, etc). In today’s modern world these expectations are not nearly as strict as they once were, but prove to be dominate when choosing a mate.

In conclusion, “The Southern Gentleman” and the WASPy guy are different in a variety of ways but at the core they generally operate the same way. Call me cynical but it isn’t rocket science. I think I’ll stay single and wait on a guy from the MidWest to sweep me off my feet.

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