Which of These Things Is Not Like the Others?

Wyclef Jean comes to Irvine, hangs with housewives

I don't hang out around enough rich people. They make me feel kind of squicky inside, and when I go to Newport Beach, I'm not only never the prettiest girl in the room, I'm not usually in the top 80 percent. (Compare that, if you will, to the Fling, where having all your own teeth automatically puts you in the top five.) So explain again why I'd go hang out with kept women and supermodels?

I do it for you, my babies.

In the pre-premiere publicity jag for Bravo's upcoming masterpiece The Real Housewives of Orange County, I made a date with soon-to-be-famous young party girl Jo and Slade, the fiancé who keeps her, at Ten in Irvine. Slade is a rocking fool on the marvelous reality program, and Jo a very pretty ditz. At the restaurant before the club next door, the group (including Jo's gorgeous friend and her gorgeous friend's gorgeous boyfriend, and my best friend Kedric Francis, editor of Riviera, whom I'd brought along as translator) sat down to a dinner created by the chef especially for his friends Jo and Slade. Jo talked about shopping, and Jimmy'z in Monte Carlo. She claimed to have invented the word "orgasmic," about some sugar cookies she used to treat herself to when she was poor in college at UCI. (If anyone invented it, my money's on Helen Gurley Brown.) I was having a hard time relating, and that morning had recommended Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique to this young woman who had been bored witless when she wasn't working. I really think she would like it!

But booze bridges many divides. We went next door to Tentation, the white-on-white club where Slade had bought us a table fronting the dance floor, all the better to watch motherfucking Wyclef Jean, in the motherfucking house, y'all!

Now, I love Wyclef Jean. It's a PTA mom thing: hip-hop with a positive pro-sex-and-drugs and anti-gun message, and it also has really pretty tunes you can actually sing. When Howard Dean was running for president—pre-scream—he said Wyclef was his favorite musician, and everybody acted like he was posing (white, from Vermont, white, old and white), but I totally believed him! Hell yeah, Howard Dean's got a little captain in him!

But explain to me, Wyclef, mon ange, s'il vous plait, why a "performance" by you includes a tape of Lauryn Hill singing that great old Roberta Flack tune "Killing Me Softly" while you reprise live your "One! One!"s and "Yeah! Yeah!"s? Come on, man, what the fuck is that?

Baby, you know I love you. Why you gotta make me so mad?

And now that you've explained that, explain to me why the hell you were in Irvine, hanging with the housewives? I know why I was—and, yes, it was all about the Benjamins. Or bottle service. Whatever. All I know is my head, the next day, how she ached!

I'd never understood before paying for your liquor by the bottle for an exorbitant price so's you can pour it yourself, but now I do, and I think I can best explain it thus: back in the day when I was engaged to my Republican, we spent one election night in the presidential suite of a former party chairman who was tired and had headed home. Make yourself free with the room service, he told us, and oh, how we did. We got a bottle of Belvedere, and a bottle of Dom, and a six-pack, and every dessert on the menu. We weren't even particularly drinking anymore; we just wanted this to be a hotel tab that mattered. But we insisted: with our $200 bottle of vodka, the limes, they must be free. The kitchen disagreed. Free limes? That's crazy talk! "Let me let you speak to my husband," I slurred gently, and he managed to talk them into 20 cents of lime right on the house!

Bottle service? Not only comes with free limes, but a cute little ice bucket, and tonic too! Also, if you don't buy bottle service, you aren't permitted to actually sit down anywhere in the club, and all that shifting and standing looks tiring. (And this is why I don't go out in Irvine, or Newport, but stick to my haunts. What's next? Charging you for your napkins? For the bathroom? Or, like in the Arnold Schwarzenegger masterpiece Total Recall, for air?)

Beyond liking my reflected wealth for the night, though, I liked Slade and Jo and their gorgeous friends. They were warm, they danced, they liked watching those around them have a good time too, even when the people having a good time around them were doing so in a dorky and uncool way. They acted without stint or reserve. So he drives a Hummer. She makes his life fun, and he really adores her—truly delights in her—and with a couple in me, I started making like The Real Housewives' designated self-righteous pill Vicki and telling them how to live their lives. I explained to Slade that he couldn't make Jo into a housewife, as he'd seemed to push for on the series. She's too young, it's too boring, she's not ready for that yet, no matter how he thought having a woman clean that gargantuan home increased his status. Christ, hire someone for that! "Oh, I know that now!" he assured me fervently. "Between you and me, it was her idea. She saw how stressed I was, and thought it would help." I see. So now we're finger-pointing and blame-gaming, are we? Can I join in? Does Scott McClellan know?

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