If you’re a woman, and therefore a sucker for anything that Bravo slaps up in prime time, (lest you believe it’s all Downton Abbey and Meet the Press up in this piece, it is not, I assure you, void of terrible TV, and don’t get me STARTED on that goddamned Steven Avery guy…) you’ve seen an episode of the show Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce. It stars real-life spouses and a smattering of other beautiful people, and, while it has it’s moments of realness, I felt compelled to set the record straight that, contrary to what some in my circles believe, this fictional bonanza does not, in any way, represent an actual divorce, by actual people, with jobs, and bills, and kids, and shit.
I actually like the show, and was a fan of the woman whose books inspired the series, Vicki Iovine, from back in her days of writing about Motherhood. Her real take offset all the ickyness of that What to Expect nonsense, although neither book series addressed the tribulations of birthing and raising multiples, and I’m still seriously considering cornering that particular parenting market with my book tentatively titled Double Trouble: Yes, You Will Be Sobbing in the Shower, But Not Forever. Out in paperback, soon!
My first beef about the show came when the husband moved out. Really? Unless you’re a family making well into six figures, you discover that sustaining two households is expensive, yo. Furnishing another place, even an apartment, plus security deposits, cable, electric, etc., it’s financially draining, and yet? These peeps (who are portrayed as both semi-successful creatives, which is another conversation unto itself) still afford Porsches and fancy private schools, and middle of the day lattes. Um, no. It’s coupons and penny pinching and thrift stores and driving to the gas station a bit further away to save an extra 10 cents a gallon. Insert Family Feud Strike sound effect here.
Next up? The signing of the divorce papers. These two, bless their fictional hearts, met for swanky drinks, pens in hand, to toast the end of their marriage. (Plot twist! They never actually SIGN the papers, and they’re still married! And hijinks ensue! BARF.) My experience on this end was certainly atypical, so I’m recusing myself from comparison on the grounds my ex-husband and I walked out of the courthouse the day of our divorce, and both cried as we walked together down the street to a diner, where we had lunch (I had a reuben) and I tried with every fiber of my being NOT to burst out into audible sobs, and there was a Muzak station on in the background playing every fucking sappy song ever made, and I stopped choking on the lump in my throat long enough to say, “Do you HEAR this shit?” and we both cracked up, finished lunch, hugged in the parking garage after tearful goodbyes, and cried alone, in our cars, like you do. Most real divorced people I know do not experience a smidge of amicability during a divorce, and any negotiations, signing of papers, or other legal shenanigans unfold across a non-descript conference table, in a sterile attorney’s office, who’s charging an astronomical hourly rate to undo your marriage. Not at a bar on Wilshire, in Louboutins, accessorized with a beige envelope clutch full of legal documents. Strike two…
Lastly, Abby (the main character…keep up, folks!) encounters her first “dating” experience not long after she and her soon-to-be-ex-husband file for divorce, and he’s in his twenties, hot as hell, attentive as all get out, is empathetic and communicative, and just so happens to have a penchant for older women. I’m going to stop you right there, show runners, because, um, NOPE. The first guy I dated was chubby and in his 40’s, used FAR too many emojis than a grown ass man should, refused to speak on the phone because who knows why, and took three weeks to realize that I no longer wanted to play his reindeer games. So, if you’re in the infant stages of considering a divorce, ladies, and you’re of a certain age, don’t expect a flurry of young fluff cougar hunters anxiously awaiting you on Tinder. Grab your boots and be prepared to trudge through some deep douchery, because that’s reality, my friends.
Listen, I get that it’s entertainment, and there’s a reason Bravo emphatically advertises this show as a “scripted series”, so that it’s not confused with the REAL Bravo shows that reflect actual people in real life, like waitresses in a restaurant or stewards on a charter ship. But, a high five to the peeps who made this show, to shed light on the fact that divorce can actually not have to suck so epically bad, and while it’s not exactly an accurate representation (I mean, besides me, WHO is actually surrounded by friends that are THAT HOT?), and features not one even remotely chunky character, or anyone rocking an outfit from Target, or shoes from Payless…I’ll take it.