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Posted at 6:39 AM ET, 10/ 1/2010

Housewives Nightlife, Episode 8: Washington, by invitation only

By Lavanya Ramanathan

Here we are, at the penultimate episode of "The Real Housewives of D.C.," and finally, we get a little action: the first glimpse of what happened the night of the state dinner, aka the night Michaele and Tareq Salahi got their Bollywood on, sans invite.

But first, this episode peeks in at Lynda Erkiletian, who, as the owner of T.H.E. modeling agency in Georgetown, is helping to cast a fashion show organized by the Embassy of Burkina Faso (yes, around here even the fashion shows can have a diplomatic bent.) \Want to attend a fashion event in D.C. soon? There are a few left this season, including All Access Fashion at Tysons Galleria, which, along with a packed schedule on Oct. 2, hosts a runway show Oct. 1 with the clothes of "Sex and the City" style maven Patricia Field. You can attend, but to snag a seat, you'll need an invite.

Invites, in fact, are the theme of this week's episode.

Lynda, Catherine Ommanney and Mary Amons meet up (where else, at the Madison) to have a meal and dish about the Housewife they didn't invite to this bread-breaking: Michaele. The wives are more mystified than miffed by Michaele's mythological lifestyle, from the Redskins cheerleader whopper to "modeling" to her boosting of the winery that isn't actually open.

Thanks to some editing magic, we simultaneously see the Salahis on their way to a special dinner at one of Washington area's most luxurious restaurants: The Inn at Little Washington. Now, this place is known for both its spectacular American food, and its spectacular bill. But not only are the Salahis going to the Inn, they're eating at the chef's table, settling in for a multi-course meal with wine. If you actually have the money to afford it, the Post's critic, Tom Sietsema, gave it a stellar review last fall.

Meanwhile, Cat and her hubby, Charles, get an invite -- oh, there's that theme again -- to a White House Christmas party (there were many, many holiday parties at the White House last winter). They go on and on about how lovely that invite is -- you can almost smell the glue! -- which, of course, savvy readers will recognize, is foreshadowing.

While they seem like they're happy together in this scene, Cat posted on the Bravo blog last week that things weren't as happy as they seemed, and troubles started even before filming.

Still, Cat and Charles are on the invite list and attend Lynda's fashion show together. But Lynda bolts to the security guards to ensure that the Salahis won't be getting in, front door or the back, no way, no how.

Stacie spends much of this episode hard at work trying to find her father; she pens a creepy Facebook message to her biological mother's son in hopes that he will aid her in her search. Now, a mysterious message that weird would get spiked by me as spam. (All-caps? Always gives me the willies). Sure enough, a week passes and no response comes. So she decides to reach out to the Embassy of Nigeria for help.

A representative meets with Stacie and her husband to see what she can do. Where do they go? Sova, one of the most popular coffee shops in the rising H Street NE district.

Worth a visit? Definitely. But as long as the chatter was centered around Africa, I'm a little surprised they didn't head to Sidamo, which is African-owned; if you want your coffee with a side of drama, it's well-known for its traditional coffee ceremony on Sundays.

Okay, now for the stuff that kept us watching the whole episode: the state dinner. This episode didn't actually show the Salahis at the White House, but as they got ready for their big night out. The best way to watch all of this, mind you, is to actually know what really went down that night. Check out the primer created by the lovely ladies of the Reliable Source.

So, Michaele and Tareq turn up at Erwin Gomez Salon and Spa, a well-respected spot in Georgetown, so Michaele can get her makeup done by Erwin himself. As he dutifully smudges lavender eye shadow on her lids, Michaele goes into great detail about the state dinner, and their invite, the U.S. relationship with India -- you know, all the usual spa convo.

Later, however, she tells the hairstylist that she got the invite at first by phone, and it's obvious the truth is starting to get a little blurry: She also says she used to go to the White House as makeup artist to do makeup on the vice president. And that she was preparing for a party that was totally "confidential," but oh, yeah, it's totally state dinner. But since she's discreet, she would never brag about all that.

Then things start getting really weird. She heads to the car to get her bangles, but implies she's lost another, more important bag, with her shoes, her bra -- and the invitation (which, remember, she said first was a phone call).

We start to see the seams of the whole production: A producer asks her bluntly why she's acting like it's not a "big deal" that she lost her invite. Michaele goes back into the salon to search for it. Then, when she doesn't find it (surprise?), she insists that everything will be a-okay. She says this with this gritted-fake smile I've seen before this season -- whenever she insists that Oasis will reopen and reclaim its title as a world-renowned winery.

It was enough to make your head spin.

One last note before I sign off this week: I need to relieve myself of 10 months of pent-up frustration about this "sari." Tonight, all my suspicions that it was not a sari were confirmed. That was not a sari. It was never a sari. As Erwin Gomez helped wrap Michaele, dosa-like into her outfit (nice job, by the way, Erwin), it was clear to me it was actually a lehenga, much less fussy than a sari. (Examples here, from a NoVa retailer I picked at random.) A sari is wrapped, yes, but it's a minimum of six yards of fabric, and this was a shawl.

And that, class, brings us to the close of this edition of India for Dummies. Join us again next week for the last episode, complete with a list of hot spots that "real" Washingtonians would have visited.

By Lavanya Ramanathan  | October 1, 2010; 6:39 AM ET
Tags:  Housewives Nightlife, Real Housewives of D.C.  
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Hey Jen and Michaele, quick, log in with the lisag1 ID and start making comments like "Michaele is the one I watch for on the show!"

Come on, don't let us all down! We miss the terrible grammar and Random capitalization of Words that the two of you use!

Or maybe Tareq can log in with one of his many sock puppets who are fake lawyers with inside knowledge of how First Chukker screwed over the Salahis, or maybe even fake parents of diseased children whose kids would not be alive were it not for the heroic Salahis! (Note: the grammar is just as poor in Tareq's case. Come on Tareq, your wife is a suburban mall make-up girl on 8 bucks an hour. You have a college degree. You should have better written English skills! OK, I know, it was a 7 year undergraduate winemaking degree from an obscure state college, but still.)

Maybe we will be graced by the honorable David Mortz or Roger Stern! What happened to these guys? Maybe they are busy working on the next Americas Polo Cup, lining up sponsors who have no idea they are sponsors, catering from cheap fast food joints (White Castle next year?) and a Costa Rican team made up entirely of Guatamalans from Florida.

Keep up that networking Tareq and Molly! Though it must be harder to get into charity events when you can't buy your way in with donated wine that you stole from your parents. You milked that cow for a long time, Corrine should have locked all that product up a long time ago. Good while it lasted I suppose.

Imagine, basically living off cash that you stole from your parents, in the form of cases of wine, well into your 40's. You will be arrested Tareq the next time you attempt a break-in, and I know your wine supplies are low. Even Deputy Mumwaw will not support you now that you burned that bridge. I cannot wait for this moment, where you get busted by an old friend, trying to break into your mom's storage area to steal wine. What a loser!

Posted by: growler55 | October 1, 2010 7:01 AM | Report abuse

I have to watch this show in bits and pieces as my husband refuses to be in the same room with it. He says we have had to witness the destruction Tareq has visited on his parents for the past 30 plus years and he can’t stand to watch another moment of little slim destroying his family name. Hubby has a point.
After watching this Two-Some for years now – way too up-close -- I still find myself amazed at how glibly they lie; really effortless on their part. Do you think they are the most dangerous of liars? The ones who actually begin to believe their own lies? Makeup artist to the vice-president and first lady my foot – she was a makeup salesperson.
Oh, and how Missy is aging. HD is an awful thing for a 45 year old never-has-been . . .

Posted by: SidelinesObservant | October 1, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

No kidding on Missy in HD.... ugh. If she does do that Playboy shoot, they will have to revive that 1970's vaseline covered lens! The focus on that lens better be as soft as a silk-covered marshmallow if they are going to make this bony, wrinkled beast look good.

Posted by: growler55 | October 1, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh c'mon. She looks great for 45.

(I can say that because I'm 52.)

Any person, no matter how outwardly beautiful, will look ugly to you if you dislike them enough. And visa versa.

In your mind, you're comparing her to fashion models and Hollywood actresses (some of whom don't actually look so great in real life, btw).

But compared to most of us, she is a beautiful woman.

Posted by: MeriJ | October 1, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

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