When did the Real Housewives franchises become so obsessed with mothering? That was the question I couldn’t stop asking myself while watching Tinsley Mortimer’s Real Housewives Of New York debut. Just one day after Beverly Hills accent machine Dorit Kemsley was attacked for her stable of nannies, the child-free RHONY newbie Tinsley was asked a seriously invasive question about motherhood just three seconds after meeting the New York "girls."
The unexpected "It Girl, Interrupted" drama began at Sonja Morgan’s mad hatter tea party, where everyone decided to wear funeral black. This complete disregard for the rules should have signaled things were about to get weird at the bash, which Sonja specifically threw to introduce her new roommate to her Bravo cast members. Tinsley spends a lot of the episode waiting for her fellow RHONY co-stars to acknowledge her presence, but when they finally do, she probably regretted it.
Ramona Singer and Carole Radziwill strike up a conversation — or grilling, who’s to say? — with controversial socialite Tinsley to ask about her past relationships. She explains she was previously married, got a divorce about three years ago, and never had children with ex-husband Robert Livingston "Topper" Mortimer. Instead, the couple "had chihuahuas together." Of course, Ramona has an unnecessary question to add to the mix.
"Do you regret not having a child with him?" she asks. Ever the honest Bravolebrity, Tinsley says, "Of course. But it just wasn’t the right time. We were just really busy and then we fell apart." From there, self-conscious Tinsley divulges every intimate detail of her last relationship, arrest history, and “humiliating” mugshot. It’s hard to watch, since the former It-girl shouldn’t have to explain her life choices.
If Tinsley wants to bring up her reproductive decisions herself, we’re all for that conversation. But, she shouldn’t be quizzed about her family planning philosophy at a mid-day tea party by nosey virtual strangers. It’s rude and manipulative, especially from a reality TV pro like Ramona, who’s been with the show since Day 1. After nearly a decade on RHONY, the mom of one knows an invasive question like hers will make "good TV," no matter how it makes Tinsley feel.
Tinsley’s mad hatter motherhood interrogation arrives in stark contrast with another chat she had about the future with actual friend Sonja.
Earlier in the episode, Sonja starts a "deal breakers" list for her longtime pal. The Grey Gardens Home For Wayward Socialites proprietor actually guesses Tinsley is over having children, until the newbie tells her it’s quite the opposite. Sonja seems genuinely invested in her friend’s happiness, as opposed to prying, and says, "Praise the Lord," when she learns 41-year-old Tinsley froze her eggs long ago, which means she’ll likely have an easier time conceiving. The chat is more about support and planning rather than judgement and snooping.
After an uncomfortable debut like this, Tinsley's time on RHONY can only get better from here.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.