For 19 episodes of The Real Housewives Of New York season 9, Dorinda Medley has managed to mostly stay out of the drama-drenched fray, instead leaving the majority of the feuding to co-stars like Ramona Singer and constant target Bethenny Frankel. In fact, up until this week, Dorinda’s biggest battle of the season was a bizarre, slut-shaming dinner party rant against Sonja Morgan, which was forgotten the moment the dessert course was served. Sadly, all of that changed last night with penultimate season 9 episode "Make Out Make Up," when Dorinda drunkenly tried to give Bethenny some advice, but really ended up thoroughly insulting the show’s resident queen bee. While most RHONY arguments are simply uncomfortable, silly, or drawn out, this one actually shed a light on just how anxious hard-working women consistently feel about their success.
It’s been clear for weeks Bethenny had way too much emotional stress riding on the ladies’ field trip to Tequila, Mexico, since the excursion was tied to her Skinnygirl brand. Before the women packed their bags for their latest getaway, Bethenny debated whether Ramona should even be allowed to come on the trip, since she and her frenemies would eventually visit Bethenny's business’ tequila refinery. At one point in earlier installment "Oil And Vinegar," Bethenny attempts to invite Ramona to Mexico… and then rescinds the offer within seconds because she can’t trust the pinot grigio drinker’s recent erratic behavior. When Ramona is finally permitted to go on the trip, Bethenny tearfully begs her co-star not to do anything "bad" on the Tequila outing, since it is legitimately connected to her livelihood and the empire she's built from scratch over years. Every time Bethenny mentions how serious she is about Skinnygirl and its success, she nearly starts bawling.
Considering how obsessed Bethenny is with the Mexico trip going off without a hitch, her eventual argument with Dorinda seems so much worse. The jaunt to Tequila mercifully went well — Ramona didn’t even set fire to an agave field while calling Bethenny "a real B." With everyone back in the villa and continuing to knock back margaritas like they’re going out of style; however, things go badly, fast. A drunk Dorinda becomes annoyed over the fact that Bethenny is annoyed everyone is late for dinner. Dorinda tells Bethenny she’s "aggressive" and "scares her." It already sounds like a blitzed Dorinda — who drank so much tequila she cut her hand open with a knife and barely reacted — is shaming Bethenny for being a woman unafraid to speak her mind and demand respect from her friends, but things get much worse.
Dorinda later approaches Bethenny once more and seemingly doesn’t remember "psychoanalyzing" her only minutes earlier. "You think you’re someone special? Because we went to Skinnygirl today? And you’re so great?" an inebriated Dorinda rants unprompted, waving her arms in the air. "You’re mean. You’re mean. You’re a mean bitch." Bethenny looks at Dorinda expectantly, repeatedly saying, "And now it comes out." Bethenny’s lack of surprise at Dorinda’s blow-up proves she already secretly believes everyone around her feels this shady way about her hard-fought corporate success — she’s just waiting for them to admit it. "It’s like, ‘Wow, you think this too? You have these harbored feelings about me?'" she explains in a confessional. "It’s just scary when you know that there’s a suitcase of shit people feel about you that when they get drunk they’re just going to bust out and tell you."
Bethenny and Dorinda's tête-à-tête the next morning continues to show just how ashamed Bethenny is of her triumphs. "I feel like I’m always apologizing for being successful,” Bethenny reveals through tears."Like I’m self-conscious that it happened for me, and I want to make everybody feel good. I’m hiding half the things that I do because I feel like I don’t want to gloat." Please imagine your average man sharing the same sentiment. Yes, it is impossible. Bethenny felt so badly about the idea of Dorinda — who is a proud feminist and Women’s March attendee — hating on her success, she cried "all night" over the possibility. While Bethenny should be celebrating the fruits of her labor, she's haunted by what other people might think about her.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Bethenny’s success has come under fire, which explains why she was so emotional over Dorinda’s latest attack. Earlier this season, a wine-drunk Ramona told Bethenny she “fucked” to get where she is in life. That is untrue. Years ago, former RHONY star Kelly Killoren Bensimon repeatedly told Bethenny she wasn’t a “celebrity chef,” but did make a good salad dressing. While most of the other Housewives stars are true “socialites,” with the gala invites and vague royal titles to prove it, Bethenny has always been the rare 'round-the-clock working woman in the bunch.
While that means Bethenny will never be A Countess, it also means she inspires headlines like “How Bethenny Frankel Earns More Than Any Other Real Housewife,” is reportedly the highest paid reality star outside of the KarJenner clan, and raked in $8.5 million in the 365 days between June 2015 and June 2016. She knows it, and more importantly, her New York co-stars know it. Bethenny may pretend to be the toughest woman to hold a Bravo big apple, but she’s actually living in 24-hour, seven-day-a-week fear of her friends' jealousy.
Luckily, it looks like the rampant theme of shaming Bethenny for her success is behind the women of RHONY. Ramona has already apologized for repeatedly dragging Skinnygirl and the woman who created it, while Bethenny seems to have fully accepted Dorinda's lengthy denial about having any ill-will towards her co-star's business endeavors. Now the only question is: with everyone playing nice with Bethenny, where on earth will The Real Housewives Of New York find its drama?
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