Hello, Bravo Dykes! It has been a minute since I last delved into the queer happenings of the Bravo universe, so let’s delve in, shall we? Today, we’re talking lesbian eyebrows.
Yes, welcome to my TED Talk, LESBIAN EYEBROWS EXPLAINED. First, some context.
The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip recently returned for its second season, subtitled The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club, as it exclusively features Housewives who have been fired from their respective franchises. Or, according to Dorinda Medley, merely “put on pause.” She can indeed make anything nice.
Dorinda (New York) hosts the ex-wives — Phaedra Parks and Eva Marcille of Atlanta, Taylor Armstrong and Brandi Glanville of Beverly Hills, Vicki Gulvalson and Tamra Judge of Orange County, and Jill Zarin of New York — at her Great Barrington estate Bluestone Manor, home to iconic Housewives memories like the time Sonja Morgan made it very clear that you don’t touch the Morgan letters and the time Bethenny Frankel for some reason told Luann de Lesseps neé D’Agostino neé de Lesseps she fucks everyone…as if that was a bad thing! Mention it all, baby!
Now three episodes in, The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club can be summed up by the following: Three Scorpios, two Sagittarians, an Aries, a Gemini, and a Virgo are trapped in a house together for eight days.
A lot of these women do not really know each other beyond being Bravo sister wives and watching each other’s shows. The ones who do know each other mostly have baggage with each other (except for Jill and Dorinda, it seems, but I think that’s because they were never actually in the cast together, and it tends to be the shows themselves that ruin friendships). So much of the first episode is spent on rehashing old drama and also introductions. Brandi wastes no time asking the important questions: Have you ever been with a woman? she asks the table.
No one really answers, which is not surprising, because most of these women tend to just talk at each other rather than to each other, so group questions like this are more like words whispered into the wind and then floating away. But Brandi presses on, telling the other women that yes, of course, she has been with both men and women, and while she thinks she prefers men, she is just attracted to any sexual energy. I don’t think I need to tell you she is one of the three (3!) Scorpios. None of this is new information btw. Brandi said last season on Beverly Hills that she’s bisexual.
Some of the women are surprised by the fact that Brandi has been with women, and by some, I mostly mean just Vicki, who is seemingly the only woman at the table who doesn’t watch the shows she isn’t on. Because as Tamra points out in a testimonial, Brandi was at the center of dyke drama last season on Beverly Hills, which I attempted to write about at the time even though it’s VERY MESSY.
Brandi is far from the first Housewife to talk about having sexual or romantic relations with women. Across the franchises, Housewives in every city often refer to this as “taking a dip in the lady pond” and, like, is that a phrase actually used anywhere else other than Bravo?! Where did they get this from?! Why does it make dyke activity sound like synchronized swimming???? Bravo bizarrely touted Miami’s Julia Lemigova as “the first LGBTQIA+ Housewife” ahead of Miami’s reboot, but that wasn’t really true unless you added a bunch of qualifiers to it and also have a very narrow definition of queer but I DIGRESS. We’re here to talk about lesbian eyebrows, and I promise it’s coming. But it does feel like a good time to also bring attention to this clip of Luann saying she wants to take a dip in Kyle Richards’ lady pond:
— 𝔞𝔫𝔫𝔞 (@___adorn) June 25, 2022
In episode two of The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, Dorinda — who is representation for those of us who like to create a physical itinerary for vacations — brings the girls to a supposedly haunted mansion where there’s believed to be a heavily perfumed ghost. They are going to do readings with a medium (DON’T WORRY IT’S NOT ALLISON DUBOIS…iykyk) and eat a chef-prepared dinner.
Upon arriving at the haunted mansion, Brandi takes one look at the chef for the evening and says to the other women, casually, “she’s a lesbian” and, mysteriously, “I can tell.”
Perhaps the moment would have just breezed on by, but Vicki Gulvanson decided to announce at the dinner table to the husband of the chef that Brandi thought his wife was a lesbian. Everyone is a little confused and also…you know that thing that sometimes happens where sometimes perfectly normal words when said by a certain kind of straight person in a certain kind of tone suddenly sounds like a FULL-ON SLUR? Something about the way “lesbian” sits in some of these women’s mouths makes me want to forbid them from ever saying “lesbian” again.
Phaedra decides to broach the topic when Brandi returns to the table. “What made you think the lady was a lesbian?” she asks.
“Her eyebrows,” Brandi replies, completely deadpan and also as if this were the most obvious thing in the world.
Now, I knew this moment was coming. It’s featured in the trailer for the season, which I immediately watched five times in a row when it first dropped specifically because of this line. LESBIAN EYEBROWS? It is something I simply never could have predicted coming out of Brandi’s mouth in this moment, and I appreciate Real Housewives’ ability to always keep me on my toes. Phaedra’s full-body cackle at Brandi’s answer is Me.
I thought perhaps that this would be the last we heard of lesbian eyebrows. The trailer made it seem like a throwaway line. But no. Lesbian eyebrows do not go away. Brandi doubles the fuck down on lesbian eyebrows. Eva tries to chime in and say that clearly, Brandi was merely making a joke and “there’s no such thing as lesbian eyebrows.” To which Brandi says, again in the most deadpan of tones: “There is, actually.”
We cut to a testimonial, where Brandi says: “Generally, I can tell if someone’s a lesbian by her eyebrows.”
A producer asks the question on all of our minds: “What do lesbian eyebrows look like?”
Brandi replies: “I will tell you when I see them. It’s different for everybody.”
Perhaps it is her Scorpio confidence, but you know what? I believe her. I believe Brandi Glanville can take one look at a person’s eyebrows and say lesbian. In fact, I think that should be a game show. I want a shirt that says Lesbian Eyebrows. As a concept, it sounds perfectly scientific. And sure, I still don’t really know what it means, but who cares!!!! Lesbian eyebrows explained? Baby, there’s no real explanation. You either know or you don’t.
But while I thank Brandi Glanville for introducing “lesbian eyebrows” to my life, it’s the other women’s reactions that are, while not surprising, frustrating, especially given that I know they’ll never really be taken to task for them. Ultimate Girls Trip doesn’t do real reunions (just Watch What Happens Live wrap-ups), but even if they did, I doubt “lesbian eyebrows” would come up as anything other than a called back joke. And hey, it’s funny! I’m here making jokes about it right now! But it’s disappointing to know pretty confidently that Andy Cohen wouldn’t go anywhere near some of the casual lesbophobia and biphobia the other women throw around during the lesbian eyebrows moment: They all trip over themselves to assure the chef she’s attractive as if lesbian is synonymous with ugly; Phaedra multiple times insinuates that “lesbian eyebrows” must mean unkempt eyebrows; Taylor like maybe has a point about it being kind of rude to just go up to a man and speculate about his wife’s sexuality, but the way she makes that point really does make it sound like being a “lesbian” is something horrible! And Taylor also calls Brandi a “part-time lesbian,” which is obviously biphobic, but also once again her tone makes it even worse, like this is meant to be an insult or a gotchya moment. It’s gross all around! And Brandi isn’t perfect by any means either. She is an agent of chaos, and I’ve had many issues with her through the years and even at times on this new season of Ultimate Girls Trip. And I really had a problem with the ways she may have outed Denise on Beverly Hills last season, even though she also didn’t deserve to be treated the way she was by other cast members and Denise. Again…messy.
But in terms of that last point, the thing I had the biggest problem with when it came to the fallout of Brandi/Denise on Beverly Hills was how the issue of outing someone wasn’t even part of the conversation at the reunion. While Andy Cohen has called out homophobia in the past during reunions, it’s usually about gay men, like when he told the Wives of Beverly Hills to stop referring to the gay men in their lives as “my gays” as if they were accessories and not, you know, people. I truly struggle to think of a single time Andy Cohen called out biphobia or homophobia against queer women or transphobia in the same way.
And homophobia happens often on these shows! And goes completely unacknowledged at reunions as anything real! On the most recent season of Summer House, Lindsey Hubbard shared that she has had past sexual experiences with women, which led Kyle Cooke to say he had the biggest boner of his life. Andy not only didn’t even hint at Kyle being kinda gross or how this feeds into the patriarchal idea that women hooking up with each other is for the benefit of men but actually joined in on the joke, thinking it was hilarious and asking Kyle’s now-wife Amanda Batula if it made her feel bad that she apparently can’t do it for him the way his fantasies about Lindsey hooking up with girls do.
Now, this is all small potatoes, I know. And I don’t mean to make this sound like a hit piece on Bravo Daddy Andy Cohen, who is my father. Bravo Daddy letting homophobia toward lesbians slide at reunions is actually very low in the rankings of Bravo’s most egregious and upsetting choices these days, including but far from limited to the decision to give Vicki Gunvalson a platform again even though she is openly an anti-vaxer and even SAYS SO on Ultimate Girls Trip!!!! I just get frustrated by how much queerness there really is in the Real Housewives universe but how it’s so often framed as scandal or salacity — not just by Housewives but by the producers, too.
Like, if I’m being honest, “lesbian eyebrows” is one of the funniest gay jokes I’ve heard in a long time, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE BRANDI DOESN’T CONSIDER IT A JOKE AND IS 100% SERIOUS. And she simply won’t explain it further, and I love that. I think she’s onto something. AND IN FACT, this is not even the first time “lesbian eyebrows” has appeared on this website. Former art and marketing director Sarah Sarwar wrote about having “lesbian eyebrows” in 2016. And the more I write the words “lesbian eyebrows,” the more I’m like, yeah, I get it. I can only hope that Brandi Glanville would take one look at the photo below and say lesbian.
I shall leave you with this image of Dorinda hand-feeding lobster to Phaedra:
Idk about Lesbian Eyebrows, but this looks like Lesbian Seafoodplay to meeeeeee.