Real Housewives of New York Goes to the Dyke Bar

It feels like there’s never been a better time to be a self-described Bravo Dyke. Sapphic scandals among the Housewives have really ramped up in this universe in recent years. And, notably, we have the openly gay Jenna Lyons dyking up the rebooted Real Housewives of New York. Jenna is being pretty private about her personal life, so we haven’t had a lot of explicitly queer content outside of her recounting her well known coming out story. But in the most recent episode, Jenna goes to the iconic Henrietta Hudson, the NYC queer bar that has been around since the early 90s. Housewives! They’re just like us! (Okay, fine, Jenna Lyons’ extreme wealth is not relatable, but her social anxiety, tendency to be perplexed when thrust into gatherings with primarily straight women, and nostalgic attachment to Henrietta Hudson very much are.)

One of my favorite Manhattan past times when I lived in New York was sitting at the bar across the street from Henrietta late at night and witnessing various dramas unfold just outside Hens. I saw many a tearful hailing of a cab and literal breakups occur on that small stretch of sidewalk. Henrietta has a long and storied history, and now it can add this accomplishment to its hallowed homosexual halls: appearing in an episode of Real Housewives of New York.

In the episode’s opening act, we watch Jenna walk up that very familiar stretch of sidewalk and enter the recently rebranded Henrietta, where she meets fellow castmate Brynn Whitfield, who has been very flirty with Jenna all season.

“Henrietta Hudson’s was a place I went when I first came out, so it holds a special place in my heart,” Jenna shares in testimonial. She suggests she brought Brynn along as a wingwoman because she’s so shy and has never actually picked up someone while out. Brynn is…doing a little too much throughout the scene. She puts on fashion gloves at one point and says she’s “ready to fingerbang.” Jenna says Brynn is “obviously straight,” but Brynn recently said something on Watch What Happens Live that could suggest otherwise.

Brynn thinks Jenna should date someone significantly younger than her as a typical NYC love story, and I agree!!!!!!!! Jenna indeed as a result flirts with a much younger woman and wonders in testimonial if perhaps she’s looking for a MILF. Yes, Jenna! You’re basically the ultimate Mommi! Embrace it! (Jenna is currently dating photographer Cass Bird, who is close in age to her.)

It is very funny to watch these two glamorous reality TV women exist in the same space where I’ve chased shots of well tequila with Bud Light before taking to the sweaty dance floor. There’s some burlesque happening, and Jenna jumps right in, giving her dollars to dancers and then taking to the stage herself to give a little strip tease. She has a head start in the sense that her shirts are quite literally always unbuttoned as much as possible, part of her signature power dyke look.

Perhaps my favorite gay easter egg of these Henrietta scenes is the fact that the co-hosts of the Dyking Out podcast — comedians Carolyn Bergier and Melody Kamali — are visible in the background throughout. They posted this behind-the-scenes pic after filming:

I am extremely jealous!!!!!

As annoying as I’m sure some of the other women would be, I super wish this had been a full cast outing to Henrietta Hudson. Unfortunately, the episode is a bit of a dud post-Henrietta. Also, y’all, WHAT is going on with Jessel and her husband Pavit???? I feel like they’re both always joking about him cheating on her? It’s very cursed heterosexual energy!

I think Jenna and Brynn should make the gay bar rounds and go to Ginger’s (my personal fav), Cubbyhole, and the new Mary’s Bar. And I’d love to see Jenna in more dating contexts and wonder if we’re going to see her relationship with Cass Bird unfold in-season. Less superficial fights, more gay shit please!

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 843 articles for us.


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