‘YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME? HUH?' Oh, awfully sorry, didn't see you there. Let us put down our buckets of Pinot Grigio and our beefy, Nike-clad infant son, who is called AJ, or Jay Jay or PJ or something, and welcome you to The Real Housewives of New Jersey Guide to Behavin' Yourself An' Stuff. To celebrate the show where explosive catfights and brawls are the norm, we're going to show you how to stay classy in every situation, Housewives of NJ style...
1. Start a fight and then stand at the sidelines, screeching like a chicken
Did someone accuse you of cheatin' on Big Joe? Was there a lull of about thirty seconds when nothing much was happening? Well, bunch up your fist, find a face, and start THUMPIN'! Actually, no – that would mess up your manicure. Instead, create some unfathomable drama, then jump about screaming ‘BUT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE FAAAAAAAMILY!' at the sidelines while Big Joe and the other Big Joe thump each other senseless with their sovereign rings on the fake marble flooring.
2. Try to smooth things over, then start shrieking like a mouse being fired into space
Sometimes, it's important to let bygones be bygones, and try to work out your differences by talking things over, like adults. If you're a normal person, you might find some neutral territory and do all you can to stay calm. But if you're a RHONJ, you'll do it in a bar! After several beers! Then you'll display a host of diplomatic skills, which will extend to thumping the table, yelling ‘you called my Dad a coward!' and ‘Whaddya say about my sister?' and ending with incoherent screeching at a pitch that only dogs can hear. Ah, Ban-Ki Moon would be so proud.
3. Act appallingly in front of your children at all times
When you're a Real Housewife of NJ, you must make absolutely no attempt to modify your behaviour in front of your impressionable offspring, who are watching open mouthed as you drink, fight, swear like a docker and yell at them to ‘TOUGHEN UP'. When your daughter – who is usually called Melanzania or Gia or Chlamydia – makes any kind of observation, make sure to tell her to ‘Zip it!' and order her out of the room. And when she's playing on the pole you had installed in the bedroom, watch proudly as she pretends to be a stripper. Oh, and if any boys ever look at her, don't forget to break their legs. New Jersey parenting is easy!
4. Work on your attitude
If you're going to be a successful New Jersey Housewife, you need the attitude. (The attitude of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier just about to eat a baby.) And in order to stay on top of your game, you're going to need one thing to distinguish you. If you don't have any obviously threatening aspects of your physicality, then simply shout ‘bring it' a lot, wear fur, paint your face with a three inch layer of rust-coloured foundation, and arch your eyebrows as if to say ‘if you look at my eyebrows again, I will KILL YOUR FAMILY.'
5. Respect, respect, and more respect
For New Jersey Housewives, it's all about respect and loyalty. In fact, you must mention the words ‘respect' and ‘loyalty' in every other sentence, unless you're talking about family, or comparing the thickness of blood to water, or threatening to bury someone in an unmarked grave. But never – repeat NEVER – actually show any respect or loyalty to anyone. Instead, talk about everybody you know, including your family, incessantly behind their back. Actually, forget the behind-the-back bit. Just talk about them to their faces, or on speakerphone, or during speeches at weddings. Or do the Housewives classic move and book a trip to a spa, which ends in jacuzzis filled with hysterical tears. Then punch someone. It's all ‘bout RESPECT, see?