The XX Factor

Housewives Watch Themselves on TV

Last night I got a chance to see the D.C. housewives before they become the “Housewives.” At the screening party at the Madison Hotel downtown, four of the five ladies sat with their entourages of varying sizes and watched themselves on TV look airbrushed and say slightly foolish things. Cat Ommanney , the “feisty Brit” who briefly married the White House photographer, won the prize for most revealing dress, wearing a backless number that flapped open as she bent over to give Mary Schmidt Amons , the show’s supermom, a butt squeeze. She kept smiling as she watched herself do the imitation of Tyra Banks that has caused her so much trouble, but her lovely teenage daughter held her head in her hands and cringed. The Amons men showed up in their signature preppy and flowered pants, which, knowing Washington, might tragically become a fashion staple here. The best entourage belonged to Paul Wharton , who plays the gay BFF on the show and is the closest thing Washington has to burlesque. The Salahis did not show up at the party, but when they appeared on the screen, the crowd booed and hissed. (Even Housewives must have their standards). All in all they seemed vaguely normal, surrounded by family and friends, each not quite yet hardened into her Housewife persona, pitching her book or perfume or, apparently this season, a new kind of vibrator.

Photograph of Tareq Salahi and Michaele Salahi by Scott Barbour/Getty Images.