When Bravo’s “Southern Charm” debuted last year, I tried so hard to hate it. I really did. But despite my best efforts, I’m now out and proud as a huge fan of (almost) everyone on the show. I mean, Shep’s adorable! Cameran seems genuinely nice! Thomas is a lovable doofus! Whitney should be named Wit-ney, am I right?! Landon is…pretty? Craig and Kathryn? Well, as we say down here, bless their hearts.
But there is no one on this show – hell, no one on ANY show – who can compete with Ms. Patricia Altschul when it comes to wit, glamor, and bell-ringing, gin-scented gentility. She is the true star of the show. Whitney bugs sometimes, but I have to give him this: as executive producer of the show, he gave the world a gift when he introduced us to his mom.
Patricia’s over-the-top interior design sensibilities are matched only by the quickness of her wit. She lives an amazing life that she seems to truly enjoy. And she enjoys it with the effortlessness of someone who was born fabulous and has spent a lifetime cultivating good taste and good times.
From this day forth, I intend to model my life on hers. I haven’t asked her for a list (yet) but from her appearances on the show and her activity on Twitter and Instagram, I imagine she would recommend the following as her guiding principles.
1. “Eat, drink, and remarry.”
Is there really a better recipe for living one’s life graciously? Staying married is great for those that can do it, but if you can’t? Keep it movin’! Change into your flats, recline in your white feather-y bedjacket, and ring the bell for a perfectly-crafted martini. Life goes on!
2. “Instead of impregnating 21-year-olds, you might refocus, is all I’m suggesting.”
“…is all I’m suggesting” is the sort of verbal mic drop only a true Southern lady could pull off. Where others might tell Thomas straight up that his dumb ass should date age-appropriate women and use condoms, a smiling Patricia breezily tosses off a stealth insult that he probably didn’t truly feel ’til he got home that night.
3. “I frankly don’t care. I always say exactly what I think and they can do what they want. I just don’t want them putting up any ugly pictures of me.”
Speaking with New York Social Diary about the show’s second season, Patricia’s commentary on Bravo’s editors demonstrates what a bad bitch she is. “I do what I want and say what I think and don’t even think about putting up ugly pictures of me. Or else.” That is some real IDGAF swagger. Just call her the Notorious P.A.T.
4. “Take your medicine.”
While interviewing applicants for a position as her back-up butler (!), Mrs. Altschul made it clear that she requires a perfectly-crafted martini at 5 pm every day. It’s her “medicine.” In this clip from “Patricia’s Corner” she shares her rule of thumb for how to determine if someone has had one too many. (Spoiler: “When they cannot walk up the stairs in their high heels. It goes for men or women.”)
“Patricia’s Corner” needs to be immediately greenlighted as a year-round series. Get Andy Cohen on the horn!
5. “The light is your enemy.”
When Patricia and her unflappable butler Michael head over to Shep and Whitney’s beach house to do a little sprucing up, Patricia declares that light is your enemy and immediately suggests blackout curtains. Then she reclines on the bed and asks if there’s any gin. Clearly, avoiding the sun is part of the reason she looks as good as she does. While the rest of us are swilling beer while we bake in the sun, Ms. P is looking amazing under an umbrella with nearly opaque sunglasses and a stylish caftan. (Bonus: Upon finding there was no gin available – only vodka and tequila – Patricia purred, “No, thank you. I’m not going to lower my standards.”)
I once dreamed of being Andy’s sidekick on “Watch What Happens Live” – mixing drinks, laughing at his jokes, and posting selfies with the guests. I now dream of cocktails with Patricia. She’ll invite me in to her unbelievably gorgeous home where we will enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail. Then we’ll head out to the patio where we’ll feast on Michael’s fried chicken and chase it down with $2,000 glasses of wine. We’ll cackle about “shameless strumpets” and interiors that are “pedestrian and banal” and how hard it is to find good help these days. To cap off the evening, we’ll lazily curl up on one of her ridiculously luxe sofas and ring the bell until neither of us can walk up the stairs in our heels.