It seems to happen in the blink of an eye: One minute we’re staying out until 3 a.m. on a Wednesday and the next we’re Zillowing houses we could never afford and critiquing their floor plans. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s just something thrilling about hating on a multi-million dollar mansion that doesn’t have a wine cellar. And to provide you with ample real estate ammo, we’re rounding up a new house each month for your perusing pleasure. From sprawling estates to compounds that rival the Kennedys’, behold… Betches’ Zillow House of the Month.
September’s selection is, truthfully, going to be hard to detest, but we wanted to give you an idea of the “houses” we’re showcasing. We’re not looking at the four-bed/three-bath suburban nightmare that 95% of us are going to end up in (myself included). We’re talking about the places where a full staff and Moira Rose accent are required, and first up is this casual $87,000,000 Zillow listing. If you got a little lightheaded counting those zeros, I can confirm: This is an eight-bedroom/14-bath house that’s going for almost 90 million dollars.
Honestly, I was immediately drawn in because this place gives major Bridgerton vibes with its vaulted ceilings, manicured gardens, and seemingly endless sitting rooms (complete with fainting couches, of course). I mean, the 21,800 square-foot Beverly Hills mansion could comfortably fit about 21 of my own houses, which is reason enough for me to dissect it in the extreme, borderline obsessive detail of someone who will actually put in an offer. Shall we?
First things first, the curb appeal on this manor is out of control — except not really because it’s gated atop a literal promontory (see: a point of high land). All that’s missing is a dragon to guard the place and you’re set on the untouchable front. And truthfully, the 3-story, European-style estate pretty much rivals any regency-era palace thanks to its 90210 zip and celebrity neighbors. Plus, there’s a theater, a spa, and a ballroom! Clyvedon Castle could never.
While granted, the idea of hitting balls outside sounds miserable, nothing says “I’m rich, and I like to do rich person things” like having your very own tennis court. Besides, tennis outfits are cute and overpriced, so it totally fits the aesthetic. Other rich people things your admirers will notice before even entering the main house? A koi pond, a putting green, multiple gardens, and 360-degree views of L.A.
It’s giving Gatsby. It’s giving Titanic. It’s giving a place Leo DiCaprio would frequent (as long as there are a few 25-year-olds in attendance as well). The entrance foyer’s imperial staircase—a term I just Googled that means a staircase with divided flights—was made for putting the attention on you. Just imagine cascading down these bad boys during a party, a PTO meeting, or to pick up your Uber Eats. It’s a narcissist’s dream, and I, for one, am entirely here for it.
It wouldn’t be a proper palace without “look but don’t touch rooms,” and the good news is you have plenty of options to choose from here. Will you perch on the edge of an uncomfortable-looking chair as you wait for your suiters? Or perhaps at the piano, where you’ll attempt to plunk out the notes to “Heart and Soul” which you swear you know thanks to the three months of lessons you took when you were eight. And they said old-world sophistication was dead. Not here, not today!
Even though this place has a billiards room, an oversized home gym, and a wine cellar that looks like “the storefront of an early 18th century English saloon” (whatever that means?), my favorite room has to be the library. Just look at it in all its stained glass, two-story, spiral staircase glory! It’s simply the perfect place to curl up amongst the books and scroll on your phone.
It’s hard to fully judge this bar from the photo, but for some reason, it’s the first feature that just doesn’t sit well with me. The vanity lights and mirrored walls feel a bit too Vegas for such a dignified space, and the odd placement between the open doorway and the French doors seems haphazardly thrown together. Also, where are the chairs? I’ve just spent $87 million on a house. There’s no way I’m about to stand like a peasant while waiting for a drink, thank you very much.
Another area of disappointment and disbelief lands us in the “chef’s kitchen.” Admittedly, I do see at least two ovens, two refrigerators, and a wine fridge, but all of it falls a little flat. I’m expecting a Master Chef setup with Gordon Ramsay on staff and TBH, this just feels underwhelming. Even though there’s a center island and (oddly unpictured) pantry, it simply doesn’t scream “I could proudly host the Obamas for a catered-quality meal” here. Plus, the wood cabinetry? The clear doors on the shelves? The framed photos lining the top? Woof.
Luckily the kitchen is redeemed by one of the most impressive formal dining rooms I’ve ever seen. Like, hi, does Chuck Bass live here? Finally, you can sit at one end of the table while your partner sits at the other and shout across the room like the true royals you are. Yes, it has an ornate chandelier. Yes, it has Venetian stained glass. And yes, it will make every single person jealous as you (AKA your staff) serve them delicacies like chilled soup and raw steak. Bon appétit, b*thes.
If the 12-person dining room feels a bit much for breakfast with your, ahem, overnight guests, the nook just off the kitchen is light, bright, and still feels completely over-the-top in a slightly more intimate way. The garden theme could be either tacky or cute, but I’m going with cute because the cottage-y chandelier and floral detailing somehow work for me. Just be careful about any makeup residue from last night—all that natural lighting looks rather unforgiving.
If you noticed the little bridge leading from the kitchen nook, you’ll be happy to know there’s another adorable dining option for your more casual meals: an al fresco, mote-surrounded space you have to access via footbridge. This is just one of the multiple outdoor spaces for eating and/or having sex in the rain while an instrumental version of Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” plays in the background, but aesthetic-wise, it really slaps.
Ready to be confused again? Allow me to present the master bedroom. In fairness to the space, I think this is just a really bad angle, but it begs the question: Is the room weird or should the photographer be fired? Hard to say, but we need another vantage point to understand what we’re working with.
Luckily, there is one other view of the master which makes the room look completely different. I had to switch between both images and play a frustrating version of “I Spy” to make sure I was talking about the same space, but at least this view gives a better idea of the size and detail. The blue coffered ceiling and large sitting area are actually really inviting, and the fact that the room has multiple private terraces, his and hers closets, and a massage room(!) makes me feel like it’s a liveable situation, even if you secretly detest your spouse (as I assume most rich people do?).
This is, suspiciously, the only bathroom photo (out of 14 full baths!) posted to Zillow. I’ll let it slide, though, due to the sheer fact that the bath-to-beds ratio of this house is almost double. Double! This means even if you share a room and ensuite bath with your significant other, you never have to worry about someone being in the bathroom when you need it or worse, stinking up a shared space because you have so! many! other! options! While I’d love to make sure all the bathrooms at least have separate showers, dual sinks, and spacious vanities, I’ll settle for the fact that I can, at least, soak in this antique-style tub while staring over the city where dreams go to die.
One especially great perk of this house is the fact that you don’t *have* to let your guests sleep in the main house. I mean, how embarrassing would it be to bump into some random overnighter while you’re in the kitchen, demanding the chef make you a late-night snack? While there aren’t many pictures of the detached guest house, this view gives an idea of just how many people you can host if your black tie galas run a little long. Also, if your guests get bored, they channel their inner Beth Harmon with a lively round of yard chess. It’s called hospitality, look it up.
One of the last views of the house is of the pool, and for a Beverly Hills situation, I’m slightly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the fountain concept is sort of fun, and the shape is different, but this is the land of sunshine and water-side lounging. Considering this fortress is all about luxury, couldn’t we get a more unique aquatic space? Let’s see a waterfall! A lazy river! An infinity pool or a small-scale waterpark at least. Also, what’s up with the dolphins? All that squirting feels a bit aggressive, no?
After spending far too long critiquing the space, even I have to admit that this humble abode is actually pretty solid. From the unnecessary number of balconies to the fact that this house could basically host the entire cast of 90210, it’s a great jumping-off point. With a bit of remodeling and a flirty friendship with one of your celebrity neighbors, it just might be what you’ve been looking for. In-person tours are happening now, so put on your family jewels and pop on over—we’ve got a house to buy.
Images: Zillow (16)
Bridgerton boys are back, alright, and, obviously, prepare for spoilers. Season 1 came at exactly the right moment, when we were in the throes of our first pandemic winter, desperate for love and attention. Season 2 arrived in the springtime of our discontent, and we ate it up without pausing to savor or question its quality. Even though we enjoyed some of the same familiar gimmicks this season, we were promised a whole new spin on both the Regency genre and Bridgerton itself and, while it started strong, the storytelling got lazy midway.
Bridgerton season 1 took the ton by storm because of the central toxic Regency couple that we couldn’t help but root for. We couldn’t wait for season 2 and then had to wait and wait and wait for the core couple to consummate. While the new season has been much maligned and also praised for its slow burn, season 2, while popular, is lacking not because of the dearth of sex scenes, but in the exact ways season 1 succeeded. Simply put, season 2 reuses old tricks but with less success.
If you were to ask Netflix, season 2 worked quite well, breaking viewing records. Viewers liked it too, of course. Plot-wise, it played off the classic romance trope of “enemies to lovers,” and included the always fun illicit love mixed with stubborn rich people. It ends happily. There are some butts.
The main storyline nodded to Hamilton’s Schyler sisters who will never be satisfied and very much played into our nostalgia for Regency cranky boys by dunking the white-shirted viscount in a lake à la Colin Firth in the Pride and Prejudice mini-series.
The plot most closely follows Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew—or 10 Things I Hate About You, if you prefer—in that there is a mean older sister as the smart but headstrong lead (named Kate in all iterations) who is softened by love, and a pure younger sister, gate kept by the elder, who is the object of mens’ desires. There is much fire imagery and wild, long hair blowing in the breeze from atop a horse. Good stuff, if a little on the nose for fans of Regency romance.
Jonathan Bailey as Anthony carried the team well and Simone Ashley as Kate was as worthy a sparring partner as her shrewish Shakespearean namesake. People watched it immediately, quickly, and repeatedly. So why wasn’t season 2 as well done?
My opinion? The good people at Bridgerton manipulated us gentle viewers and our need for anticipation and payoff and went too far into the land of cringe. The couple in season 1 married and therefore had significant amounts of sex by midseason, breaking the tension and allowing for a third act conflict and resolution. This season, all we had was anticipation. Season 2 took advantage of season 1’s success and reused tricks both from original Recency plots where marriage is the goal and, more egregiously, from season 1’s uniqueness.
Here’s the moment they used us: in season 2 episode 5, after assuring us over and over and over and over that he is a gentleman and therefore would never act on his longings, Anthony says to Kate, “Do you even know all the ways a lady can be seduced? The things I could teach you.” She says, breathily, “I did not ask for this.” Executed differently, this scene could be played as much more predatory. And here’s the rub.
Season 1, episode 5 is the wedding and episode 6 begins sexapalooza. Season 2 draws out the foreplay another two whole episodes. But that’s not the actual problem. The problem is that the conflict and resolution of season 1 banks on Daphne being innocent to the ways of sexytimes. Her character transformation goes from too pure to too powerful (let’s not let her off the hook for that rape scene) and then onto an equal footing with her husband. It is satisfying as sex with the duke.
Conversely, Anthony and Kate’s love is based on the fact that Anthony, to his dismay and later delight, sees Kate as an equal. They are well-matched in competitiveness, sense of duty, and hotness. When he informs her of all the ways he can make her give it up, he shifts the power dynamic right back into that of season 1, which does a disservice to our “they’re a love match because they’re alike” plot.
The next two episodes are a tortuous display of lust, not love. There’s sniffing, stares, and it’s implied the viscount walks around in the company of his mother and seven younger siblings with a constant semi. It’s not sexy to have a secret desire that your mom knows about.
The season redeems itself a bit at the end with some high quality “acty shit,” as my college acting professor calls it, from Bailey as he ushers his Anthony into a man capable of love. When the couple finally get fully naked in the penultimate scene, Kate bones her husband repeatedly, telling him with tongue and butt cheek that she’s doing it because she’s “dutiful.”
Taming of the Shrew is considered a “problem play” by modern standards because of the ending: once headstrong Kate gives a speech about why women should always obey their husbands. This doesn’t play for comedy nowadays. 10 Things improved upon the ending, but still, the shrew is tamed and the woman becomes a dutiful partner. Season 2 wants to play with this idea and whiffs it midway only to pretend in the end they had a strong female protagonist all along.
Bridgerton has wonderful moments of love and lust and has our number in a way no other show ever has. We will, in fact, keep coming back for more. Next time, however, when Benedict takes the spotlight and we’re hopefully (please oh please) not still in a pandemic panic, we may not be as forgiving if the show toys with us. Dear reader, I, for one, hope the team at Netflix heeds this warning and are up for the challenge.
Image: Courtesy of Netflix
When Bridgerton premiered back in December 2020, most of us were expecting another failed Pride and Prejudice replica. I mean come on, it was a Regency-era show about a (probably too young) girl looking for love and finding it in all the wrong places. Still, at that point (over 10 months into the pandemic), we were so tired of being stuck in our GD homes we would have watched sourdough rise for fun (oh wait, we did lol). Luckily for us, however, Bridgerton proved to be anything but a revamped Jane Austen. Sure, the show had romance and accents and corseted dresses that make the waist trainers of today look amateur. But more than that, it had sex. So. Much. Sex.
And it wasn’t just like, the couple kissed and fell on the bed and a shirt came off and then it cut to the next scene. We’re talking kiss, shirt off, nipples out. Oral sex! Vaginal sex! Sex on stairs and sex in chairs! Bridgerton season 1 was basically one giant romp-fest, which was great. After a year of isolation and a history of sex scenes that weren’t exactly written for the female gaze, Bridgerton gave us horny bitches the #content we deserved.
Then, of course, Netflix dropped Bridgerton season 2. And it’s not that season 2 of Bridgerton was bad or anything. It still had costumes and accents and torrid love stories. But the one thing it was clearly missing was the graphic sex we came to associate with the series. Sure, some people said they watched the show for the plot, but the thing is, they’re liars. We watch Bridgerton for the sex, dammit, and season 2 was like one very long, very cold shower.
But don’t worry. If you were burning for an erotic season 2, you’re not alone. And the good news is there are still ways you can get off to the much more watered-down season. No, it’s not as good as watching Simon (Regé-Jean Page) eat Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) out on a ladder, but if you’re trying to get off to the next installment, these eight options will keep you from having a fully orgasm-less season.
1. Watch All the Lingering Gazes on a Loop
Since most of Bridgerton season 2 is fingertip grazes and lingering glances, you might as well use the sexual tension to your advantage. In episodes 3, 4, and 5, it’s all “I hate you, but I clearly have the hots for you” spars between Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), and in episode 6 they finally (FINALLY) have a fiery kiss.
Granted, it’s just basically seven whole episodes of will-they-won’t-they-but-we-know-they-will-so-just-f*cking-do-it-already scenes, but maybe think of it as foreplay? It’s a recipe for a pretty much full blue ball (or blue clitoris if you will) watch, but as long as you drown all the repetitive dialogue and“we can’ts” out with your loudest vibrator, it’ll get the job done.
2. Watch Episode 7, Then Watch it Again
After an entire season of *almost* sex, Anthony and Kate finally do it in the only real sex scene of season 2 during the second to last episode. Unlike the first season of Bridgerton where pretty much every other scene included a graphic hookup set to quartet renditions of Taylor Swift, season 2 is more like every other show where you sit around for a while before you get to the real masturbatory material. Episode 7 is that material.
The ego-crossed lovers finally get their freak on in a gazebo-type structure. Even though it’s totally unrealistic (who gets completely naked when having sex outside? At your family’s house? And then FALLS ASLEEP?! This isn’t camping, folks!), it’s still hot in a “this would never happen” kind of way. There’s undressing and moaning and some clear cunnilingus for the only time in the season, so grab your toys and get at it. Repeated viewing suggested.
3. Search Thirst Traps of the Cast Instead of Paying Attention to Episodes 1-6
Since this season lacks the sexual allure of the past, you’re already on your phone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still lean into the Bridgerton vibe. Since pretty much everyone in the show is a millennial, that means the Bridgerton cast posts thirst traps for validation just like the rest of us. Reap the benefits of their shirtless pics, beach photos, and overtly sexual selfies.
No, it’s not the same as like, seeing their characters strip down and bang it out in a canopy bed, but the writers of the show didn’t confer with me when creating the script, so we gotta do what we gotta do. And what we gotta do is follow the cast and add all of their vacation pictures to the “💦” folder on our phones.
4. Write/Read Some Fan Fiction
Nope, fanfic isn’t just reserved for vampires and Harry Styles! There’s fanfiction of literally everything out there, including Bridgerton. Since the characters’ very slow burn isn’t exactly cutting it for you or your libido, take matters into your own hands—or er, keyboard. Maybe Kate, Anthony, and Siena (Anthony’s ex from season 1) have an epic threesome full of untied corsets and verbal jabs. Or perhaps the Viscount and Ms. Sharma turn up their obviously flirty attacks by indulging in a little BDSM. Come on—Kate as a dominatrix is content you’d be viscerally obligated to watch.
So go on, write your own sex scenes since Netflix decided to hang us out to dry. And if your creative juices—much like your vaginal ones—aren’t quite flowing, there’s plenty of Bridgerton fanfic already written out there that you can read instead. Why do the work when someone else already did it for you, ya feel?
5. Listen To The Season 2 Soundtrack While Watching Season 1 On Mute
Watching season 2 of Bridgerton was good for two things: Fans of the book who were eager for a sexless, slow season, and string renditions of throwback hits and modern jams. While season 2 clearly lacks that in-your-face-sex almost all of us tuned in to see, what it does have is a solid soundtrack. We’re talking Nirvana, Madonna, Rihanna, and Miley—just to name a few. Since season 2’s music was better than season 1’s offerings (just barely though), why not combine the two for a viewing worthy of your attention?
So, go on. Blast the season 2 soundtrack while watching the entire first season on mute. You already know the premise of the story, and seeing Simon and Daphne hook up on their honeymoon to “Wrecking Ball” is better than anything you’ll see in the newest installment of the show. Bible.
6. Name Your Vibrator After Your Fave Character
If you’re bummed that your favorite character didn’t get laid enough in Season 2, whip out your favorite sex toy and give it a rebrand. Try taping a picture of your Bridgerton crush (*cough* Siena *cough*) on the buzzy part of your vibrator and imagine them as season 2 plays in the background. If you squint at the screen, you’ll still get the costumes and the wigs, but this way you can sort of pretend something exciting is happening, it’s just simply too fuzzy to make out.
If you find yourself wanting to scream in either ecstasy over the vibrations or in anger over the fact that there’s only one sex scene to enjoy, simply shove a spoon in your mouth! It’s hot, it’s a fun season 1 throwback, and it’ll keep your roommates/partner/parents from hearing you and encouraging you to up your therapy frequency for taking your Bridgerton season 2 disappointment a little too far.
7. Shoot Your Shot Via DM
Hear me out: Stranger things have happened! Celebs get together with common folk all the time because hi, we’re cool and chill and aren’t going to hook up with our movie co-stars when we jet off to a tropical location for work. Since season 2 didn’t provide you with the sexual material you deserve, make it happen for yourself IRL.
While the chances of any Bridgerton stars responding to (or reading) your thirsty DMs are pretty much zero, you might as well try. At worst, you’ll end up with a restraining order. But this way you’ll probably get their autograph (people sign restraining orders, right?), and they’ll know how pissed you were about the lack of sexy season 2 content. And at best, you’ll get laid by a Bridgerton cast member who didn’t take their shirt off nearly enough. Honestly, there are no downsides.
8. Write a Strongly Worded Letter to Netflix
Ah, complaining. Few things give us as much of a rush as chewing someone TF out for something minor, like having a different creative vision for a show. But since the writers of Bridgerton decided to take the vibe of season 2 in a totally different direction, why not write them a little something of your own? Round up all the receipts of the cast members saying there’d be plenty of sex in season 2, get 200 of your closest Facebook friends—including your eclectic aunt Shirley—to sign it, and demand Shondaland reinstate the old Bridgerton vibe for season 3.
Yes, it’s pervy and pointless. But that pretty much describes all of our hobbies anyway. It might not change the fact that you wasted eight hours of your life for a few minutes of season 2 sex, but one voice can make a difference. One voice can ensure season 3 involves a little more butt action and a little less back-and-forth banter. A hero? No, you’re just out here being the Lady Whistledown of our generation and for that, we thank you.
Images: Liam Daniel / Netflix
I’m an avid Jane Austen adaptation fan. I love Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice and also enjoy the book, plus Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its offshoots. I swoon for the Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility. Before the end of the world, the last play I saw in a real, live theatre was Christmas at Pemberley, basically a fan fic play about life post-Pride and Prejudice. So you can bet I binge watched Bridgerton, the “inclusive Regency” based on the best-selling novels by Julia Quinn and executive produced by Shonda Rhimes. Now that the show has been renewed for a second season, I’m considering why I—along with every woman I know—am so enamored with the show and why women are drawn to Regency dramas.
I assume you’ve watched the first season, but, if not, SPOILERS AHEAD.
The magic of the show is not only its gorgeous cast and production values, its twist on the “traditional” (read: white and straight) love story, and its 90s teen movie plot, it’s also that the story doesn’t end at happily ever married. In order to appease we who may be a little sex-starved this quarantine, Bridgerton treats us to Daphne and Simon’s honeymoon and beyond. Cue love scenes.
But, as someone who recently left a toxic relationship, what I thought would be a whole new universe of Regency love turned out to be more triggering and heartbreaking than anything. Because of my strong emotional reaction to the show’s depiction of marriage in the Regency Era, I began to analyze and research why it is that we love the toxic couples populating the books, movies, and now television programs we consume so fervently.
Time to break out my English major. Finally.
The anxiety of sexual tension and ignorance is why we love Regency dramas. Like Ross and Rachel, with the “will-they-won’t-they”, followed by the “they did”, followed by the breakup, followed by the resolution, followed by the baby and the happy family unit plot, Regency dramas are all about the pleasure in antici (wait for it) pation.
Hotness aside, objectively, Daphne and Simon are a terrible couple! Their affection for each other was based on a lie. Their betrothal was forced. Simon lies to Daphne about “not being able to have children,” banking on her naivete about sex. Then, Daphne straight-up rapes Simon to prove his “seed is strong.” I can’t believe it, but we are all still rooting for the couple and are happy to see them happily ever after with a baby in the final scene. WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?! (*rewatches entire season*)
It’s not only the tension of the timeline. Lovers of the Regency drama are attracted to Mr. Darcy, the dark, brooding, mysterious but sexy love interest of Pride and Prejudice (and Bridget Jones). The too-fancy, snooty, mean man really gets us bookish girls going. We want someone who is independently wealthy and aloof. We want someone withholding so that when he finally, finally tells us that he burns for us, we have a bigger, ahem, release of tension. Mr. Big from Sex in the City would be another cultural example of a Mr. Darcy type, and we all know in our heart of hearts Carrie should have married Aidan and never would have.
The men in Regency dramas know more about the world than the women, something Bridgerton uses as a plot device. Did anyone else squirm with the impropriety of Simon telling Daphne she should masturbate? The Duke of Hastings is amused by and attracted to Daphne’s virginity. As we watch these shows and read these books, we’re given the message that, if we’re good girls, we will be rewarded with a rich, loving spouse—but the Duke’s behavior in Bridgerton is not loving. Sexy af, but also… he’s gaslighting Daphne. He makes her believe he cannot have children when he actually doesn’t want children and is assured she won’t challenge him because she does not know the mechanics of the male orgasm. Guys, it’s okay not to want children, but you have to lead with that. Daphne broke my heart and called Simon out after the rape scene and the confrontation afterward when she says, “I do not know many things, as you have made abundantly clear, but I do know this: That is not love.”
Here’s the thing: I think these two crazy kids do love each other. In the end, we are happy for them because they learn to communicate after a wet and wild resolution in the rain. Mr. Darcy eventually stops moping around, shows himself to be a hero to the Bennett family, and is bewitched by Elizabeth’s body and soul (misquote for emphasis). We want to be loved as completely as these heroines of Regency dramas. We’re willing to suffer for that love.
Too many women, sadly myself included, fall for the guy with secrets. We like a man who isn’t too into us at first. We like the chase. Much has been said about men wanting the chase as well. The problem we run into on both sides is that we like the chase too much and cannot be content with the happily ever after. Like the Duke and Duchess of Hastings, we bring the drama into the consummated relationship. We bring the lies. We withhold. And then we fall apart.
The sex appeal of the Regency drama lies not in the happy resolution, but in the pain and anxiety of unresolved sexual tension, something lovers have been using against their romantic partners for all of time. As much as I’d love to say that relationships are moving more toward open communication, mutual respect, and, dare I say it, unconditional love, Bridgerton and the like show that, when it comes to matters of the heart, we all love the anticipation.
I can’t wait for season two.
Images: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX
If you haven’t seen Netflix’s new show Bridgerton, based on the books by Julia Quinn, please give me the address to the rock you’re living under so I can move there too and avoid the news, and then stop reading this and go watch it. It debuted on Christmas Day and I’m already re-watching it just to keep listening to their accents.
For you poor unfortunate souls who haven’t finished yet, the show is basically Gossip Girl reimagined in 1800s London during the debutante season. It’s full of period costumes that feature women laced up in corsets like they’re being hog-tied but somehow despite that, there is sexual tension galore, especially between the main characters, Simon Hastings (aka regulation hottie Regé-Jean Page) and Daphne Bridgerton, played by Phoebe Dynevor.
From smoldering glances across ballrooms and the thrill of his *gasp* hand touching yours, there are plenty of moments considered hot and fiery for the time period. This is what dreams are made of: sigh-inducing professions of love and old-fashioned flowery language, plus they take their clothes off. Outstanding. And while we can’t all go out there and sleep with a Duke whenever we want (ugh), there are a few royally inspiring ways to manifest that sexual tension with these recommendations based on the hottest Simon and Daphne love scenes. Please know that some of these positions contain spoilers. On that note, let us make haste, indeed.
Scene 1: Episode 5, “The Duke and I”
This episode marks the first sex scene we get of new Duchess and her husband the Duke, and it also happens to be when Daphne loses her virginity. I know that doesn’t sound hot, but the scene manages to encompass that this woman has been lusting after Simon for, like, weeks now, and now she’s finally married to him (LOL at those 1800s marital timelines), feeling more safe, and is ready to let her freak flag fly. In a previous episode where she’s pestering Simon to fill her in on the mystery of sex, he suggests she start with touching herself and see where that takes her. (A very astute suggestion, especially for 1813.) Daphne not only takes this sage advice but tells him during this scene that when she touches herself at night, she thinks of him. For someone who’s never seen a penis until literally just now, girl’s got some moves.
Recommendation: This one writes itself: have him watch while you lay back and *ahem* show him (or her, these tips are not just for heterosexual couples) what you like. It’s simple, it’s hot, it’s foolproof. For an added incentive, set a timer on your phone and say they can’t touch you until it goes off. Once it does, go to town and for bonus points, use a warming or sensation-enhancing lube. You know the Duchess would do the same if it was invented back then.
Scene 2: Episode 6, “Swish”
Once Daphne gets the hang of things, I’m happy to say that we get an entire montage of her and Simon doing the dirty in the thrill of their honeymoon. To be fair, if we still casually married people we’d only known for about a month these days, and during the honeymoon you were lucky enough to realize how attracted you were to each other, the amount of sex you’d be having would be insane. Plus, they’re both super rich and have basically nothing else to do but get it on in the rain inside some kind of outdoor gazebo mid-downpour to a violin instrumental of Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams”. They have about a million rooms with beds to choose from since they also live in an enormous mansion, but you do you.
Recommendation: In the spirit of engaging other senses, I’m going to suggest a Fifty Shades of Grey-esque strategy here. From the books, not the movies, and don’t worry, it doesn’t involve rain or cold flagstone. Have your partner blindfold you to start with, but then in addition to removing your sight (and clothes, I hope I don’t need to specify that), up the ante with some auditory control. Insert AirPods or whatever headphones you prefer and then play the music of your choice while your partner controls what you hear and then feel—preferably, something sensual and powerful. The Bridgerton instrumental playlist is on Spotify and violin-based classical is a good choice for this experience, just saying.
Scene 3: Episode 6, “Swish”
As the sex montage continues, the scenery changes and we get a situation where Daphne is on a ladder, I’m assuming in the library or study, while Simon goes down on her until she pulls him face to face to finish things with their clothes on. Girl is living the teenage dream, but actually though, since people got married in their actual teens in those days. That being said, while I love the variety in locations here and how much rich sex we get to vicariously see, not all of us are fortunate enough to marry a Duke and live in a house with a full library and a handcrafted mahogany ladder to have sex on.
Recommendation: Take a second from crying about the fact that you weren’t born royal and don’t have a giant dowry to convince someone to marry you and imagine the reverse. Ignoring the ridiculously outdated social niceties and the multitude of things very wrong with that time period, try choosing some lingerie that resembles those insane corsets that push your boobs up to your chin, grab a feather like the one they wear in their hats and tiaras, and live your fantasy. Maybe you’re the duchess, or a princess, or a dressmaker who falls in love with a prince, another duchess, a scullery maid, or whatever brings your 1800s-inspired fantasy to life. It’s a great way to escape from reality while still being, you know, pandemic-safe. As long as you commit to your roles, whatever combo you have in mind is sure to be swoon-worthy.
Scene 4: Episode 7, “Oceans Apart”
Daphne and Simon aren’t all love, all the time—there are some points of serious tension in the show that contribute to arguments and misunderstandings between the couple that are genuinely heart-wrenching, but I’m glad to say they manage to keep things hot even in times of strife. The scene I’m referring to here is one where, post-fight, Daphne and Simon meet up for a rendezvous on a staircase in the middle of the night where he goes down on her in a moment of passion, despite their ongoing problems. I can’t stress enough: to anyone whose significant other has been dropping bold hints for you to watch this, this is the part she’s talking about.
Recommendation: Take a classic and reimagine it with a simple twist: just sit on a table or a counter while they go down on you. It’s not complicated, but it can be hotter than you think to try this out with just a switch up of body positioning. If you have stairs, you can lay back with your partner a step or two below you. If you don’t, choose a kitchen counter, a chair, or a coffee table — any surface that isn’t a bed, so it feels novel and exciting.
Scene 5: Episode 8, “After the Rain”
Without totally giving away the plot here, Daphne and Simon have resolved a pretty major difference and the final love scene is vanilla but, like, vulnerable and tender. They’re coming back together (pun fully intended) as a couple who has connected on an emotional level and revealed deep truths about themselves, and the final love scene here reflects that. It’s passionate but also sweet; it reads more like a homecoming and a resolution to all the earlier conflict.
Recommendation: You can embrace the vulnerability of this scene even if you aren’t quite in the same emotional place as Daphne and Simon, or if you are. Since this is all about getting close and connecting emotionally, make yourself physically vulnerable as well as emotional. That’s right, dust off your handcuffs, or any implement you’d like to use (cable ties are fine for the hardcore bunch, or bathrobe ties work well and are a soft, gentle option), and have your partner restrain your hands behind your back. Then, have your partner sit on the bed with their back against the bed frame or in a chair and get on top, letting them use their hands on your hips to support you for tons of eye contact and connection.
Word on the street is that a second season of Bridgerton, while not yet confirmed by Netflix, is in the works—so stay tuned for yet another round of spicy 1813 London drama. I’ll be narrating my daily life in Lady Whistledown’s voice until then.
I, like many others, was sick of seeing Bridgerton memes, tweets, and references take over my timeline without understanding WTF it all meant. Having already finished all the true crime documentaries on offer on HBO and Netflix, I figured it was time to turn my attention in a completely different direction: the London marriage market circa 1813. So I’m ready to bring you, in the style of my Princess Switch and Holidate recaps, an honest recap of the first episode of Bridgerton.
We open in Grovernor Square, in 1813, and I know this because there’s a convenient voiceover that explains everything that’s going on. We meet the Bridgerton family, who’s basically known for being well-looking and rich. Kind of like my family. Daphne, the Kim of the Bridgertons, is being slow af to get ready for some very important event, so one of the sisters does what we all do when we need to get our parents’ attention from the other room: yell DAPHNE!!!!!! TAKE HASTE!!! I’m just surprised Daphne doesn’t yell back “WHAT DID YOU SAY??? WHAAAAT???”
We have a f*ckboy brother who’s MIA and I know this because the matriarch remarks to one of his brothers, “if your brother is to be Lord Bridgerton, he needs to act like Lord Bridgerton. Where is he?” Cut to: him f*cking some wench behind a tree while his guard pretends not to watch.
The guard: I doth not get recompensed enough for this.
So I guess the purpose of this meeting is to present one of the sisters to the Queen to, like, see if she’s a suitable wife? Listen, I don’t know, I barely know how the dating scene works in NYC, where I live — you want me to understand the intricacies of the 19th century London marriage market? No. All I do know is that an eligible bachelorette from another family literally falls at the Queen’s feet because her corset was too tight. A real 1800s Jennifer Lawrence. Ya hate to see it.
Daphne Bridgerton’s turn goes a lot better, with the Queen taking her chin in her hand and saying “flawless, my dear.” Everyone seems thrilled (in a very understated kind of way) so I’m guessing this is good news. Except! The narrator warns us that “the brighter a lady shines, the faster she may burn”. In the biz, we call that foreshadowing.
Saith the voiceover: “It’s been said that of all bitches dead or alive, a scribbling woman is the most canine.” Cool I have no idea what that means but I do know I’m putting it in my Instagram bio.
So basically Lady Whistledown is like the Victorian Gossip Girl. XOXO, I f*cking love this mess.
Daphne is all of us recounting the Queen’s compliment to her family: She called me flawless… or whatever she said, I don’t even remember, I mean who even cares? She’s just the Queen, LOL.
Lady Whistledown sings Daphne’s praises, and the Bridgertons are eating it up. Over at the family of the girl who fell (hey voiceover lady, could you help me out here?) they are PISSED. Also, Lady Whistledown is my stripper name. Just putting it out there now.
Penelope, who we know is supposed to be the ugly fat sister (I don’t make the rules, I’m just reporting on the portrayal!), doesn’t want to get married, she just wants to study, and that’s how I know she’s a real bitch. There’s also a cousin who’s coming to stay with them because she’s basically hopeless in the job market elsewhere.
Elsewhere, some hottie in a black coat rolls up to the Danbury’s (I only know their name because of the subtitles, so TG for that) who’s only returning to London to deal with his late father’s sh*t after his recent death.
Does anyone else get major Todd from Wedding Crashers vibes from the f*ckboy Bridgerton brother? The way he just leers at Siena (the aforementioned wench) as she’s doing her opera scales right before he f*cks her creeps me out.
Tell me I’m wrong!!
So there’s basically going to be this party where all the families present their eligible members and they dance like in Romeo and Juliet and whatnot. Kind of like Ye Olde Singles Mixer.
Upstairs, the moms talk sh*t about some girl who got caught “unchaperoned” with some man and ended up with a shotgun wedding. Did they have shotguns back then, or was it more of a musket wedding? Anyway, Penelope’s mom refers to her as “Light skirts” — a vintage way of calling someone easy.
Todd (don’t know his real name, subtitles have not come through yet) is the best wingman ever, exposing a Lord and potential suitor for Daphne for skipping out on his debts. I mean, it takes a f*ckboy to know a f*ckboy, so this checks out.
Marina Thompson, I have learned, is the cousin, and she’s ready to f*ck sh*t up. The mom is like, “she’s rather dowdy, is she not?” Just hating. Marina is a regulation hottie and mom knows it.
Black Cloak Hottie has arrived to the party, this time in a red velvet blazer, and all the girls are swooning. Can’t say I don’t get it.
Daphne goes to get lemonade and some weirdo goes up to her like, “tiny glasses?” And she’s like, “yea I guess…” this seems to be like a dick joke but this man does NOT have BDE. Ew ew ew. In her haste to run away from this creeper, she runs straight into Cloak Hottie.
With Lord Creeper approaching, she says to His Hotness, “tell me your name” and he’s like “wow, you don’t know who I am? I refuse to believe that.” Spoken like every Instagram “influencer” with 4k followers.
The brother is actually a real one for being like, “don’t dance with any of these Jabronis. They all want you, so now you need to leave them wanting more and not dance with any of them.” Things I will remind myself when the club reopens.
So now it’s the day after the dance, meaning it’s time for the suitors to come calling. I still don’t recall the name of the other family but I can tell they’re trashier because of their mom’s overall attitude and overuse of color in the wardrobe. All the suitors come for the cousin, and she is not happy.
And it appears maybe Daphne’s decision not to dance was overplaying her hand, because none of the suitors come to the Bridgerton house and instead come to check out Miss Thompson. The only action Daphne gets is from Lord Creeper.
Actual footage of Daphne:
Honestly that sucks but as someone who’s constantly been passed over for my hotter friends I can’t help but feel a slight sense of schadenfreude.
Hastings (the hot one) is determined to not take a wife. He even goes so far as to say “Hastings was my father’s name” which like… doesn’t work for last names, dude. It’s yours too. Anyway, this is true dedication to the f*ckboy lifestyle. I can almost respect it. Almost.
Hastings is like, “looks like the pot calling the kettle a f*ckboy” (I paraphrase) which is true since Lord Bridgerton over here is just porking some mistress that everybody knows about with no inclination of ever taking a wife. Am I watching Bridgerton or Queen’s Gambit, because ok, checkmate with that comeback.
So Lady Whistleblower (I forgot her name, get used to this) is predicting that Lord F*ckboy is going to Woo Miss Thompson. Ok I was close, it’s Whistledown.
The Bridgertons invite Hastings to dinner and Daphne has got the heat now. Hastings is like, “I thought you’d be happy we’re sitting next to each other” and Daphne goes, “Perhaps you’d be better not thinking about me at all.”
That is an 18th century neg that I am keeping in my back pocket, thank you very much.
She calls him “a rake through and through”. I looked it up and this is basically a scrub who pisses his money away and/or is a womanizer. You’re welcome.
Daphne: I assure you, I’m anything but interested in you
Hastings: And I you
Daphne: Takes one to know one
Hastings: I know you are, but what am I?
Right, right. I buy that these two aren’t interested in each other as much as I bought it in Holidate.
Later that night, the brother is in his office writing some letter in a quill and ink or whatever and the mom comes in.
Brother: I can’t believe you’re trying to set up Daphne with my friend. He has no intention of marrying.
Mom: All men say that.
I mean, ok but where is the lie.
The brother also says Daphne deserves better. Now, unless he knows something we don’t know or he has not set eyes on the man, I’m eagerly awaiting his reasoning on how that can be true.
The mom is like “look dude, if she follows your advice she’s going to be married to Lord Creeperton, so are you her brother or her cockblock?” Tbh if there’s an incest plot awaiting us I’m going to throw my computer out the window now.
The next day Lord F*ckboy dumps his side hoe because he has to “do what’s necessary”. This bitch is like, “you said you’d always protect me, what shall I do now?” and he goes “you shall leave”
So we’re at another dance (how many social obligations do these people have, I would be jealous except that choreography is one of my weaknesses) and Penelope and Collin encounter each other. Sorry for not noting this earlier, Collin is a definite cutie who you can tell is just as into books as Penelope. God, to be alive in an age where reading books was a noteworthy personality trait.
Some other bitch comes up and spills her drink on Penelope while asking Collin to dance. Collin, a true ride-or-die, turns her down and instead escorts Penelope to the dance floor. Love this.
Just then we have to interrupt the dance for a never-before-seen event and it’s… tea lights. To be fair, this is probably also how the first women on Pinterest planning a wedding reacted to the advent of tea lights.
Lord Brother F*ckboy finds Daphne to be like, “ok so you’re going to marry Lord Creeperton because there’s nothing explicitly wrong with him, and the sooner I find you a husband the sooner I can get back to banging my side chick.” The first part of that is spoken like my dad trying to set me up with his friend’s son whom he has never even laid eyes on.
Meanwhile, back at the Tackytons (the name I have given the other salty family who dresses in garish colors), the mom has figured out that Miss Thompson hasn’t gotten her period and deduced that she must be pregnant.
In true Shonda Rhimes fashion, Miss Thompson gives some monologue about how elitist her aunt is and the aunt promptly slaps her in the face. Take a drink if unnecessary monologues were in your drinking game.
Daphne, faced with the prospect of marrying someone truly gross, takes a lonesome walk in the garden, where Lord Creeperton finds her to be like “you should be lucky I’m agreeing to marry you, nobody else will.” Then in true creep fashion, Lord Creeperton attempts to assault Daphne and she punches him in the face. F*CK YES! YE OLDE GIRL POWER!
At that moment, Duke Hot Stuff walks up to witness Daphne’s one-two punch. They both bond over their hatred of Lady Whistledown, and ok I see where this is going. A fake marriage plot so they can both get Lady Whistledown off their backs? Do I watch too many f*cking holiday movies? The answer to both of those questions is yes.
Ok so now I don’t even need to watch the rest of this show, because I know how this is gonna go. They fake an attachment so they can both reap the social benefits. Meanwhile, one of them will fall in love for real (I’m guessing Daphne due to Lord Hastings’ constant insisting that he will never marry — we get it dude). When they make that feeling known, the other will be incredulous that they could have lost sight of the grift. Ashamed, the scorned lover will flee — which will make the other party realize their love was real all along.
And on that note, I’m out. No need to spend the remaining 9 hours of my life watching this tired plot play out. Then again, this is Shonda Rhimes, so this could have more twists than a curly fry. Should I recap more episodes? LMK!