Crushable Books: Lauren, Speidi and Why ‘Reality Matters’

Anna David, author of the novels Party Girl and Bought, is releasing an anthology of essays on reality television this week. Her book, entitled Reality Matters, has a chapter on the psychodrama of MTV’s The Hills by writer Melissa de la Cruz, who views herself as a “Heidi” as opposed to a “Lauren.” Read an excerpt here on Crushable.

Spencer, with his whiny bratty voice and gelled hair, totally lives up to his name. Like Heidi, he’s not gorgeous but passes for attractive by being skinny and tanned. And he hates Lauren since only a fake can call out another fake.

Because Lauren is a big fake, as it turns out. She’s not quite the perfect girl she seems to be and, in fact, pulls the most common and manipulative female friend move of all time by telling Heidi whom she can and can’t date. If you are a woman who’s ever had a close female friend, you know what I’m talking about. Maybe, like me, you’ve had a Lauren in your life who wraps her jealousy and insecurity in a blanket of false concern about your well-being. She’s doing it only because she cares about you! He’s going to hurt you. He’ll cheat on you, he’ll leave you, you’re better off without him!

Lauren had ammo: Spencer flirted with Playboy models. He asked their friend Audrina out. He had all the makings of a total cad. One look at him in his pastel polos and blingy Rolex revealed as much.

For her part, Heidi heard her friend out with a look of immense patience on her face. Watching the show, I applauded her for not slapping Lauren upside the head and leaving right then. Because instead of just telling Heidi she couldn’t date Spencer, Lauren put their entire friendship on the line. She gave Heidi an ultimatum: him or me. Which is just. I mean. No. No. No. No!

There’s a certain camaraderie to being single women together, and Lauren showed just how ugly that relationship can turn when its balance is threatened by a man. Female friendship is intimate and close. When you’re together, a girlfriend is both wingwoman and partner in crime—a sister, a rival, a confidante, and the one you can count on to share popcorn with at the opening of the new Batman movie on Friday night. But when one of you becomes attached, the Wonder Twin powers collapse. Suddenly someone is the third wheel. Maybe Lauren never saw herself in that position and was appalled by it. Her rotating sea of boyfriends come and go, and
yet Heidi and Spencer have been together for many seasons now, weathering a succession of fake engagements (and an actual marriage).

Funnily enough, the main Lauren in my life was a gay man. … Morgan was British, with a sardonic wit and designer wardrobe. He had lived in Paris and spoke fluent French. Like Lauren, he had honey-blond hair and was always tan. And, also like Lauren, he dumped me when I started dating someone.

It was that simple: he just stopped talking to me after I’d been with Mike, the man I ended up marrying, for three months. Like Lauren, he was insecure, jealous, and threatened. And the minute he dumped me, I knew he had never really been my friend.

If Lauren really cared for Heidi, she would be there to pick up the pieces if it does ever end with Spencer. But to dump a friend just because you don’t like her boy? That’s seriously lame. And we all know what’s behind it: selfishness. Except for Lauren, it seems. And we forgave Lauren this flaw (the princess is human, after all!) but also enjoyed the thorn-in-her-side spectacle that Spencer and Heidi became. When rumors of a Lauren Conrad sex tape surfaced (initiated and circulated by Heidi and Spencer, according to Lauren), our golden girl started to look more like the golden goose.

My favorite part of the ultimatum episode was when Heidi had to choose. And here’s whereMTV’s cheesetastic editing made for great television. We see Heidi waiting in a darkened lobby. A fabulous, shiny, and very expensive car pulled up to the driveway, Spencer grinning at the wheel. Heidi walked up to the car wearing a tight dress and high heels, her hair long and loose—that windswept salon look. A small smile played on her lips.

Spencer said, “Hey, beautiful.”

And she got in the car.

She chose the guy over her frenemy.

And who could blame her?

There’s not one girl among us who doesn’t think a guy who says “Hey, beautiful” to his girl can be all bad. Spencer, you had me at “Hey, beautiful.”

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