The Reliable Source Live

Jan 30, 2013

Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts were online Wednesday, January 30, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Good morning everyone, and welcome back to the Reliable Source weekly live discussion.


Still shaking off your inauguration hangover? We still have no more clarity on the Beyonce lip-sync controversy — though she did get some happy news from trademark officials. And what was the deal with the protester in the tree?

But moving along, the Alfalfa Club celebrated 100 years of merry elitism.


Nancy Brinker revealed why gay rights is a cause close to the family.


And Barney Frank took a new job in a Broadway musical.


Plus: Emanuel Brothers mania! And D.C.’s new most expensive home. Shakira had a baby, Fred Smoot is getting divorced, and so is future Sen. Ashley Judd; Meadow Soprano is marrying a Nats minor-leaguer, and Chris Brown is in trouble again.

Other topics on our radar: Michelle Williams is not doing a good job lying about a Destiny's Child reunion . . . Patty Stonesifer, a charity titan, picks a small D.C. nonprofit for her next move. . . We've got a new Racing President! . . . And, whoa, Manti  Te'o, still. . .

Congrats to Jim Nabors!!

Yes, indeed, breaking news: Jim Nabors -- best remembered as Gomer Pyle -- at the age of 82 has married his longtime companion.

Am pumped for an Entourage movie

Really? I am so not. I can understand getting sucked into an episode on TV. I cannot imagine paying $10 to sit in a theater for two hours. You know, they'll have to come up with a plot. And I think having a plot would pretty much ruin the whole Entourage concept.

There was a picture of Kathryn Ruemmler in a White House photo wearing a knee high, high heel boot. My company stated this is a nono dress code. Advice?

Go find a new job. Your company sounds miserable.

You go girls!

Hmmm, that sounds like an unreasonably high number. I'm sure I wouldn't want that many chatters.

Should we count on Chris Brown getting into fights over parking spots all time

We can count on Chris -- the same way we count on Lindsay --to walk around the world believing that the rules that apply to other people do not apply to them, and that they lack the maturity and disipline to see things in any other way. So, yeah, more bad in the future.

I suppose it says something about my income that I've lived in DC for 15 years and have never heard of Kent.

Believe me, I had never heard of that neighborhood either until I started this job. So embarrassing to think that at one time I would have referred to it as Palisades or Foxhall and I would have been so terribly incorrect.

I don't even want to know where that person works. In this day and age women from every walk of life wear them (even the Duchess of Cambridge!).

As long as she doesn't carry a whip, I don't understand the fuss.

Is the real reason that she will not be appearing on DWTS, have more to do with staying sober during competition?

(I think this is my cue to dream up some more DWTS fan fiction for you.)

No, the real reason Lindsay Lohan will not be appearing on DWTS is because. . .  she developed amnesia. . .  after getting mauled by a tiger. . . while working as an undercover double agent in North Korea!

Am I trying too hard here? Help me out! It is very hard to get into this topic.


: )

I do not understand why he merits media attention or, frankly, why he's not in jail. There are plenty of other talented musicians who don't beat women.

My guess: Young Talent + Bad Boy + Famous Girlfriend + Shocking Incident + No Real Punishment. Everyone is waiting to see if/when the other shoe drops and he gets in serious trouble -- or if he grows up and stops being a spoiled brat.

Maybe I'm misremembering, but didn't both the First Lady and Mrs. Biden wear knee-high high heel boots at the Inauguration? Where does that woman work, an Abbey?

Jill Biden wore high-heeled below-the-knee boots at the 2009 inauguration.


How is Barbara Walters doing? I heard she has chicken pox. Hope she recovers quickly; it's not a good illness to get as an adult.

She's home now, so it should be a matter of time before she's back on the air. BaWa is tough --- and I can't imagine her retiring.

She's gonna need her TV dad when she tries to deal with her crazy father-in-law. I would get an ironclad prenup.

It does seem like a complicated family. Though in fairness, this doesn't seem like a worse idea than her first marriage, at 22, to her agent. And look at that Cutter Dykstra! Cute, no?

Is Ms. Ruemmler (sp?) single?

I do not know the answer to that. Though the public record will show that she wore spectactular pink stilettos to court while prosecuting Enron's Ken Lay.

It's not Condi's black stiletto boots. I woudl've worn brown tights though. (See image here)

Oh, are those the boots the original chatter was talking about? Those are below-the-knee. Nice boots. Not even particularly edgy.

My agency banned cleavage and low plungling neckline. Even short shirts. but high heels are ok......

I assume grown-ups understand what is appropriate for a professional workplace and what's over the line -- or learn quickly enough. Any place that "bans cleavage" seems a little TOO interested in the subject -- how much skin is too much or what makes a skirt too short? Do they pull out the ruler like Catholic nuns? The whole thing smacks of sexism -- and I don't say that often. I wonder if the list of banned items for men is as long?

Talk about sour grapes.

Why, I don't know why you'd think that.

Who's gonna break the news to poor Lou-Ann Poovie? And is it just me, or is the pace of public declarations acclerating?

Well, there was a big backlog of same-sex couples who are only now able to tie the knot -- so a lot of weddings happening all at once.  The New York Times warned last spring that many are already suffering from gay wedding fatigue.

A high-end law firm, I'd guess.

Maybe -- but I trust ambitious female lawyers to decode the accepted dress code without banning items, and to wear boots and still practice law. Some of this is pragmatic; much of it is just silly.

Who was Jaime's first husband? Too lazy to look up wikipedia

A. J. DiScala. Her agent.  That's why she was listed in the credits of The Sopranos for a while as Jamie-Lynn DiScala. It lasted about two years.

Who is Ms. Ruemmler? Have I been under a rock somewhere? Also, my husband likes the knee-high boots with a knee-length skirt look. I hate it. It looks sloppy.

She's a lawyer who is the current White House counsel.


Now, are you talking about over-the-knee boots? Or just-under-the-knee boots? I.e., a bit of flesh showing, or not at all? You should go with whatever looks best on you and makes you feel the most comfortable.

Tends to be a bad omen when actresses change their names on marriage. Look at Joanne Woodward, who was never ever listed as Joanne Newman.

It took me years to stop saying "Farrah Fawcett-Majors." But I never really got the hang of  "Courteney Cox Arquette" anyway.

I worked for a company once that sent out a 6-paragraph memo about appropriate dress for the Holiday party. The mistake was that it went out the day of the party. Many of the admins and younger employees had to be sent home before the party to change or put on longer skirts or cover their cleavage. I left that job soon after for reasons unrelated to the party or the memo.

What would the office party be without some gorgeous, slight-clueless young thing, with too much cleavage? She either learned better as she got older or smarter -- or started her own company and told the old bosses to stick it. Really, this is so 1980's.

After taking some deer antler spray, I am.

I'm sure if men wore muscle shirts to work at a place where cleavage was banned, they'd hear about it. But they don't tend to wear revealing clothes at such places. And don't say "then you shouldn't be looking." It's extremely distracting to see an insufficiently supported bosom bouncing in my face as I try to arrange a loan (and I'm a straight woman).

There are all sorts of annoying distractions in the workplace. While I think a smart woman with serious career ambitions doesn't dress in highly distracting ways, I'm against micro-managing wardrobes. The wisdom of dressing well and appropriately is pretty self-evident. I'd rather have a smart co-worker in a low-cut top than an idiot in a turtleneck. 

What is your take on the essays and articles about the demise of this late great? Are reports of her death premature?

You mean her political career or her broadcasting career? I would wager that her moment has passed as a potential contender for elected office. My theory is that she'd be a bigger force today if she had stayed on as Alaska governor and had not been tapped as the VP nominee. As for broadcasting/punditry/organizing -- who knows. A few years in the wilderness can be good for someone preparing a second act. (Sarah Palin parts ways with Fox News)

Who can possibly, in this day and age, go on a reality TV show and then complain that they couldn't beileve they were selectively edited??? Give me a break!

Ha, yes, thanks for reminding me of that story. Thirteen years into the reality television revolution, its stars have really learned nothing -- except that you're here for the wrong reasons and they're not here to make friends.  'The Sisterhood' is more religious entertainment than reality TV

You asked, "I wonder if the list of banned items for men is as long?" I would say probably not, but not because of sexism, but simply because men have many fewer choices in their clothing than women do. You basically just have to ban shorts, flip-flops, and tank tops for guys.

Okay, then ban shorts, flip-flops and tank tops for everyone, and leave the women alone about the rest.

Apparently Eddie Money is so hard up for (guess what - money) that he has to do a stupid Geico ad.

Hey, the guy is touring constantly. If you can get yourself to Lancaster, Pa., tomorrow night, you can see him on a double bill with Starship.

1. You'd be surprised. 2. You can practice law while wearing boots. The question is what kind of law.

Sorry, but this boot thing is ridiculous. Why not ban heels over a certain height?

Have you seen his photo? Spitting image! (And, I just wanted a reason to pause from this monster spread sheet to think about LL).

Some quick googling proved to me you are right: LL Cool J's son does look like him. But take our word for it. It's really not worth the hassle of watching this video.

When I worked at a law firm, we had a very clear written dress code, banning corduroy, leather, bustiers, etc. there was more, but those were the things we focused on, as so many of us were planning on corduroy pants and leather bustiers for the office. That said, the firm is the only place I've worked that had a written dress code.

We have the start of a book here, chatters.

That place still exists? Why would anyone eat there?

What can I say, the place has a following. And VIPs like a certain comfort zone. By the way, who do you figure picks up the check when the VP and one of the richest men in the country have dinner?

It is so very sad DC will be losing Frank. He's such an entertainment asset.

But! After you see Eddie Money in Lancaster, you can continue driving north and see Barney Frank on stage Saturday!

"What would the office party be without some gorgeous, slight-clueless young thing, with too much cleavage?" It would be a party where the employer doesn't have to worry about "hostile work environment" lawsuits. Face it, dress codes are solely for the benefit of the employer and are part of its risk management strategy. They demonstrate that the employer tried to create a professional work environment.

That was, alas, a joke. The great thing about all these dresscode rules is that they've completely prevented workplace harassment or employees hooking up. Thank God we don't have to worry about that anymore. 

Oh, my. Erm. What were we talking about again? Whew.

Wait, what did I miss in the other thread? You see, I envy you chatters. I can't follow along on what you and Rox are talking about while I'm also answering questions. You could be talking about me for all I know. Or, more likely: Sietsema. You're always talking about Sietsema.

sounds like the kind of thing you buy in a Hong Kong pharmacy

"Hong Kong pharmacy" sounds almost as bad a euphemism for. . . something or another as "deer antler extract."

Granted, but that wasn't my point.

Boobs vs. boobs. I'll take the real ones any day of the week.

My wife's 40s and 50s friends like cleavage. make them look sexy. I started to do more sit-ups to the perfect abs. Oh, European women don't show cleavage. too much sex, I guess.

Sophia Loren is hurt you forgot about her.

I not too long ago worked in a K Street office where women were told to dress professionally, but men were banned from wearing shirts that were any color other than white!

Really? K Street -- such a strange place.

There was a woman (close to Hillary Clinton) who told Monica Lewinsky to cover up and dress less. Isn't feminism about choice (dress low or dress up)???

It is --with the cultural rules and risks that comes with those choices. Every workplace and profession has a culture and (usually unspoken) dress code. Employees ignore those at their professional peril. If a woman wants to wear anything that strikes her fancy, she needs to own her own business or find a profession where it simply doesn't matter to her bosses.

He's in town to perform at the Shakespeare Theatre. Any good scoop? Is he reliving his West Wing days by visiting politico bars?

Good scoop about Richard Schiff? Well, we'll certainly let you know. (He's appearing in Eugene O'Neill's "Hughie," starting tomorrow.)

I work for one of the top three law firms in DC. Half of the female lawyers dressed very sexy. Even the married female partners. And they get clients..... Paralegals coming from the Ivy League dressed like they are on campus.

I assume one advantage of being a partner is that you get to help shape the dress code.

So what is the official prediction for Groundhogs Day?

The Bill Murray movie with play....over and over?

It's that knit schmatta Ms. Ruemmler is wearing in the photo. I can't believe the White House is as cold and drafty as my office.

For a lot of people, the White House is an office building, after all. She probably wasn't expecting to be photographed.

Isnt he the son of Lenny Dykstra and is he in prison?

Yes, he is Lenny Dykstra's son, and though the elder Dykstra was sentenced last month, I don't know off the top of my head if he's in custody or out pending appeal or what.

can be a problem, but the bigger problem in my NY law firm back in the day was just how TIGHT the clothing was. It's hard to legislate that.

Exactly. The whole issue is arbritary and impossible to enforce.

I was intern coordinator at a think tank in DC, and our dress code for the interns had obviously been written by some older, conservative men. I don't remember all of it, but there were parts about appropriate types of jackets for men and no outlandish colored hair for men or women. I always thought the funniest (saddest) part was where it said women could only have one earring per ear - because two earrings in an ear obviously would lead to anarchy! I axed all those requirements and just put "professional dress" one year when revamping the guidelines, both because I violated them (with my crazy two ear piercings) and because even with those guidelines some interns couldn't dress appropriately! And the moral of the story is - the old, conservative men who wrote the dress code never noticed or cared about my change.

That's great, thanks for sharing.

That's because they don't wear disco clothes to the office. I'm a woman, but stilletos (we didn't call them f-me shoes for nothing), minis, bandage dresses and decoulletage are inappropriate for the office. Except Hefner Publishing.

Again, depends on the office. I tend to agree with you, but still find myself torn about written dress codes.

What's wrong with corduroy?

I was thinking the same thing! Guess khakis are out, too?

What will happen now that they have left CNN? Have they worked on a real election campaign lately?

They'll probably do punditry for someone else. They spend a lot of their time in New Orleans these days, I believe. Here's Lisa's story on the turnover at CNN.

Or get promotions she doesn't deserve.

That happens even when there's no cleavage. Life is not fair.


Speaking of, what is up with Courteney Cox's face? I checked out a couple of Cougartown episodes last week, and I had trouble watching but couldn't look away! Her skin looks like a cross between Joan Rivers, a corpse, and Jocelyn Wildenstein. I just hate when these beautiful women muck up their faces because their agents tell them to or they think their fans will reject them. She looks a heck of a lot worse now than she would have with a few wrinkles...

Oh, now, she doesn't quite look like that. I do feel bad for actresses and other women in the public eye, especially great beauties. Their looks are so hyper-scrutinized, and while many of them are doing unnecessary and/or unpleasant things to their faces, you know that if they just let themselves age normally, everyone would be snarking about how they're letting themselves go. It is VERY unusual to see a normal face in Hollywood.

I saw an ad on the bus the other day for "Hollywood Husbands. . .The Fakest Reality Show Ever"--and I didn't even know "fakest" was a word

I prefer "fakey-est," but whatever.

Have we officially hit the 16th minute of this story

Aren't you looking forward to Ronaiah Tuiasosopo's interviews? No?

Respectfully, I think you are missing the point. Of course dress codes don't prevent hooking up or harassment, they simply protect the employer from being liable for not doing enough to stop problematic behavior. It's purely a liability issue.

I don't think so. That suggests that bad behavior in the workplace is a result of how women dress -- and therefore the women should be controlled. Do I think it's professional to have breasts spilling over the desk? No, but I resent the notion that the best way to prevent bad behavior is cover up the women. 

So sad that Ashley Judd is separating. So where does the line start?

We'll have to tell her what a great dating town Washington is.

Always glad to see Amy on Howie Kurtz's show

Thank you.

Did anyone find out who makes them? They were so pretty and I generally think feathers are kind of gross.

Sorry, no intel on Ashley's shoes.

When it rains, it pours! He gets arrested, pees on himself and gets a divorce. What a rough month.

His lawyer says he did not pee on himself. So, that's on the plus side.

Roxanne, Roxanne, Roxanne. You are a worldly woman and a woman of the world. Yet you seem so naive on this point. Come by my workplace - populated with chronological adults - and some of the attire would cause your eyes to be on stalks. People can be clueless about this stuff. Clueless. And it's very uncomfortable for managers to coach them on attire. Plus in DC it's dangerous because of the Human Rights Law that bans discrimination based on personal appearance.

You may be right --- but while does the burden always seem to fall on the women? Aren't there bigger fish to fry?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher took her husband's name, but he is arguably more famous than she. Two who took and kept their husbands' names (although not the husbands eventually) were Susan Sarandon (I don't know her maiden name) and #99 Barbara (Hall) Feldon, a fellow Carnegie Mellon University graduate. Also Nancy Kovack Mehta, wife of Zubin Mehta, took his name; she was most famous as Medea in Jason & the Argonauts.

Oh, well played. You do know your stuff. Catholic University's own Susan Sarandon was born Susan Tomalin before she married Chris Sarandon and jacked his name and totally eclipsed his career.

I would like to see men sent home for wearing un-ironed shirts. For some reason, I rarely see women looking wrinkly--even young interns--but a surprising amount of men, well into their 30s show up regularly looking like they just rolled out of bed. Run a comb through that hair too, wouldja?

Yeah! Ashley Judd, see what you have to look forward to here?

Eddie Money will be playing the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, PA (home of the Amish Mafia). Ironically AMT is one of the few theaters Jim Nabors appears at anymore. Word is he likes to shop at our outlets. P.S. You can see Lancaster's own Taylor Kinney (Lady Gaga's beau) in Feb. issue of Vogue.

Good to hear from our Lancaster correspondent again.

Well, they could require everybody to wear business suits with long trousers and flat shoes. That would solve the problem of sexism. Men have a far narrower choice of dress under traditional dress codes. It's not like women are supposed to cover up their breasts while the guys are wearing shirts unbuttoned to the waist.

You joke, but that's the ultimate solution to unequal dress codes.

is this some kind of short form poem? this is amazing in that the words make sense and you get the idea, but if you take a step back, it doesn't make any sense.

I know! It's like T.S.  Eliot joined our chat.

At a previous job, I worked with a man with a well known fetish for women's shoes - to the point that I was taken aside and warned about it before we started our first project together. You know how some men look at your chest instead of your face when they talk to you? This guy stared at your feet. You'd better believe any bad news about a project was delivered by me in a pair of knee high, high heeled black boots. It's been a couple of years, but I still think of him whenever I buy work shoes. What made all this particularly weird is that we worked at a shipyard - 90% of employees were wearing steel toed work boots.


I worked at a place where I swear the women who wore low-cut shirts, the highest heels and sexy dresses seemed to get ahead more. I always felt like a churchgirl when I worked there.


sweesh! sweesh! sweesh! sweesh! sweesh! sweesh! sweesh! sweesh!

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! While we're at it, let's ban potato chips from the vending machines.

Dress code: Jammies, fuzzy slippers, no makeup. Life is good.

Love it!

I guess she will be lip syncing the Super Bowl Halftime Show

Lip-syncing at the Super Bowl? Why I never heard of such a thing.

I like it when the women at my work tell me which tie color is better matching with my cloths. I make notes.

Someone else might share those notes with HR -- but I think your attitude is a good one.

No scoop about him directly but his wife, Sheila Kelly (if they're still married, anyway) was on the RHOBH the other night teaching Brandi Glanville how to pole dance. Ah, Hollywood!

I keep forgetting that they're married! But yes, they are, still.

Off hand, can you think of any older actresses who did not get "work" done on their faces? Helen Mirren? Maggie Smith?

Oh, this would be a good question for earlier in a chat. I'm pretty sure Melissa Leo has been keeping it real.

Not if you choose to break the rules. Feminism means being professional, not ignoring rules and using feminism as your excuse. Put on your big girl panties.

Which gets us to a more important question: Is it legal for a private company can set any rules they wish? Including dress? Even if it targets women employees unfairly? If so, than the only choice is whether to work for the company -- or not.

Years ago when I was a paralegal assisting at a criminal trial, several jurors approached me during a break to complain about the unprofessional hairstyle of our female trial attorney. We lost that case and I actually think her hair might have had something do to with it. Crazy but true.

Oh, well, I can see how that would be. Gotta be careful with juries.

Why would we lie to the poor girl? She just had her heart broken!

This is also a topic for earlier in a chat -- but I'd argue that Washington is far, far better place than most. Arguably better than L.A.

Would the problem be solved if we all wore Mao suits to work? I'm sure that the Chinese will be happy to make them for us.

Won't help those trade inbalances.

How were the Inauguration Balls? Besides Amy's high praise of Cheez Its being served

They were, you know . . . they happened. Manuel and Monica did a great overview of the official inaugural balls. There were more highlights from the unofficial balls on the inaugural live blog worth checking out.

Are not just about liability, they're about client perception of the business. For big law firms, accounting firms, consulting firms, etc. if everyone was wearing jeans and flipflops and a client visited, they'd be afraid the client would balk at paying the $500+/hour rates because the people who are going to do the work don't look very professional. I worked at a big consulting firm for years that wouldn't let women wear open toed shoes but said nothing about cleavage. Didn't make sense to me - now that I own my own business, I wear open toed shoes every day from April through October.

Another voice.

I'm the one that often complains about having to wear pantyhose in the office. We can't wear jeans but I sneak by and wear cords. No one notices. Also, black jeans can by black twill pants. Ha!

You outlaw, you.

No, it suggests someone will use that as an excuse.

That's all it is: An excuse. People are responsible for their own actions.

I agree with the poster. Back in the day, DC had lousy food and that place was servicable, but now that DC has so much to offer, it seems so... tired. I got dragged there for a dinner meeting a year ago or so, and sitting in the bar waiting, it was all people who were still holding on to their Dreams of the 90s.

Dreams of the '90s. Sigh.

Don't you mean trade-in balances?

One day I'm going to learn to type.

I work at home, too, but I have to be dressed with shoes on. Otherwise I sit on the couch and read and nothing gets edited. As for actresses keeping it real, I don't think Helen Hunt has had any work done. She looks beautiful...

I think Helen Hunt is absolutely beautiful, for the most part in a very natural way -- but her ultra-smooth forehead (not to mention her bikini area, ahem) was one of the things in "The Sessions" that was not true to to the 1980s setting. And I'm afraid that at the SAGs she looked like she had gone in for a booster shot or three.

... by the Puppy Bowl photos. Why doesn't one of you cover the event next year and get us a report? Also true, cats and hedgehogs love each other - at least ours did. Cats love the hedgehogs on their backs while they sleep!

I've haven't dared open those galleries -- or I'll spend all day staring at puppy cuteness. Really.

Chatters, many thanks for the lively chat. As I said, we've got the start of a best-selling fashion-advice book here. So send your tips, sightings (extra points for a lawyer in a leather bustier) and ideas to Stay dry, stay warm and join us next week. 


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