Jackie Collins Heats up our Etiquette Segment

The always entertaining best-selling novelist advises our listeners on their particularly cheeky questions about lost underwear and a stolen microwave.

Photo Credit: Lorin Davis

Brendan Francis Newnam: Here to tell us how to behave is one of our favorites, Jackie Collins. She’s the author of 30 New York Times best-selling novels. More than 500 million of her books have been sold.

Her latest is called “The Santangelos,” and it is the conclusion to her “Santangelos” series — 10 books that follow the Santangelo crime family from the ’20s to the present. Lucky Santangelo is the female hero of the series, and this edition features drug kingpins, rich royalty from the Middle East, and, of course, gorgeous models.

Rico Gagliano: Ah, yes.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Jackie–

Jackie Collins: We always have to have gorgeous models. I put them in just for you two (laughs).

Rico Gagliano: Aw, thanks.

Brendan Francis Newnam: We appreciate it. Welcome back to the show.

Jackie Collins: Oh, thank you. It’s good to be here. Last time, we were on stage, which was fun.

Rico Gagliano: Yes, you were part of our live show in L.A.–

Jackie Collins: Yeah! That live show is great.

Rico Gagliano: –Where you were also offering etiquette advice.

Brendan Francis Newnam: We ruined some marriages and inspired some marriages that night.

(Credit Bill Youngblood / SCPR)
Rich Sommer, Jackie Collins, Brendan and Rico at last year’s live show. (Credit Bill Youngblood / SCPR)

Rico Gagliano: That’s right.

Jackie Collins: I think I inspire women. I mean, I was thinking lately — and I don’t know if you guys have noticed this — but whatever happened to foreplay?

Brendan Francis Newnam: Well…

Rico Gagliano: Well, let’s just start the conversation that way (laughs).

Jackie Collins: Yeah, let’s just get right into it!

You know, if you look at television and movies now, there’s this absolute scene that goes on: These two people look at each other. There’s a wild look in both their eyes, and she rips his shirt off… and that’s it. Then they’re on the bed doing it. And I’m like, “What the hell happened here?”

Rico Gagliano: That’s — I don’t know. I don’t know what happened to America.

Brendan Francis Newnam: And I will say, it’s expensive on the shirts. You know, keeping having to replace shirts, get the buttons redone.

Jackie Collins: But usually, the guy takes the girl’s shirt off. Now, the girl is so busy ripping off his shirt. Is it because they’ve suddenly got all these abs?

Brendan Francis Newnam: Perhaps she’s hungry for the abs. Well, your books talk about foreplay and what happens after foreplay, but another thing you’re known for is writing about the lifestyles of the rich and the infamous. You’ve been covering this for years. How do today’s rich differ from the ones you wrote about years ago?

Jackie Collins: Oh, well, I think they’re all doing the wrong thing. They’re all so greedy, and I just wait every day to see who’s going to be the new sex scandal.

Rico Gagliano: Wait a minute now. There weren’t sex scandals–

Jackie Collins: Well, there were, but they were kind of like, you know, relegated to Errol Flynn chasing 14-year-old girls. I think I was one of them.

Rico Gagliano: My gosh! Is that true?

Jackie Collins: It is true. He was chasing me. It will be in my autobiography, which I’m still writing.

Rico Gagliano: I know.

Jackie Collins: I know I tell you about it every time, but I’m just up to where I’m like, a crazy 15-year-old. So much happened.

Rico Gagliano: Actually, something that’s interesting to me, I was reading an interview with you, and it said that you consider yourself not that social a person, more of a wallflower. That surprises me.

Jackie Collins: Yeah. No, not a wallflower. What the fuck is a wallflower? Excuse my French. Not a wallflower.

Brendan Francis Newnam: She’s an observer.

Jackie Collins: Anthropologist who crawls along the walls of Hollywood, watching what the 1 percent do.

No, do you know what a wallflower is?

Rico Gagliano: Well…

Jackie Collins: Somebody who can’t get laid.

Rico Gagliano: Is that what it is? I just thought it was somebody who’s, like, scared to get on the dance floor.

Jackie Collins: Well, my husband owned discotheques for years.

Rico Gagliano: So, you were not afraid.

Jackie Collins: I would watch these people who were on the dance floor, and then I became very afraid because you’ve never seen people make such fools of themselves in your lives!

Rico Gagliano: Speaking of people making fools of themselves…

Jackie Collins: Yes.

Rico Gagliano: Why don’t we read you some of our listeners’ etiquette questions?

Jackie Collins: OK, I want to hear them.

Should you ask a party host about your lost undergarments?

Brendan Francis Newnam: Alright. This question comes from Stan in Milwaukee. Stan writes: “Is it proper to ask the host of the previous evening’s party if they happened to find your undergarments?”

Rico Gagliano: Happens all the time.

Jackie Collins: It happens all the time, and you just have to buy new ones. You don’t know what kind of a party you were at. I mean, they could give you somebody else’s.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah.

Rico Gagliano: That’s true.

Jackie Collins: You could get J. Lo’s thong. You never know what you’re going to get.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah, I think you’re right. I think even if you’re the host, and you find undergarments, you just throw them away.

Rico Gagliano: If you lost your undergarments, just consider them gone.

Jackie Collins: And move on. Thank you.

What do you do if someone spills wine on your dress at a dinner party?

Rico Gagliano: Alright, here’s one from Cathy in Brooklyn. Cathy writes: “Jackie Collins, you’re at a dinner in your honor…”

Jackie Collins: Yeah.

Rico Gagliano: “…Someone passes by you and accidentally spills their wine on your stunning dress just as you’re about to go onstage to make a speech. Your dress is ruined. What do you do?”

Jackie Collins: Well, now, if it’s a woman that spilled it on me, I’d change dresses with her instantly — if she’s got a decent dress on. If it’s a guy, I say, give me your jacket.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Oh.

Jackie Collins: And I’d put the jacket on.

Brendan Francis Newnam: That’s smart.

Jackie Collins: And, you know, the show must go on.

Rico Gagliano: And the people of course, they’ve just wronged you, so of course they’ll do anything they can.

Jackie Collins: Exactly.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Do you change the dress publicly or do you retire to…?

Jackie Collins: You retire to the ladies’ room.

Brendan Francis Newnam: OK.

Jackie Collins:Yeah, what do you think, I’m going to do a striptease in the middle of everybody?


Brendan Francis Newnam: I don’t know, Jackie. I’m reading your book here. It’s in front of me. That doesn’t seem like it’s something that’s never crossed your mind.

Jackie Collins: No, that’s my characters. That’s Willow Price, my favorite new character.

Brendan Francis Newnam: It is Willow Price. Can I quickly ask, what is — the name Willow Price — where do these names come from?

Jackie Collins: I don’t know. Really, they just come to me. You know, I thought Willow Price, it kind of summed her up. You know, she’s a willow.

Brendan Francis Newnam: A bad girl actress.

Jackie Collins: She’s a bad girl actress who got a million DUIs, and — she’s not based on anybody, I promise — but she’s based on a bunch of them. And she’s my favorite new character because she’s so ambitious, and yet you can see that she’s really just a poor little girl trying to make it in the movie business.

Rico Gagliano: Oh, so Willow. You know, she’s brittle, and yet it’s a tree at the same time.

Jackie Collins: Exactly, yes, and all the guys want to climb this tree.

Brendan Francis Newnam: OK!

Rico Gagliano: Alright.

Jackie Collins: OK, moving right along.

What do you do when your friend steals from the host of a dinner party?

Brendan Francis Newnam: Alright, now we covered that. Next question comes from Brendan — not me, but Brendan in Ireland. Brendan writes: “I was in college in Dublin doing post-grad work. One of our friends invited us over for dinner. I asked if I could bring my friend. A great night was had, so great I can’t remember specifics…”

Rico Gagliano: Nice.

Brendan Francis Newnam: “…Next evening, I visited that same friend, who proudly showed me the host’s microwave oven, which he somehow took leaving the party. To my eternal shame, I condoned this theft by my silence. What course of action should I have taken?”

Jackie Collins: Oh, my God!

Rico Gagliano: Listen to these listeners. They’re losing their undergarments at parties, they’re stealing things.

Jackie Collins: If you’re going to steal something, I wouldn’t steal a microwave oven.

Rico Gagliano: It’s worth $5 now.

Jackie Collins: I mean, I’d steal a signed Jackie Collins book, maybe.

Rico Gagliano: Yeah, sure, something of value.

Jackie Collins: Or a bottle of scotch or–

Brendan Francis Newnam: Or Stan’s undergarments.

Jackie Collins: Yeah, I know. No, I think he should’ve told the host. I think he should’ve said, “Hey, by the way, we’ve got your microwave.”

Rico Gagliano: Yeah, but probably, the host would be glad to get rid of that thing. My guess is they bought it in the ’80s.

Jackie Collins:God knows what went on in that microwave.

Rico Gagliano: That’s true. They’re never clean, anyway. They’re probably happy to be rid of it.

Jackie Collins: No, exactly.

Rico Gagliano: And if they’re not, just bring it back, right?

Jackie Collins: Yeah.

Brendan Francis Newnam: So, basically, Brendan should have felt eternal shame. Alright, I think this is a good place to stop.

Jackie Collins: Yeah.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Jackie Collins, thank you so much for once again, I think, telling our audience how to behave.

Jackie Collins: And thank you, guys.