“Here’s to the ladies who lunch–everybody laugh. Lounging in their caftans and planning a brunch on their own behalf. Off to the gym, then to a fitting, claiming they’re fat. And looking grim ’cause they’ve been sitting choosing a hat. Does anyone still wear a hat? I’ll drink to that.”- “Ladies Who Lunch” from “Company.”
It wasn’t until I started waiting tables on the Upper East Side that I got a special glimpse into the world of the Ladies Who Lunch. When I was younger and just getting acclimated into the adult world, I used to think that being a lady of leisure would be The Life. Who wouldn’t want to spend the day shopping, meeting friends for a long lunch with cocktails, visiting the spa, maybe working out with a personal trainer here and there. That seemed to be the ideal way to pass the time.
Now, after spending a good part of a year amongst the Ladies Who Lunch, I’m not so sure I’d want any of that. In fact, I can say for certain, I do not want to be a lady who lunches. I’d rather be a Lady Who Works Very Hard and Starts Her Own Company than a lady of leisure.
For starters, it was a little hard at first to adjust to the way I was viewed as a server by some of these Ladies Who Lunch. After sharing the daily specials, I often wanted to add, “I’m not your little servant girl and you don’t need to feel sorry for me. I don’t envy you or your crying baby. I actually went to graduate school. I’m just looking to make extra money.”
Second, I didn’t know it was possible to have so many different water orders at one table. I’ll have sparkling water, but not I’m not sure what she’ll have. Or my favorite, one person would order water with no ice, another would order water with ice, a third would order water with no ice, but with a lemon, and the fourth water with ice and all of the bar fruits.
I quickly found that iced tea and Pinot Grigio were the two staple drinks among Ladies Who Lunch. I often marveled at how fast some of these women could suck down iced tea. Some days, it was impossible to keep up.
I’ve also never seen so many crazy strollers in my life. Where do people find these things? The latest strollers look more like monster trucks and less like efficient ways to transport babies around town. Speaking of children, I’m so glad my parents taught me never to scream or throw my food at a restaurant when I was young. That is something I will be sure to pass along to my children.
Finally, I would like you to know, Ladies Who Lunch, that none of you are fat. Not a single one of you. When you go out for lunch, you don’t need to split a salad five ways. It’s okay if you order your own meal. Also, feel free to eat a roll here and there. I promise it won’t hurt you.
My waiting tables days have ended and I must say, it’s been fun, Ladies Who Lunch! I appreciate all the life lessons you’ve inadvertently taught me over your chopped salads and glasses of wine. This is by far the most important thing I learned: