Tomorrow I am going to a Ladies Lunch.
I can’t decide whether I ought to be excited (all the new friends I’ll make!) or anxious (what shall I wear? What shall I say? What if nobody wants to sit next to me?)
I am not very practiced in the art of Lunching. Once upon a time, a long time ago, when I lived in Northern Tanzania, before I relocated to the Outpost, I was on the periphery of a circle of women who Lunched. Actually not so much on the periphery as over the edge: I wasn’t ever invited which was as well for, on reflection, I probably didn’t have enough in common with any of them to sustain a conversation (I wasn’t Tiger Mother enough; didn’t own a single piece of Prada and couldn’t tell the difference between Gucci glasses and stuck-in-a-traffic-jam rip-offs?). And certainly not enough to prevent me from running out of things to say during an interminable meal where nobody ate anything but rocket salad (having pushed it around their plates 497 times) and nobody drank anything but mineral water or sugar-less black coffee. Did they all go home, afterwards, I wondered, and stuff their beautifully made up, unlined faces with chocolate biscuits and cheese sandwiches washed down with three-spoon builder’s tea? They were all immaculately dressed – it would have taken me a lifetime to turn myself into a tidy approximation of any of them and my bedroom (for I lacked an apparently essential dimension in a Dressing Room) would have looked as if 106 tornadoes had ripped through it. No sign of sweat or dust or creases (primarily because they supervised the laundry and the air conditioning in their new Toyota Pradas worked). They never wore shorts with holes in them or went barefoot or left home without any make up on or let their dogs sleep on their beds.
I only know two of the ladies with whom I will lunch tomorrow. I know they wear shorts because I have dog walked with them – none of us wore more than sunblock on our faces – and I think their shorts, like mine, might also have holes in them. I suspect their dogs might sleep on their beds because post walk and after a pond swim, a polar-bear proportioned and sponge wet Retriever hopped onto the rear seat of his mistresses car with an air that suggested he was accustomed to such comforts. Even if the Lunching Ladies of my past ever walked their dogs, I doubt they allowed them into their cars unless firmly secured in a cage in the back.
I can’t be certain but I have a hunch that my distant past and recent history conspire to suggest this lunching experience might be friendlier, warmer, louder?
And we might even get something to eat.