Do you remember the day I got engaged? If you just answered with the most emphatic "um, no, internet stranger, I don't even have a godforsaken clue when that was nor do I give a flying [beep]" then we'd make good friends. Of course you don't remember that. But the long summary/pics are in this post HERE as a refresher. But besides the fact that a man asked me to marry him on that sweet November day, something else happened that I'll never forget: An old money, upper east side woman thought I was a proper lady who lunches.
[I'll let that sink in to all the catty people who know how cool that is]
It was maybe one of the happiest moments of my entire life and one that I'll carry with me forever.
may does sound shallow and ridiculous but I cannot count the ways that I don't care.
See before we actually got engaged, Jay took me to Bergdorf Goodman for a fancy lunch to get the day started at an exciting pace. I had found BG's restaurant online and wooed over the regal chairs and the decadent tea sandwich platters. Jay saw my eyes light up as I looked at the pics online and knew it was the perfect way to set the tone for the day.
Upon arrival to the department store (which houses the eatery), we scurried into the elevator to head upstairs to the cafe. We were joined by two other people. One man in Levi's and a fleece, winter jacket. And a woman, who I noticed right away. She was probably upwards of 75, with a ravenous red-haired bob that encircled her snow-white, perfectly adorned face. She sported a large, poofy jacket and topped it off with a deep, forest-green hat. Her bright lipstick earned my immediate notice and admiration. She screamed NYC old money. And seeing how it was Tuesday at about 11:30 AM, I could tell right away that she was heading up to be a lady who lunches after being one for quite sometime.
^What the SF Ladies Who Lunch look like
When we reached the floor, the four of us (Jay, Me, Guy in Jeans, Fahhhncy Lady) all exited with the man leading the pack. As he turned into the restaurant with us falling in line behind him, Fahhhncy Lady turned around to Jay and me and said: "You can always tell the out-of-towners. We [while motioning to Jay, Me & herself] would know better than to wear those jeans here for weekday tea. Have they no respect?"
And with that, her flouncy little hat and judgmental demeanor continued on into the cafe for presumably one of hundreds of Tuesday lunches she had had here. Jay, of course, was amused by how rude she was about others' clothes but all I could do was shush him. No, Jay. I don't care that she's a mean, old, rich lady. She thought that I was well on my way to being one myself. Do you even understand how awesome that is?
He did not. But a few days later when I found myself seated back at my desk for work in Portland, my favorite jacket I was wearing when she saw me hung back up in the closet and my work suit on and ready to go - I thought glumly of my NYC engagement day and wondered how it was gone so fast. My carriage had turned back into a pumpkin. Real life beckoned.
But at least, at least, as far as that fashionably crotchety old lady knew, I was somewhere else in the upper east side, picking out my next dress and gloves for my daily lunching date. She knew because she thought that I was just like her. A seasoned New Yorker thought that for half a second. And hey, that was enough semblance of contentment to get me through that day.
I really do love big cities - largely because of the cast of characters they come with.