Ladies Who Lunch

Before you judge, understand the relevance of today’s ladies who meet to nosh at noon.

“Ladies who lunch?” Me? A lady who lunches? I think not. I’m no Desperate Housewife. I’m no Real Housewife either. Truth be told, I’m not even married. Have a boyfriend, though. He’s the one who does the lunching. And I’m not the woman Sondheim was referring to when he wrote “The Ladies Who Lunch” for his 1970 musical, Company. Though I do find this excerpt from his lyrics amusing:

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 

I also was amused by Amy Poehler’s parody of the subject on SNL. In the skit, a group of NYC Upper Eastside women are gathered. Kristen Wiig is regaling the ladies with a story about buying her new Chanel suit when Amy enters wearing an impossibly tiny hat. Kristen is enraged that her designer suit has been upstaged by something so ridiculous. And it goes on from there, showing us a series of lunches where Kristen, trying not to be outshined, dons her own tiny hat, only for Amy’s to get smaller and smaller until it’s literally microscopic. Ultimately she too becomes microscopic, leaving Kristin nowhere to go in her one-upping. 

All in all, a hilarious commentary on “ladies who lunch,” and their traditions fueled by an excess of time and money.

But that was a sketch—an absurdist, exaggerated cliché of a certain kind of woman. I cannot relate. At all. But what I can relate to is female friendship and how much it means to me. The reality is, I spend a lot of time with my lady friends. I just don’t do it between 12 and 2. Rather, our gatherings happen over drinks, and more often over dinners. Why? Because most of my friends are working women who don’t come up for air till at least 5 p.m. 

I not only cherish these gatherings, but I see them as necessary. Do I jest when I point a finger at my sisters who have time to meet while the sun is shining? Yup. And does that make me some kind of hypocrite since I do the same thing at a different time of day? Perhaps. But it does not take away from what’s at the heart of the matter. We ladies need each other. Now, in this post-Roe v. Wade world, more than ever. We must unite; our voices must be heard. If these conversations happen amid talk of Chanel suits and tiny hats, so be it. 

Female camaraderie and empowerment are a means to an end, ladies. Bottom line. It has to be. No matter if that camaraderie happens at drinks, dinner, or God help me, lunch. 

Chloe King is a writer who lives with her boyfriend and two sons in Sherman Oaks.