Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ladies who lunch, and J.K. fries

Some of you are probably wondering what the hell I'm still doing in Toronto. This year off was about travelling, wasn't it?

Well, I alluded to some of what I've been up to in a earlier post (knocking off every single thing that has been lingering on my to-do list for years). But I've been having fun as well as being practical, too. This is a great city when you have time to enjoy it!

I got a glimpse one day of what my life might be like if I suddenly became independently wealthy and didn't ever have to work for a living. Because I was Toronto Symphony Orchestra subscriber last year, they invited me to their launch at Roy Thomson Hall of the 2010-11 season. On a whim, I opted to go; as well as the scoop on next season, we were also invited to stay for a rehearsal, which I was curious to see.

I wasn't exactly the norm for attendees at this event; there was a guy sitting next to me who summed it up succinctly when he stage-whispered to me "You know, between us we bring down the average age in the room by about 30 years." Makes sense, I suppose, since most people my age or younger would generally have to be at work at this time of day; if you're older and retired you have the time to go to these things, and if you're wealthy and not required to work at all, even better.

So I was quite a bit less glossy than most of the women there. I have moments from time to time when I go all out with hair and make-up and coordinated outfits (including, of course, fabulous shoes), but mostly I live in jeans and boots when I don't have to go in to the office. Most of the other women there, however, were done up to the nines: perfect sleek bobs (expensively cut and styled), understatedly elegant suits, conservative but expensive shoes, and make-up so expertly applied that they scarcely looked made up. A few looked me up and down in what might have registered as horror if they weren't so terribly gracious and soignee.

I realized as I talked to some of them that these were all women who were wealthy and professionally-social: the ladies who lunch. I'd never actually encountered the breed before, and they're interesting to observe in a pack. I almost wished I'd dressed up as well so I could attempt to infiltrate and learn first-hand what it was like to be one of them.

I have always worked for a living. Everyone I know works for a living. Most of us come from comfortable backgrounds with parents in professional occupations, but we didn't grow up rich. Some of us now have reasonably well-remunerated careers and can afford to indulge ourselves (gourmet restaurants for the foodies, Jimmy Choo stilettos for those with a shoe fetish). But we still have to work for it -- it doesn't get handed to us on a platter, silver or otherwise.

These women had a completely different attitude. The sheer sense of entitlement that radiated from them was almost palpable; I'm sure it never crossed the minds of most of them that they would ever have to worry about a paycheck. I can't quite imagine what it would be like to have a life made up of charity lunches, spa days and regular salon appointments, couture-buying trips to New York and patron-of-the-arts events like the TSO launch.

It definitely isn't me. I'm not sure I want to go back to schlepping into an office every day, but I do know myself well enough to know that I have to have a challenging job of some kind. That doesn't necessarily mean climbing the corporate ladder or making tons of money; it means something that I find stimulating and stretches my abilities.

But it was kind of fun having a glimpse into that other world.

My version of being a "lady who lunches" was to take myself to Hank's afterwards for a scrumptious sandwich and some of Jamie Kennedy's imcomparable fries. That's as glossy as I need to get.


  1. Sounds like a lovely day! Check out the Gilead for more of Jamie's delish eats. Sadly he sold off Hank's :(

  2. Love the Gilead ... favourite spot for weekend brunch!