Ladies Who Lunch

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Earlier this fall, I saw a flyer about a weekday luncheon to benefit our library, featuring several interesting speakers. I bought a rather pricey ticket without a thought about attending the event by myself. As luck would have it, my name did not appear on the guest list, so I was offered a handwritten stick-on name tag and assigned to table 45. 

As I entered the large, elegant dining room, I saw there were exactly 45 tables, each elaborately set for ten people. Unfortunately, no one else was sitting at my table. I sat down until salads were served and then casually approached a nearby table that had four empty chairs. 

“Excuse me, ladies,” I said to the round table of perfectly coifed women. “I’ve been assigned to a table alone, and I see you have some empty seats. Would you mind if I joined you?” 

Three of the women stared directly into their salads. The other three looked at me as if I had wandered in off the street pushing a grocery cart filled with my belongings. Glaring suspiciously at my handwritten name tag, one woman said, “All of these seats are taken.” Another asked incredulously, “You came alone?” Without looking up at me, a third said, “You should probably talk to someone in charge.” 

Really, ladies? 

I suddenly felt I had lunch duty in a middle school cafeteria. I choked back the standard lecture I would have given preteens. At that moment, there was a gentle tap on my arm. “We have an empty seat at our table,” a lady cheerfully said with a smile. “Please join us.” 

I enjoyed a pleasant conversation with Tess and the other women at the table. The food was delicious. The speakers were enlightening, and I was happy to contribute to the library. Above all, the afternoon brought to mind a few valuable lessons in loveliness.  

Enjoy Your Own Company. This experience only strengthened my will to occasionally go places alone. Going to a movie, a restaurant, or a lecture by yourself is a chance to spend quality time with someone pretty special. Plus, it emboldens other women to do the same.

Know What You Bring to the Table. Never question your worth. Have confidence in yourself. If someone doesn’t treat you with courtesy or respect, it says nothing about you. It says an awful lot about them though. 

Don’t Be a Mean Girl. It’s too bad some women still haven’t learned this lesson. Leaving people out, gossiping, and putting others down is bratty and childish. Without exception, strong women lift each other up. 

Be Like Tess. Had this sweet lady not come to my rescue, I would have retreated to table 45 feeling disappointed in womankind. Instead, Tess reminded me of the power of kindness and grace and left me feeling encouraged that there exists in our world so many lovely people. 

“The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all, be humble.” ~ Serena Williams

Think On These Things ~ Alicia

 

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2 comments

  1. As the Brits would say, I was gobsmacked by the behavior at the first table you approached. When I encounter or observe behavior like this, I wonder “why?”. Were they the mean girls in school, or bullied and are now turning the tables as adults? Oh yes, lack of manners and old-fashioned courtesy has nothing to do with you…it’s all about the little meanness inside them. Would that we all strive to be ladylike, gracious and classy. Very good post…glad you prevailed…excellent points for handling any situation.

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  2. Donna, I must admit, at my first attempt in writing this, I focused on how appalled and hurt I was by those ladies, but I decided to change my focus. I hopeI’m never caught behaving so ungraciously. At another time in my life, I would have ending up sobbing in the loo!

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