?`s and ANNEswers

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The Ladies Who Lunch

In 1970, Stephen Sondheim’s musical, “Company,” debuted on Broadway. The plot revolved around the lives of several couples and one single man with girlfriends. Elaine Stritch played Joanne, one of the marrieds, who sings a song that skewers high society ladies who do nothing but lunch, go to shows, have fittings, and maybe once in a while see the inside of a gym. They find this routine exhausting.

I went to lunch with some lady friends today at the local Papa Vino’s. I wouldn’t call any of us high society; none of us showed up weighted down in jewels, white gloves, and a hat. For one thing this is Michigan in November. For another, we are all retired women who had long, stressful careers with little time to practice for a three hour mid-day snack.

But our time together reminded me of Stritch’s performance of “The Ladies Who Lunch.” I watched it again on YouTube and marveled at the cynicism displayed not only in the lyrics but also in the singer’s delivery. I realize it was a performance, but I’m not sure I’d have been as critical as she was.

Recalling this, however, made me enjoy the luncheon I attended even more.

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