This is one of those days when I just want to end my successful shopping experience by dining at one of my favorite bistros with great French food, a delicious bottle of wine and prime seating for optimal people watching. I love to dine with friends and family but today was not one of those days. I just want to feel the cool refreshing breeze blowing off the gulf coast and be alone with my thoughts without the incessant chatter of a companion. I arrive at my favorite bistro just before the lunch crowed descends upon this little piece of heaven. With this being the ideal weather to sit outdoors, the hostess seats me at one of the tables, under a luscious palm tree, for shading. I breathe a sigh of contentment as I take in the scenic view around me. There is soft music filtering through the restaurant and I sit back to enjoy my own company. The waiter, Jon, brings me the wine list. He offers to take my shopping bags and hold them at coat check but I quickly seared him with a look that indicated that he had taken leave of his senses. He quietly slinks away from my stinging glare, now skittish from my obvious displeasure. To think that he actually thought that I wanted to part with my precious shopping bootie. Pfft! As if!!
As I peruse the menu, in walks (for the sake of this post we’ll name them Biff and Lolita) the couple from hell. They were loud, obnoxious and grating against the backdrop of this fabulous establishment. You could feel the mood of the surrounding tables change as Biff and Lolita decide to make their presence known. She, reminiscent of Peggy Bundy from that series, “Married with Children”, he, a facsimile of Homer Simpson but with freshly grown turf on top. I try not to stare, as does everyone else but it is fascinating, this spectacle they are putting on. It’s like a train wreck waiting to happen. Her screeching tone jarred my teeth, as she dressed down poor Biff. I pretend to be engrossed in my menu as she berates him about his overactive libido. His what??!??! Since when is this appropriate conversation in such a public place? And why, oh why, must they do this now? I try to soothe my nerves by taking a sip of my wine but it goes down like vinegar. I feel unsettled by these two.
Now I realize that I’m quite persnickety about the restaurants I frequent and my standards may seem impossibly high to some but my expectation is that if I’m going to spend an obscene amount of money in an upscale restaurant, I would hope that the individuals who patronize this restaurant will not have been raised by farm animals. Biff and Lolita acted as if they had no concept of proper dining etiquette and worse yet it seemed like Lolita was enjoying this vulgar behavior and the attention she was garnering.
That was it for me. My peace and tranquility shattered, I ask the waiter for the check. I notice that others are doing the same. Honestly, if I want drama, I could be in the comfort of my own home, watching reality TV. And THIS was a bit too much reality for me. With shopping bags in hand, I was out the door without a backward glance. Sigh. I guess I was only meant to have a liquid lunch today.
Fabulous Friday’s always start with a bang when the clock strikes five, especially when it’s girl’s night out. I make a mad dash for my car and leave the doldrums of my office life behind, in a swirl of white dust. Plans have been set with the elegant eight and my car is put into high gear so that I can get home in time to refresh and de-ugly. Pity though that I waste half of my life pining away for the weekend’s but the truth of the matter is that I have yet to reach that special sweet spot where my work is pure pleasure and so….. until then, bring on the delightful bubbly and let’s shake that job right out of my hair (well, at least for the weekend anyway).
What to wear? What to wear? This is my dilemma EVERY Friday night. Hmm. Are we going for chic and elegant or cool and hip? Nothing in my closet screams “wear me” so on occasion I must place a quick call to one of the chica’s for their fashionista input. And to that end, I call Becca. Becca is a picture of pure fabulousness and her motto is “Why age gracefully when there is Botox?” She makes no bones about telling us what’s in or what’s definitely out and for the evening’s festivities, who better to call? I dial her number and she answers the phone as though she has just run a marathon or heaven knows what else she has been up to and to boot I can distinctly hear Disco music pounding in the background. “Becca‘s house of pleasure”, she answered. “Becca, you crazy woman, what are you doing and what is with the 70s tunes?”, I asked. She laughs that Betty Rubble laugh of hers and proceeds to tell me that she is feeling a little retro tonight and has decided to mark the occasion with some Disco classics and some Boogie Oogie Oogie. Now Becca is the kind of girlfriend that any woman would want as a friend. Not only is she a total renaissance woman but she is loyal to a fault and always sees her glass half full. With Becca, it’s hard to have a bad day.
I told her to get her quirky back side to my house pronto, that I was having a fashion crisis. She sighed dramatically and said she would be over as soon as she waxed, plucked, dyed and scrubbed. “But you just dyed your hair last week”, I groaned. And without missing a beat she matter-of-factly stated that it was not the hair on her head that she was dying and that she was going to dye it with a product called Betty something or other. I stared at my cell phone in disbelief. I brought the phone back to my ear and asked her if she had lost her mind? She laughed and hung up. A million things raced through my mind. How would her ‘hub’ react to this new – ahem – neon pink enhancement? Would he laugh as soon as Becca sashayed into the bedroom in her birthday suit or would he hit the MP3 for a little love groove? Now, I thought my ‘going out’ rituals were insane but Becca took it to a totally new level. Her antics never cease to amaze me.
Finally, Becca felt she would grace the public with her presence and showed up at my house as though the paparazzi were waiting for her arrival. When I opened the door, I shook my head in amusement, as she breezed by me in an aromatic haze of Chanel. “Chica, did you bathe in that perfume?” I asked. “Nonsense”, she said. “Don’t be silly. I just did a light spritz.” I looked at her, amazed that she is so blissfully unaware of how over the top she really is but perhaps that is one of the things I love so much about her; her carefree attitude, her joie de vivre, her fearlessness, and of course her fantastic ability to accessorize. I always know that she has the gift of throwing together the right outfits so I just humor her Royal Highness. Heh!
By 8:00 p.m., the eight of us meet at some new swanky lounge and restaurant. We decide to share a few apps and have lovely cocktails while we enjoy the sounds of a smooth jazz group. We talk, we share, and we complete each other’s sentences. We dissect every issue and celebrate every victory. As I look around our table, at each and every woman, I give thanks for the beauty that each one brings into my life. Girlfriend’s can enrich your life and every woman deserves a BFF. Friday night’s are great for dates with your significant other but when you need to decompress and exhale, pick up the hot line, send out the distress call because it’s time for a girl’s night out.