07/22/2013 09:05 am ET Updated Sep 21, 2013

Leopard is the New Black and 6 Other Things I Learned Eating Lunch


My kids are leaving the nest, so I go out to lunch now and again with grown-ups to try and remember what life was like before chicken nuggets. Last week I ate lunch with two friends who are writers, both of whom happen to be men. We went to La Madeleine, a popular French bistro chain, where the servers wear those big poufy hats. Here's what I learned:

1. Leopard print is the new black. It must be. I saw it on women's sandals, purses, blouses and pants. It was paired with other prints, with solids, with more leopard prints. It looked sexy. It looked bold. It looked to be in fashion, or maybe I just time-travelled to Florida (no offense, Florida). Regardless, I felt underdressed, and definitely did not get the memo. At what age do you start to get the memo?

2. You can have a nice tush when you're over 50. There were some very nice tushes in line waiting to get their lunch. I know because I was sitting on a bench waiting for one of my friends and I was like, right there, at eye level -- so trust me I couldn't avoid noticing. I tried because I really wanted to see what desserts were in the dessert case, but my view was obscured by all those tushes. They defied the stereotype of older women sagging here, there, and everywhere. They're rockin' 50-plus. It's inspiring.

3. I've always known that women have a lot of things in their purse "just in case," because I too subscribe to the notion that you can never be too prepared, but I never knew that an electronic card shuffler was one of those things. Now I do. And that women whip them out to play cards after lunch at certain places where salads are served.

4. Men are eating lunch somewhere else. Presumably somewhere with less sunshine, more TV screens with sports on them, that serve more MEAT, usually with barbeque sauce. Maybe that's just Texas, but I don't think so. All told, I saw maybe two men in this place, in addition to the two men I was with, which by the way, made four men in a restaurant with maybe 100 women, mostly eating salads. Either the men there were very smart, or they had no choice. After all, we women can be VERY persuasive. Especially if we're wearing leopard prints. Grrr.

5. If you're a woman and you try to pull two small tables together that may potentially block an emergency exit, all the women at nearby tables will tell you that you cannot block an emergency exit. Then they will stare you down until you find another spot. Grrr.

6. Soup does not fill you up. But since everyone else is eating salads, you may feel guilty for wanting to eat pastries afterwards. So instead, you will go home and eat two ice-cream sandwiches. And follow it with a large glass of milk. But you will still remember the soup fondly. And you'll decide that next time you visit, you'll wear something leopardy and tap into your inner animal which will make you feel bolder about ordering a pastry, even though someone may be sitting on a bench and surveying your tush.

7. I'm sure cavewomen paid attention to their feet, buffing their calloused heels with a T-Rex molar, but today's women have stepped up their game. I saw nails of every color, with sparkles, with patterns, and not a corn to be seen. Even (of course) leopard print. These are not my grandmother's toes. Go ahead, do a Google image search for "pretty toenail designs." You won't believe it.


Earlier on Huff/Post50:

5 Tips For Empty Nesters With Newly Empty Nests