As a little kiwi girl from the New Zealand version of the suburbs and from a working class family, I was a little like fish out of water when I landed smack dab in a quaint little English pub in an equally little English village in the middle of the Surrey countryside – it really was like something out of Heartbeat or off a chocolate box.
“Uh oh, here come the ladies who lunch.” (think of her name later) murmured out of the side of her mouth as the crunch of tyres on the gravel carpark alerted us to the arrival of a customer. I was perplexed by her announcement of the ‘ladies who lunch’, my brow furrowed; “The ladies who lunch?”
She nodded in the direction of the door which was creaking slowly open. If this were a movie this would be the point where they cued up the dramatic music and wind machine, put the film into slow motion to create a dramatic, intriguing entrance for the leading lady. And intriguing it was. These women came in in a waft of Chanel perfume, dripping in pearls and diamonds bigger than my fist, wearing tea dresses and pushing a designer stroller with a kid decked out in Stella McCartney for Gap Baby.
I turned my back to the door, still eyeing the women in the mirrored bar back. “Who or rather what are the ladies who lunch?”
Cassie, guiding me by the elbow, led me closer to the glass washer and further away from the ladies.
“Ladies who lunch are the yummy mummies. You know the women who are stay at home mummies who have never had to work a day in their lives going from Daddy’s house to hubby’s. They have a ton of money both inherited and from hubby. They meet for lunch to talk babies and to down a bottle of wine...or two.” Her tone was laced with bitterness and something else. Perhaps envy. She thought she sounded all-knowing, I thought she sounded ever so slightly judgemental. Which made me wonder why do we judge and critise what we don’t necessarily understand?
A few moments later as I poured one of the yummy mummies a large glass of pinot and explained to her where I was from and how I’d wound up in this part of England, she hiked the kid attached to her hip up, smiled and said; “That’s great! I’m so envious, I love my life but there are moments where I wish I’d taken time out to see the world before I settled down and had babies.” There was a pause as a wistful expression clouded her face, “Make sure you do Rome, it’s supposed to be exquisite.”
As she walked away I realised that perhaps the grass is always greener on the other side and while we covet others lives or pieces of their lives perhaps they’re looking at ours and secretly wishing they had what we had.