Women: Unsolved Mysteries

Since I have written about men and their various idiosyncrasies several times, I felt that I should shift gears and focus on women. After all, I am an equal opportunity observer.

I recently had the pleasure of sharing a dinner table with three lovely ladies, including my now eighty-one year old mother. The occasion was her birthday and the feast unfolded in a very proper venue, which means that it offered more than one fork.

I have noticed a common thread that precedes all social gatherings when females are involved. There is one question that echoes from the lips of many a gal for weeks, days, hours and sometimes minutes before the event. Phone calls are placed, emails are sent, telegrams are used and smoke signals are launched in order for one woman to ask another that age old question: “What are you going to wear?”

Why is this so important? Are women striving to dress alike? Do they want to make sure that they are color coordinated? Are they secretly trying to one up each other? Will the earth stop rotating if one woman wears a dress and another—gasp—shows up in slacks? I just don't understand the whole what to wear saga.

Perhaps the reason for my confusion is my limited choice when it comes to this particular dilemma. I have described in previous columns that I am not known for my fashionability, (yes, I know that isn't a word), and would be thrilled to the marrow if I could forever exhibit cotton purple lounging pants and a multicolored flannel shirt. Nonetheless, I do possess an outfit or two, as my job dictates, and have been known to wear something socially acceptable every now and then.

My birthday gal is never too sure what I might do, or wear, as is illustrated below.

Mother was itching to ask the infamous question several days in advance of the dinner. She is very transparent and is terrible at being nonchalant but tried, nonetheless. This occurred when I came face to face with her while wearing my Mayberry sweat shirt, baggy jeans, hippie shoes and red plaid flannel coat. She “jokingly” asked if I was going to display that particular combo during her birthday dinner. Her laugh was not convincing and I recognized the terror in her eyes. It was crystal clear that she wanted to ask, “What are you going to wear?” Instead of doing so, she tested a new approach just hours before the festivities.

I answered the phone to the following: “I will pick you up at 3:10. I'm wearing a black skirt, jacket and high heels,” said Mother. “That's nice Mother,” said Lisa. (I just love these mind games!) By now, she was certainly in frenzy mode, as she feverishly reached for her stockings.

I guess I dressed accordingly, since Mother's windshield fogged up immediately when she spotted me in my driveway. This was, no doubt, due to her giant sigh of relief.

I realize that I mentioned at the beginning of this piece just ONE common thread but indulge me for just a wee longer, if you will.

Once all women are on the same page in terms of the wardrobe choice, have landed at the table and have been presented with menus, another issue surfaces.

One turns to another or addresses the group as a whole with: “What are you going to have?”

When I was a waitress, I wanted to shriek the following at the top of my lungs: “Who cares what she's having? Get what you want!!”

This particular question isn't limited to other women, by the by, but is used in mixed company, as well. This is especially true from wife to husband, girlfriend to boyfriend, etc.

Why does it matter if Lady A gets the prime rib and Lady B opts for the chicken salad? Are they planning to share the dinners? Are they concerned that they may be secretly judged for ingesting too much fat? Are they petrified of ordering the same thing? What is the big deal about who gets what during any meal?

The debate rages from appetizers to drinks to dessert to after dinner coffee and on and on and on it goes.

“Are you having a drink?” “Well, I'm not sure, are you?” “I think I'll have wine.” “Are you having red or white?” “Are you having wine or a mixed drink?” “Should we split the appetizer or get our own?”


Well, I think that wraps it up for the week. I have to call Joan, Karen, Penny and Amy in order to ascertain what they are wearing to bed. I'm also going to nosh but will check with Mother first to find out what her snack of choice might be.