The years between grad school and getting married were my single years, and boy were they fun! There was a lot of hard work, but there was also a lot of good times spent with a group of men that I'll call The Brunch Bunch. These were my guys and I was their adopted baby sister, tagging along to the opera, symphony concerts, theatre, and restaurants I'd never heard of, but soon loved! They taught me how to properly tip everyone from doormen to waiters. They showed me how to hold a wine glass, introduced me to a good, after-dinner port. After church on Sundays, we'd gather at some fabulous place for our favorite ritual - brunch. During spring, summer, and fall, the goal was to find a great outdoor spot where we could sit, sunshades on, and watch the parade of humanity float by us on the sidewalk. We were all Anna Wintour wannabees judging the "talent" as they worked it.
Our brunch conversations were fast and furious with politics and religion occupying equal air-time with boyfriend drama, shoe obsessions, and celebrity fashion. We could, and did, close a brunch down, camping out at a table for several hours. As serial over-tippers we were coveted guests in any waiter's section. After brunch, we'd indulge in window-shopping, trying on hats at that cute store on the corner, checking out that adorable shoe-store with the 4-inch pumps. If the weather was particularly delightful, we'd sit at the fountain, sunning ourselves and maybe visit a museum or see a movie (nothing with subtitles, though, as that was really risky after a heavy brunch).
My Brunch Bunch also knew how to throw one hell of a party. It was like something out of "Breakfast at Tiffany's," with sketchy characters, former debutantes, and ribald story tellers mixing with church ministers, lounge singers, aspiring politicians, and bureaucrats all holding court. There seemed always to be a piano around which we all gathered to sing everything from Broadway show tunes to the hits of legends like Streisand.
My guys were always there with a shoulder to cry on, and an ear to listen. When a boyfriend was merely hanging on, it was my Brunch Bunch who dealt the final devastating blow with a single question, along the lines of, "Don't you deserve better?" Or, "Honey, aren't you smarter than that?" These men taught me everyday, through our friendship, the most important lessons of intimacy - trust, honesty, commitment.
Now, my Brunch Bunch has disbanded - most have moved away, starting new chapters in their lives. And I have started forming a new Brunch Bunch. Just because I'm married doesn't mean that I don't need my guys - in fact, I need them more than ever before! And so, to my old Brunch Bunch, I thank you and I love you all for always. Happy Valentine's Day - I'm just saying:)