The Date: Sept. 20, 2007
The Crowd: Executives who lunch and More magazine staffers decked out in Tory Burch and Taryn Rose pumps.
The Venue: Upstairs dining room at Le Cirque Restaurant
The Food: Asparagus tips and chanterelles, sautéed filet of Chilean bass; tarte tatin
The Bar: Limited choice, but flowing champagne, wine, water and cola.
The Swag: Copies of the magazine, a coffee-table book and greeting cards.
Don't listen to the pessimists -- there is such a thing as a free lunch and if you're lucky, it also comes with champagne and conversation prompts. More kicked off its "Smart Talk Luncheons" event, which was also a belated celebration of the Meredith mag's September issue, which featured accomplished women choosing from the new fall fashions. Freeloader suspects everyone was partying in the Hamptons when the issue came out in August. For this crowd, Le Cirque was the perfect setting, an upscale restaurant across from Bloomingdales in case anyone had a strong urge to grab a new handbag.
Lunch was scheduled to start noon, but what's lunch without a cocktail hour first? Although everybody had a job to return to (these are executives after all), most enjoyed a sip while mingling and listening to stories about last night's "Top Chef," which was filmed at Le Cirque (apparently an awesome sea bass was made on the Bravo reality show).
Freeloader was waiting for a more formal program to commence, but was relieved to find out that this really was just lunch, albeit with a request to discuss life as a woman -- and reinvention. Was More really that big a fan of Madonna? No, just preparing for a conference about reinvention in October. Sitting around a table of accomplished and intellectually stimulating women, Freeloader managed to hold her own. Between listening to stories about children, job events and, yes, reinvention, Freeloader wowed these older women with exhaustive knowledge about the Disney Channel stars.
In case there is any doubt, these women were indeed smart talkers. Freeloader chatted with top executives like Marianne Diorio, senior VP-global communications, Estee Lauder; and Diana Vavra, VP-public relations, Dior Beauty, while other top-notch ladies shared their wisdom at other tables.
Freeloader recalls a conversation about the economy, along with pearls of wisdom like "You should aim to only touch each piece of paper only once"; "If you're going to take nude photos, only take them from the neck down"; and "Cluttered desks mean cluttered minds." Freeloader's desk isn't cluttered because everything hides in the drawers. What does that say about Freeloader's mind? Maybe if the drawers were clean Freeloader wouldn't have told Ms. Diorio that Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' commercials for his Estee Lauder perfume were ridiculous.
Freeloader has to admit that the over-40 crowd was pretty interesting, surprisingly racy and fabulous. Lunch could have gone on forever, but a quick glance at the watch reminded Freeloader that there was work and emails waiting at the office. As corporate cars waited outside the restaurant, Freeloader contemplated taking a cab, and then smartly decided to take the bus.