If you have to go to lunch (or brunch *shudder*) with a bunch of women, you’d better know what to order and how to eat it. This applies whether you are a man or a woman or something in between.
For most folks, in order to survive this social situation, you’ll need to eat something before you go. Make sure it’s not aromatic (no garlic!) or has the propensity to leave something in your teeth (no broccoli!). You won’t be eating much at all at this lunch, so it will need to be somewhat substantial. Crackers will not suffice. Try a bowl of cereal or a sandwich.
You’ll need to have reviewed the menu before you arrive. Have a salad and a sandwich option at the ready, and don’t even think about ordering a burger unless you want to only eat 1/4 of the burger and none of the fries. Do everything you can so that you don’t have to order first. This will probably entail staring at the menu with a confused look on your face when the waiter/waitress arrives to take orders. (Also, you must ALWAYS order iced tea. It’s the drink least likely to offend, annoy, or encourage condemning remarks.) You can order either your salad or your sandwich if at least 25% of the ladies who have ordered before you have ordered the same. PLEASE NOTE: If the first person who orders gets a salad, you MUST order a salad, regardless of other orders.
When your [unsweetened] iced tea (lemon optional) arrives, you are permitted to use one packet of any form of sweetener. More than one packet encourages derisive commentary. Drink with a straw.
Hope you’re not hungry by this point, because you won’t be eating much, and you can’t take it home with you. If presented with a bread basket, you may take one piece (no butter), and you are not permitted to consume more than half of the piece/roll.
When the food arrives, pick at it, whether or not you are actively conversing. Take small bites. Push the food around your plate. Imitate a 4 year old who doesn’t want to eat spinach.
Dessert? …Are you kidding? Haven’t you been paying attention? You’re “stuffed” and you “couldn’t take another bite.” (You can pick up some cheesecake on your way home.) You must clearly and loudly relay to your lunch comrades that you are full.
When lunch is over, leave immediately, lest you get stuck in a seemingly endless discussion about how “this was nice,” and “we should do it again soon,” and “next time, we have to invite Brenda.”
As you drive away, take a deep breath and remember… Ladies’ lunches do not happen every day, but if you have to go, you have the tools necessary to survive.
So enjoy that cheesecake.