About ten years ago my husband was in NYC for work, and I came for play. I think my younger brother and I over-used our subway passes to catch every museum in the City, including the Cloisters while my husband was at work.
My brother lives on the Upper West Side. Our hotel was a couple of blocks from Grand Central Station and his office. We arranged to meet for lunch and he was late. My husband is deathly allergic to fish but I checked the menu for him because I really wanted to go to the Oyster Bar in Grand Central. Architecture.
I checked in at the desk, have no clue what I was wearing but it probably wasn’t jeans, nor would had it have been in any way provocative. I said that my husband will be joining me in a few moments. Nudge nudge, wink, wink. There were three tables that sat two, just a few steps above the main dining room.
They sat me in the middle table, facing the room. Soon two other couples arrived. Apparently “husband” is a code word because a few moments later a lower-end “hooker” arrived with her date, then a high-end “escort” with hers. I realized that we were the show.
My husband arrived, we kissed for a peck then talked to each other and listened to conversations around us, both wearing matching wedding rings. I was insulted, yet the sociological education was right there next to us. There were differing conversations but both women facing the room, as was I, were in the same business. Keeping men happy, but our love is eternal and their dates brief and inconsequential.
My husband would be upset because it was so hot. I had to get the subway to see my brother at a museum and was tired at the end of the day to get to our hotel and take another shower and he was jealous that I was doing what he never, ever wants to do, go to an art museum. He should have been grateful that my brother was protecting me on the streets and sidewalks of New York City. He was not.
So I asked him to lunch at the Oyster Bar. I probably wore a long skirt and a blouse or something like that. I was in my mid-40’s. Did the maitre’d think I was a Madam? No, sir, it is Madame Dee, or Aunt Dee as all the pets in the neighborhood call me. We’ve been married over 15 years and still laugh about finding ourselves in this situation.
Did you notice all the women are facing the room and the men unavailable to view? He could have lost his job if there were good smart phones back then, all for having a burger while his wife ate seafood, with matching wedding rings. Those were the days, Dee