Sisterhood Brunch Club

March 30th, 2014, 12pm

Although I had 28 people said yes to my invitation and I prepared 28 thank you cards 1, my intuition kept telling me at least 1/3 of them would end up cancelling. I even dreamt about people cancelling the night before. 2

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Saturday night | 10:30pm | 3 cancellation | expected attendees: 25

Before going to bed, I checked my inbox one last time. A friend’s emailed showed up, telling me the three friends she had invited wouldn’t be able to make it.

Sunday morning | 8:30am | 0 cancellation | expected attendees: 25

After checking my inbox to make sure there’s no overnight cancellation, I quickly jump into the shower.

I pull out my scarlet red Marc Jacob oversized sweater dress from the closet, put on my black pleather tights, and a pair of 3 inch heels that I found at a vintage store in Berlin 4 years ago.

Am I trying too hard? It’s not even a date! Starring at the mirror for about 2 minutes, I decide to go for something more sophisticated and classy - a black dress with black and white stripes. When in doubt, always go with black and white, with a pair of red tights.

It’s a beautiful day out! In fact, it’s the first day we see the Sun since the Polar Vortex. Thank you Weather God!

10:02am | 1 cancellation | expected attendees: 24

First cancellation pop up on my FB message:

“Hey, Viv. I won’t be able to make it out today but am looking forward to the next event! Have a great time!”

I had a feeling about this person.

10:25am | 1 cancellation | expected attendees: 23

“Hey Vivien. I’m so sorry. I’ve been under the weather and can’t make it today. Was so looking forward to meeting everyone.”

I also had an instinct about this cancellation.

I had been warned to arrive at the restaurant before it opens. So I arrive with another friend at 10:45am. A few minutes later, more people begin to wander towards us.

Shortly after, a line is formed. A waitress opens the door and asks , “Are you that big group?” 3

“Yes. I am that group. But those aren’t with us.” pointing at the other 10 who are looking a bit dazed and confused.

“So how many are you?”

“We have 23 now.”

“Oh, so it’s not 40?!” she smiles and closes the door behind us. A few minutes later, she unlocks the door and everyone rushes in (gracefully).

The waitress leads us to a long table they had prepared for us. A sudden sensation of hesitation and contemplation begins to float in the air. We dance around before settling to the right seat.

Our waiter, looking slightly traumatized (or maybe it’s just me) walks over and asks, “Who’s in charge of this party?” Everyone points at me.

“I notice you’re still waiting for the rest of your party. May I suggest taking some of your orders first?” he asks.

“Of course. I totally understand. We don’t really need to eat together at the same time. Some of us are coming late.”

“So what’s the special occasion?” he asks.

“Nothing in particular. I just wanted to have brunch on a Sunday so I invited everyone to join me.” 4

A bit surprised and confused, he walks away to take orders. I wonder what kind of an occasion he was thinking.

The rest of the group slowly make their appearance between 11:15am - 11:35pm. (fashionably late is still a fashion) By around twenty to, there are 17 of us.

“I love this place. It’s so clean and beautiful and well decorated. So fitting to our ‘theme’.”

“It’s chic with a touch of country.”

“Very French-like.”

Yep. I couldn’t fathom of having brunches with hungover hipsters…

11:41am - 12:03pm | 4 cancellation | expected attendees: 19

“Hi Vivi. I won’t be able to make brunch today. Hope it is fabulous. Trying to figure out a last minute trip to California. Lots of love and hope to see you soon.”

“Hey Vivien, I’m so so sorry. I won’t be able to make it to brunch today. I actually triple booked myself! So I have to let down both you and my family today :( sad times. So sorry! Wish I was there. ”

“I’m so sorry! I’ve been pulling late nights and I just woke up! :( Sorry hun! Have a great time.”

“Hey. Sorry! I’ve been fighting a cold all week and my alarm didn’t go off. Just woke up! Sorry for being so flaky. I hope it’s going well. Was super excited to meet all the wonderful lades but I’m guessing it’ll be over by the time I can get there.”

In hindsight, all those who cancelled, I actually had an instinct that some of them would cancel last minute. You know how Malcolm Gladwell talks about instincts in Blink? Or how people say beware of what you think and/or wish for?

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– At the end, 18 ladies showed up (one left a voice message on my phone afterwards apologizing). It was the perfect size. We all got to catch up with old faces as well as meeting new ones. They all asked and talked about the next brunch. (A few volunteered to host.) We even talked about spreading the idea to other cities. (perhaps a modernized and mature version of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?)

By the time we walked out of the restaurant, it was close to 2pm. (A 3 hour epic brunch!) Everyone was extremely genki (the ultimate Japanese term to describe every positive feeling) and ready to conquer rest of the day.

Throughout the entire brunch, there was no sign of business card exchange nor career bragging. Many of us didn’t mention about what we do until we said our goodbyes. We shared our crazy adventures, silly encounters, hobbies, emotional stuff, relationship struggles, inspirations, aspirations, etc. We put away that uber confident, strong, self-assured, assertive, alpha protective mask which we wear each day in the professional, and often social world. We embraced our “feminine” qualities – gentleness, empathy, sweetness, humbleness, sensitivity, and caring. We were socializing, interacting, communicating, connecting, anything but “networking”.

  1. You can find out the background story from my previous moment

  2. I have insecurity, self-doubt, and rejection issue. That’s why I invited 40 people.” 

  3. I knew the restaurant wouldn’t take brunch reservation. So I called them a few days in advance to give them a warning.” 

  4. You might not believe but no one ever invites me to have brunch. I’m always the one who initiates.” 

Shu, Dani, Trish, Mona and 4 others said thanks.

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Vivien Leung

sociable introvert or shy extrovert. Twitter: @_vivienleung_ Instagram: _vivienleung_

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