I’ll Have What She’s Having (Not)
Before most millennials were born, the iconic line from the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally still resonates but what about the food?
And why am I suddenly hating on millennials?
I found out a couple weeks ago and no, I did not follow in the footsteps of the thousands of patrons of Katz’s Delicatessen who have reenacted the orgasm scene from the film, starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. The film, which paved the way for contemporary rom-coms, explores the concept of men and women being “just friends”.
If you somehow missed the film, Sally (Ryan) tells Harry (Crystal) that all women have faked an orgasm at some point. Over a corned beef sandwich at Katz’s, Harry doesn’t believe her, so she demonstrates, loudly, the big “O” in front of dozens of patrons.
After her uncomfortably long performance, the camera cuts to a patron who tells the waitress, “I’ll have what she’s having.” The customer is none other than director, Rob Reiner’s mom, Estelle. See the video clip for fun and fast forward (if queasy or ADHD) to the end for the classic line. The deli hasn’t changed a bit.
Like anything classic, it stands the test of time. There is something cozy and reassuring visiting a place where you can sit at the same table as Harry and Sally 27 years later, knowing the deli hasn’t changed much since opening in 1888.
I can’t say the same for the neighborhood, the Lower East Side in Manhattan. It’s transformed over 100 years from slummy tenements packed with Jewish and other immigrants to its current hipster chic vibe known as LES, swarming with millennials drinking Bullet-Proof coffee on their way to yoga.
Like the middle-aged mom in the film, wondering if she’s missed out, I felt a pang for lost youth. I’m old enough to have seen the film in the theater in 1989.
And like most baby boomers, refuse to go gently into the night. We’re the game changers, the forever blue jean wearers and leaders of the pack.
But something changed after my dinner at Katz’s and a stay at a hipper than hip hotel, a hop and skip away. Invited to an amazing all expenses paid conference at Indigo I had a blast with fellow bloggers, but the pervasive vegan-scented hipsterdom of beards, tattoos and PC eco-friendly goodness got under my un-inked skin.
It’s been marinating to an unholy stench since. It’s not an “us against them” complaint but the painful realization that I’m not part of the “it” generation any more. Like the hubby who dumps the wife for a younger model, it compounds the reality of the invisible years. The truth is, gradually the millennials have out-numbered us baby boomers Their 87 million to our 76 million, according to CNN Money.
At the rooftop bar of the Indigo hotel, it felt like everyone was 22 but it wasn’t my imagination. In the U.S. there are more 22 year olds, than any other age group. And “middle age”? Looking at a true median shows the middle age in America is 37.6 years old. Oh my fucking God. How did this happen?
In my age-denying brain, I’m still middle-aged, permanently crazy glued to 39 or 49 on a bad day. But AARP is sending me membership offers. I feel ageless but the mirror doesn’t lie.
I joke with fellow boomer blogger friends about everyone in PR that we deal with is 22. The reality is it’s not a joke. I’m surrounded by 20 to 30 something entrepreneurs out the save the world. I love their earnestness but envy their social media klout and 6-figure Instagram accounts. Not to mention superhuman speed texting making me feel dial-up login old.
What’s at the root of my blood slowly boiling is a “I’ll have what she’s having” combo chopped liver moment. Don’t worry, it’ll pass. What’s astounding is discovering a shocking number of millennial spiritual gurus on Instagram with massive numbers spouting their mumbo jumbo secret sauce. They have carefully curated photo quotes and programs synthesized from every self book I’ve read and experienced for the past 40+ years (yeah, my seeker life started young).
I may have more wisdom than these freshly minted gurus but numbers speak louder than truth. The 22-year- old YouTube star with millions of fans or the 32-year-old Instagram favorite are the new gurus as brands.
One woman, half my age offers mentoring programs. Um, don’t you need life experience before you can mentor in any field? Is this sour grapes? Whoa is me and why don’t I have a show, book, waa waa waa? It’s clearly their destiny, karma to have this experience at this point in their lives but I still have to wrestle those green-eyed monsters. The lessons never stop.
I’ve always said, you can only teach what you know. Knowledge can be accumulated in a Google search but there is no app for wisdom.
Millennials grew up online, tethered to their devices and many are comfortable worshipping their mirror selves in teachers the same age. Not all, thankfully. My millennial step-kids are insightful pragmatists.
Where does that leave old crones like me and maybe you? I’d like to see a bridge uniting boomers and millennials. Analog and digital. We have much to learn from each other, but…
my inner anarchist is rebelling at the healthy hipster lifestyle. I’ll dig deeper into why a treehugger like me is triggered by vegan food at cocktail parties and events or having to hear about the endless dietary fads and restrictions.
Been there done that. I was vegan for a spell and vegetarian for seven years for all the popular moral and environmental reasons but my body is happier with a little meat. Call me a hypocrite, but I love a juicy organic, grass-fed steak. I don’t eat meat or fish more than twice a week but when I do, there is zero guilt.
And don’t get me going about tattoos (or maybe I will do a proper rant in another post if I’m not run off my meager platform by militant vegans. Why is everyone getting inked? A small, meaningful tattoo I understand but full body tattoos speak of something else. This piece from Vice bridging tattoos from circus freak shows to reality shows explains a few reasons, but before I turn into a crankypants curmudgeon, let’s dig into some meat.
My friend Caren from Cat Chat With Caren and Cody joined me for dinner at Katz’s along with a charming Frenchman and a delightful millennial dude from the Netherlands. Both Caren and I love Reubens but at $23.00 for a stringy, cheese-not-melted sandwich did not melt my heart. The corned beef should’ve been like butter. It wasn’t but the boys’ pastrami was big O good.
If you have any opinions, I’m all ears. This way too long post was long overdue but once the Black Cats Tell All book is out, I have plans for this blog.