Subject: Observations from way outside Manhattan

I'm a 46 yr. old mother of four (fit, attractive and BLONDE!), residing on the West Coast who recently visited Manhattan with my 23 yr. old daughter on a site-seeing trip.

We had dinner on our first evening at the Union Square Cafe and were surprised at being engaged by two men dining together at an adjacent table. We were encouraged to partake of their expensive wine and proceeded to have a bit more to drink than might have been prudent. These men, both of whom were apparently married and approximately 45 & 60 yrs. of age respectively were the typical power-brokers of whom you write. Educated at Harvard, Stanford and MIT, holding down self-described "great" day-jobs as Chairman & CEO at the largest banking/insurance firm in Manhattan, they both have apartments in the city, and homes for the wives and kids upstate. My conversation with the younger of the two had him revealing to me that the emphasis in his life (and he was drawing this out in diagrams on the tablecloth) was that his family focus was considerably in the background and other aspects of life in the forefront. It was quite clear by the end of the evening (after his colleague ordered champagne for everyone in the restaurant) that he would have been pleased to get horizontal (all the while, in the company of my daughter).

The next evening, my daughter and I went off to an early pre-theater dinner at Cote Basque. In the relative quiet of the restaurant we could hear the conversation of two men at a table nearby. There was a great deal of speculation about whether we were sisters or a mother-daughter combo. It was audible to us when the one guy said to the other that he'd rather have the older one as he knew better which buttons to push!

Fortunately, we were off to the theater in a hurry and didn't have to engage these fellows in any conversation.

The take away we got is that guys in Manhattan have way more moxy than we're used to! They're blatant, aggressive, obvious - and, not especially appealing. It is all about power and living for the moment.

Oddly enough, although I came away a bit disgusted, my ego was polished with the knowledge that "I coulda been a contenda".

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