On a recent Wednesday afternoon, the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel hosted a crowd clad in Chanel summer tweed. The ladies who lunch had arrived for the Women’s Forum of New York’s Elly Awards Luncheon, honoring Evelyn H. Lauder of Estée Lauder and Diana Taylor of Wolfensohn Fund Management, LP (widely known as Michael Bloomberg’s paramour).
“The Women’s Forum is a group of women who are all very accomplished,” proclaimed Ms. Lauder, her slight frame swelling with pride. “You have to be invited to join, so it’s like a club. What we do is help other women.”
Ms. Taylor was a bit more modest, “I’m honored to be involved,” she said.
As the luncheon’s attendees finished picking at their plates, Jenice Reals Ellig, president of the Women’s Forum, took the stage to introduce the event’s special guest, nine-time Emmy-winning journalist Barbara Walters.
The honorees sat down with Ms. Walters for a joint, on-stage interview. It was all very pleasant! And then:
“Older women should be on boards,” announced Ms. Lauder. “There’s just less hormones, less crying.”
The silence that followed Ms. Lauder’s statement was suddenly broken by a buzz of whispers. The women at the table next to the Transom gasped. One of them murmured, “This is a disaster.” Ms. Walters quickly stepped in to remedy the situation, calming the room of furious luncheon attendees with a stern look and a fresh question for Ms. Lauder and Ms. Taylor.
The back of the room, however, was still abuzz with tittering luncheon attendees, many of whom were presumably less likely to utilize old age and treachery than others present for the moment.