Any female corporate traveler is going to have to find her comfort zone when it comes to dining, that is, dining solo. While it’s nice to take clients out or join some colleagues, it’s common to find yourself alone and hungry. So, the female corporate traveler needs to figure out: is she a room service traveler…working at the computer while dining in bed on some overpriced salmon and haricot verts? Or is she an opportunist and off to the next Per Se in whatever city she’s in because, hey, that’s one of the perks of corporate travel. Is she a “I’ll just pick up a sandwich at the deli and save the firm some money.” I actually knew someone like that in my last job – that’s right, in twenty years of corporate travel, I know one person who did that – it’s not a strategy I advocate. For me, I’ve done the first two, but your best bet is to find me at the hotel bar or a bar nearby – sitting with my kindle, my phones (yes, I have two – topic for another blog), my chardonnay and some small plates.
Dining alone can be tricky for the female corporate traveler. Some of the waiters really don’t know what to do with a female alone at a table. And some of the other diners don’t know what to do either – they sometimes look like they feel sorry for you. Like, “That poor woman has no one to eat with and we shouldn’t look at her, but here we are looking at her.”
Well, don’t feel sorry for me because eating alone is something I relish (no pun intended)! I don’t have to pretend to listen to some story that I long since stopped following. I don’t have to suppress yawns when terms like “supply chain management” and “amortization schedule” float through the air, or worry about someone asking for the check while I am at the climax of a funny story. I don’t have to defend my love for Kevin Durant and disdain for LeBron James. And, not only can I order absolutely whatever I want, I don’t have to share!
But that still doesn’t really explain the bar vs. the table. I guess it boils down to the “vibe” at the bar. You can be sure that the other people at the hotel bar are corporate travelers, too. Some will talk a little bit, some won’t talk at all, and some talk too much. But a good bartender can keep everyone happy and make sure that those who want to interact, do and those that don’t, don’t.
Some women might worry that they’ll get hit on at the bar. That’s where the kindle comes in. Or Words With Friends. I don’t know the guy who wants to compete with a good 60 point word. One time some guy said something to me at a bar that I guess was a pass, albeit a weird one. Did I want to go to his room and read my book there? Hmmmm….let me think about that…uh, no. I asked a colleague later if that was something that had any possibility of working with anyone and he said, “You never know unless you try. Who knows? You might have said “yes”.
Really? You think there was some chance that someone would say, “yes”? I know what you’re thinking: well, didn’t George Clooney meet Vera Farmiga at that bar in “Up in the Air”? So, now I must go on record, if you are per chance ambivalent on this question: George Clooney is never in your bar and no, you do NOT want to read your book in the room of the man who is in your bar!
Note: If GC is in your bar, don’t play WWFs.