This evening I attended a professional women’s networking event that occurs monthly in downtown San Francisco. It was held at a popular clothing store, and attendees (all of whom paid up to $35 to attend) were treated to champagne, cheese and crackers and, if they stayed around long enough, a coupon for the store. (Spoiler alert: I did not stay around long enough.)
Free food + free champagne + coupons = a very hot, over-crowded room full of glassy-eyed women about to launch into a retail frenzy. Many could care less about tonight’s speakers. All of this reminded me of the two reasons I usually avoid hot, over-crowded rooms full of women.
Reason one: If you’ve gone to a cinema recently, you know that humans must be told up to five times before an event that involves quiet to silence their cell phones. These admonitions are not directed at everyone, however — don’t be fooled. They are directed at women. Professional women who can manage teams, oversee P&Ls, and bring home the bacon then fry it up in a Le Crueset pan are apparently genetically incapable of remembering to turn their cell phones to mute. During tonight’s 45 minute panel discussion, the cell phones of three women standing either in front of or next to me rang. Each time the owner seemed sheepish, and shocked — SHOCKED — that she had forgotten to turn off her cell phone. Ooops.
My crazy theory? At least some of the women knew perfectly well their phones were set to “loud”. They are just so addicted to multi-tasking, so afraid of missing something, so unaccustomed to just being in the moment… they consciously did not mute their phones, despite the fact that it could mean a disturbance for others. Clearly, this makes me crazy. I, of course, turned my cell phone off as soon as I arrived. This leads me to my second reason for avoiding hot, over-crowded rooms full of women.
Reason two: Women going after free food and drink, and/or who are in a retail frenzy, are sloppy clods.
I walked into the room tonight, and knew I would be miserable. With the exception of the 2010 World Series Parade, I have never enjoyed teeming humanity. I love cities, but I hate crowds. I located a free spot to plant myself (standing, of course) and placed my briefcase on the floor by my feet. Then, responsible community member that I am, I leaned down to locate and mute my cell phone. That’s when the woman to my right spilled her champagne AND her plate of cheese and crackers all over my back. That is, all over my new camel coat — a post-Christmas sale splurge at Bloomingdales. I almost did not wear the coat today (for the first time, no less) because I was afraid someone would spill wine on it. But, that’s silly right? Why buy nice things, then hide them away in the closet? It was a networking event, not a frat party!
When did holding a plate AND a glass at the same time become a lost art for so many? Seriously, if you can’t do both can you please choose just one? The woman apologized, even offered to pay for the cleaning, then turned to her friend. “This is just a disaster. This has been a disaster!” Really? A disaster for whom? Her loss was her free champagne and cheddar cheese. I bet she still got a coupon! I was the one who smelled like Charlie Sheen after a night out on the town! People on the bus home stared at me. “Poor woman. Well dressed. Nice coat! Too bad she’s an alcoholic.”