Seating for One

17 Dec, 2010

by Julie Ferris

There are so many corners to lose yourself in at the Pfister Hotel. Just when I think I’ve found the perfect nook, I realize, there’s already a soft chair or couch there waiting for me—a clear demonstration that the staff at the Pfister know that cozy corners are a commodity.

The thing is, as part of my role, I am often at the Pfister alone. Many women may tell you they rarely go out alone. Maybe we go shopping, where it’s expected, or to a movie, where once the lights are down, it’s harder for people to see that you’re alone.

Male friends have laughed when I have said I wouldn’t stop in a bar for a drink alone. Women friends simply nod knowingly. So when at the Pfister, occasionally it’s nice to slide into a comfy cushion in an obscure corner and simply take in my surroundings.

I hope I don’t betray an entire group of people here, but occasionally, women deploy little tricks to ensure that they don’t get bothered, hit on or intruded upon when they’re cultivating their solitude in a glass of red wine at a bar.

First, I must recognize (and applaud) those who bravely venture out to fulfill their own relaxation or winding down techniques, whether friends have agreed to join them or not. And second, I need to let you know it happens far more often than you think.

I sat down in the lobby bar next to a couple who easily engaged me and we had a great time together. One of the stories the gentleman wanted to share was of the young woman who had warmed my chair not thirty minutes prior. The man said he’d offered her a drink and she said, clutching her wine, “No, I’m waiting for someone, thank you.”

After the wine was gone, the woman left. The gentleman’s wife returned and he said, as she sat, “Huh, poor girl, her friend stood her up.” The wife questioned his details and laughed. “Oh, she didn’t have a friend coming.”

Confused, the husband was then schooled (and then again by me after his retelling of the event) in woman-alone-at-the-bar logic. We tell lies like that to make ourselves feel comfortable, to ward off unwelcome advances and to feel socially secure in our aloneness.

Since that lesson, I’ve paid special attention to all the single ladies in the house at the Pfister and I must say—there are a great many of us. Just the other night, during those immediate post-work hours at Blu, I spotted a woman enjoying a glass of wine and clearly winding down. Oblivious to those around her, she faced her chair outward toward the city and calmly enjoyed her surroundings. There were a number of men seated alone as well, perhaps parts of conferences or folks traveling for work, but not a one of them approached her or disrupted her serenity. It could have been because most of them had their chairs facing the skyline as well and as the sun set  it was a pretty irresistible view, easily one that no pick-up line could compete with.

So I continue to applaud the brave women who, by whatever means necessary, whether it’s an amazing view, stellar confidence or a little white lie, secure for themselves a cozy nook to enjoy some time to themselves. I may notice you when I’m there, but I promise, I will not disturb.

About the author

Julie Ferris

Julie is a devout Iowa Hawkeye fan despite her new Wisconsin roots, loves to read and is a sucker for good creme brulee and bad puns.

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