There’s almost a certain inevitability with being propositioned at a work conference. It’s as if everybody’s morals are thrown out at the airport check in along with large bottles of shampoo and that brand new bottle of Hugo Boss I never got to use (I should just let it go).
We’ve all been to those stereotypical work conferences before. You know – 2 or 3 days in some random European city, with the same people you see at all of the other conferences. You sit with them at the same lunch buffet and talk about the same work related bollocks that you did 3 months earlier.
There’s that boring guy that you don’t really want to sit next to, but somehow manages to “save you a seat”. There’s also the annoying woman who won’t stop talking to you throughout the presentations. Then there’s the “goodbye” party. An open bar in a hired out venue where getting wankered and bad dancing are almost a prerequisite for most. It’s just like a larger version of a dodgy office Christmas party – a place where your dignity could easily go to die.
The Indecent Proposal
It doesn’t matter what your situation is. Girl, boy, young, old, gay, straight, married, single, engaged or “complicated” – people assume you’re fair game at a work conference.
We’ve all been in this situation before, but ironically the most recent time I was propositioned at a work conference is also the funniest.
Anyway, this was the first conference I’d been to since becoming single and I was propositioned point-blank by a 55-year-old, married woman. “So, my life’s come to this”, I thought.
Let me explain. I was having a drink with a colleague at the infamous “goodbye” party on the last night when she came up to me out of the blue. I’d never met this woman before in my life. She’d obviously had a few drinks and started getting a little “touchy feely” and within 5 minutes she asked if I wanted to “take this party upstairs”.
I couldn’t help but laugh at first, how could I not? I hadn’t had a pick up line that cheesy thrown at me since…. well, ever, and especially by someone who was old enough to be my mother. Take this party upstairs? I wasn’t that desperate, honey.
I politely declined. She persisted, indiscreetly mentioning that her HUSBAND would never find out. My colleague, still standing next to me raises his eyebrows and takes another sip of his drink before walking away trying not to spit it out with laughter.
I smiled, bit my lip and said “go to bed, when you wake up tomorrow, you’ll be so glad nothing happened”. She still persisted until I literally had to walk away. I didn’t feel uncomfortable, I had no need to. I just felt compassionate for her poor husband.
Upon walking back to my colleague, I couldn’t help but look around at the make-shift dance floor that has now turned into an embarrassing orgy of groping and sweat. Well respected industry professionals had been reduced to trying to grind up against anything within a metre radius after just a couple of drinks. That was my cue to retire for the night, I had an early flight the next day and this “party” was definitely fizzing out.
Just When You Think It’s All Over…..
The next morning upon checking out, I awkwardly bump into the man-eater from the night before. I do my bit to make things as pleasant as possible by saying “good morning, I hope you enjoyed the rest of your night”. She replies “I did, and thank you so much – you’re right, I would have regretted everything this morning”. “No problem”, I say with a smile.
As we’re waiting in line to check out, I keep thinking about what a great deed I did. If I wasn’t holding my bags, I would have patted myself on the back for not being a home wrecker. A high-five, even.
This woman is now at the check out desk with me behind her waiting patiently. As she checks out, an older man in his fifties comes up to her at the desk gives her a kiss on the lips and mentions that he has to run. “Maybe that’s her husband, she definitely would have regretted it, then”, I thought to myself.
Still within ear shot, and with me fixated on the situation, they start to move away, but not before the older man says “well, I have to run….. But I’ll email you, yeah?”. I guess that dispels any myth about him being her husband.
I try to take everything in. “Hang on, she mentioned before that she would have regretted sleeping with me and not so much cheating on her husband”, I pondered.
I guess she felt a lot better about herself knowing that she’d at least cheated on her husband with someone in her own age bracket.
I walk outside to catch a taxi to the airport, when the woman asks “want to split one?”, in reference to the taxi. I look at her and reply firmly “yeah, I don’t think so”.
I still have no idea who that woman was, but I can’t say I won’t be looking over my shoulder at the next conference.
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