Apparently, I am still hot enough to be mistaken for a hooker.
The weird thing is, I have never been mistaken for one in my entire life.
On November 5th, I will be 58, so I suppose I should be flattered. The idea that any man might want to sleep with me at 58 is pleasing; the idea that I might be missing out on a commercial venture, though, is slightly distressing.
So, I was on a brief trip back to the UK to see my mother and friends. I’ll be spending Christmas by myself in New York this year (post-Brexit, I just can’t afford to travel on key dates) and it will be only the second time since my father died in 1990. Having sold my UK house, where Mum and (in the past ten years) her dog Maddie have spent every Christmas with me, it will be a little odd.
But I’ll be fine. Who knows: maybe Macy’s will be holding one of their rare 365 days a year sales.
But I digress. So, being a fan of the Marriott group and collecting their points, I booked into the Cardiff Marriott, where I have always found the staff to be among the most pleasant of any hotel in which I have ever stayed. On Thursday, having checked in, I went out in my new black, zip up the side trousers, red sandals, and felt thrilled to be back in my home city.
I had such a great night, meeting up with friends, and returned to the hotel looking forward also to catching up on jet-lag following my flight from New York.
I arrived at the door and was greeted by security.
“I’m staying here,” I explained, as I attempted entry.
“ARE you?” said the burly man, blocking my path.
“Yes, I’m already checked in. I’m a guest.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Yes, I’m in room 915.”
“Are you really ABSOLUTELY sure about that?”
“Yes” (slightly hysterical by now).
Finally, I was allowed in, following checks that would not have been out of place had I been a terrorist wearing an ISIS issued hoodie.
Excuse my language, but this is bloody appalling, Marriott. I know that hotels have “problems” with prostitutes and was told by a member of staff that this has been an issue of late; but to assume that any woman in high heels and out at 2.30am is on the game is upsetting, offensive, sexist, rude, and a ton load of other adjectives I have called you since it happened.
So, I’m a hot chick?! Am I not allowed to dress up at 58? Am I not allowed to stay out late? Is it okay now to bully women who don’t fit the “norm”, whatever that is in Wales these days?
I spend a lot of time in New York, where, as an older woman, I am treated with nothing other than respect. I can hang out at bars, stay out late, have a laugh with whomever I choose, and nobody bats an eyelid. Men and women can sit by themselves, talk to each other and not be considered social lepers. I can wear tight jeans, short skirts and flaunt my spiky hair without anyone thinking I am a hooker.
By the way, I have nothing against hookers. Men and women want sex and both sexes are prepared to pay for it when they want to or need to. Hotels would go out of business were it not for the expensive cocktails hookers ask for from lonely people coming into town. Pretending that it’s a “problem” is hypocritical in the extreme (and I am not referring to any hotel in particular here, but you know who you are).
But I am offended. And upset. It’s been distressing and has cast a shadow over my visit. I will never stay at the hotel again; I might even strike Marriott altogether off my list. Because, you see: not only did they mess up on day one, there has been no comeback, despite their knowing what took place. No bottle of wine. No chocolates. No recompense.
I’m a really tough cookie; I’ve had to be as a woman in a predominantly male industry; it takes a lot to upset me. However, what I’ve noticed as I get older, there is a bullying that I never experienced as a kid. As a woman in Britain, you are considered on the scrapheap after . . . well, I’d say 35 . . . but certainly after 50 – and, more to the point, as a single woman. And, heck, I’m hurtling towards 60 now.
Still single. Never been married. Never lived with anyone. No kids. Not gay (not that there is anything wrong with being gay – it’s just always the final question people head towards when confused by my unconventional life, so I just clear it up to save them the stress).
There is a sense of people questioning what right I have to be dressed up, staying out late, having a laugh, travelling . . . Like I say, NEVER in New York.
I think I might be done with Britain.
There is so much I love about my home country.
But, as a 58-year old woman still thoroughly enjoying life, it seems there is very little it loves about me.