Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

July 9, 2008

Trade Show Trollop

I want an engagement ring. And not for the reason you're probably thinking. Well, that reason too, but that's not why I am in desperate need of one at this very moment.

I am in Washington DC for a conference/tradeshow and am being subjected to many hours of sitting in an overly air-conditioned ballroom at my booth (I'm a vendor) chatting up potential clients. Or to put it more bluntly, I'm a sitting duck.

Some of you may recall my post from this very same conference one year ago in yet another humid big city. I wrote about conference flirtations also, but unfortunately had to take the post down because it apparently offended the person I wrote about (for reasons I still don't udnerstand-and never will since she now doesn't speak to me. Sigh.) Anyway, the point of that entry was about how you can use harmless flirting to feel good about yourself and get heavy things lifted when you need it - as is often the case when putting up a booth.

This post is a little different. Probably because I came alone this year. It's one thing to chat up herds of men when you have a colleague with you. It can even be fun if that colleague is female and lighthearted about the whole thing.

But when you are on your own...well, it feels kind of pathetic. Pathetic that they think they might get anywhere with you. Pathetic that you have to smile and talk to them anyway.

Actually, it's pathetic that I am assuming that they are hitting on me at all. Maybe they are just being friendly with no strings attached? Maybe they really care about what I'm selling?

But if that's the case, why are no women stopping to talk? Granted, this is a technology-related conference so there are more men here than women, but still.

And to make sure you don't think I'm some tradeshow honey rolling around on a shiny car (you were thinking that about me, right?), I try just as hard to charm the ladies as I do the men. But apparently they don't find me as charming. They don't laugh at my jokes, take my sarcastic cues, or respond to my questions about where they're from.

I have to assume that not every man that stops to chat is actually trying to get in my pants. But he is lingering for a reason. There's one thing I know about myself (and the reason why my secret fantasy is to be a bartender) - I'm really good at shooting the shit. Witty banter, sarcastic observations, harmless insults to virtual strangers. These are my skills and perhaps they are skills more appreciated by men. The women just kind of look at me quizzically, take a free pen and move on. But the men generally stick around and, if they're any good, dish right back.

Would you call that flirting? I don't know. But I do know that at the end of tonight's event, none of them asked me to join them for a drink. And there were plenty of opportunities. Part of me was relieved. I didn't have to worry about any awkward situations. But most of me was kind of sad since that meant all I had to look forward to was a lonely stroll around the neighborhood and some Baskin-Robbins before bed.

At one point during the day, after a particularly long booth chat with a guy from Arkansas, I texted Wine Guy: I don't want you to get the wrong idea but I really wish I had an engagement ring on right about now.

There are quite a few ways he could take that. I'll let him decide.



Forever In School said...

As married women sometimes have to do to have a heavy box lifted for them (and more!), you can switch a ring between your right and left hand fingers. Have a harmless ring in your right finger, and if necessary, put it on your left finger for a few hours.
It might work for you as well!

mimi of 'sexagenarian and the city' said...

i used to wear, as a wedding ring [when i was actually married], the tin 'friendship ring' that my best friend gave me in sixth grade. it's now on my right hand; i've had it since 1958.

'tradeshow honey' --!! did you invent that term? i love it.

and finally -- you're so close to nyc!! so near but yet so far. come east & visit yr blogging friends.


Angela said...

If you really want a ring just for show, go to a Wal-Mart and get one of those knock-off rings that look real. Believe it or not though, probably more men will flirt with you with a ring on than if you didn't. More men flirted with me when I wore my wedding ring than when I didn't.
Don't be afraid to go to a bar and have a drink by yourself. Just sit at the bar and talk to the bartender. So many women are afraid to do that.
Isn't this the first trip away from WG since you two moved in together? Maybe that is why you are feeling so forlorn? Enjoy yourself! I know, you miss WG.

jess said...

I was pathetic, I loved trade shows when I was single. Trade shows and golf outings, where I just drove the cart and demo'ed cell phones (way before 12 year olds had them, even before most adults had them) and passed out beer. What fun... but looking back, a lot of older men totally flirting and thinking they may get lucky. I do not think a ring stops them, just me! said...

Better than an engagement ring: a fanny pack. That'll scare them off.

Anonymous said...

I would like to buy a link from your blog. Please email me here if you are interested.