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Old Aug 12, 10, 6:33 pm   #1
 
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Ever feel like the odd person out?

I recently checked into a Starwood property that was hosting a union conference. without getting into specifics, this union was overwhelmingly male. They constituted most of the guests in the hotel.

When I checked in I took the elevator to my floor and had to walk past a host of male guests in the hall socializing. While everyone was friendly enough, I did feel a bit put off having them all watch me go into my room. I frankly did not see another way around it.

However, once I was in my room I did call the desk and let them know about the other guests loitering in the hall and asked them to come up and ask the guests to go to their rooms or take their gathering to the lobby, which they were happy to do. The group eventually dispersed from the hall, but they must have known it was me that got security to the floor. I was a bit uncomfortable from then on. Nothing happened in the end, but wondered if others have encountered similar situations an how you handled them.

It was a bit unsettling to be outnumbered by a group that knew each other and wanted to socialize.

THoughts?
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Old Aug 12, 10, 9:27 pm   #2
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Was it their socializing in the hall that bothered you more or the possibility they connected you to the break up of their party?
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Old Aug 13, 10, 5:46 am   #3
 
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It was more of an issue that I was completely outnumbered by the men on the floor, they all knew what room I was in and yes, that it was obvious that I was the one that broke up the party.
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Old Aug 13, 10, 7:53 am   #4
 
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Unless the group was making a lot of noise after 10 PM, I question the rationale for calling security. Surely you can just lock your door and deadbolt it if a group of men outside makes you nervous? Did you really think they were going to try to break your door down?

I appreciate the fact that you were made anxious by walking that gauntlet of men to get to your room--I'm sure I would feel the same way--but I don't think that justified your action. They were not doing anything harmful--standing around in a hallway while people walk by is not a crime. They didn't make any rude comments to you, or even stare at you, as per your account of the story.

As a very frequent solo traveler to places where I am an obvious foreigner (often the only one around), and as a woman in an overwhelmingly male industry, I am the odd person out all the time. You just get used to it.
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Old Aug 13, 10, 9:49 am   #5
 
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I had a difficult time understanding the reason for the OP's concern. As I read it--and I might be wrong--the OP seemed to be saying that she called security because she felt excluded from the group.

My thought was that, if this interpretation is correct, it would be interesting to see follow-up posts. The rationale for calling security, if feeling miffed or hurt that one was excluded, does seem a bit outlying. Or more than just a bit, whatever. . . . But the OP can clarify her reasoning.

I would feel uncomfortable too, as others have stated, simply because I wouldn't like being the subject of sets of eyes following me. But unless this was a convention of Ex-Parolees Anonymous, I wouldn't have felt unsafe. It would have been just a temporary feeling of discomfort, and I would have recognized it as irrational--stage fright, if you will--and disregarded it and seen these people as human beings.

I definitely would not have called security. Calling security could only make the problem, whatever the problem might be--unwanted attention? lack of feeling safe?--worse. And it seems ungracious to people who were simply standing there. Evidently they weren't making much noise.

Maybe they shouldn't have congregated there, but people make mistakes, and especially in a group, people do tend to defer judgment to the group. They were at a convention. Minor inconvenience at best, judging by the description and the fact that they weren't noisy.

If the OP was feeling excluded from a convention she was also attending, then she might have joined them. I doubt that the men were deliberately segregating themselves.

But it is the OP's intentions and interpretations, not mine, not other posters', that I don't understand clearly, and perhaps subsequent posts will clarify.

At any rate, no harm done by the OP's choice. We all go through life making very minor misjudgments, and we survive and so do others. This seems to be one of life's many forgettable and inconsequential and trivial missteps of judgment--if it even deserves that category of appraisal.
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Old Aug 13, 10, 12:07 pm   #6
 
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Originally Posted by SkeptiCallie View Post
I had a difficult time understanding the reason for the OP's concern. As I read it--and I might be wrong--the OP seemed to be saying that she called security because she felt excluded from the group.

My thought was that, if this interpretation is correct, it would be interesting to see follow-up posts. The rationale for calling security, if feeling miffed or hurt that one was excluded, does seem a bit outlying. Or more than just a bit, whatever. . . . But the OP can clarify her reasoning.

I would feel uncomfortable too, as others have stated, simply because I wouldn't like being the subject of sets of eyes following me. But unless this was a convention of Ex-Parolees Anonymous, I wouldn't have felt unsafe. It would have been just a temporary feeling of discomfort, and I would have recognized it as irrational--stage fright, if you will--and disregarded it and seen these people as human beings.

I definitely would not have called security. Calling security could only make the problem, whatever the problem might be--unwanted attention? lack of feeling safe?--worse. And it seems ungracious to people who were simply standing there. Evidently they weren't making much noise.

Maybe they shouldn't have congregated there, but people make mistakes, and especially in a group, people do tend to defer judgment to the group. They were at a convention. Minor inconvenience at best, judging by the description and the fact that they weren't noisy.

If the OP was feeling excluded from a convention she was also attending, then she might have joined them. I doubt that the men were deliberately segregating themselves.

But it is the OP's intentions and interpretations, not mine, not other posters', that I don't understand clearly, and perhaps subsequent posts will clarify.

At any rate, no harm done by the OP's choice. We all go through life making very minor misjudgments, and we survive and so do others. This seems to be one of life's many forgettable and inconsequential and trivial missteps of judgment--if it even deserves that category of appraisal.
I didn't interpret it that the OP felt excluded from the group, but rather that she felt uncomfortable that while going to her room alone there had been a group of guys congregating in the hall while finishing off/having drinks. If she really did feel unsafe for any reason, calling security was OK. She didn't say what time it was also. It's different if it were 6;00 pm or so rather than at 10:30pm or 11:00 also. I'd tend to just ignore it earlier in the evening figuring that they were meeting up before dinner and that the congregating should end shortly. After 9:00 or so, I'd probably wait a couple of minutes (5 to 10) to see if it ends before calling security...

JMHO
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Old Aug 13, 10, 1:42 pm   #7
 
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*snort* have I ever felt like the odd person out? I'm a white female that consults in technology. The number of times i've had other women on my projects I can count on one hand, and the vast majority of men tend to come from India. Add in that I tend to work in the US 60% of the time, and have to fly down from Canada, and I'm ALWAYS the odd person out.

It's never made me feel unsafe or unwelcome. You run into some cultural differences, and some people are friendlier than others, but it's never been a cause for concern. Most people are friendly at least, if not overly ready to head out and socialize with me. I always find at least a couple of people on any project who are willing to have fun and go to lunch/dinner with me, so it's not really an issue.

In any situation where a large group of people know each other and you don't know anyone, you're going to feel slightly uncomfortable. The only thing I can say is either start talking to random people (not easy if you're a shy introvert like I am), or smile and nod, and realise that 99% of the male population is not out to get you.

Do I thnk the OP was wrong for calling security? Not if she felt threatened. Hell, I've called hotel security a number of times due to parties in rooms close to mine when the noise level got unbearable. But perhaps it's time to examine WHY you feel threatened?
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Old Aug 13, 10, 8:26 pm   #8
 
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Maybe I don't understand OP's original post... My question is were you part of this conference or were you just an incidental guest at the hotel where a meeting/conference was going on?
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Old Aug 14, 10, 7:03 am   #9
 
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I'm with the OP on this one.

1. A room corridor is not an appropriate place for hotel guests to congregate under any circumstances: the hotel provides other venues for this activity which are away from guest rooms and keep the congregants from disturbing guests with their conversation. This has nothing to do with the gender of the congregants, just the fact that they will inevitably not be silent (which is what most people are when they are in hotel corridors traveling to and from their rooms).

2. I go to some trouble to keep the location of my room private. When checking into a hotel with a group of male colleagues I will even hang back until the men have gone to their rooms and then ask the clerk to give me a room on a different floor.

Do I actually think that I'm at any real risk from these colleagues, most of whom I've known for years and most of whom I'd trust to drag me from a burning building? No, not really. But I also know that many men are wired in such a way that the combined mental pictures of woman + hotel room (possibly + alcohol) sets off a series of subsequent mental pictures that I'd rather they not entertain.

If you add the sort of convivial group think (by which I mean that more than one guy in the group probably experienced a fleeting inappropriate thought, and then they realized that they'd all had the same fleeting thought, and that's a bit of a bonding experience right there even if they are the sort of guys who'd never actually act on the thought) that it seems the OP might have encountered in her original post, well, I'm definitely with her on this one.

As for asking the hotel for the group to move out of the hallway, one need only invoke the initial argument, that the guest room hallway is not meant to be a place to congregate in hotels.
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Old Aug 14, 10, 8:09 am   #10
 
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Quote:
1. A room corridor is not an appropriate place for hotel guests to congregate under any circumstances: the hotel provides other venues for this activity which are away from guest rooms and keep the congregants from disturbing guests with their conversation. This has nothing to do with the gender of the congregants, just the fact that they will inevitably not be silent (which is what most people are when they are in hotel corridors traveling to and from their rooms).
+0.99. I would certainly wait a while to see if the group went on to their final destination within a few minutes, but in general, I expect other guests to keep a quiet environment on the room floors, and will not hesitate to ask the hotel to break up room partying. It has absolutely nothing to do with my gender or the gender(s) of the other guests. Of course, I always ask for a quiet room in the first place, and I will insist on swapping it for another room if it doesn't meet my standards with regards to noise.

Quote:
2. I go to some trouble to keep the location of my room private. When checking into a hotel with a group of male colleagues I will even hang back until the men have gone to their rooms and then ask the clerk to give me a room on a different floor.

Do I actually think that I'm at any real risk from these colleagues, most of whom I've known for years and most of whom I'd trust to drag me from a burning building? No, not really. But I also know that many men are wired in such a way that the combined mental pictures of woman + hotel room (possibly + alcohol) sets off a series of subsequent mental pictures that I'd rather they not entertain.
Well, wouldn't it be a bit tough for them to rescue you from the burning hotel building if they don't know what floor you're on?

I don't think men and women are that differently wired with respect to romantic and/or sexual fantasies about work mates. Females are probably more safe from any kind of harassments from male colleagues in a hotel with single accommodation than at an office party or at an evening event with colleagues at a bar/club or in a private home. I avoid rooms next door to people I know because I want to spare us from being entertained by each other's bathroom visits.
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Old Aug 14, 10, 2:38 pm   #11
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Sorry I'm going to be against the OP on this one.

#1 - if you TRULY had an issue with all those people in the hall on the way to your room, then turn around go back to the desk and ask for a different room, that they clear the hall whatever then you would have had no issue with people knowing that the female was in X room (there is a bit of that goes here, but there is some leeway with the sentiment)

#2 - You don't say what time you checked in and that is very important because calling security to remove people from the hallway during regular hours (pretty much between 9 and 9, and maybe later) without seeing if they'd disperse on their own, etc. is petty IMO. If they weren't overly loud, what was the issue? If they were loud, then perhaps some comments when you walked by would've been enough. I have called security as recently as last week, but that was after being woken up at 2:30 am and then kept awake for close to an hour before I called down for the party across the hall behind the closed door.

#3 - Being female in a hotel full of males ... could be fun is my first thought, the second is what's the big deal? How do you know any hotel you stay at isn't filled with men and no other women at any time? Really - in my work women are almost always in the minority, that's life ... unless someone said something to you or comments were made about you or the conversation you overheard was particularly offensive to make you directly uncomfortable, I think this is a total non-issue. Now if any of those were the case, then the situation is totally different AND why'd you remain in the room/at the hotel, etc if you were truly uncomfortable.

The fact you continued to your room and didn't turn around, you chose to call down to have the people removed from the hall without making any comment yourself friendly and/or in passing and are concerned just because there were a lot of men in the hotel when you were there .... I don't see a problem with the hotel or the conference attendees. Sorry to disagree.
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Old Aug 16, 10, 8:20 am   #12
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Originally Posted by RTPA View Post
It was more of an issue that I was completely outnumbered by the men on the floor, they all knew what room I was in and yes, that it was obvious that I was the one that broke up the party.
Ok, I'm a bit confused. Was it a 'party' in the hallway (what time was this btw?) or just folk socializing in the hallway before entering their rooms? I've walked by groups of men gabbing/joking before in the hallway on the way to my room.

Unless they made lewd comments to you or otherwise did something inappropriate I think you overreacted.

Yes they knew what room you were in, but presumably even if they were intent upon breaking in (doubtful, but presumably that was your fear), that's what deadbolts & locks are for.

If they tried to break into your room, then security should be called - or if they were partying loudly in the hallway & you knew it was going to go on all night, then again, security should be called.

Short of those situations (lewd comments, partying into wee hours, trying to break into your room), I think you over-reacted. As someone else mentioned, for all you know, you're outnumbered by men at every hotel you're staying at. You'll need to get used to it.

Cheers.
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Old Aug 16, 10, 1:58 pm   #13
 
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Originally Posted by SkiAdcock View Post
Short of those situations (lewd comments, partying into wee hours, trying to break into your room), I think you over-reacted. As someone else mentioned, for all you know, you're outnumbered by men at every hotel you're staying at. You'll need to get used to it.

Cheers.
+1. The OP said they were friendly so I'm not quite sure why the complaint unless they were loud and it was past 10pm. Heck, I'm sure I've been guilty of loitering in the halls, when at a conference, too now that I think about it.

And, really, if they were loud, there's no way they'd know that you were the complainer since the complaint could have come form someone in another room who didn't care to hear noise.

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Old Aug 16, 10, 3:09 pm   #14
 
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+1. The OP said they were friendly so I'm not quite sure why the complaint unless they were loud and it was past 10pm. Heck, I'm sure I've been guilty of loitering in the halls, when at a conference, too now that I think about it.

And, really, if they were loud, there's no way they'd know that you were the complainer since the complaint could have come form someone in another room who didn't care to hear noise.

Bobette
All of us are reading the post differently, and I am still hoping the OP posts again to clarify.

As I read the post title, "Ever feel like the odd person out?" it sounds as if the OP is saying that she feels excluded and (because of that) calls security. That would arguably be seeking revenge for being excluded.

It would be an unusual reaction.

Then, after calling security, the issue seems to have become, "What if they are annoyed or seek revenge?"

The reaction of most of us in seeing a large male group would be, at the most, possibly safety concerns or noise, but I wouldn't want to read another person's posts in context of what I might think or do.

OTOH, perhaps the post was not worded exactly to express what the OP was trying to say. Hence my questions in my earlier post.
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Old Aug 16, 10, 4:17 pm   #15
 
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I can remember when I was routinely the only woman and by far the youngest person in the room for a business meeting, did lots of solo travelling outside major metropolitan areas (like tiny southern towns where the best hotel in town gave you a flyswatter when you checked in!), and frequently encountered groups of men from decidedly different socio-economic backgrounds from my own. (The mention of it being a union conference suggests OP was made uncomfortable partly by a blue-collar association, though I could be reading that wrong.)

Back then, I often felt decidedly the outsider. I can imagine OP's discomfort with the group, but while I think it was misplaced, only broader experience of people is likely to make her more comfortable in such situations.

The concern about being the obvious "killjoy" IS more realistic, especially if alcohol is present, but having acted on her initial discomfort, OP's stuck with that, and should simply double-latch the door.

When concerned about groups congregating in hallways, I use 11 pm as a litmus test...and the two times I have recently set my mental alarm clock to call the front desk at that time -- the groups dispersed well before 11. Generally, my 11 pm trigger means that it isn't obvious that I'm the one who has made the call to the front desk, though if I were to arrive around that time, I'd give it at least another half-hour - partly to weaken the assumption that I'm the caller.
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