WELCOME TO THE FOUR SEASONS, FATTIE
Two days, two kills.
That’s my current spider-slaying record.
I discovered the first one a couple of nights ago, hanging out on the wall of my bedroom. The arachnid was MASSIVE and HAIRY and possibly made me scream a bit. Mind you, I’m normally pretty Zen when it comes to spiders because I know how beneficial they are. I generally leave them in place or relocate them outdoors with a square of cardboard.
Yet this one was MASSIVE and HAIRY, to the point that its MASSIVE HAIRINESS needs to be noted no less than three times.
Also, the spider had some kind of marking on its back, which concerned me. Sporty racing stripe or possible black widow? I wasn’t about to find out. As I didn’t want it to escape while I hunted down Fletch, I decided to kill it myself.
Death via Dyson.
I ran across a smaller spider last night and, emboldened by the previous night’s success, smashed him post-haste with a wad of toilet paper.
Two days, two kills.
At breakfast this morning, I crowed to Fletch about how I was a super-empowered-spider-slayer now and he was all, “That’s some fancy feminism there, Tex. Ms. Magazine is certain to put you on the next cover.”
Then it took me a minute to realize he was teasing me.
Here’s the thing – and I’m not proud of this – I’m a terrible feminist because I’m never one to concern myself over the inequality of the sexes.
I’m so out of touch with the concept of feminism, in fact, that I just had to Google the definition to make sure I had it right.
(Let’s all take a well-deserved Shame Break here.)
BTW, according to Webster’s Dictionary, feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men, and again, please excuse the co-morbidity of my shame and my privilege.
My only explanation is that since I’m our household’s primary breadwinner, and because all the decisions made under this roof are determined together, and as all the leaders I deal with in publishing are female, it simply hasn’t occurred to me that this hasn’t been everyone’s experience of late.
Sure, it’s 2013 in my world, but my world pretty much ends at my fingertips.
Ergo, when advocates in my industry speak out about how women and men receive unequal treatment when it comes to literary review coverage, I’m generally too busy watching Real Housewives to notice.
And I’m sorry.
But, this lack of awareness about feminism brings me to something that’s been bothering me for almost a month. I touched upon this in a Facebook post a while back and I thought that would be the end of it.
Yet I’m still annoyed, so perhaps it’s not.
When I travel for book tour, I’m very fortunate to stay in fantastic hotels because my publisher has the benefit of a corporate rate. I’m often booked in a Four Seasons, which is pretty much the greatest thing ever. Each time I stay with them, it’s a pure delight and, once in a while, there’s some manner of outrageously thoughtful treat waiting for me.
Anyway, when I arrived at the Four Seasons in Houston, I stepped into my room and found the following amenity:
If it’s not clear from the photo, my amenity included granola, water, a magazine I never buy, and a Jillian Michaels butt workout on DVD.
So… no strawberries, then?
I laughed, assuming that I’d received someone else’s amenity. I snapped a shot and sent it to my friend Stacey who replied that this screamed, “Welcome to the Four Seasons, Fattie!”
As her response made me laugh again, I posted it on Twitter, along with a photo and then I went to the pool.
Upon my return, I found the amenity was still there. That’s when I read the accompanying pamphlet and saw that the Four Seasons Houston was calling this the Gal on the Go package. As I scanned the marketing piece, I noted said package offered a free glass of wine and a discount on spa treatments, and that’s cool. Probably not anything I’d take advantage of while on a business trip, but still, very thoughtful.
Then, somewhere deep within my lizard brain, my subconscious finally, finally turned off Bravo and began to pay attention, likely when I read the text surrounding the Gal on the Go menu:
“Oh, crap, its [sic] that time of the month!”
“What’s going on in Hollywood?”
“Ugh, my makeup won’t come off!”
Here’s the thing – we’ve pretty much established that I’m a card-carrying, false-eyelash-applying, hair bow-wearing member of the Barbie Army.
Do you know how hard it is to awaken my feminist sensibilities?
Do understand how grievously you must have erred to stir my awareness?
And yet the Gal on the Go pamphlet did just that.
Suddenly I felt like Lisa Simpson in the episode where she discovered her Malibu Stacy doll was programmed to say, “Math is hard.”
Okay, number one – and present company excluded – if you’re a businesswoman who’s at the point in your career of scoring a suite at the Four Seasons, chances are YOU ARE NOT A DING-A-LING and you’re not going to run around squealing about lacking proper feminine protection because you’re PREPARED FOR THAT SHIT BECAUSE YOU’RE A GROWN-UP.
You probably don’t even squeal in the first place.
(And peri-menopause may have already taken care of the rest.)
Two, my guess is you’re going to be more concerned about internet connectivity and meeting space and a competent concierge than you are about having a private butt workout and a special little velvet box in which to store your sparkly bits.
And why wouldn’t a competent person, male or female, simply stash valuables in the room safe?
Again, my problem wasn’t with the amenity so much as the way it was presented.
Providing these services is a thoughtful gesture.
Providing these services in a way that minimizes and infantilizes its users is not.
I mean, seriously?
Also? I’m allowed to call myself a "gal," but you, random marketing person who I’d SWEAR was a clueless twenty-something male, are not.
In terms of equality, is there a Guy on the Go package? What’s in it? Cigars? Bourbon? Foot powder? Porn and a healthy supply of hand lotion?
Before I left – and to be fair, my stay was otherwise spectacular – I filled out the provided comment card explaining exactly what was wrong with the promotion. Again, my issue wasn’t with the services offered but the condescending way in which they were presented.
As service-oriented as this hotel chain has always proven to be, I can’t imagine they’d willingly engage in a promotion that others found offensive, so I took the time to share my input.
(I can’t be the only one who feels this way, right?)
A few days later, the Four Seasons in Houston tweeted at me, explaining that they weren’t saying “Welcome, Fattie” so much as they were offering a cool-ass package to business travelers.
So... apparently it’s my fault for misunderstanding their intentions of giving me a butt DVD in lieu of delicious candy.
Then they explained that all their amenities are based on guest feedback (read: all the other gals loved it) and placed on their “dedicated floor for women.”
Dedicated floor for women.
Dedicated floor for women.
And that's when I disengaged because I was getting nowhere.
I’m guessing this sort of first-world-privileged rant won’t earn me a spot on the cover of Ms. (would they even let me wear a bow?) but my hope is this will encourage the Four Seasons Houston to tweak their marketing on this particular promotion.
Then, the next time some female oil exec checks in - you know, the kind of woman who not only can kill her own spiders, but who's also worked twice as hard as her counterparts to prove her merit in a male-driven industry - she won’t be thrown off her game when she confronts the same blatant sexism that she’s spent her entire career battling.
FYI, she’d probably enjoy some dipped strawberries, too.