MAN TALK: The girl at the table - Daily Nation

MAN TALK: The girl at the table

Friday September 18 2015

Why bring your date to your business meeting if

Why bring your date to your business meeting if she’s not going to enhance the discussion? PHOTO| FILE 

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I recently had a lunch meeting at this fine dining spoon known for its business power lunches. At the next table sat three gentlemen. Distinguished-looking power brokers, their expensive blazers hung on the wooden coat racks behind them.

When you see a clutch of suited men sitting at the table with their blazers off, something serious is going down. They all wore white shirts, silk ties and serious mugs. Probably bankers or financial analysts or investors discussing a genius investment idea.

They spoke in murmurs, diplomatically. There were a lot of grunts and agreeable nods and lots of eye contact. When they laughed, it was just a small ripple. Nobody touched their iPhones, they remained on the table, face down. They shared a large bottle of sparkling water and when the very efficient and soundless hostess showed up with the entrées, they barely noticed.

The aircon silently blew from above. Tongues of furious flames leaped across in the kitchen, separated by glass from the room.

The Asian chef’s face looked like it was burning from under his skin. You are probably thinking, wait, that sounds like Bhandini Restaurant, the Indian spoon at the Intercontinental Hotel. Have a cookie for that correct answer!

In the midst of these three gentleman was something odd. A woman. I say odd because in this corporate tableau, she stuck out like a sore thumb, first because she was in jeans and a blouse, a dress code that wasn’t consistent to the dress code at her table. She was beautiful in a very brittle way, soft delicate features, warm beautiful eyes and a jaw that was a bit on the manly side, but that framed her brittle features.

She looked like those girls you were very sure loved to say, “Let’s just cuddle today, hold me.”

What I loved most about her was that she didn’t slouch in her seat. She sat up ramrod straight, her chin never dropping except to meet her spoon bearing broth. But boy, was she was bored out of her skull!


I could tell that she would rather be elsewhere, that she didn’t give a rat’s ass about the discussion going on around her. Whenever I stole glances at their table, she was always on her phone, scrolling through it in that half comatose way. She didn’t say a word.

Didn’t contribute to the discussion and clearly wasn’t taking minutes. It wasn’t any of my business, but it bothered me. I wondered what the hell she was doing there.

Who was she with and what was her contribution? Was she there as a flower to beautify the table? Was she security? I mean Gaddafi was known to walk around with some mean-ass female bodyguards. Maybe this one was a martial arts expert and she was ready to chop one of the suits on the table with a neat left hook to the throat should that meeting turn sour.

I interrupted one of the chaps on our table who was saying something. “I’m sorry, but when you see a lady like that sitting in a meeting like that, do you ever wonder why anyone would drag a lady to an official meeting that doesn’t concern her? Why would you do that?” The gentlemen all looked at me with mild surprise and then looked at the table across as if seeing it for the first time.

One of the guys, an older gentleman, said, “Maybe she was to meet with one of the guys, but then the rest called for a meeting and he had to drag her to it.”

Unconvincing. That meeting didn’t look like a meeting that was set up at the last minute. Those men didn’t look like the kind of guys who call each other randomly and say, “Peter, sasa? Are you in tao? Si we do that meeting now. I’m here with Karanja.”

Again I ask, why drag a woman to an official meeting? You will see it in many establishments, bored women sitting in serious meetings, looking like they would sooner use the butter knife to slit their wrists.

Why have her there if she doesn’t need to be there? Are you showing her off? How do the rest feel about her sitting in that meeting? If she is there as a beautiful addition, why do we need a single stem flower in the vase in the middle of the table then? Why can’t she wait in a different part of the room if she has nowhere else to go? Does a woman sitting in a meeting make the man who dragged her to that meeting a better negotiator? Is it an ego thing?

Do you speak better when you know a woman is sitting there, admiring your gift of gab and how powerful/intelligent sexy you are in your cufflinks? Is it your idea of foreplay, you twisted man? Will she sit there looking at how you are conducting business and think, “Mmm, I could so rip off his clothes right now! Look at him, all yummy and sexy talking about debt-to-income ratio like that!”

And most importantly, might this be a business opportunity for hotels to consider? To hire out very hot women to sit in meetings of men who love to have a beautiful audience?

For 100 dollars an hour you will get a Caucasian/Asian/Ethiopian girl who will sit in your meetings and make you look (and sound) good. Do you love big-boned women? No problem, we have two fresh off the boat from South Africa who have great track records of sitting in meetings.

They come in short dresses and plunging necklines. Blue nail polish if you prefer sir, that’s on the house. But you will have to pay an extra 20 dollars if they are to say something in their Mzansi accent.

Anyway, whatever floats your boat, gentlemen.