Stranger 11. I approached the doorman at the Savoy Hotel in London, a lovely man called Rob and I told him, congruently, that I believe there is great value in serving others. So I asked him if I could join him as a doorwoman, in full uniform, meeting and greeting the patrons as they came and went, for the next hour.
He told me he didn’t have the authority to sanction that and very kindly started to write down the number for the HR department. Thrilled that I wasn’t being laughed off the polished tiles I decided to push it.
“I can’t wait around, unfortunately. I’m only in London this afternoon so it has to be now”
“Well, we’d need time to find you a uniform….”
“No problem, I can come back in an hour….”
Thinking I must be moments away from a rejection in the bag he then said…
“Let’s talk to my manager, Tony.”
Tony joined us and echoing Rob’s words, he said he didn’t have the authority to sanction that, it would have to go through HR. He also offered an extra piece of information which became a theme for the day and got me thinking about the current thinking….
“No disrespect, but you could be anyone, they’ll have to do checks on you. We can’t let you join us just like that.”
Since I’d set it up in the moment as a now or never request, then there was my no! But I liked these two, so I hung around a little longer.
“Have you ever had a woman working on the door at The Savoy?”
“No” said Tony “We haven’t got a problem with women, it’s just that no-one’s approached us before. Not seriously anyway.”
Rob chipped in with “And I don’t mean anything by this, I know some strong women myself, but you need a bit of muscle to do this job”
The idea of needing muscle at The Savoy seemed quite comical to me.
“Or maybe women doubt they could look good in a top hat?” I suggested.
Rob was amused. “I think the women I know would look better in a top hat than we do!”
A car pulled up and so I left them to it, with a rejection firmly in the bag. And top hat envy.
Stranger 12. I walked into the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and asked the stage doorkeeper, a brilliant man called Eugene, if there was anything currently being rehearsed in the building right there and then. He told me there was plenty going on, both the opera and the ballet were in rehearsal. So I asked if I could sit in on one of the rehearsals, any one, I didn’t mind. Just sit in the corner of the room, “won’t make a fuss” for 20 minutes or so.
Thinking this is a ludicrous request, I was amazed I didn’t receive a simple No in response.
Eugene told me it was highly unlikely but he said he wanted to help me out so he advised that I enrolled on a college course connected to opera and ballet, as it might be easier if I had the backing of a tutor, someone to vouch for me.
I asked Eugene if he’d vouch for me, “wouldn’t that be enough?”
“It’s not that simple unfortunately. There are procedures. I’d have to ask my manager, he’d have to ask the director and these people like to keep it closed, it’s sensitive what they’re doing. You look like a lovely woman, I’m sure this doesn’t apply to you, but we’d need to check you out. You could sit in there and tweet about it. Word gets out before they’re ready and it’s beyond their control.”
So it was a No. I thanked Eugene for his advice and his desire to help.
Two rejections in one day made me a very happy lady 🙂
And now I’m left wondering just how much health and safety might crop up in this game…and if at any point I’m going to meet someone brave enough to cross that line…..tbc.
About the Author
I coach high achievers in the performing arts and music industries, together with entrepreneurs and leaders in corporate. I'm drawn to work with pioneers and innovators. "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes" Marcel Proust
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