COMMENT By Pandora Bryan
Sitting in the smoke filled no-smoking zone of the Directors' Room at Pall Mall the other day, gazing up at the portrait of General Sir Frederick Love (presented by some of his friends - luvvies? - we are informed by its plaque) - you know, the one opposite the unnamed portrait of the soldier with a dead chicken on his head - I couldn't help but wonder whether the loD has a hangup with sex.
No, don't get me wrong. There's not a great deal for the Sunday tabloids to get their tleeth into. But if you are a woman (and 13 per cent of IoD members are) why not try this little party game the next time you are visiting the hallowed portals of 116.
Slope up to the reception desk and mention that you are due to meet someone. Does the receptionist:
1. Offer to put out a Tannoy for you
2. Ask where you will be sitting when your guest arrives
3. Suggest that you sit in the waiting area until the member arrives
4. Ask if you are meeting a member
The chances are that a female member will get replies 3 and 4, while their male counterparts would normally hear 1 or 2.
OK - you spotted my deliberate omission.
Most members have now been programmed to present their swipe cards before messing with authority so perhaps that little charade won't work any more.
Ah, those swipe cards!
Dreadful aren't they? I mean, who but a MAN would presume to place a swipe card reader just far enough away from the library door to ensure that you have to block the fire exit with your laptop and your briefcase to locate your wallet containing your card, only to find that you have only four seconds to put your card away and retrieve your mobile office before the door is locked again and you have to pass Go once more.
Who for that matter, mind you, (except perhaps, a marketeer desperate to track his potential prey) needs to check the members' movements anyway without any apparent benefit for those members. (Can't be for fire regs, as they are only interested in you coming in, not when and if you depart.)
The next thing we know, they'll be tracking how often members use the loos.
Ah. That takes us to another little oddity. Have you had a gander at the basement Gents' recently? The sight that greets you when you walk through the door is a machine labelled 'Lady-care' , replete with aspirins and other essentials.
So, for our second game:
Stand in the corridor pretending to admire the prints of Kaffirs being beaten up by well disciplined troops, but all the time keep an eye on that oft-used door (it has no swipe machine - yet).
How many of the intrepid directors do a double take and re-check the legend on the door before venturing in to complete their business?
Has this loo been earmarked for a sex change? I think we should be told.
A Parthian shot....
Is it just rumour that a new sign has been
OK'd by the Council to be prominently displayed
at the entrance.
A 15th century Italian scholar got there first,
'Abandon hope all ye who enter here.'
Mind you, according to my sources, Hades
isn't equipped with swipe cards...yet.