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Dinosaur Discovered in Paris

Originally published in, the newsletter — Jan/Feb 2000

French daily Le Monde recently reported that two single women complained to police after being turned away. “Non-accompanied women are not admitted at Fouquet’s,” the paper quoted a doorman as telling them when they arrived for tea.

Director Ivan Lavaux confirmed the policy. “We previously had too many undesirable clients, pimps, ladies of the night . . . ” “In order to improve our image, we no longer accept non-accompanied ladies in the brasserie area. Except, of course, clients whom we frequently see with their husbands.

A subscriber adds: “Strangely enough, it’s probably one of the best known cafes in Paris. Located on the Champs Elysees, it was to be torn down about ten years ago to make room for a new building, when the French Parliament passed a law making it into a national monument. A long-time hangout for politicians (and their mistresses), it is located four or five blocks south of the Arc de Triomphe.”

Rebuffed by A Restaurant

Originally published in, the newsletter — Jan/Feb 2000

“Dinosaur Discovered in France,” pg. six.) reminded us of an interview Leone Ackerly, Founder and CEO of Mini-Maid Services gave us several years ago.

Fifteen years ago, Akerly had just concluded a board meeting with the Committee of 200, an organization of the nation’s top women entrepreneurs. She was feeling successful and knew she looked the part. Dressed all in black — cashmere sweater, straight, black suede skirt, flat boots, topped off by a mink jacket — her outfit smacked of elegant conservatism.

She decided to have an early dinner at the restaurant in the Marquis Hotel where she was staying in New York City. Walking up to the maitre d', her attaché still in hand, Akerly noticed there was no one in the dining room. “Good,” she thought. “No problem with reservations; I’ll get a window seat.” When she asked to be seated for dinner, he refused her. Startled, she repeated, “I would like to be seated now,” adding, “All these tables are empty.” His response? “They’re all reserved!” as he turned on his heel and walked away, leaving her stunned.

“I was real young then. In my shock, I only knew something wasn’t right,” Ackerly reminded me. “It wasn’t until later that it dawned on me this new hotel was having problems with single women. A friend was blunt.” “Leone, he thought you were a prostitute!”

Bottom line? The memory still smarts. Akerly anguished: “I was proud of who I was and how I looked. I was embarrassed. And I’m still angry at myself for failing to contact management.”

She should have acted; however, most women can empathize and understand why she didn’t.

Sooner or later, EVERYONE — business and pleasure travelers, singles, those divorced or widowed, very-marrieds whose spouses are on the road, harried moms and dads, etc. — faces the challenge of eating out alone!

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