A few weeks ago I attended a business networking lunch with 6 gentlemen whom I had never met – I was the only female at the table.

Per usual, we exchanged pleasantries, business cards and a few ideas over some delicious Pad Thai. All seemed to be a normal lunch. Then the bill came….

Credit card in hand, I attempted to pay my portion of the tab. However, one gentleman insisted he pick up my lunch (no one elses, just mine) because I was the “prettiest one at the table.”

Slightly offended, I replied – “You know, that makes me want to pay my tab even more. May I please see the bill?”

However, he refused and I walked away from the meeting with a free lunch.

My question is – what is the etiquette? Is it appropriate to allow a man to pay your tab because of your looks even though the purpose of the meeting is strictly business? Should I have been more forceful and demanded equal treatment? Or perhaps more coy – expecting men to take care of my “needs”?

Either way, the situation made me feel uncomfortable and separated from the group. I’m all for chivalry, but this felt like a case of beauty segregation. How would you have handled it?

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

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