Thursday, January 17, 2019

There is such a thing as a free lunch: the rest of the story

Wednesday evening, I had a free dinner date courtesy of the Prudential Financial. The event was held at the Aqua Turf Club, the finest banquet facility in the area, so I dressed appropriately for a nice night out.

I wore a "parker green" belted bell-sleeve sheath sweater dress from New York and Company with "Tomalah Ombre Pumps" from Nine West. I accessorized with earrings, necklace and watch from Avon and a black satchel handbag from Jessica Simpson. I also wore a new hairdo: Noriko Reese in a shade of red called "Cherrywood."

Aqua Turf is only 20 minutes from my home, so I left at 5:30 PM to arrive at 5:50 PM for a 6 PM start. As I drove into the parking lot, I was surprised by the number of people walking into the banquet hall. For a second, I hesitated and thought about not mingling with hundreds of civilians (turned out that there were about 400 people in attendance), but I gathered up my handbag, exited the Subaru and joined the throng heading indoors.

There was a line of civilians checking in along with a lot of Prudential suits milling about and it seems that they all looked up when the tall redhead got in line. One of the suits came over to me, asked my name and directed me to the correct line for my last name (there were three separate lines for three divisions of the alphabet).

I exchanged banter with another tall woman joking about which line to get into because the lines were not clearly defined. She was in my line and I was in hers, so we swapped spots.

The suits checking me in did not blink when it came to my male name that I was registered under. I think they were too busy to care.

After I checked in, another suit escorted me to my table, which was occupied by a 50-something couple. Soon we were joined by two other 50-something couples and one gent who was solo. I was seated between two women and we chit-chatted throughout the evening... some girl talk and some talk about retirement planning.

The speaker, Tom Hegna, was excellent. He was entertaining and informative, has written five books on retirement planning and convinced me that the annuity I owned was a good thing after all.

The food was good, too. I have eaten at Aqua Turf in the past and the food was always over the top, but I assumed that a free dinner might be cut-rate. I was wrong; dinner was excellent.

I also assumed there would be some high pressure salesmanship at the event, but there was none. However, I expect I will receive a call from a Prudential suit in the near future.

The event broke up at 9 PM and I arrived home shortly thereafter.

The evening went very well. No one gave me an odd, knowing look. Rather, everyone treated me as a woman and I had a wonderful time.

Source: DVF
Wearing Diane von Furstenberg (Source: DVF)

Wearing New York and Company dress, Nine West shoes and Avon jewelry
Wearing New York and Company dress, Nine West shoes and Avon jewelry 


  1. Dear Stana,

    You looked absolutely gorgeous in your ensemble for the retirement planning presentation and dinner! Brava!

    In guy mode, I have attended 3 similar events ... free dinner plus financial/retirement planning presentation. Like yours, my events were at “high end, expensive” restaurants, like RUTH’S CHRIS’ STEAKHOUSE and EDDIE V’S. My experiences were excatly as you described ... interesting, informative presentation; no high pressure; excellent meal (that would have cost $45 to $75 if I had to pay). I have to commend the various reputable financial planning companies that are running these events. Their lack of “high pressure” salesmanship along with a very good meal and nice interactions with other attendees was very enjoyable!

    Well ... I guess I lied ... my “presentation + free meal” evenings were not “exactly” as you described ... since I went in guy mode, so didn’t have the joy of being dressed to the 9’s as a woman ... LOL.



  2. I wonder when you'll stop being surprised that you're treated as the woman you are. Just sayin'.

  3. Stana
    It will be interesting to see what name and title they use when phoning or writing to you

  4. Isn't it special when we are treated as the women we are? Stana, you looked terrific -- that green dress is just perfect with your hair color. I'm sure any looks you got were appreciative!

  5. Julie M ShawJanuary 18, 2019

    You look marvelous! And I agree with CallMeMeg - you need no longer be surprised, my dear. I wish I was half the lady you are.

  6. Why the desk clerks did not blink at a "male" name: It helps that so many little girls these days go by what used to be exclusively masculine names. I know little girls and little boys named Kennedy, for example. I have known two women with the given name Jeffrey Peter, and one who labored under the hard-to-handle Woodrow Wilson.

    And Evelyn and Allison and Tracey and Brook long ago ceased to be names exclusively for men.

    Glad you had a good time!

  7. Stana, I love the dress and you look beautiful with the red hair. And no one would have thought to look further, as you are obviously a well-dressed woman attending the dinner. No surprises any more!

  8. Beautiful looking in that dress