The Hook’s Field Guide To Hotel Guests.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  I had something else planned for today, but once again Fate has thrown a monkey-wrench into the works. The post you are about to read originally appeared on the NiagaraHub  site on May 8 and apparently it has ignited a firestorm of controversy.

I love people. They won’t vote, but they’re always ready to jump up and tap away at that keyboard, damning the work of a hardworking bellman/writer trying to make his way in a cold, cold world.

Too much?

At any rate, here is the original post, feel free to click over to the Hub and read some of the comments. Apparently they also received a few phone calls from a certain segment of the population who want my head on a stick. Let me know what you think, folks, please!

Old Man Winter’s frigid grip has finally loosened and we’re free of his icy prison for another year. (Don’t get the wrong idea: I don’t hate winter as much as I hate the snow, the cold and the lack of daylight.)

But here’s the good news: with the warmer temperatures comes the desire to indulge Man’s greatest instinct – and I’m not referring to painting oneself wild colors and screaming at referees – but rather, travel. The longing to explore strange new worlds and civilizations actually predates Bill Shatner’s voice overs and has helped define our role as the dominant species on this mudball.

Simply put, travel is in our blood.

So as you tranquilize the rugrats, overload the minivan and download routes into your GPS (Sometimes I actually miss maps you could never refold or understand. Remember them?), bear something in mind: if you’re not willing to have fun while traveling, you’re better off staying home and punishing yourself in a less painful manner. Like watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo reruns, for example.

But if you’re willing to truly commit yourself and give this travel thing a whirl, here is a little guide to spotting and identifying some of the colorful creatures you’re sure to see along the way.

1)  THE EXPERT: This one’s easy. This is the guy or gal you’ll most likely come across in the parking garage or valet deck of your hotel. They’ll be doling out unwanted advice to a bellman or their spouse on packing or unpacking their vehicle. For that matter, they’ll be dishing out tips on every single facet of the travel experience to anyone who will listen.

  • Dining companions will be enlightened about the many flaws of the restaurant, the servers and of course, the food.
  • Anyone in earshot will hear about how inefficient the check-in experience is and how it can be fixed in one easy step.
  • The housekeepers are sloppy.
  • The valet drivers are reckless.
  • The fun never starts.

2)  THE TRAVELING HOOKER: They prefer to be referred to as “escorts” or “paid companions” nowadays, but they’ll always be hookers to me. They may be a little more difficult to spot for some but just look for these telltale signs.

  • Their “friend” – to be precise, his name is John – is always waaay out of his league.
  • Watch for a few moments and you’ll see her develop a look of quiet desperation whenever he isn’t looking, which is often, as they rarely make eye contact. (That’s her mind coming to grips with what her hands have to come to grips with to make a living.)
  • She may be traveling with a colleague. Some guys like to really push themselves and stock up on the hookers – and if they’re smart, the vitamins – while traveling.

If you feel your skills are polished enough, try looking for the Traveling Hooker with the female client. (Yes, they’re actually out there.) The female clients are also out of their weight class, but the difference lies in the eyes of their companions; hookers that cater to lesbians don’t seem so jaded and desperate for some reason. Although they do tend to have a distinctive way of walking…

3)  THE UFC COUPLE:  As in “Unlimited Fighting Couple”, as in that couple everyone knows that seem to fight everywhere they go. They’re easy to spot: they’re the people who make everyone around them cringe and think “Maybe my relationship isn’t so bad – and we’ve exchanged gunfire!”

  • The bicker about who is going to park and who is going to check-in.
  • They bicker about the results of their respective tasks.
  • In hushed tones and close talking, screaming, they bicker at dinner.
  • And of course, they bicker at night, when the noises from their room should be carnal in nature.

Speaking of which, next up…

4)  THE AMATEUR ADULT FILM STAR COUPLE: Needless to say, the noises emanating from their room – and the public hot tub, the elevator, the roof and even the maintenance shop – are definitely carnal in nature and make an HBO program look like something you’d find on PBS! Another interesting fact about these two animals: 99% of the time they’re unmarried or newlyweds…

5)  THE PACK OF COUGARS:  Soccer moms or even grandmas during the week, older versions of any female you’d see on MTV on the weekend. Cougars are deadly enough individually, but in a pack they have been known to lay waste to entire hotels in a single weekend. You can always spot a cougar by the tight vintage clothing, the excessive make-up/Botox, and the low growling and excessive drool.

Fun Fact: In North America, a bellman/bartender/hotel employee is mauled by a cougar every fifteen minutes. That time is reduced by half in the summer. Survivors all say the same thing when questioned by authorities: “They all looked like my mom’s friends from her book club. I feel so… unclean.”

6)  THE WILD CHILD:  To be clear, I am referring to that one ridiculously loud child who is literally bouncing off the walls of the lobby. (I guarantee the kid had two Red Bulls before noon.) The Wild Child’s progenitors are parents in name only, and allow their larvae to run amok rather than undertaking the all-too difficult task of actually providing the guidance and friendship necessary to produce a productive, civilized member of society.

This rugrat on acid will test your resolve, but stay strong, friends. Sooner or later the Wild Child will grow up to be a Walmart manager and fate will have exacted revenge on your behalf.

7)  THE HARDCORE GAMBLER:  There are a few things to look for when scoping out a hotel lobby in search of this individual.

  • His attire is several years out of date and dirty. (Money is for gambling, not clothes shopping!)
  • His hair is messy.
  • His eyes are bloodshot.
  • Naturally, his bling is plentiful and has most likely been pawned several times.

There are high-end Hardcore Gamblers, but they are a mutant offshoot of the species and rarely emerge from casinos as the harsh light of day has been known to blind them permanently.

One last item of note concerning the Hardcore Gambler: found primarily in areas with organized gambling dens nearby, this individual is prone to mood swings that have been known to become violent. When he’s on a roll, he’s the life of the party, the kind of guy everyone loves. When Lady Luck is not smiling favorably upon him, your best bet is to run for cover.  

8)  THE SWAMP DONKEY:  Admittedly, I am not a big fan of the term, which originated in fraternities and bars across North America, but in some cases it certainly applies, hence its inclusion here. Swamp Donkeys are similar to Cougars in that they both prefer to travel in packs. However, there are a few distinctions.

  • They are younger, certainly, but also their nubile forms have yet to display the ravages of alcohol, tobacco or recreational drug use.
  • “Personal massage devices” can be found in the luggage of most Swamp Donkeys. (To clarify, these devices have a hair trigger and seem to activate as soon as their owner enters a hotel. Cougars prefer to hunt for live, human conquests.)

9) BACHELOR/BACHELORETTE PARTIES:  If you have children – or self-respect – avoid these individuals at all costs. They are out to do some serious damage before embarking on a lifetime (5 to 10 years, max) of matrimonial happiness. And that’s all I have to say about that – for now.

And finally…

10)  THE HAPPY, WELL-ADJUSTED FAMILY:  As far as I’m concerned, they’re an urban myth. Period.

In closing, bear in mind this guide has barely scratched the grimy sticky surface of the modern hospitality industry. I’ll be publishing further installments in the future. Assuming I survive the season, that is.

Enjoy life on the open road, folks.

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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70 Responses to The Hook’s Field Guide To Hotel Guests.

  1. moi says:

    yeah they don’t seem best pleased by your post over at that other site, perhaps the truth hurts lol

  2. 5,6 and 10 are my favorite. You nailed it.

    I read the comments. They are a very sensitive lot, aren’t they? Reading their comments would make you wonder if they bothered reading the article at all. Some people…

  3. Hah! Wow, yeah, I think those commenters missed the part about this not being serious political discourse. And even if it was, what’s wrong with a bit of bloody irreverence? Clearly not for the easily offended.

    Whew. Well you’re gonna get this from time to time with humour writing I guess, some people will just not get it and take things waaay too seriously!

    Well I for one enjoyed the post :)

    Rohan.

  4. I have to admit I didn’t meet all of them during my travels, but I don’t see what was offensive about it. And homophobic!? Where?

    Anyway, I guess you just picked the wrong audience, dude. Maybe humor isn’t at home on a traveling site.

  5. Honie Briggs says:

    These days I travel just enough to get the right amount of frequent flyer miles for free magazine subscriptions. Surprisingly I don’t fall into any of the categories above. Categorically. I do from time to time dole out “helpful information” like: “Hey, you should read The Bellman Chronicles. You’ll laugh your ass off.” to unsuspecting doormen. I also strike up spontaneous conversations in elevators and hotel bars with strangers. Mostly to be friendly and maybe discover or recommend a good place to dine. Also to get an idea if they might be helpful in case of an emergency. I’m a good tipper, a tidy guest, and don’t always take the complementary toiletries. I almost always require extra towels. So, I suppose that category might be a subset of The Expert, say, The Skilled Refugee with a severe case of: that lady needs to get out more. (or be institutionalized)

  6. MissFourEyes says:

    What?! What is wrong with those people over there? Looks like some people lost their funny. Or they never had it to begin with.

    The UFC couple are kind of amusing to listen too. Especially when they give up the hushed tones.

  7. Pyx says:

    The following comments took place between 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock… because after 9pm the meds kicked in. Eegawds freelance whiners – people have made an online hobby of being outraged but with that said, I think that girl was totally hitting on you when she invited you to Roxy’s!

  8. Shame on you, Hook! How dare you, a man who has seen firsthand the actions and reactions of travelers from around the world almost every day for 15 years, use those experiences as a guideline to write a story such as this one? You rotten bastard! /sarc

  9. lexy3587 says:

    I read the article, and was totally not prepared for the commentary on it! I thought it was a funny caricature of people who visit hotels (though you totally missed the ‘teen who did NOT want to come on this crummy family vacation’ :P )… I wasn’t expecting people to read it as a homophobic attack on niagara falls and America at large.

  10. Such commenters over there…hard to look yourself in the mirror, Commenter?
    Did someone once say “If you’re not offending people, you’re not writing truth?”
    (Probably made that up – but there’s some truth to it.)
    People don’t like reality these days…everyone’s a winner, remember? Yeah, that’s working so well.
    Blog on, Hook – it’s your destiny…or part of it anyway (Insert sickeningly sweet smilie face here)

  11. Katie says:

    Haters gonna hate, Hook! I thought this was brilliantly written and hilarious like everything else of yours. Some people don’t have a sense of humor–I’ve learned that on my own blog.

    Keep ‘em comin’!

  12. mairedubhtx says:

    Your Field Guide is wonderful. And the comments of some of those folks on the Hub are just pitiful. They seem to think you are dissing Niagara Falls and tourists somehow. Where they get that, I just don’t know. These folks have no sense of humor, that’s for sure. They have certainly not spent much time in hotels. My advice is to ignore them. You have written brilliantly, as usual.

  13. And don’t forget the Bums!!!!

  14. fibot says:

    Personally, I can’t see what is wrong with this post. A true reflection on human nature and hilarious!

  15. tteclod says:

    I don’t comprehend the homophobic complaint. Can ANYBODY explain that to me?

    Also, I’ve always appreciated your honest assessment of prostitutes. Makes me appreciate my wife.

  16. susielindau says:

    Here’s what I do. When I get a negative comment, I respond with a positive comment. It will draw attention away from the others. It works like a charm.
    Something like, “Thank you so much for your reading and taking the time to comment. In my profession, I always have a lot of material and it just keeps on coming!”
    Honest to God. It works. People will skip over the other comments and will only read yours. And they will have a lot more respect for you if they see how you handled it. We as bloggers open ourselves up to criticism just by writing. The best way is to thank them.

    • The Hook says:

      For being such a hottie, you are quite wise, Susie!
      I think I’ll steal, I mean borrow, your line and try it out.
      Thanks!

      • susielindau says:

        Hottie???? Wow. I needed that today Hook! Thanks.
        I use that line all the time and it is funny how it diffuses everything. I wrote an essay for the newspaper about the coyote problem we are experiencing and got some “interesting” comments. One thing I learned two years ago is to always thank the commenter for weighing in and taking the time to read your story. If they misunderstood, I may say this was satire or humor and wasn’t meant to offend anyone. Although in my experience, it is best to say thank you and move on with people who are pissed.
        Steal away!!!

  17. sortaginger says:

    Your hotel allows hookers and unmarried people to have The Sex while staying there?

    Well, that does it. I am now cancelling all of my vacation plans because of the perception your post has given me on your city/town/establishment etc.

    ….

    Really, what is wrong with people? As always, you made me smile today. Keep on keeping on!

  18. I am obviously not paying enough attention when I’m at hotels. I don’t ever encounter these types. Or if I have, I’ve blocked them out of my brain so quickly that it’s like it never happened. Do you get hazard pay in your line of work? Because you should.

  19. The Cutter says:

    I should bring my family to your hotel, and then you could see exactly what #10 actually is. (I realize that this is probably exactly what #1 would say)

  20. I loved the comments you got -

  21. I think, right from the outset, it is obvious that you’re being humorous and sarcastic. Maybe people don’t like knowing that they probably fall in to one of those categories. I, for one, know that my son is that kid you talked about…

  22. Congrats on being controversial. Although, I’m sure it’s not the first time, right?

  23. Jennifer says:

    Why do people have to over analyse things all the time. Really. Tongue in cheek, a little bit of humour and a certain amount of truth. Seem people have no funny bone.
    Was the homophobe comment about the lack of gay subject, you don’t want to write about it cause you can’t stand them? Otherwise I don’t understand.

    And as someone said, haters are gonna hate. We love you! Never mind them.

  24. Thank you Hook! I learn new things every time I read your blog. I start looking for all of these people in my life. But since Maine is a pretty rural state, no luck right now. I should have been a bellman. Seems like a really entertaining career. Seriously I think you write well and tell great stories and that is what has me hooked!! Keep up the great work my friend!

  25. JackieP says:

    I wonder what got some people’s panties in a twist? Hell, I’ve met all these too when I worked retail. With a few more weirdos thrown in. I met a real witch once. Not a b/witch but a real spell casting, newts eye, witch. She was actually very nice in a witchy way. ;-) Maybe some read it before their morning coffee?

  26. Cameron says:

    It would seem people need to get their knickers untwisted. The truth is uncomfortable. But also pretty funny if your panties fit okay.

  27. Daile says:

    I used to be a UFC and it’s just as much fun from the inside as it is for an innocent bystander! Heading over to the other article so i can experience these killjoys with no sense of humor

  28. What the…?! I’m referring to those commenters on the other site! They seem to have taken it as a personal slight on the area where you live, but quite frankly this could be any hotel in the world! Well I enjoyed your post anyway! A while ago I asked if you had read Hotel Babylon and you said you hadn’t, but I’m not sure if you’ve actually heard of it, or if it’s only well known in the UK, but either way, I urge you to read it. It’s the tales of someone who has worked for years in top London hotels – it’s written like a fiction novel, but the stories are all apparently true, I’m sure you will be able to relate!

  29. Swamp Donkey! Brilliant expression but nasty soundin’ critters!

  30. As a person who considers her home town to be Niagara Falls, I am more embarrassed by the comments from the locals than I could possibly be from the piece. Did they actually read it? Are they talking about the same article? There is nothing, absolutely nothing, homophobic about it.
    For the record He-Who and I fall into that “THE UFC COUPLE”. We know it and laugh about it and so do the people we drag into our vortex. People, just get yourselves a sense of humour.

  31. Lady Lovely says:

    Haters are gonna hate my dear friend. We can’t stop that. Haters made me take a break from life. Only today I’m back to blogging. Don’t let them you get you down. Stay strong and keep doing what you’re doing.

  32. G says:

    Wow, I liked it. Sheesh, so sensitive!

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