This is an observation that I made on my five day trip to southwest Colorado last week and I admit, it surprised and annoyed me.  My riding partner is a guy.  We are friends and I mean that literally, we are friends and riding buddies.  I don’t give it a second thought, nor do I refer to him as my male riding partner. I don’t see a reason to do so.  Honestly, the nature of our relationship is no one’s business.  Maybe that’s what bothers me, that people seem to think they deserve more information and I don’t agree.  Something to ponder.

It was interesting to me (ok, it was annoying!) that almost without exception, every hotel we checked into and restaurant we visited seemed to assume we are a couple.  As in a dating or married couple.  At almost every hotel front desk one of us would say ‘Hi, we’d like to check in and the reservations are under (his last name) and (my last name)’.  At three of the four hotels, one of us were checked in, given room keys and then the front desk person looked at us like why are you still standing here?  When the other one would say ‘um, can I also check in’, they were stunned into silence.  One person even grilled me – “oh, you aren’t staying in the same room as him?”  “Is it the same last name?”  Sigh.

This also happened at restaurants but they seemed less confused by seeing two credit cards to pay the bill.  Usually they would return to the table and ask if we wanted the check split 50/50 or some other arrangement.  I didn’t mind that so much; it didn’t feel like such an intrusion of privacy.  Maybe I am being overly sensitive on this topic, but I find it annoying.  I couldn’t help but wonder if we were two women or two guys traveling together, would the same assumptions have been made?  Maybe, but typically when I travel or visit a resturant with a female friend, the assumption is made that we are paying or rooming separately.  Just an interesting observation.

This experience has had me thinking about the assumptions I make every day.  Do I also do this to people?  Do I look at a “couple” and assume they must be married or dating?  I’m pretty sure I have in the past, so now I try to hit the pause button and say wait.  If they introduce the other person as their spouse, great.  If they don’t, then it doesn’t matter.

I have also been comparing this to my recent travel experience in Canada.  Although we were five women traveling together, splitting the check at restaurants couldn’t have been easier.  Each hotel check in was also pretty seamless.  Rather than oh, you aren’t all in one room the question was always does everyone have their own room or are some sharing?  Maybe we have some things to learn here in the U.S., what do you think?

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