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'Sexism still silently seethes': Stunned woman, 36, shares her horror after she was mistaken for a HOOKER by staff at a high-end New York restaurant when she tried to eat alone at the bar

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 17/01/2019 Erica Tempesta For Dailymail.com

A woman eating a pasta dish in a Vapiano Restaurant in Bonn, Germany, 7 July 2015.  Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/dpa | usage worldwide   (Photo by Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images) © Getty A woman eating a pasta dish in a Vapiano Restaurant in Bonn, Germany, 7 July 2015. Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images) A woman has revealed the anger she felt after she was told she couldn't dine alone a the bar at the swanky Manhattan restaurant Nello because she was mistaken for a high-class call girl.  

As a creative exec at the international strategic branding firm Finch & Partners, Clementine Crawford, 36, splits her time between London and New York, staying in the same hotel and frequenting the same high-end Italian eatery on Madison Avenue whenever she is in the Big Apple. 

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In her essay, 'The Night I Was Mistaken for a Call Girl,' Clementine detailed the recent hostility she faced as an unaccompanied woman at the Upper East Side restaurant, where she has been dining for years. 

a person standing in front of a flower: Stunned: Clementine Crawford, 36, was shocked to learn that she was confused for a high-end call girl after being told she could no longer dine alone at the bar of a New York restaurant © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Stunned: Clementine Crawford, 36, was shocked to learn that she was confused for a high-end call girl after being told she could no longer dine alone at the bar of a New York restaurant

Although she didn't name the restaurant in her piece, she later confirmed to the New York Post that it was Nello, which is known for its $275 (£210) white truffle pasta. 

Clementine explained that she prefers to eat alone at the bar, but when she slipped into her favourite seat at Nello on her most recent trip, she was told she could no longer sit there. 

'A waiter approached — a familiar face, but oddly hesitant on this occasion. He advised — with evident embarrassment — that I was no longer permitted to eat at my usual spot and that I must now sit down at a table. Confused, but tired, I obliged,' she recalled in her essay for the website Drugstore Culture.

Clementine said the same thing happened when she returned to the haunt a few days later. When she asked what was going on, she was told 'nobody was able to eat at the bar.'

However, after she was moved to a table, she watched a man walk in and seat himself at the bar, where he enjoyed a dirty martini, a full pasta dinner, and later a limoncello to top off his meal.   

a car parked on the side of a building: Habit: As a creative exec at the strategic branding firm Finch & Partners, Clementine splits her time between London and New York and eats at Nello whenever she is in the Big Apple © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Habit: As a creative exec at the strategic branding firm Finch & Partners, Clementine splits her time between London and New York and eats at Nello whenever she is in the Big Apple

'Why, I wondered, was I suddenly being treated so frostily? Surely, in America of all places, the customer was still king — or, in this case, queen? After further interrogation, it transpired that the owner had ordered a crackdown on hookers: the free-range escorts who roamed the Upper East Side, hunting prey in his establishment,' she wrote. 

'But hang on: did this mean they thought that I was an escort? Or could be mistaken for one? At first, I was incensed. Not because I am judgemental about the world’s oldest profession, but because this treatment struck me as outright discrimination.

a kitchen with a table in a restaurant: Say what? Clementine said that during her most recent visit, she was told no one could eat at the bar, despite witnessing a single man having a full pasta dinner there © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Say what? Clementine said that during her most recent visit, she was told no one could eat at the bar, despite witnessing a single man having a full pasta dinner there 'They had classified me, marginalised me, relegated me to the corner by the loos simply because I was an unaccompanied woman.'

Clementine admitted that she was surprised to find herself 'secretly thrilled' by the mistake at first because it was inadvertently a compliment to her appearance. 

'Jesus, I thought, I must look expensive. Like sex worth buying,' she said. 'Like one of those groomed women who has time to do Pilates during the day, blow-dry her hair for hours, effortlessly wear a Cavalli catalogue (in London, Celine) and don a Cartier cuff.' 

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When that fleeting thought passed, her anger returned and she asked to speak with the owner. She reminded him that she was a regular at the restaurant, noting that 'it was a brave thing to do, to eat out on one’s own.' 

According to Clementine, the owner was dismissive and unwilling to budge on his new gender-biased rule.   

'He told me that he could run his business as he pleased, and that I was no longer welcome to eat at the bar, only at a table,' she recalled. 

'Things escalated quickly into an explosive argument. I told him what I thought of him in no uncertain terms and departed into the night with a heavy heart.' 

a woman standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Gender bias: Clementine, pictured with Chris Brown in 2017, was outraged that the restaurant marginalized her simply because she was an unaccompanied woman  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Gender bias: Clementine, pictured with Chris Brown in 2017, was outraged that the restaurant marginalized her simply because she was an unaccompanied woman  Clementine said the experience made her realised that sexism 'still silently seethes,' and she believes the subtle everyday indignities that women face are being overshadowed by the emphasis on the #MeToo movement. 

'A single hashtag campaign hasn’t reversed, and won’t reverse, our fortunes,' she wrote. 

'To simplify all sexual politics to six letters alone is no more than a sanctimonious charade and ignores the everyday encounters that, in aggregate, make the difference between an equal life and a life in which a woman enjoying a meal on her own is effectively branded an escort.' 

DailyMail.com has reached out to Nello for comment.  

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