Sometimes an unexpected gift comes your way and because it’s completely unlooked-for, it’s all the sweeter.
Earlier this week my friend Rich asked me to do him a favour – would I have lunch with him and another friend of his to give his buddy some insights into the wonderful world of investment banking. This buddy, a lawyer, was disillusioned with his current career and was considering making a switch into investment banking. Rich (who works in a different part of the biz) is even less enamoured with banking than I am, so he thought I would be the perfect person to dissuade his friend from leaving the comparatively kind and gentle world of lawyering to jump into the predatory feeding grounds of investment banking. Now although I have chosen to get out, I’m not really into spending an hour or so dissing what has been my chosen career for the past 7 years. And although Rich thought my jaded perspective was perfect, I didn’t think so. However having been promised a fabulous lunch at a local 4-star restaurant, I was persuaded. I might be easy but I’m not cheap. And it was only a lunch, how bad could it be?
One thing about Rich, he has access to some great perks at work, like the car service. And since I was doing him a big favour, he thought maybe I’d like to go home in the limo that night? Would I . . . hell yeah!!! My usual mode of transportation is the municipal bus service, so being chauffeured home in a limo – bring it on. I was joking with the driver that when I arrived at my place my neighbours would think some rock star boyfriend was sending me home in a limo – which would be a great joke. Then as we approached my humble abode what do we see but a few of the said neighbours standing outside yakking, but now with all eyes on the approaching limo. The driver then insisted that I not touch the door – got out in full uniform and held the door for me, popped the trunk and carried my numerous packages of Christmas shopping into the house. As I thanked him by name for bringing me home, you could hear this sort of snapping sound . . . I think it was their jaws snapping up off the pavement. TOO SWEET, I got to have my very own Pretty Woman moment.
The next morning I didn’t hear from my friend Rich so I assumed that somehow plans had gone awry and my fancy lunch was off – oh well, at least I’d had that fabo limo ride. But no, my phone rang and there was a peremptory command to meet them in the lobby of our building. Downstairs I head, expecting to meet my friend and some sort of nondescript lawyer type. I first run into Rich who tells me that his day has come off the rails and I am now to have lunch ALONE with his friend. OMG – seriously. I’m looking around for the grey flannel lawyer but I can’t for the life of me figure out who my lunch “date” is – there are a bunch of suits in the lobby. Rich turns around and motions over . . .a God in human form, an Adonis . . . . perhaps one of the most gorgeous men I have ever laid eyes on. Well over 6 feet tall, in obviously fantastic shape, blond, sharp jaw, flashy eyes – the whole shebang. The snapping sound this time was MY jaw. Well, I was in too far to back out now so I bravely stuck out my hand and introduced myself to Mr. Tall, Blonde and Stunningly Handsome. Wowzas, this day just got better in a big way.
My very first thought was to thank whatever inspiration hit me that morning that I had decided to ditch the standard issue navy suit and dress up a bit. I was actually rocking a pretty good corporate femme fatale – severely tailored black dress that nonetheless managed to look pretty much painted on, black fish net stockings and high-heeled black patent boots. Yup, it’s a pretty good look. Throw a cropped jacket over that and it’s almost corporate . . . but definitely with an edge. So I was feeling pretty damn fine as Mr. TBSH and I headed out to lunch.
Now lunch could have gone very badly – he could have been conceited, boring (or bored) nervous or just plain not that smart or interesting. But no, in addition to his very apparent physical charms, my lunch date was also witty, charming, very intelligent and a great conversationalist. He was well prepared for our meeting and had done his research on the industry and my firm in particular. There were no awkward silences or any shortage of congenial conversation. And . . . since I’m not generally a fan of suits, to put the icing on the cake, as the chit-chat drifted from the professional to more personal (really, who can talk about banking for 2 hours???) turns out he is also a martial arts expert and dabbles in an amateur MMA Fight Night. Edgy too. And I’d be willing to bet there were some tattoos under that suit. Colour me star-struck. It was at about this point that I was starting to believe in Santa Claus. And thanking Rich from the bottom of my happy little heart.
We eventually noticed that it was 2pm – quite the extended lunch – and sadly I had to get back to work. As we walked out of the restaurant, I realized that my boss and one of our VP’s were sitting at a table I was going to have to walk right past. This could get really interesting – I keep my personal life a closed book at work since they will use any ammunition against you. But since they were with a client and had no idea who I was with, I just casually waved, said hi and headed out the door . . .with the feel of their eyes boring into my back the entire way. Brilliant. Score one to me in our unending game of departmental one-upmanship!
The final coup was the reaction once I was back at the office. When my boss and the VP arrived back shortly after me, I was subjected to a less than kind grilling about exactly who I was having lunch with. They had no idea and I kept up the story of “oh just lunch with a friend”. Too good. Our young VP was obviously feeling somewhat territorial about the females in his purview (really guy. . .really) and was quite obviously put out at this turn of events. His parting shot was that he thought I “didn’t date suits” – something I have said on numerous occasions. Having been trained by them to go for the kill when you sense weakness, my rejoinder was “only when they are also MMA fighters”. Ok, so that time it was the VP’s jaw snapping shut. Best one-liner ever. Talk about leaving my job in style – I have no doubt at all they will be talking about my lunch date for quite some time.
Now gentle reader, you can rest assured that there are no racy post-lunch tales to tell, just a very thoughtful and kind note from Mr. TBSH the next day. And although my task had been to convince him that investment banking was basically a cesspool that no-one in their right mind would get involved in – I ended up with the feeling that if MR. TBSH decided to make the switch, he could not only swim with the sharks, but make a meal of it himself.
And who wouldn’t enjoy a limo ride, a leisurely lunch with a very handsome young man AND getting the upper hand just for once on some people who really deserve it. Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus.
In Heavy Rotation: I wanted something light, frothy, fun and perhaps even seasonal for today’s musical offering, so I went through my playlists and CD’s but nothing struck me as quite right. Then I realized that it’s because really, there is only so long I can do that. And I won’t put dishonest crap in my blog – just can’t make myself do it. If nothing else, I’m always truthful in my writing and about what I’m reading and listening to. I was actually having a pretty evil “I Hate Christmas” sort of a day today and what I’m listening to as I’m writing is . . Nirvana’s “Lithium”.
Yup, not very seasonal – or maybe it is. For me, I feel a lot better saying out loud (or at least writing out loud) that there are days I wake up thinking “Oh my God, will Christmas NEVER be over”. And I struggled to get started writing this post because it was fun and humorous and that did not in any way match my mood. But because writing never fails to make me feel better about myself, or at least give me some perspective, I’m changing it up from Nirvana, though it’s still loud and nasty – I slid in the Punk Rock Princess Party Playlist. Sometimes, though, it really helps to listen to someone else’s pain. Thanks (again) Kurt, you were a very special talent.