The London Paper – 12 Feb 2007
If a colleague starts trying to form a friendship in the City the normal response is to recite Gordon Gekko’s famous quote from the film Wall St: ‘If you need a friend, get a dog’. To most Cityboys colleagues are competitors for the bonus pool and clients are suckers to squeeze commission from.
Anyway, I certainly wish I’d followed this approach when a fellow analyst invited himself to join me at an arty do in a Shoreditch gallery last Thursday. I had decided to stray from my usual gold-digger infested haunts (Boujis, The Embassy Club, Chinawhite) in light of my newly single status and my wish to interact with ladeez who were more interested in my stimulating personality than the thickness of my ever-expanding wallet.
The scene I surveyed in the cramped gallery, whilst nursing a warm glass of Chardonnay, was certainly an eye-opener. There were no £100 hair styles, designer clothes or orange tans. Instead, it looked like most attendees had either got dressed in the dark or were having an unspoken bet to see who could look the most preposterous. Feeling extremely out of place in my £1400 Ozwald Boateng bespoke suit I endeavoured to interact with these peculiar bohemian types.
I’m sad to report that, apart from those involved in selling the art, who clearly smelt my money, the response I received made Jade Goody’s treatment of Shilpa Shetty look positively sycophantic. Within minutes of my arrival I was being harangued by a trio of girls who looked liked they were auditioning for ‘The Addams Family’ and who seemed to blame me personally for global poverty, animal experimentation, the Iraq war and, worst of all, “phallocentric social structures” whatever they are.
I soon realised that I was on the receiving end of a form of prejudice my previous social routine had shielded me from. The very fact I worked in the City and was not involved in the art world meant to these jokers that I was a money-obsessed sexist philistine. Whilst this is, of course, true I had hoped that I could disguise it for a few hours.
Unfortunately, any attempts to persuade my new potential pals that I was, in fact, a sensitive artistic soul were soon ruined by my increasingly drunken colleague. In the space of about five minutes I, and pretty much everyone else around, heard him exclaim such useful observations as: ‘Blimey, check her teeth out – she could eat an orange through a tennis racket’, ‘Christ alive, that one’s definitely built for comfort not speed’ and ‘God’s teeth, that one’s got a body from Bay Watch but a face from Crime Watch’.
Red-faced, I quickly made my excuses and left and in the taxi home pondered the lonely plight of the average Cityboy. On the one hand, there are loads of women interested in us purely for our cash whilst, at the same time, there are numerous others out there who wouldn’t piss on us if we were on fire such are their prejudices. I think that the only solution is to henceforward pretend I’m poor and that I do an ‘interesting’ job – perhaps a dolphin trainer, an astronaut or even, for one that definitely confirms my abject poverty, a journalist.