On a recent Thursday at the frat-tastic Murray Hill Bar 515, a group of young male investment bankers were decompressing after a long day of Bloomberg-staring and cold calling. A 23-year-old hedge-fund manager leaned back against the bar as a blond, large-breasted woman passed by.
“Hell- ooo, ” Hedge Fund Guy said under his breath.
In Hedge Fund Guy’s hand was an already beer-stained copy of journalist Susan Antilla’s new book: Tales from the Boom-Boom Room: Women vs. Wall Street . A reporter had given him a copy of the book, which chronicles a series of groundbreaking late-90’s sexual-harassment suits against top investment firms.
As he ambivalently flicked through its pages, Hedge Fund Guy took pains to downplay the guyplay on Wall Street circa 2002.
“I haven’t noticed any sexism, not at all,” he said. “I think the biggest problem is that working in finance is a stressful job-and when emotions get involved, it’s difficult.”
As he talked, Hedge Fund Guy fixed his eye on a brunette in a red halter top drinking a bottle of Rolling Rock. “Females are just more emotional than males and it’s hard for them to handle these high-profile jobs. But I don’t think this”-by “this,” he meant Ms. Antilla’s book-“is true at all.”
Suddenly he closed Boom-Boom Room , handed it back and turned around to get the bartender’s attention. “There’s not much there,” Hedge Fund Guy said.
A day later, over brunch at Blue Ribbon Bakery, a young analyst at a large brokerage firm was equally dismissive.
“Writing about a bunch of meatheads in Garden City is not a story,” Analyst Guy said, referring to the actual sexcapade room at a Jersey Salomon Smith Barney office that gave Boom-Boom Room its title. “The fact that Wall Street is an aggressive environment where some women would feel intimidated is old news. The fact that some women are sex-harassed is true and sad-in any profession-but the fact that that happened a little more on Wall Street is old news, too.”
Plus, Analyst Guy said, “a woman who flirts a little and hikes up her skirt can get even farther than a guy can.”
Then there was Small Brokerage Guy, who used to work at a big brokerage. One time, he said, he and his friends hired a stripper to go to their boss and pretend that she was a would-be assistant applying for a job. The guys videotaped the episode for the whole office to watch.
“She went into his office and said, ‘I really want this job-I’ll do anything to get this job.’ And you could see her slowly taking off her blouse. He said, ‘Could we go in the back?’ and she goes, ‘No, right here-I really want this job.’ It got more risqué, and then we all burst in and were like, ‘Surprise!’
“It was really funny,” Small Brokerage Guy concluded.
So if it was gone, where did it all go, the brokers and their assistants going at it on desktops, the dirty nicknames and sexual favors? A 24-year-old trader at a small Wall Street securities firm said that he hadn’t witnessed any sexual harassment while he worked there. “You don’t want to start anything and be the ringleader,” Trader Guy said. “Our office is very casual, though. Guys have porn on their screens all the time-but not in front of women.”
There was also the sensitivity training. At Citibank, for example, new hires watch an hour-long videotape about sexual harassment.
“You have this video of this guy reaching around a woman seated at a computer. He’s using her keypad,” said a 38-year-old trader who saw the tape. “But it was funny, you know: ‘No kidding-we’re not supposed to do that?'”
During the training, three people were thrown out, Video Guy said. “They didn’t behave. They kept saying, ‘This is ridiculous. Why do we have to listen to this?'” he said. “It was hysterical.”
Will Tales from the Boom-Boom Room move any men? The Guys pretty much agreed that it wouldn’t. Investment bankers don’t read those kind of books anyway, they said.
If anything, those who read it might become envious. Consider Trainee Guy, a 22-year-old broker-in-training who handled Ms. Antilla’s book like it was an old jazz record.
“I’ve never seen anything, ” Trainee Guy said, flipping the pages. “I wish !”
Gimme That Bottle Rocket
The following are dirty excerpts from Owen Wilson fan fiction on www.wilson-brothers.com:
From “Innocence” by Chelsea, inspired by Shanghai Noon , in which Owen Wilson played Roy O’Bannon, a train robber:
Roy O’Bannon walked over to her and layed her down on the bed. He lowered himself over her. He rested his hands on her shoulders, she was trembling.
“Are you afraid?”
Shannon looked ashamed as she replied, “Y – yes.”
Roy felt bad for her he whispered softly, “I’ll be gentle, don’t be afraid.”
She slowly nodded her head. Roy descended his head and claimed her lips with his. He could tell that she was not very experienced. Shannon had heard about Roy, she knew that he was an outlaw, that had made her fear worse when he had picked her. She was surprised that a rebel such as he could be so kind and gentle. His lips just barely brushed hers.
Roy had undressed her and helped her in undressing himself. He could tell that she was still scared but she seemed to be slightly more at ease. When he had pierced through her virginity she had cried out.
From “The Amazon Affair” by LaTissa, inspired by Anaconda, in which Owen Wilson played Gary Dixon, part of a crew filming a documentary in the Amazon:
Her eyes moved down to his lips. They were so tempting. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him tenderly. He was a little taken aback by her actions but he just brushed it off. He placed his hands on her hips and returned her kiss. Her hands slid away from his neck down to his chest where she started unbuttoning his shirt.
He backed away. “What’s wrong?” Terri asked. Gary looked at her carefully. “Ar-Are you sure you want to do this?” he asked. She grinned and lifted her beige tanktop up over her head.
He gulped loudly when he saw her bare chest. “I-I’ll take that as a yes,” he said. He grabbed her and they kissed. She pushed his shirt off his shoulders and it fell to the ground.
When they were both completely naked Terri laid back on the bed. Gary crawled on top of her and pulled the covers up over them. He kissed her. His mouth moved from hers down to her neck. She ran her hands through his blond hair and down his back. He thrust his body forward. “Ohhh!” she cried as he entered her. She felt him grin against her neck. “Oh … Ohh … OH-” Her moans were cut short by him putting a hand over her mouth.
He was now looking down at her. “Shh,” he whispered. “If you moan too loudly the others will hear you!” He moved his hand and kissed her lips. Her nails dug into his skin as he entered deeper into her body. The feel of her nails hurt, but he didn’t care. It actually felt kind of good to him. He stopped kissing her and looked into her eyes. She brushed the hair out of his eyes with her fingers and looked at him. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered. “So are you,” she replied. He grinned and moved his body southward, planting kisses all down her body. Then his mouth met back up with hers. They kissed as he rolled on his back. She laid her head on his chest. She could hear his heart beating wildly. “I love you Gary,” she said.
He was silent for a moment. “Really?” he finally asked. “Yes,” she replied. “Always have.” She looked at him and kissed his lips. He stroked her hair as he returned the kiss. “I love you too Terri,” he said.