Wall Street widows’ club?

Speaking of things that might make you gag at breakfast time, reading this article with my cup of coffee this morning was, shall we say, a little off-putting. Nothing like waking up to the trials and travails of rich Manhattanites whose idea of hard times means “if your monthly Bergdorf’s allowance has been halved and bottle service has all but disappeared from your life.” And isn’t it just, well, um, somethin’ else that in 2009 an article can appear in a top daily that unthinkingly construes “banker” as male? I’m not sure whether to be miffed at the “support group” that bats not a single meticulously lined and mascara’d eye, or at the Times for not making more of the gender aspect of this.
Because here’s the thing: at first blush, it’s funny in that eye-rolling, I’m-going-to-be-sick-to-my-stomach sort of way; but if you actually stop to think about it, you can’t help but be disturbed. There’s a weird frivolity/seriousness confusion here, both in how the support group portrays itself (it’s all in good fun, look, we have a sense of humor about it — but, really, this is painful and difficult) and in how the article is written (puff piece about girlfriends of troubled investment bankers getting gussied up and having cocktails to kvetch about their relationships — or fleeting but distressing glimpse of the emptiness of life in the fast lane, financiers’ troubling fixation on work and money, and the apparent shallowness of the men and women involved?). I suppose the ending quote does a good job of evoking the kinds of upsetting feelings I’m talking about here: “‘It’s not even about a $200 dinner,’ Ms. Petrus said. ‘It’s that he’s an alpha male, he’s aggressive, he’s a go-getter, he doesn’t take no for an answer, he’s confident, people respect him and that creates the whole mystique of who he is.'” The whole mystique!
Ah, well… With any luck my woman Judith Warner will have something to say about it by week’s end. I mean, she’s handled the Elle Woods thing with aplomb. This seems ripe for analysis.
Or maybe I should just start a support group for partners of first-year faculty. Might be a little different, though. Meeting at a less expensive bar, for starters.


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