Thursday, March 23, 2006

Dwarf tossing?

USA Today asks the question:
Should business be conducted at strip clubs?
If you ask swinish men, I bet they see nothing wrong with that. If you ask me, the answer is hell, no. Wall Streeters and other members of the overgrown boys club think it is a swell tradition to have. Want to conduct business with a woman's naked butt up your face, you have to bring your female colleagues with you. But you cannot seriously expect your female colleagues to sit and wait patiently while you take business away from them and forge relationships with the clients they are unjustly deprived of. And how about your gay colleagues? Oops, sorry, no gay men on Wall St, right? According to USA Today:
It was a Fidelity Investments trader's 2003 bachelor party, paid for by brokerage firms including Jeffries & Co., that prompted NASD to consider tightening its rules. The party allegedly included dwarf-tossing and paid female escorts, according to news accounts and investigators.
Dwarf tossing? What is this, Nero's Rome?
Earlier this month, Manhattan strip club Scores settled a lawsuit over a contested $241,000 bill racked up by the former CEO of St. Louis information technology company Savvis. Robert McCormick resigned amid an investigation into the bill, which was charged to his corporate American Express card.
Who are these people?
I'm not a prude and not a wallflower. I can drink, smoke cigars and curse like a sailor if needs be. I have been to strip clubs and I find them the most unerotic places on earth. Guys, if that's your idea of erotism, surgically enhanced plasticky bimbos shaking their soccer ball boobs in your faces, I pity you. If that's your idea of bonding with clients, quite frankly you and your clients are pathetic.
Once upon a time, a client wanted us to take him to a strip club in Mexico City after dinner and I said to him: "what am I, chopped liver?" To his credit, he invited me to come, but he promptly understood it wasn't going to be that conducive to us getting along like a house on fire, so instead we went to a hip and happening bar and got happily shitfaced and bonded and all that jazz. Believe you me, if he had insisted on the strip club I wouldn't have gone back to the hotel to suck my thumb all night, I'd have come right along. But I bet our rapport would not have been that great.
With all due respect to guys: what a fucking idiot power trip.
These rules came about, mind you, not because anybody thought there was anything wrong with going to titty bars on the company's dime, but because of multimillion dollar gender discrimination lawsuits by female employees. Apparently, money is the only language these people speak:
• Last April, a jury found in Laura Zubulake's favor in a sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against UBS and awarded her $29 million. In October, the parties settled the lawsuit privately. Zubulake, a former director in international equities, alleged in the lawsuit that she was not considered for promotion, was removed from client responsibilities, was undermined professionally and was excluded from client outings. Trial testimony alleged she had been invited to a bottomless club by a manager. UBS says it has policies on business entertainment and "appropriate professional conduct."

Several financial companies say the proposed rules are too burdensome. John Goodwin of Albuquerque-based Goodwin Browning & Luna Securities, complained to NASD that it is "legislating morality."

What the hell does that mean? Is it moral to exclude your colleagues from equal opportunity because of the sleazy place you choose to conduct your business in?
It's very simple, if these entertainment expenses were not allowed as deductions by the IRS, this would be the end of the story or close to it. I can't deduct my health expenses but you sleazebags can deduct your visits to strip clubs? What gives?
But listen to this one, 'cause this one takes the cake:
In her lawsuit, Schieffelin says she learned two clients were invited by male colleagues to attend a weekend in Las Vegas approved by their manager. When she asked why she wasn't included, she was told it was "because the men would be uncomfortable participating in sexually oriented entertainment with a woman colleague present, especially one who knew their wives"...
As a woman I would like to know if the companies where I keep my investments hold these kind of moronic business practices, because if they do, I may take my business (all of my two cents) somewhere else. Women have got to stop putting up with this crap.

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